Our service covers the entire Metro Atlanta Area.

How to Calculate How much Food you Need for Thanksgiving Dinner

How to Calculate How much Food you Need for Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted on November 17th, 2023.

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and enjoy a delicious feast, but figuring out how much food to prepare can be a daunting task. You want to ensure that everyone leaves your Thanksgiving dinner satisfied and with a full belly, but you also don't want to be left with a mountain of leftovers.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of calculating how much food you need for Thanksgiving, so you can host a memorable and stress-free holiday gathering.

How to Calculate How much Food you Need for Thanksgiving Dinner

Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu

Before you can determine how much food you need, it's essential to plan your Thanksgiving menu. Consider the following elements:

Variety of Dishes

Thanksgiving typically includes a variety of dishes, such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and an assortment of side dishes and desserts. Make a list of all the dishes you plan to serve to get a clear picture of what's on the menu.

Dietary Preferences

Take into account the dietary preferences and restrictions of your guests. Are there vegetarians or vegans among them? Do any guests have food allergies or intolerances? This information will help you plan alternative dishes to accommodate everyone.

Guest Count

The number of guests you're expecting is a crucial factor in determining how much food you need. A larger gathering will require more food, while a smaller one will necessitate less.

Calculating Food Quantities

Once you've planned your menu and have a guest count in mind, you can start calculating the quantities of food you'll need. Here's how to do it:

How much Turkey per Person

The star of the Thanksgiving table is undoubtedly the turkey. To ensure that everyone gets their fill of this delicious centerpiece, a good rule of thumb is to allocate about 1 1/2 pounds (0.68 kg) of turkey per person. If you want leftovers or have hearty eaters in the group, you can increase this to 2 pounds (0.91 kg) per person.

Side Dishes and Appetizers

For side dishes and appetizers, plan on serving about 3-4 side dishes, with each dish yielding 6-8 servings. This will provide variety and ensure that there's enough to go around. If you're expecting a large group, you can increase the number of side dishes.


Desserts are a sweet ending to your Thanksgiving meal. One pie typically serves 6-8 people, so calculate how many pies you need based on your guest count. Don't forget to offer a variety of dessert options to cater to different tastes.

Avoiding Food Waste

While it's important to ensure that you have enough food to satisfy your guests, it's equally important to avoid excessive food waste. Here are some tips to strike the right balance:


Embrace the beauty of Thanksgiving leftovers! Encourage your guests to bring containers to take home some of the excess food. Leftover turkey and side dishes can be transformed into delicious sandwiches and meals for the days following the holiday.

Consider Smaller Portions

If you're concerned about food waste, consider serving smaller portions initially and letting guests serve themselves seconds if they're still hungry. This can help reduce the amount of uneaten food.

Let us Help

As you prepare to host your Thanksgiving dinner, remember that it's not just about how much food you need; it's about the joy of sharing a special meal with loved ones. With thoughtful planning and these tips in mind, you can ensure that your Thanksgiving gathering is a resounding success.

If you need assistance with catering your Thanksgiving dinner or any other special event, Lynasia's Creative Touch Cuisine, Certified Caterer, is here to help. Our experienced team specializes in crafting memorable culinary experiences for your guests. Reach out to us at 4703014574 or [email protected] to discuss your catering needs.

Send Us A Message

Get in touch to discuss with us how we can best assist you.