How Much Turkey to Buy

Dan Poultry, This Land of Ours

buy turkey
Cathy Isom looks into how much turkey Americans will gobble up on Thanksgiving this year and how much of the big bird you’ll need to buy to feed your guests. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

How Much Turkey to Buy

According to the National Turkey Foundation, some 46-million turkeys will be consumed on Thanksgiving this year. In a country of nearly 325-million Americans, that’s roughly one turkey for every group of seven. And, about 88-percent of Americans plan to eat turkey next Thursday. And that means many of us will be buying that big bird for next week’s big meal. To feed everyone a decent amount, how big of a turkey should we buy?

thanksgiving-turkey-4“about a pound per person.”

That will allow some second helpings according to Marianne Gravely with the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline.
That one pound per person is good for a 10 – 12- 15 pound turkey, but…

“When you get to a really large turkey they actually have a greater yield so you would actually be able to feed more than 20 people with a larger turkey.”

Keep in mind the time its going to take to thaw that turkey in the recommended way in the refrigerator.

“a day for every five pounds.”

So if you buy a 20-pounder this Saturday it should be thawed out by next Wednesday and ready to cook on the big day.

If you have other questions about meal prep or food safety, call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-M-P Hotline or go to and ask the experts on the web.