Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner: Tips and tricks for serving just the right amount of food for one of the most important meals of the year, Thanksgiving!
How big of a turkey should I buy? Will we have enough side dishes for dinner and all those leftovers you love so much? Here are several tips and suggestions for planning the right amount of food for Thanksgiving!
With a holiday in which the meal is the main event, it can be difficult to estimate just how much food to make. No one wants to have so much leftover that it spoils, however with the right amount of leftovers you can enjoy all your hard work for a few more days! Here’s a quick guide to help you decide just how many dishes and how much of each to serve on Thanksgiving.
Friendsgiving is all about fantastic food and fun with your pals. As the host, you’ll want to load up on tips to help you spend more time mingling and munching and less time in the kitchen. Recruit your friends to bring their favorite dish. A potluck-style celebration lets you focus on the main course, so you don’t have to spend time stressing over all the sides, sips and sweets.
Another way you can simplify your Friendsgiving is to concentrate on the most popular dishes. If green bean casserole isn’t a huge hit with your crew, there’s no need to provide a portion for everyone. But if mashed potatoes reign supreme, plan for more — or better yet, ask two friends to bring different recipes for everyone to sample.
How Big of a Turkey Do You Need?
As the host, you’ve got the oven on-site, so you’ll be in charge of the bird. How much to make depends on the size of your group.
- To serve under 10 guests, plan for a 14-15 lb. turkey
- Up to 16 guests, increase it to a 16-18 lb. turkey
- If your guest list soars to 20 or more, you’re going to need a 20 lb. bird (and possibly another option, such as a small ham)
While you’ve got the turkey covered, request that your guests bring their favorite side dish, appetizer or dessert. Plan for most people to sample each appetizer, but remember they’ll be saving room for the main event, so don’t go overboard. The same is true for side dishes — unless they’re known favorites, in which case you’ll need to plan for more. Ask your friends to bring just the right amount to avoid loads of leftovers.
Under 10 guests
- Appetizers: 2 or 3 options, enough for everyone to have a taste
- Side Dishes: 4-6 options, each to serve 6-8 people
- Dessert: 2 or 3 pies or other sweets, each to serve 6-8 people
Up to 16 guests
- Appetizers: 3 or 4 dishes, each to serve 8-10 people
- Side Dishes: 5-7 options, each to serve 6-8 people
- Dessert: 4 or 5 pies or other sweets, each to serve 6-8 people
Up to 25 guests
- Appetizers: 5 or 6 dishes, each to serve 8-10 people
- Side Dishes: 5-7 options, each to serve 10-12 people
- Dessert: 6 or 7 pies or other sweets, each to serve 6-8 people
Remember to account for friends with dietary restrictions, and make sure there are vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free dishes available. If there are children attending your Friendsgiving party, consider having some snacks and alternate dishes available, like string cheese, crackers and chicken nuggets for kid-friendly munching.
For those guests who are averse to cooking, ask them to bring beverages, such as a signature drink, wine or sparkling water.
For many of us, the only meal that rivals Thanksgiving dinner is the one made from Thanksgiving leftovers the next day. To make it easy for your guests to take home some tastes from Friendsgiving, set up a to-go station with containers. Provide labels and pens to help keep things organized.
That’s What Friends Are For
Sharing the workload means you’ll get to enjoy Thanksgiving as much as your guests, so don’t be shy about asking for help. It will make everyone feel involved and provide an even stronger sense of togetherness. Now, let the noms begin!
Need some Thanksgiving Dinner recipe ideas? We’ve got you covered:
Turkey & Ham recipes
Side Dish recipes
- How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
- Layered Cranberry Jello Salad
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Maple Butter Sauce
- Creamy Cranberry Salad
- Best Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Waldorf Cinnamon Apple Salad
- Best Cranberry Recipes ever
Other Thanksgiving Desserts
Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner: Tips and tricks for serving just the right amount of food for one of the most important meals of the year, Thanksgiving! How big of a turkey should I buy? Will we have enough side dishes for dinner and all those leftovers you love so much? Here are several tips and suggestions for planning the right amount of food for Thanksgiving!