How Much Turkey and Ham Do You Need Per Person? A Holiday Feast Guide

Use this simple guide to calculate how much turkey and ham each person will need for your holiday meal. Use it for your next holiday meal planning and it will make hosting easier without the guesswork.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are often celebrated with ham or turkey as the main dish. Obviously, turkey is a popular choice for Thanksgiving while ham is a popular choice for Christmas and Easter. However, either choice works for any of the holidays mentioned.

For these reasons, grocery stores have great sales on ham and turkey before those holidays. I’ve also gotten great deals on prime rib too.

But how much should you buy? Should you buy a spiral cut ham or a boneless ham? Should you buy a whole turkey or will a bone-in turkey breast do? This guide will tell you which option is best for your family and what size turkey or ham to buy.

Planning a holiday feast can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to figuring out how much turkey and ham you need to feed your hungry guests. Fear not, fellow foodies! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the holiday meat maze with confidence.

First things first: Let’s talk numbers

Before you embark on your meat-buying mission, it’s crucial to get a headcount. Consider the number of guests you’re expecting and their appetites Are you hosting a gathering of ravenous teenagers or a more mature crowd with smaller appetites? Knowing your audience will help you estimate the appropriate amount of meat.

Now, let’s delve into the world of turkey and ham:

Turkey: The Thanksgiving Star

For a Thanksgiving feast, the rule of thumb is 1-1/2 pounds of turkey per person. However, remember that this includes bones and other inedible parts. So, a 12-pound turkey would be the perfect size for a gathering of 8-12 people

If you’re opting for a boneless turkey, the weight drops to 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person. This option minimizes waste and carving time.

For bone-in turkey breasts, plan on 3/4 of a pound per person.

Here’s a handy guide to help you choose the right turkey size:

  • 8 people: 12-pound turkey
  • 10 people: 15-pound turkey
  • 12-15 people: 18-pound turkey
  • 16-20 people: 24-pound turkey

Pro tip: Consider how many guests prefer white meat versus dark meat. You might want to purchase an additional turkey breast or turkey tenderloin to satisfy everyone’s preferences.

Ham: The Holiday Hero

Ham is a popular choice for Christmas and Easter dinners. Spiral-cut hams are a convenient option, requiring minimal carving and perfect for buffet-style serving.

Here’s a breakdown of ham quantities:

  • Boneless ham: 1/4-1/3 pound per person
  • Bone-in ham: 1/3-1/2 pound per person (accounts for bone weight)

Here’s a handy guide for choosing the right ham size:

  • 4 people: 1-2 pounds
  • 6 people: 2-3 pounds
  • 10 people: 3-5 pounds
  • 12 people: 4-6 pounds
  • 16 people: 5-8 pounds
  • 20 people: 8-10 pounds

Pro tip: If you’re serving both ham and turkey, divide the total number of guests in half and apply that number to the ham and turkey calculators above. For example, for a gathering of 20 people, you’d need a 15-pound turkey and a 3-5 pound boneless ham.

Don’t forget the sidekicks!

No holiday feast is complete without an array of delectable side dishes. Check out our collection of Thanksgiving side dishes to complement your turkey and ham.

Remember, these are just guidelines. It’s always better to have a little extra than not enough. Leftovers can be repurposed into delicious sandwiches, soups, and casseroles, ensuring that your holiday feast continues long after the last guest has left.

Happy feasting!

How Much Ham and Turkey Do You Need Per Person for Holiday?

Naturally, the number of guests and their appetite will determine how much meat you need. In order to determine how many servings you need, take into account whether or not they are heavy eaters who usually finish two plates.

When determining the amount of meat you need, consider how many side dishes you’ll have. If you’ll have a lot of sides, guests may not take as much meat. If there are only two sides with your turkey, for instance, you can bet they’ll take more because they might not like one of them or have other options.

Also, it depends upon how many leftovers you want. While some refuse to eat Thanksgiving leftovers at all, others desire leftovers so they won’t have to cook the next two days.

how much turkey and ham per person

The general rule of thumb for whole turkey is 1-1/2 pounds per person. Although that seems like a generous estimate, keep in mind that the weight of a whole turkey includes bones and other parts that are thrown away.

Therefore, a 12-pound turkey would be the right size turkey to feed 8-12 people. For our family of thirteen, I personally purchase a 20-pound turkey, but that’s only because we appreciate the leftovers and share them while cleaning the kitchen.

The weight of the turkey decreases to 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person if you purchase a boneless bird. It always depends on if you have big eaters. Buying a boneless turkey cuts down on the waste and time to carve.

If you’re buying a bone-in turkey breast, plan on 3/4 of a pound per person.

Here’s a guide for 1 1/2 pounds per person of a whole turkey. You will likely have some leftovers.

8 people: 12 pound turkey

10 people: 15 pound turkey

12 – 15 people: 18 pound turkey

16-20 people: 24 pound turkey

Because the meat-to-bone ratio is slightly higher in larger birds, slightly less than 1 1/2 pounds will suffice. Remember that this is just a guide.

Also, consider how many will eat white meat vs. dark meat. To save oven space, you might want to purchase an extra turkey breast or turkey tenderloin to cook in your air fryer or slow cooker.

Speaking of oven space, save lots of room in your oven by cooking your whole turkey in a countertop roasting pan with self-basting lid. It can be used for ham or other meats as well.

Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin (It’s great if you want extra white meat.)

how much turkey and ham per person

As mentioned above, a Christmas ham is very popular for Christmas dinner.

Consider spiral cut hams, which have a bone, because they’re much easier to serve and require little carving. In fact, you don’t even need to bother chopping it beforehand if you serve it buffet-style from your slow cooker. Here’s a yummy spiral cut ham recipe.

See my 10 Tips to Host a Stress-Free Holiday Dinner with Ham.

A boneless ham is a good choice but, you will still spend some time to carve it. Some people just don’t to be bothered with a bone.

When it comes to boneless ham, a good guideline is roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound per person. So consider the size of ham from the guide below.

4 people: 1 to 2 pounds

6 people: 2 to 3 pounds

10 people: 3 to 5 pounds

12 people: 4 to 6 pounds

16 people: 5 to 8 pounds

20 people: 8 to 10 pounds

Although carving bone-in hams takes longer, you are left with a delicious ham bone that can be used to make homemade soup. I always save the ham bone to make my delicious Ham Potato and White Bean Soup!.

A spiral cut ham is the best option if you don’t want to carve it because there isn’t much carving involved.

Calculate 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per serving. This accounts for the weight of the bone.

4 people: 2 pounds

6 people: 3 pounds

10 people: 4-5 pounds

12 people: 4-6 pounds

16 people: 6-8 pounds

20 people: 8-10 pounds

How Many Guests Will You Have

Making a guest list for your holiday dinner or dinner party is a good place to start first. Break it down into kids under twelve and people who are twelve and over. This will give you a good idea of how many servings you need.

Count the kids under twelve as a 1/2 serving. Count any kids who eat like adults, as adults. This describes my eleven-year-old! In fact, I would have to count him as one and a half servings! If you know people on your guest list fit that category, then plan accordingly.

Therefore, if you have six adults and four kids, count that as eight servings.

Then, decide if you want ham or turkey or both. I’ll discuss how to calculate those servings below.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means that if you click and make a purchase, I will get a tiny commission at no extra cost to you.

Coming from an Italian family, we always have more than enough food. So, it’s always better to have too much food than not enough. It’s embarrassing to run out of the main dish!.

Plus, you can buy containers to send food home with your guests if you don’t want leftovers.

However, bear in mind that frozen ham and turkey are great for easy weeknight meals when you’re too busy or don’t want to cook.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission but, the price you pay is the same.

How much Honey Baked Ham is needed per person?


How many people will a 16 lb turkey feed?

8 to 10 people = 8- to 15-lb. turkey. 12 to 16 people = 12- to 24-lb. turkey.

What size turkey and ham for 14 adults?

What size turkey to buy? Approximately 1 pound of turkey per person is enough turkey for a dinner party. If you plan on having any leftovers aim for 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person.

How many people does 1lb of turkey serve?

The general rule is to plan for 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per guest. If you’re buying boneless meat, assume about 8 ounces per guest. To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply tally up the turkey-eating guests. Add a few pounds on for bones and you’ve got your turkey weight.

How much ham do I need for 10 adults?

A portion bone-in ham (7.5lbs average weight) serves 10 people. Great for dinner parties, or a family dinner with plenty left over for sandwiches and such. A quarter ham (1.6lbs average weight) serves 6 or 7 people.

How much Ham & Turkey should I serve?

Calculate 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per serving. This accounts for the weight of the bone. Some people will serve both ham and turkey at their holiday feast. That’s great for variety and you’re sure to please most of your guests who are not Vegetarian or Vegan. How much ham and turkey do you need if you’re serving both?

How much turmeric should a person (male) take?

Turmeric dosage in male depends on the age group and medical condition. The recommended amount is 150-250 milligrams per day. Over usage of turmeric extracts can cause side effects and leads to complications.

How much Ham do you need per person?

Roughly you will need around ½ a pound of ham per person for boneless ham and ¾ of a pound of ham per person for bone-in ham. For 8 people: get a 4-5 pound boneless ham. For 12 people: get a 6-8 pound boneless ham. For 16 people: get an 8-10 pound boneless ham. For 8 people: get a 6-8 pound bone-in ham. For 12 people: get a 10-12 pound bone-in ham.

How much meat should a Turkey eat per person?

Here’s a guide for 1 1/2 pounds per person of a whole turkey. You will likely have some leftovers. For bigger birds, the meat-to-bone ratio is a bit higher so a little less than 1 1/2 pounds will be sufficient. Remember that this is just a guide. Also, consider how many will eat white meat vs. dark meat.

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