Your Cooking Companion

Posted in Fixes & Tips
October 31, 2018

Thanksgiving Dinner: How Much Stuff Do I Buy?

Okay, so you volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner, and now you’re trying to figure out how much of everything you need to get. Or maybe you’ve agreed to bring a dish to a potluck Thanksgiving meal and don’t know how much to prepare. I’m going to make this so easy-breezy for you that only very simple math will be required. You might want to bookmark this for next year.


1 pound per person attending.  That’s before it’s cooked, and that amount will give you some leftovers, which is always desirable, right? If you want to send leftover turkey home with your guests, get a turkey that’s at least 2 pounds per person before cooking. The quantity you need will probably dictate whether you get a hen or a tom; the only real difference between them is that the toms are larger. Me? I cook the biggest turkey I can find, because I’m going to use it for plated leftovers, then sandwiches, then turkey hash (mixed with the leftover stuffing), then soup.

SUPER IMPORTANT!  Move the turkey from the freezer to the fridge on the Sunday before Thanksgiving! If the turkey is huge, moving it on Saturday isn’t a bad idea.

See the Perfect Turkey blog for how to make an impressively beautiful and yummy turkey.


1 cup per person attending will allow some leftovers for you at home.  2 cups per person if you want to send leftovers home with other folks. If you buy the box, look for the serving size and number of servings described on the outside. Then yes, you’ll have to do some math to figure out the right number of boxes to buy. If you make your own stuffing, a cup of dried bread cubes will make ½ cup of stuffing.


1 cup per person attending will allow some leftovers for you at home. 5 pounds of potatoes (9 large) will make about 8 cups, serving 8 people with some leftovers.

Yams or Sweet Potatoes:

1 small potato per person attending. Keep in mind that not everyone will eat these, no matter how you prepare them. A 15 oz. can will serve 4 people. (Figure 4 oz. per person if using canned sweet potatoes.)

Cooked Veggies:

½ cup per person attending. You’ll have to use math and the back of the package, if you’re using frozen vegetables. If cooking fresh, a pound of the useable part of uncooked veggies will yield about 3 cups of cooked veggies.


½ cup per person attending, whether it’s fruits or greens.


¼ cup per person attending. Not everyone will eat this, either.

Dinner Rolls:

1 ½ per person attending.


1 slice per person, if it’s all the same kind. There are 8 slices in a pie.  If you have more than one kind of pie, most people will want to try both kinds. Figure 10-11 slices per pie, which is enough for 10-11 people, if they all have a small slice of each.

See the Brandied Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Whipped Cream podcast, if you’re looking for a rich, new pie recipe.


A bottle contains about 6 glasses of wine. Only you can determine how many bottles your friends and family will drink!

Happy cooking!



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