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How to Choose the Size of Turkey You Need for Thanksgiving

When I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time I was unsure of what size turkey to get. I was afraid I would not have enough for everyone coming.  I also like to have leftovers to make turkey sandwiches and turkey pot pie.  So I followed these simple guidelines to make sure there is enough for everyone!

How to Choose the Size of Turkey You Need for Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

How to Choose the Right Size of Turkey You Need for Thanksgiving Dinner

1) If you want just the right amount plan on 1 lb of turkey per person.  So if you are going to have a total of 12 people then you will need a 12 pound turkey.

2) If you want to have leftovers then plan on 1 and 1/2 lbs per person. So if you are 12 people then you will want a 18 pound turkey.

3) Is everyone going to want white meat (like my family) if so then you may want to get a turkey breast. You can make a large one or several small ones.

I hope this helps you in choosing the turkey you will need for Thanksgiving Dinner.

More Turkey/Thanksgiving Post You May Enjoy:

Here is a Turkey Timeline to help you stay organized and focused as the holiday approaches.  By following these tips you will be sure to avoid some of the anxiety of hosting a big holiday event like Thanksgiving.

5 Days Prior: Clean the House. Get rid of the dust bunnies.

4 Days Prior: Put the turkey on a tray in the fridge to thaw. A 12-14 lb bird takes 3-4 days to thaw. (Plan 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of frozen turkey).

3 Days Prior: Bake pies or tarts. Chop vegetables for stuffing or side dishes. Cover and refrigerate.

2 Days Prior: Wash China and Crystal (if using)

1 Day Prior:  Set Table and Arrange Centerpieces.  Places plates and glasses upside down to prevent dust from settling.

Thanksgiving Day:

  • Remove giblets from neck and body cavity of turkey. Prepare turkey according to directions. A 12-14 lb turkey takes at least 3 hours to roast.
  • Peel and cut potatoes. Place in Dutch Oven and cover with cold water. Set aside until ready to cook. Bake side dishes.
  • Make salad.
  • Flip a coin to see who will carve the turkey 🙂
  • Gather the family. Eat. Smile. Sigh.

Be sure to check out How-To Roast Turkey – Roasting Hints & Tips.

I like to prepare a craft table for the kids in another room to keep them entertained and out of your way as it gets hectic.  Here are some crafts they may enjoy:

Paper plate Pilgrim Craft

Thankful Thumbprint

Pumpkin Name Card Holders

Turkey Hat

Turkey Coffee Filter Craft

Thanksgiving Craft – Painted Turkey

Turkey Pinecone Craft

Thanksgiving Mayflower Craft

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. They are perfect for Thanksgiving and the day after. Hope you can enjoy some of them!

Sweetened Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Turkey

Mashed Sour Cream Red Potatoes

Blueberry Jello Salad

Linda’s Deviled Eggs

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Creamer

Easy Pumpkin Pie

Hand Print Turkey Cookies

Perfect for Leftovers:

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey & Gravy


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