How Much Turkey Should I Buy Per Person?

When hosting Thanksgiving dinner, there are a lot of questions regarding the menu. Should I make canned green bean casserole from fresh green beans? Should I bake pumpkin pie or apple? How can I make vegetarian-friendly sides? But one question dominates them all, and it starts long before you get in to the kitchen: How much turkey should I buy per person?

For every guest, you need at least 1 pound of turkey. Though that may sound like a lot (a standard size serving of turkey is 4 ounces, better known as 1/4 pound) — once the bones and giblets are accounted for, this amount ensures that everyone will have enough to eat when it comes to dinnertime.

However, many hosts (understandably) want plenty of turkey leftovers for pot pies, tetrazzini, and massive Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. If you're looking for leftovers, buy 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per guest. Some hosts will even buy as much as 2 pounds of turkey per guest. If you're hosting a more intimate Thanksgiving gathering, that could be the right way to go. That will ensure that you and your guests have ample amounts of poultry to eat over the next few days.

Now that you know how much turkey to buy, check out our guide to hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and our 35 best turkey recipes.