There are many basic rules of thumb that can be vaguely used to judge what size of a turkey that you need to purchase. One popular rule states you should assume 1 pound of turkey per dinner guest attending, for adults, and you should consider children as half adults. However, this usually doesn’t provide leftovers or seconds and this size turkey can often end up not even leaving everyone full and satisfied. Another one of these rules states that you should assume 2 pounds of turkey per dinner guest. However, in contrast, using this rule can occasionally result in too much turkey and much longer cooking times.
To simplify things, we have created an easy to use turkey calculator at the bottom of this page. This calculator takes several different variables into account, including: number of adults eating, number of children eating, desired leftovers, and guest appetite. While this isn’t exactly a NASA style calculation, we do feel that this turkey calculator is a fairly accurate way of determining the size of turkey you should purchase for your dinner guests.
If you have concerns that you won’t have enough turkey, we generally recommend adding an extra pound or two to your bird purchase. When push comes to shove, having leftovers is a much better scenario then not having enough to feed your guests.