There is nothing better than the main event at a holiday dinner, and the Thanksgiving turkey definitely ranks as one of the best! It just goes so well with green beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and well, pretty much anything and everything on your holiday plate. It goes without saying that leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner are unlike anything else.
But it's also nice to not get caught with too little turkey to go around, or with far too much that you burn out on turkey for the rest of your life. So, just how much turkey do you need per person this Thanksgiving? Use our helpful and well-measured guidelines of pounds based on the number of people below to make sure you have enough turkey for everyone at your dinner.
How Much Turkey You Need per Person
For your dinner, you can estimate that each guest will eat about 1 1/2 pounds of turkey. Here's how what that adds up to depending on how many people you plan to serve this Thanksgiving.
4 people – 6 pounds
6 people – 9 pounds
12 people – 18 pounds
Other Turkey Tips
Here's what else you need to know when buying and prepping a bird.
If you are buying a smaller bird for a smaller party - 12 pounds or less - you should allow 2 pounds per person to account for the smaller meat-to-bone ratio. This applies to both fresh and frozen turkey.
If you're cooking frozen turkey, be sure to allow at least 24 hours of thawing for every 4 pounds of your bird.
Estimate a little high if you plan to send guests home with leftovers and enjoy some yourself!
How Much of Everything Else Do You Need for Thanksgiving Dinner?
Use our helpful guides to calculate once and for all exactly how much food you need to make to feed everyone with just the right portion of the Thanksgiving dinner classics.