LifeHacker provided a few guidelines as to how much food you’ll need if you’re making Thanksgiving dinner for a group:
– Turkey: The weight you see printed on your turkey packaging includes the bones, giblets, and connective tissue, so a 12-pound turkey is not going to provide 12 pounds of meat. They suggest one pound of turkey per meat-eating guest will leave you with no leftovers, one and a half pounds will leave you with some leftovers, and two pounds of turkey per guest will leave you with a healthy amount of leftovers. But don’t buy a turkey much larger than 14 pounds. Massive 20-pound birds take forever to cook.
– Potatoes: Ask yourself, “How many of these could I eat as part of a normal meal?” Usually one potato or yam will do, so buy one per guest; if the potatoes are small, make it two per guest.
– Cranberry sauce: A quarter cup of cranberry sauce per person is a “normal” amount, but you could go so far as half a cup per person if your guests are big fans. A 12-ounce bag of cranberries will yield slightly over two cups of sauce, and a can of the jellied stuff contains six servings. (* No way! Buy more!)
– Stuffing: Half of a cup per person is the bare minimum, but 3/4 of a cup ensures you have some leftovers.
– Gravy: Half a cup per person will get you through the meal, but double that so there’s plenty for leftovers.
– Rolls: Do not, under any circumstances, buy fewer than two rolls per person. Everyone will eat at least one over the course of their meal, leaving each person with a single roll on which to build their leftover tukey sandwich.
– Casserole sides: Don’t even bother. Sorry, Aunt Betty.
– Pie: Two pieces of pie per person is a reasonable amount of pie for Thanksgiving dinner, but make more if you wish to keep eating pie throughout the weekend.