Buying: Cooking for a crowd can be challenging, especially figuring out how big of a turkey to buy that will feed all of your guests! Don't guess; use this guide and remember to factor in extra servings if you'd like to have leftovers.
|If you're buying,||calculate this much per serving|
|A whole turkey||1 pound (1 1/2 pounds for extra leftovers)|
|A bone-in turkey breast||3/4 pound|
|A boneless turkey breast||½ pound|
If you choose to buy a frozen turkey you can do so at any time in advance, as long as you have space in your freezer to store it. If you choose to buy a fresh turkey, purchase it 1 or 2 days before cooking.
Plan time for thawing: There are three ways to safely thaw a turkey. Never defrost a turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
- Refrigerator: The best way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. Allow approximately 1 day of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey (for example, a 25 pound turkey will take 5 days to thaw in the refrigerator).
- Cold water: To thaw a turkey more quickly, submerge it in cold water while it's in its airtight packaging or a leak-proof bag. Change the water every half hour, and cook the turkey immediately after it thaws. Allow approximately a half hour of thawing time per pound of turkey.
- Microwave: If you thaw a turkey in the microwave, cook it immediately after it thaws.
What can I make ahead?
- Mashed potatoes, Sweet potato casserole, Green bean casserole (these can easily be reheated in the microwave, toaster or conventional oven)
- Cranberry relish, salads (add sliced tomatoes just before serving)
- Appetizers: Sweet potato bruschetta, appetizer relishes, veggie, or cheese trays
- Soups (these can easily be warmed on the stovetop)
- Desserts: cakes, pies, cheesecake, topping ingredients (such as spiced nuts), pumpkin mousse
Click here to view recipes.
Read next: Thanksgiving: The Big Day
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