Calculate what Christmas turkey size you need with our handy guide

Working out which turkey size you need this year has never been easier

A roast turkey chosen using a turkey size calculator for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner
(Image credit: Canva)

Working out which turkey size to buy, and how many people your bird will need to feed, can be stressful, particularly when you've already got plenty of things on your plate in the run up to the holiday season.  

Whether you're planning a Thanksgiving feast or a traditional Christmas dinner, careful planning and tight timings are key to a successful meal. If you're not prepared, or you bag the wrong size turkey, you could end up with miniature portions or under-cooked meat. And even the best Christmas food can't save a terrible turkey. 

So, to avoid any unnecessary chaos this Thanksgiving or Christmas dilemmas at dinner, we've put together a guide to working out exactly how big a turkey you'll need to feed all your guests, plus have a little leftover for the next day. Because let's be honest, Boxing Day just isn't Boxing Day without a stack of sarnies or turkey curry.

How to work out how many people your turkey will feed

Turkey size varies wildly, with some birds as big as 9kg. Those larger birds will easily feed a group of 24, with plenty of leftovers for the next day.  

If you're celebrating Christmas or Thanksgiving with a smaller group, turkey crowns are the way to go. A turkey crown makes for a smaller, but no less tasty, feast without the worry of having mountains of extra food after the big day. 

There's a rough formula for calculating what bird size you need:

If you're feeding up to 9 people, then you want to allow about 1lb or about .4kgs of turkey per person.

If you're hosting 10 or more guests then you want to allow about .8 of a lb, or about .35kgs of turkey per person.

What turkey size will I need?

Don't worry, you don't have to do the turkey size maths! We've done the hard part for you. Listed below is the right turkey size to buy, depending on the number of people at your gathering. So all you have to do is pick up the best supermarket turkey , or a bird from your local shop or butcher, chosen based on the turkey size guide below.

  • Turkey size for 3-4 people: A 1.5-1.75kg / 3-4lb bird
  • Turkey size for 5-6 people: A 2-3kg / 5-6lb bird
  • Turkey size for 7-9 people: A 3-3.5kg / 7-8lb bird
  • Turkey size for 10-12 people: A 4-4.5kg / 9-10lb bird
  • Turkey size for 13-15 people: A 4.5-5kg / 10-11lb bird
  • Turkey size for 16-18 people: A 5.5-6.5kg / 12-14lb bird
  • Turkey size for 20-24 people: A 6.75-7.75kg / 15-17lb

A roast turkey size for a small family photographed on a try with lemons and herbs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Morley Butchers (opens in new tab), a multi-award winning butcher in London, advise double checking the size of your oven before you purchase your turkey:

"Don’t forget that a turkey is a large bird, so it's worth checking your oven size. Turkeys between 4 to 7 kilos will be between 15cm to 20cm high. Over 7 kilos and up to 10 kg, expect the height of the turkey to be between 20 to 25cm."

Once you've worked out how many people your turkey will feed, why not try our roast turkey recipe

If you want to create the perfect festive feast, we've got all the Christmas recipes you could possibly need to accompany your bird, including Christmas starter ideas, side dishes, vegetable recipes for Christmas and plenty of show-stopping Christmas dessert ideas too.

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on