Here's How To Know What Size Turkey You Need To Buy

Buying too big a turkey isn't really that bad. Think of all the leftovers. You could make soup, chili, sandwiches, gyros — the list goes on and on. You might be eating turkey dishes for weeks, but that's not always such a bad thing.

On the other hand, you might buy a turkey that's too small. Maybe the inlaws are starving after watching the game, and they eat more than you planned for. Or you have some unexpected guests. Or, frankly, you just bought way too small a turkey to feed everyone. (And perhaps worst of all, as Taste of Home points out, you might not have enough for leftovers.)

Whatever the case may be, it's good to have a plan before you walk into the grocery store to find your bird. Know what you're getting, and how much. But how do you know how much? Fortunately, there's a handy little trick you can use to calculate just how big (or small) a turkey you need to feed your guests.

Calculating your ideal turkey size

Have you heard of the one pound rule? According to Foodie and Wine, you should plan for each adult in attendance to eat about a pound, and each child about half a pound. However, when using this rule, you should keep in mind what other foods you'll be serving. If you're serving other meats, scale back on the turkey.

If you want to be sure you'll have leftovers, MyRecipes suggests you scale up. For example, estimate a pound and a half per person. To feed a family of 10, you would want to buy a 15 pound turkey.

Whether you're feeding a ton of people or planning for a ton of leftovers, you also don't want to buy too large a turkey. You'll want to make sure the bird you buy can actually fit in your roaster oven or traditional oven. The size of your Thanksgiving turkey will also affect how long it needs to thaw and to cook, a factor some people forget. Be sure to do your calculations!