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 of 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?:

Have a Question or Feedback?

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 Do You Need?

The happiest holiday memories are often made around the Thanksgiving table, with the turkey being the ultimate centerpiece! Thankfully (pun intended!), this chart will help you decide what size turkey to buy based on guest count.

1 lb per adult and 1/2 lb per child

The general rule of thumb is one pound of turkey per adult and a half pound per child. But if leftovers like late-night turkey sandwiches and turkey tetrazzini are as traditional as the feast itself, plan for two to three pounds per person total.

Smaller gatherings don’t necessarily mean smaller turkeys because the meat-to-bone ratio is typically less for birds under 12 pounds. If in doubt, always go bigger at two pounds per person.[1]

What Size Turkey Should You Buy?

Before you embark on a ‘pilgrimage’ for the perfect poultry, do you know what size your turkey should be? We do! Simply multiply the number of guests by the amount per person as directed 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 calculate the right amount of turkey for 10 adults 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

Don’t forget to allow time for safe thawing and proper cooking time to ensure a holiday bird that’s tender, juicy, and delicious year after year.


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