Turkey size is the source of much stress around Thanksgiving. It's already a challenge to cook a perfect turkey while avoiding the dreaded combination of dry and flavorless meat that so many people complain about. You also have an endless number of Thanksgiving side dishes to choose from, which sometimes amount to a half dozen or more additions to your meal. And don't even mention dessert. This all complicates the math of how much food you need to feed a family, and when you have a room full of hungry people, that math is important. Thankfully, there's a pretty simple range to shoot for, depending on your family size. Aim for 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person, or about half that much if you're just making a turkey breast.
That sounds like a lot, but whole turkeys are made up of inedible bones and cartilage, around 40 to 50%. If you're planning to roast boneless turkey breasts, that obviously won't factor in, so in that case, aim for about ½ pound per person. Bone-in breasts are also mostly meat, so that same rule of thumb should still apply, but if you have some big eaters in your family, you can bump that up by around 50%, just to be safe. And, of course, it's always better to have Thanksgiving leftovers than not enough turkey to go around.
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You're Better Off With Too Much Turkey Breast Than Too Little
There are so many variables to consider for Thanksgiving that it's better to air on the side of more food than less. You won't know how many people are only going to want dark (or white) meat, so you'll need to have a lot of both. You also won't know if you can rely on guests filling up on rolls and green bean casserole. If you're feeding a really big crowd, you may even want to opt for two smaller turkeys over one big one, as smaller birds are often more flavorful and tender.
Since the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers anyway, there are plenty of things you can do with extra turkey or turkey breast. Leftover sandwiches are always a winner, but you can also make a turkey pot pie, which can even be frozen if you're sick of holiday food after the big day. Turkey can take the place of chicken in chicken salad or get added to soup, and it can even be made into tasty tacos. Thanksgiving leftovers are the gift that keeps on giving, so you'll never be upset that you gave yourself plenty to work with.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.