How Much Turkey per Person? Use This Rule of Thumb.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I think that the best thing about Thanksgiving (aside from spending it with friends and family members) is the turkey. You eat it the day of with piles of gravy, that night in sandwiches slathered with cranberry sauce, and often for many days after in different dishes. So, if you’re like me, having too little turkey can be a total disaster. Do you know how to choose the right amount of turkey to feed your Thanksgiving Day guests?

The Golden Turkey Rule

When it comes to feeding a crowd, having too much food is always better than having too little. With the goal of having plenty of turkey for Thanksgiving dinner with enough for leftovers for next day meals and doggie bags, remember this simple rule and you’ll never question how much turkey to buy again.

The rule of thumb for buying turkey: 1 pound per person

This is a brilliantly simple rule to follow anytime you’re cooking meat on the bone, but this is especially perfect for the holidays when leftovers are key for feeding out-of-town guests throughout the weekend. If you really, really like leftovers and are perfectly content to eat turkey sandwiches until your head falls off, then a pound-and-a-half per person will do the trick.

Black Pepper & Maple Roast Turkey(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Maybe this rule leads you to buying two turkeys instead of one giant one, or maybe you’ve been buying too big a bird this whole time. No longer, folks — this is your answer! Just remember “a pound per person” and you’ll be set come the big day, and all the turkey sandwiches that follow.

More turkey-buying advice:

And for those few pounds of your Thanksgiving turkey that come as bones, turn them into turkey stock to last you until next Thanksgiving: How To Make Turkey Stock