How big should your Thanksgiving turkey be?
For turkeys less than 16 pounds, estimate 1 pound per serving (this accounts for bone weight). For larger birds, a bit less is fine; they have a higher meat-to-bone ratio. But, if your goal is to have ample leftovers, aim for 11⁄2 pounds per person, no matter how big the turkey is.
8 people: Buy a 12-pound turkey
10 people: 15-pound turkey
12 people: 18-pound turkey
14 people: 20-pound turkey
The big thaw
The safest way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. You'll need about 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. For speedier thawing, put the turkey in a sink of cold water.
Change the water every 30 minutes, and plan for about 30 minutes per pound.
However you roast, use an instant thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh or breast (without touching bone) to determine when your turkey is done. Roast to 170 degrees in the thigh and 160 degrees in the breast.
If the outside of the bird gets too dark before the center reaches the proper temperature, cover it with foil.
The following roasting-time estimates are based on a stuffed turkey cooked at 325 degrees. Reduce cooking time by 20 minutes to 40 minutes for turkeys that are not stuffed (estimate total roasting times at 15 minutes per pound for unstuffed birds).
And remember, a crowded oven cooks more slowly, so plan ahead if your bird needs to share the space.
12-pound turkey: 3 to 4 hours at 325 degrees
15-pound turkey: 4 to 4 1 / 2 hours at 325 degrees
18-pound turkey: 4 1 / 2 to 5 hours at 325 degrees
20-pound turkey: 5 to 6 hours at 325 degrees
Carrots: 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings.
Cranberry sauce: One 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 21⁄4 cups of sauce; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings.
Gravy: Plan for 1⁄3 cup of gravy per person.
Green beans: 11⁄2 pounds of beans makes 6 to 8 servings.
Mashed potatoes: One 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 to 12 servings.
Stuffing: One 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes about 11 servings.
For food-safety reasons, leftovers should be cleared from the table and refrigerated within 2 hours of being served.
After they are refrigerated, they should be consumed within three to four days. Leftovers can be frozen for three to four months. Although safe to consume after four months, they will start to develop an off-flavor.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Mental health facility won’t take Franklin Regional stabbing suspect as patient
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- At least $100,000 in appliances stolen from new homes around Western Pa.
- Corbett: Downtown project will ‘make a huge difference’ in Pittsburgh
- 20 improbable Pirates wins in 2014
- Mercer’s improved defense at shortstop gives Pirates a boost
- Healthy again, Penguins’ Dupuis eager for game action
- No one way to fix Western Pennsylvania’s heroin problem, report says
- Jaguars’ Bortles is mirror image of Steelers’ Roethlisberger
- Gunfire plagues New Kensington