Mastering Thanksgiving: Tip 10 – How Much Food Per Person

ThanksgivingDiaCoupleHow much food per person? This is a big question, and because I like to have lots of leftovers for sandwiches, pot pies, and soup, I like to go big. This also allows you to send leftovers home with guests, if you like…especially college students or folks who live alone.

  • Turkey – 1-2 pounds per person. If you want leftovers, go with 1.5 – 2 pounds per person.
  • Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes – 1/2 pound per person is on the side of having leftovers. See Resources for learning for a link to a very very thorough guide to all things potatoes per person.
  • Gravy – On the conservative side, you can go with 1/2 cup per person. But if you want my advice, I would do one cup per person because some people put it on everything plus seconds. If you have leftover gravy, you’re halfway to that pot pie you’re making with the leftovers. In my experience, there is never too much gravy, and if there is, even after leftovers, label it and freeze it for next time you make mashed potatoes or a roasted chicken.
  • Stuffing – Again, on the generous side for purposes of leftovers and the stuffing-lovers out there (me! me!) go for one cup per person. You can also consider doing two kinds of stuffing. My mother-in-law sometimes makes “Stuffin’ Muffins” which are a clever way to keep portions under control.
  • Green Beans – If you’re making a green bean casserole, check how many servings your recipe says it provides. The classic French’s casserole is six servings. For regular green beans, about 3-4 ounces per person is good. So one pound feeds 4-5 people.
  • Rolls or Corn Bread – Average two pieces per person and you’ll likely have a few leftovers. Note that this is an easy grab for a guest, and you can warm them up once the turkey comes out to rest.
  • Cranberry Sauce – 1/2 cup per person should be good, but if you’ve got a lot of cranberry lovers and you want to make sandwiches…you might add a bit more.

These are pretty solid rules of thumb, but be sure to consider if you’re serving additional dishes such as squash soup, wild rice, salad, vegetarian or vegan options, gluten-free options, and so on. If you have guests bringing things, you can err on the side of less per person. But following these guidelines will get you close to the perfect amount for serving and for leftovers.


Thanks for checking out my Ten Tips for Mastering Thanksgiving. I’d love to hear how it goes for you in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving!

Resources for further learning:

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