How Much Turkey Do You Need Per Person?

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Before Thanksgiving, are you scratching your head? Maybe there were too many guests? Let’s begin with the big ticket item, turkey. Everything else will come into place.

Basic guidelines for how much turkey you need will depend on a variety of factors, including the number of guests, but also whether you purchase the bird with bones or only boneless breast flesh, if your guests are big eaters, and so on. For the time being, let’s continue with the conventional entire bird(s).

How much turkey do you serve each person? Estimates for how much whole (bone-in) turkey to purchase range from 1 pound per person to 1.5 pounds per visitor. To be safe, consider you’ll need at least 1.25 pounds of whole (uncooked) turkey each visitor. Adjust the amount according to whether your guests are big, small, or medium eaters.

If you don’t know all of your visitors well, go up to one-and-a-half pounds to be on the safe side. There are, after all, always leftovers.

How to Order/Choose Turkey Based on Number of Guests

The table below indicates how much uncooked whole turkey to buy for two sets of guests, one with a mix of small, medium, and large diners and the other with predominantly big eaters, after correcting for bone weight.

The average quantity advised for the typical eaters group is 1.25 lbs. per person and 1.5 lbs. per person for the large eaters group.

# of Guests Mix of Small, Medium ; Big Eaters Mostly Big Eaters
4 5 lbs. 6 lbs.
6 7.5 lbs. 9 lbs.
8 10 lbs. 12 lbs.
10 12.5 lbs. 15 lbs.
12 15 lbs. 18 lbs.
16 20 lbs. 24 lbs. (2 smaller birds)
18 22.5 lbs. (2 smaller birds) 27 lbs. (2 smaller birds)
20 25 lbs. (2 smaller birds) 30 lbs. (2 smaller birds)

The estimations presented above highlight an additional consideration: a big chicken (one weighing more than 20 pounds) will dry out quicker and offer less of the delicate taste you want to provide for your visitors.

Get Multiple, Smaller Turkeys for a Large Number of Guests

As the chart demonstrates, as the number of guests (and your estimate of how many pounds of turkey are necessary) increases, it would benefit you to purchase two smaller sized turkeys rather than one large bird when the weight requirements exceed 20 pounds.

Instead of purchasing a 24 pound entire turkey, try purchasing two 10-14 pound turkeys, or a 14 pound whole bird and breast meat (see below for how much).

This manner, instead of one dried out chicken, you’ll be able to make two luscious birds for your visitors. It’s tough to avoid overdone the exterior while attempting to cook the deep insides of a huge bird.

One factor for you may be oven space, however unless you have a very limited amount of room, we suggest choosing smaller, more succulent birds.

How to Differentiate Requirements between Whole Turkey and Breast Meat

In terms of need per guest, boneless turkey breast meat generally equates to a 50% conversion ratio. If you’re hosting large groups, consider purchasing a pound of breast meat per person. If you’re serving a group of typical diners, five-eighths of a pound of breast meat is a solid starting point.

In the above example, if you are entertaining guests and purchasing either boneless turkey breast meat or (for larger parties) combining a smaller whole bird with boneless breast meat, you will need the following proportions:

# of Guests Mix of Small, Medium ; Big Eaters Mostly Big Eaters
4 2.5 lbs. meat 3 lbs. meat
6 3.75 lbs. meat 4.5 lbs. meat
8 5 lbs. meat 6 lbs. meat
10 6.25 lbs. meat 7.5 lbs. meat
12 7.5 lbs. meat 9 lbs. meat
16 10 lbs. meat 6 lbs. meat + one 12-lb. bird
18 5 lbs. meat + one 12.5-lb. bird 6.5 lbs. meat + one 14-lb. birds
20 6.5 lbs. meat + one 12-lb. bird 8 lbs. meat + one 14-lb. bird

As seen in the table above, several forms of mix and matching are conceivable. It’s up to you whether you want to be cautious or plan in pretty specific proportions based on one of the charts above.

What Else to Get and in What Amount?

dishes to round up your Thanksgiving spread. The amounts of turkey will also vary depending on the quantity of meals (starters, entrees, sides, and desserts) and beverages served to your guests. Apart from the turkey, you’ll need a few more items.

The chart below provides some preliminary estimates for several popular sides, assuming your guests are typical eaters:

  • Dry Mix Stuffing – 1 lb. per person
  • Cranberry Sauce – 4 oz. per person
  • Potatoes – between 1/3 to ½ lb. per person
  • Sweet Potatoes – between 1/3 to ½ lb. per person
  • Butternut Squash – ½ lb. per person
  • Green Beans – ¼ lb. per person
  • Brussel Sprouts – 2-3 oz. per person
  • Creamed Spinach – 3-4 oz. per person
  • Pies/Dessert – flexible, but you could use the proportion of one 9.5” pie per 3-4 guests
  • Salads – use your judgement

Although you may wish to tweak these proportions higher for huge diners, you should be mindful that with large gatherings, you should tone down on these proportions unless you adore leftovers.

Final Thoughts

Preparing turkey for special occasions with family and friends may be enjoyable both before and after the meal. If you prepare ahead of time and adhere to the recommendations outlined above, you may eliminate the guesswork and stress associated with the planning and cooking portions of the process.

Bottom line: If you know your visitors well and are confident in your culinary abilities, remain close to the figures indicated above. If you feel there is some space for folks to eat more, increase the limitations by 10-20%. Nonetheless, 1.5 pounds of whole turkey per person should be plenty for your visitors.


How many adults will a 14 lb turkey feed?

8–10 persons = 14–16 pound turkey. 12–16 persons = 16–22 pound turkey.

Is a 12 lb turkey enough for 8 people?

If you want plenty of leftovers, aim for 112 pounds per person, regardless of the size of the bird. Purchase a 12-pound turkey for 8 people.

Is a 15 pound turkey enough for 8 people?

You should count on 1.25 pounds of turkey each person attending. It implies that if you have 12 guests, you should plan on a 15-pound chicken.

How many people will a 25 lb turkey feed?

20 persons equals a 25-pound turkey. Choose a boneless turkey breast instead if you’re having a modest Thanksgiving for two.

Is a 20 pound turkey enough for 14 people?

4 pounds of turkey per mouth is the ideal ratio. At that pace, serving a big group of 15 or more people would take more than 20 pounds of turkey. 2 pounds for each visitor may seem excessive, but 1 1 Although 1 pound per person may seem insufficient, 1 1

Is a 20 lb turkey enough for 10 people?

“You should cook a 20-pound turkey for 10 persons.” “Home chefs can anticipate to give 40% of a cooked bird, and the output will reduce further more depending on dark meat and white meat tastes,” DiSpirito explains.

Will a 13 lb turkey feed 10 people?

1-12 pound turkey per person is a good starting point.

“11 to 13 pounds is a reasonable range for four to six individuals,” Jessie explains.

What size turkey feeds 10 adults?

A medium (4-5kg) turkey will serve 8-10 people. A big (6-6.5kg) turkey will serve 12-15 people.

What size turkey for 13 adults?

If you’re serving up to 9 people, you should allocate 1lb (0.4kg) of turkey per person. If you’re serving 10 or more people, allow around. 8 pound, or roughly o. 35kg, of turkey per person.

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