Skip to main content

How to Figure out What Size Turkey to Buy

Dinner for four or turkey for 12; gobble up these tips when deciding the bulk of the bird will feed your hungry flock.


  • Step 1: Determine a guest list Determine how many people will be eating the turkey.
  • TIP: Consider people's eating habits. Some people eat twice as much as others.
  • Step 2: Decide on leftovers Decide whether you will be offering leftovers for people to bring home and how much you will offer.
  • Step 3: Make a list of leftover recipes List the recipes you want to make using the leftover turkey. Calculate how much turkey you will need for each.
  • Step 4: Consider the size of your oven Make sure you have a pan and oven to accomodate the size of the turkey.
  • TIP: Consider two smaller turkeys rather than one giant bird if you have a small oven.
  • Step 5: Plan the rest of the menu Plan the rest of the menu. Let guests fill up on bread and sides -- you're not serving only turkey.
  • TIP: You will need less turkey if you are serving another meat or main dish, such as ham.
  • Step 6: Add up all the components Figure 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey for each person, and add some extra for leftovers and recipes for future meals and you have enough information to calculate the right-sized bird.
  • FACT: The pilgrims served venison, not turkey, at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

You Will Need

  • Guest list
  • Recipes
  • Oven and pan
  • Menu

Popular Categories