For an elaborate meal like Thanksgiving, it's crucial to consider how much food you'll serve. Too little, and you'll leave guests wishing they could gobble up more; too much, and you'll wind up with Thanksgiving leftovers for weeks. To make sure your food doesn't go to waste, take time to do some adequate planning. A few pointers, when you read more.


  • For passed appetizers, figure each person will consume six to eight pieces.
  • For soup starters, assume roughly one cup per person. For a larger crowd of 25, allot 5 quarts.
  • For a whole turkey, figure in a pound of meat per guest.
  • Sides vary. Allot 3-4 ounces for vegetable sides, 2-3 ounces for pasta, and 1-1/2 ounces per head for grains, like rice.
  • Assume each diner will consume one yam or sweet potato.
  • Figure in 1-1/2 dinner rolls per person.
  • When it comes to pie, allot a 3-inch wedge of pie per person. This would mean several (2-3) 9-inch pies for a larger group of 25.
  • Calculate that each guest will drink roughly one to two 8-ounce drinks per hour.

If all else fails, you can employ the help of a Thanksgiving calculator and spreadsheet. What are your tips for ensuring you'll have enough (but not too much) food at the dinner table?