The Potato Rule You Should Never Break On Thanksgiving

While the Thanksgiving turkey might be the centerpiece of the holiday table, the side dishes — like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and even green bean casserole — often fill guests' plates. According to a recent survey by Zippia, mashed potatoes are the most popular side dish on Thanksgiving, with nine states picking it as their favorite food. Whether you prepare your potatoes with copious amounts of butter or a smothering of gravy, there is one spud rule you need to follow on Thanksgiving to ensure that everyone is grateful for the bountiful feast. Beyond the cooking techniques and flavors, it really comes down to math.

When throwing a big holiday feast, like Thanksgiving, you need to ensure that everyone has a full plate. Although no one wants to have too much leftover food, running out of sustenance isn't a tasty option, either. Even if people over-indulge on the Thanksgiving holiday, a few rules can help guide the home cook to the right amount of groceries to purchase. For example, the Guest-imator by the Natural Resources Defense Council helps you calculate the right quantity of food to buy based on the number of people at your party. If you're really only concerned about how many potatoes to grab, though, one simple rule should never be broken.

This trick ensures that no one goes without potatoes

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Parade tackled this burning food question: How many pounds of potatoes are really needed for the big feast? While some people might not be fond of cooking rules, some easy math should ensure that no one is left with only a measly portion of spuds on their plate. Generally, you'll want to buy ½ pound of potatoes per person, the site says. That comes out to 2 pounds of potatoes (or four large potatoes) for a four-person feast, 3 pounds for six people, and so on.

To be clear, these ideas are just a suggestion. They don't take leftovers into account, so be sure to buy a couple of extra potatoes if you want more spuds after Thursday. Plus, keep in mind that people really love mashed potatoes, so if that's your preparation of choice, a generous recipe is key. And if this math is too difficult to master, Food Network suggests one large Yukon gold potato per guest, which equates to approximately ¾ cup of mashed potatoes per person.