How much food you’ll need to feed your Thanksgiving guests — and how to save!

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Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out just how much turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pies you’ll need for your Thanksgiving meal. 

Read more: How to save on Thanksgiving dinner

Will your niece bring her new boyfriend? He’s sure to eat enough for two people. Three more side dishes may be needed.

How many offensive jokes will your crazy uncle tell? How many of those jokes will kids overhear? How uncomfortable will the in-laws make situations? Add more bottles of wine to your list accordingly. 

Follow these guidelines to organize the best Thanksgiving with the right amount of food for your guests (and how to save):

Turkey

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For turkeys that weigh 16 pounds or less, estimate 1 pound per serving.

  • For eight people, buy a 12-pound turkey.
  • For 10 people, buy a 15-pound turkey.
  • For 12 people, buy an 18-pound turkey. 
  • For 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey.

To thaw a turkey the safest way, keep it in the refrigerator about 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.

Once completely thawed, a standard oven will sufficiently cook a stuff turkey in a few hours. 

  • 12-pound turkey: 3 to 4 hours at 325 degrees
  • 15-pound turkey: 4 to 4½ hours at 325 degrees
  • 18-pound turkey: 4½ to 5 hours at 325 degrees
  • 20-pound turkey: 5 to 6 hours at 325 degrees

Tips to save on a turkey:

  • Take a look at the sales in your local store circulars, or use the Favado App to compare prices across stores.  
     
  • Keep your eyes peeled for coupons on name brand turkeys. We often see coupons come out specifically for Butterball turkeys. We also typically see a mail-in rebate of some sort as well.
     
  • Look for free turkey promotions. Many grocery stores run them in the month of November for purchasing certain items.
     
  • Opt for a frozen turkey instead of a fresh one. Frozen turkeys retail up to 40% less than fresh birds. Just make sure you give yourself ample time to defrost it before cooking.

Read more: How ‘expired’ food can be part of your Thanksgiving feast!

Sides

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  •     A 1-pound bag of carrots makes 4 to 5 servings.
     
  •     A 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 2¼ cups of sauce. A 16-ounce can makes 6 servings.
     
  •     Prepare 1⁄3 cup of gravy per guest.
     
  •     1½ pounds of green beans makes 6 to 8 servings.
     
  •     A 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 servings of mashed potatoes.
     
  •     A 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes enough for 11 servings.

Tips to save on sides:

Desserts

  •     A 9-inch pie can be cut into 8 slices.
  •     1 pint of ice cream per pie is appropriate.

Tips to save on dessert:

  • Grab coupons before you head to the store! If you’re buying premade pies, check out the specific brand’s website for coupons. Here are some from Pillsbury.

Read more: Best dollar store buys for the holiday season

Booze

Booze can be a pricey part of any family gathering! Here are a few tips to save.

  • If you haven’t tried boxed wine in a while, they make ’em much better these days! On average, one box of wine is equivalent to four bottles. Most boxes of wine are around $20 or less, which comes out to about $5 per bottle. Check out this list of the best box wine from RealSimple.com.
     
  • Check out this list of cheap wines from Food & Wine — 150 of the best wines for $15 or less.
     
  • Trader Joe’s is a great option for affordable beer and wine. Take a look at some of the options available here.

Read more: How to host a holiday party on a budget

Leftovers

Be sure to refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of being served. Refrigerated items should be consumed within three to four days and frozen items will last for three to four months.

Cox Media Group National Content Desk staff writers contributed to this article.



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