This Is Exactly How Much Turkey You'll Need to Serve the Whole Family on Thanksgiving

·1 min read
Photo credit: Ralph Smith/The Pioneer Woman
Photo credit: Ralph Smith/The Pioneer Woman

There are few family dinners that require as much planning and consideration as Thanksgiving, and it all begins with the same question: What size turkey should you buy? Of course, the answer depends on how many guests will be joining for the holiday, which means the real question is: How much turkey per person do you need? Once you figure it out, you'll be ready to try out Ree Drummond's favorite turkey brine and her roasted Thanksgiving turkey, plus all of the classic Thanksgiving side dishes!

Now, time for some math: Many sources recommend that you plan on 1 1/2 pounds turkey per person, which is enough to account for the bones and any parts of the turkey that you won't be eating. However, to ensure that there's enough turkey to go around while also satisfying any guests' preferences for white or dark meat, some experts suggest planning on 2 pounds person. That keeps the turkey math simple: If there are 10 guests coming for Thanksgiving, buy a 20-pound bird. Planning for a generous turnout also means tons of leftovers—and some say that's the best part of the feast! You can also send your guests home with a doggy bag. After all, no one ever complained about a little extra turkey!

If you're making boneless turkey for Thanksgiving, you'll need a different formula. Plan on about 1/2 pound—or 8 ounces—per person. The standard recommended serving size is about 4 ounces meat per person, so this allows for generous portions—this is Thanksgiving, after all! And if it's leftovers you want from a boneless cut, consider upping the overall weight from there.