Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? This Simple Guide Will Help Ensure You’ve Made Enough for Your Guests.

published Nov 8, 2022
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Thanksgiving table setting
Credit: Brittany Conerly

My family is hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I’m beginning to plan the menu. I’m used to cooking for a family of four, but we’re having more guests than usual this time, so I’ve been scouring the web about how much food I actually need to prepare. I don’t want to cook too little in case people have big appetites, but I don’t want to be left with a month’s worth of leftovers, either. 

Not surprisingly, Babs — the internet’s fairy godmother for all things home and kitchen — has an ingenious and surprisingly simple solution. Recently, she posted on Instagram her go-to guide for how much to buy based on the number of people you’ll be hosting, and it includes everything from turkey and sides to dessert and bottles of wine. The best part? Her formula allows for leftovers, too!

Here’s an example: If you’re having five guests, Babs suggests a 6.5-pound turkey, 1 appetizer, salad, starch, vegetable side, and dessert, plus three bottles of wine. For 10 people, double the formula. If your group is even bigger (lucky you!) then simply double that formula! 

Somewhere in between? Choose the formula that’s closest to the number of people in your group, and adjust accordingly based on what people like, what you want to cook, and — just as importantly — what type of leftovers you want to have. For instance, I’m hosting 9 people total, so I’ll probably round up to the 10-person formula and add an extra bottle of wine and dessert, since those are usually the favorites around my house. 

No matter how many folks you’re hosting, enjoy this year’s meal without worrying whether you’ve made enough!