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Article

How Big a Bird?

How to match the size of your Thanksgiving turkey to the size of your crowd.

Fine Cooking Issue 47
From the 2017 Thanksgiving Guide
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Smaller birds fit in the refrigerator better and are easier to handle. If you’re hosting a big crowd and have two ovens, consider roasting two smaller birds instead of a large one (this also gives you a good excuse to try two kinds of stuffing). Some cooks look forward to turkey leftovers as weekend fare; others prefer to serve just enough to feed the guests at the feast.

Turkey math
For birds under 16 pounds, figure at least 1 pound of turkey per person. For birds 16 pounds and heavier, figure a bit less since there’s more meat in proportion to bone. If you want substantial seconds and leftovers, allow another 1/2 pound per person.

turkey weight
(in pounds)

average
servings

ample servings
with leftovers

 14

 14

 9

 16

 16

 10

 18

 20

 12

 20

 22

 14

 24

 26

 17

Next: What Kind of Turkey to Buy?

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