Americans Are Opting for Small Turkeys for Thanksgiving This Year, Says Survey

updated Nov 14, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Cookbooks and guides all over the internet famously overestimate the amount of turkey you need per person for a Thanksgiving feast. This isn’t normally an issue, because in the end that’s how we end up with all those turkey sandwiches, turkey congee, and turkey soup the many days after the main event. But what if people who aren’t keen on leftovers just bought smaller turkeys? Well, it turns out that is exactly what people are doing.

Food & Wine reports that a survey from Amazon and Whole Foods found that of 1,000 American adults, almost two thirds of them planned to get a turkey that’s under 18 pounds. A representative from Whole Foods explained that they found folks looking for medium-sized turkeys, then purchasing additional turkey breast to add more white meat, rather than just purchasing a larger bird.

Apparently, the breast is the preferred part of the turkey, so why not just go straight to the part they like and leave the legs for Disneyland, right? Well, the tides might be turning as millennials start cooking their own Thanksgiving. That generation is far more likely to prefer the leg to the breast, perhaps because they came into adulthood well after the low-fat movement died down. (They’re also more likely to care if the turkey is organic than their Gen X or Boomer elders.)

This survey also found that while more than 60% of people like a traditional roasted turkey, and the rest are pretty split between smoked and deep-fried, apparently one in five of the millennials prefer their turkey prepared in a slow cooker. (And if you want to try cooking turkey breast in the slow cooker yourself, try Kitchn’s tutorial here).