20 lb Turkey Feeds How Many?

You are probably planning on the next family gathering, and you might be wondering how many people a 20 lb turkey feeds.

20 pounds of turkey will feed between 16 – 18 people. This means a person is expected to eat approximately one to one-quarter of the turkey. However, you may take other factors into account.

So, are you wondering how many pounds of turkey you would need for the family or how you can handle the leftovers if there are any? You should read on.


Since there is an entire event around turkey, you probably want to ensure that everyone on the table is well fed.

Did you know that according to the Food and Drug Administration FDA, over 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving? Also, 22 million turkeys are eaten on Christmas Day and 19 million in the Easter period.

What is the average weight of a turkey?

The average weight of a whole turkey is between 15 – 40 pounds, and the one found in the supermarkets weighs around 15 pounds. However, during the ceremonial season, it is pretty easy to get your hands on 20 – 30 pounds of turkey.

Farmers became aware of the increased need for turkey, especially during seasonal events. During these events, you can find a whole turkey that weighs between 25 – 30 pounds, and this is because they are usually pumped up.

Now let us do quick math to help you know how many pounds of turkey you may require for your ceremony.

How many lb of turkey per person?

As earlier mentioned, a single person can eat just over one pound of turkey. But to stay on the safer side, you can approximate one and a quarter per person.

SEE: 12 Oz Steak Size

How many people do 10, 20, and 30 lb turkey feeds?

For 10 lb

Considering that one person is expected to eat just over one and a quarter pounds. It would take about 8 to 9 people to consume 10 lb of turkey.

For 20 lb

Also, considering the previously mentioned pounds per person, it is estimated that 16 to 18 people would consume 20 pounds of turkey.

For 30 lb

30 lb of turkey is estimated to feed around 24 to 26 people.

SEE: What Are Turkey Leg Ties & How To Use Them?

Factors that may affect the number of pounds needed?

You should note that there are other factors to consider when planning on the right pounds you need.

Some of these factors include;

1. The age of your guests

If some of your guests are children, you may want to cut back on the estimated pounds needed. Children do not eat as much as adults, especially if there are other appetizers before the main turkey dish.

Plan on a little below one pound (three-quarter)for the children and adjust your calculations accordingly.

2. The side dish

When calculating the pounds required to feed your family, take into consideration what else would be on the menu. The more dishes to choose from, the less likely they are to eat the turkey.

You should probably scale down on the pounds if there are going to be other enticing side dishes.

SEE: Korean Side Dishes You Need to Know About

3. Time of the day

It is well known that people take dinner more seriously; even I tend to eat more in the evening than at noon. It is like another tradition on its own.

If you are serving the turkey after 5 o’clock, you should expect people to eat more. On the other hand, if it is served at noon, you should probably cut back on the pounds.

SEE: Stand a Chance to Win a $500 Gift Card at ShopRite

5 dishes you can make with leftover turkey

20 lb turkey - cheffist

You can use these leftover turkeys to make some dishes. Some of these dishes that feature leftover turkey include;

1. Turkey potato chowder

Turkey potato chowder is a creamy, savory, and delicious dish that is pretty easy and quick to prepare.

SEE: How to Tell if a Potato Is Bad

2. Turkey stuffed bell peppers

Turkey stuffed bell peppers is a simple and easy-to-make dish that can feature leftover turkey, and it is a healthy and delicious thanksgiving leftover recipe.

3. Turkey tetrazzini with spinach

Turkey tetrazzini is a family favorite that can feature leftover turkey, and it is usually creamy and cheesy.

SEE: Ways to Use Leftover Beef Roast & Still Have It Taste Great

4. Leftover turkey fried rice

Leftover turkey fried rice is a healthy dish that can feature other ingredients such as leftover turkey, shrimp, scrambled eggs, and vegetables.

SEE: Is Egg Fried Rice Healthy?

5. Turkey wild rice

Leftover turkey wild rice is another classic leftover recipe that is also easy to make.

SEE: Is Eating Chicken Everyday Bad?

How long does it take to cook 10, 20, and 30 lb of turkey?

At a cooking temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit, the following are the estimated cooking time for turkey.

  • For 10 lb of turkey: three or three and a half hours
  • For 20 lb of turkey: five to six hours
  • For 30 lb of turkey: seven to eight hours.

Note that the above time is for turkey that is stuffed. If it is not stuffed, reduce the above-listed time by 40 minutes each.

To be on the safer side, you can also use a meat-read thermometer. The recommended degree for a whole turkey is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, although some people like to crank it up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always remember to allow your turkey to rest after removing it from the oven. Like other meat, it should rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes, so the juices circulate or redistribute through the turkey.

SEE: Differences Between Microwave and Oven You Don’t Know


What is the best way to thaw a frozen turkey?

The best way is to refrigerate it for two days before you would need to prepare it.

Can you put a turkey in brine?

Yes, you can. But you should never brine a turkey for more than 8 hours; else, they become too salty.

How many pounds of turkey do you need for 10 adults?

For 10 adults, you might need between 12 – 15 pounds of turkey.

Does turkey shrink after it is cooked?

Yes, they do. Turkey loses about 25 percent of its weight after being cooked.

Conclusion: 20 lb turkey feeds how many?

A 20 lb turkey can feed approximately 16 – 18 people. You should take into consideration the factors listed above in deciding how many pounds you will need in total.

If there are leftovers, I have also listed some friendly and easy-to-prepare dishes you can make with any leftover turkey.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see how many cups are in 1 – 20 lbs of rice.

Thank you for reading this article.