Turkey Size Calculator – How Much Turkey do you Need?

Do you find yourself asking around to find out how much turkey to prepare for your guests? We do too! That’s why we talked with food experts and chefs and built a tool to help plan the right amount turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Simply enter the number of adults and children in the form below to calculate how much turkey you’ll need.

Want Leftovers?:

Turkey Size Estimate:

Learn how we calculated this below

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Turkey Size Chart – Turkey Needed per Person

Infographic showing how much turkey you need for Thanksgiving dinner

How Much Turkey per Person?

Planning the right amount of food to get is the first step in preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Thankfully, there’s a simple rule of thumb to estimate how much turkey to get for your guests.

1 lb per adult and 1/2 lb per child

Plan on getting one pound of turkey per adult guest and one-half pound per child. If you want leftovers or a little extra, then plan on one and one-half pounds per adult and three-quarter pounds per child.

Because smaller turkeys tend to have a smaller meat to bone ratio, consider getting a little more per person if you plan on getting turkeys smaller than 12 pounds. You might consider getting closer to two pounds per adult of a smaller turkey.[1]

What Size Turkey Should you Buy?

So, now that you’re armed with some good rules of thumb, how much turkey should you buy for Thanksgiving dinner? The simple formula for the size turkey to buy is to multiply the number of guests by the amount per person from above.

turkey size = people × amount per person

Start by multiplying the number of adults times 1, or 1.5 if you want leftovers. Then multiply the number of children by .5. Finally, add the two numbers together.

If the result is less than 12 pounds, then multiply by 1.5 since there will be a little less meat.

If the result is larger than 15 or 20 pounds then consider getting more than one turkey for the meal.

For example, let’s plan the right amount of turkey for 10 adult guests and 8 children.

adults = 10 × 1 lb
adults = 10 lbs

children = 8 × .5 lb
children = 4 lbs

total = 10 lbs + 4 lbs
total = 14 lbs

This chart shows the amount of turkey needed for a meal, assuming 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per guest
People Turkey Size
4 4-6 lbs
6 6-9 lbs
8 8-12 lbs
10 10-15 lbs
12 12-18 lbs
14 14-21 lbs
16 16-24 lbs
18 18-27 lbs
20 20-30 lbs
25 25-38 lbs
30 30-45 lbs

When you’re ready to start cooking, allow enough time for thawing and try our turkey cooking time calculator to find out how long you’ll need to roast it.


  1. Martha Stewart, Our Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Turkey for Thanksgiving, https://www.marthastewart.com/274812/turkey-tips