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Thanksgiving Dinner: Planning How Much to Serve

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Rev up your cooking engines — it’s time to start planning for the holidays! While Thanksgiving might still seem like a long way off, it features what many consider the centerpiece meal of the year.

This is a good time to start your guest list and consider your options for the spread.

No matter what you decide to make, you need enough for everyone, and we can help with these guidelines for how much to serve at Thanksgiving dinner.

The Main Attraction

Bird’s the word on Thanksgiving. Though a large bird is always a show-stopper when brought to the table, if your gathering is more intimate, you might want to consider serving up a smaller turkey.

For each person, plan for 1.25 pounds of turkey (that’s including the bones). If you’re a turkey-sandwiches type and love leftovers, go for 1.75 pounds.


Golden Roasted Turkey

Mashed and Stuffed

Whether you’re going mashed, roasted, or gratin’d, potatoes and stuffing are some of the best ways to change up the menu and get creative.

You want to have a total of 6 ounces for each person (approximately 3/4 cup). For other veggie sides, go with 4 ounces per person.

Roll with the Sides

You need rolls for sopping up all that delicious gravy, right? Plus, adding vibrantly delicious veggies to the table will not only brighten things up but help balance out that heavy meal.

Plan for about 1.5 rolls and 4 ounces of veggies per person.


Dessert

If you’re the type of person who thinks dinner should start with dessert, chances are you’ve already got your pie plan ready.

But to ensure you have enough for everyone (especially if you’re like me and can eat a whole pumpkin pie alone), plan for each 9-inch pie to serve 6-8 people.

 

Wine

A celebratory meal calls for a celebratory drink. If wine is your preference, know that one 750-mL bottle will provide enough sips for about 3 people.

You can go red, white, sparkling, or set out a variety for the crowd. Learn more about wine and how to pair it.

We have this handy interactive servings guide that will help you calculate just what you need to feed your guests.

For all of our holiday recipe inspiration, check out our Holiday Help guide.

Don’t forget you can also make things even easier by ordering entrees, sides, or even your entire meal online and pick it up in the store. How simple is that?

Are you gearing up for holiday cooking? Share your tips in the comments.

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5 comments

Comments

Olivia says …

Thank you for addressing this. I'm from a large family and we've always had at least three entree's and 10 side dishes. Well I don't want to cook like that. So I'm going to do two meats, and four sides.

Rudolf says …

when is the in-store dinner?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@RUDOLF - I'm not sure if the stores have the dates set so check with your local store to see if they have an eta.

Carl Humphrey says …

Please help us develope a Thanksgiving meal for 11 people. Thanks

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CARL - You can arrange a meal for 11 people on our holiday menu at wfm.com/shop.