Countdown to Turkey Day 2008: November 11

Heather says:

By now you should have a decent headcount of how many invasive parasites guests will be in attendance for your holiday meal. When you have a moment of peace, use duct tape if you must, sit down with pencil and paper and plan your menu and shopping list.

Listed below are general guidelines to use when estimating the amount of food to prepare. The guidelines assume a full Thanksgiving dinner with three or four vegetables, including sweet potatoes. If your menu is limited, it would be reasonable to expect adults to consume more than the quantities listed.

Always take your guests potential appetites into consideration, if you are hosting only seniors estimate on the low side while teenagers and men will generally eat you out of house and home.

  • Whole turkey* – 1lb turkey for each guest up to a 14lb bird. Anything larger, estimate 3/4lb per person. (The skeleton of the turkey weighs less proportionally in large birds).
  • Bone-in turkey breast – 2/3 lb per person
  • Boneless turkey breast – 1/2 lb per person
  • Dressing – 3/4 cup per guest
  • Gravy – 1/3 cup per person
  • Mashed potatoes – 1lb of potatoes for every 3 guests
    • If serving two kinds (roasted and mashed) estimate 1lb for every 4 guests
  • Cranberry relish / sauce – 1lb of berries for every 5 people
  • Vegetables, including sweet potates – 1/2 cup per person of each type
  • Dessert – 1 serving per guest

Some of the very dedicated choose to serve both turkey and ham. In that case estimate one pound of ham for every four or five people and 3/4 lb of turkey.

*If you love leftovers, as I do, increase your turkey estimate by 50%.


  1. gracie on November 11, 2008 at 8:55 am

    1 piece of dessert!!! HA!

    We usually eat at noon so I’ll bake 2 pumpkin pies, and we eat the second one for dinner, if anyone is still hungry by that time, or I’ll make sweet potato pie with the left over sweet potato for dinner. Why bother arguing with children when you don’t have too? 🙂

  2. chele on November 11, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Home Ec 101 Rocks! I’ve been looking for a list exactly like this. Thank you. 🙂

  3. Windows Wide Open on November 10, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Just saying thanks….

    Thanks so much for your past reference/recommendation of Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent/ cleaning supplies. (I cannot recall the specific post/s)

    I saw the laundry detergent and fabric softener whilst shopping in our new area this past weekend and gave the lemon verbena a try–how great it is!! Thanks again!


  4. FireMom on November 10, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Oh! Thank you.

    But, ahem, you must not eat dessert with my extended family. 😉

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