How many does a 22 lb turkey serve?

A 22 lb turkey will serve approximately 12-15 people. This estimate takes into account that each person will likely eat around 1-1.5 lbs of turkey. However, the exact number served can vary based on several factors.

Quick Answer

A 22 lb turkey will serve 12-15 people.

Factors That Affect Turkey Serving Size

There are a few main factors that affect how many a 22 lb turkey will serve:

1. Other Foods Being Served

If the turkey is the centerpiece of the meal with fewer side dishes, guests may consume more turkey. If there are lots of sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and vegetables, people may fill up on those and eat less turkey.

2. Appetizers and Dessert

Guests will likely eat less turkey if you also serve appetizers before the meal and dessert afterwards. Appetizers and snacks like cheese, crackers, veggies and dip reduce the appetite. Dessert also leaves less room for turkey.

3. Leftovers

Are you looking to have lots of leftovers or not? If you want guests to be able to take home turkey, then you’ll need to serve more per person. If you don’t need leftovers, you can serve slightly less turkey per guest.

4. Men vs. Women

Studies show adult men tend to eat more at holiday meals than women. So the number of men compared to women may affect how much turkey is consumed.

5. Kids vs. Adults

Children tend to eat significantly less than adults. The more children at your dinner, the further a 22 lb turkey will go.

6. Special Diets

If you have several guests with special diets like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc., this will increase the amount of turkey eaten by meat-eating guests.

Turkey Serving Size Per Person

As a general guideline, plan on around 1-1.5 lbs of turkey per person. But use the following estimates based on age and gender:

Guest Serving Size
Adult men 1.5 lbs
Adult women 1 lb
Teen boys (13-18 yrs) 1 lb
Teen girls (13-18 yrs) 0.75 lb
Children (7-12 yrs) 0.5 lb
Young children (4-6 yrs) 0.25 lb

How to Calculate Turkey Servings

Follow these steps to estimate how many your 22 lb turkey will feed:

  1. Count the number of adult men, adult women, teens, and children.
  2. Multiply each group by the recommended serving size per person.
  3. Add all the serving sizes together.
  4. Divide the total serving size into the 22 lb turkey weight.

For example, for 8 adult men (1.5 lbs each), 6 women (1 lb each), 5 teens (0.75 lb each), and 3 kids (0.25 lb each), the math would be:

  • 8 x 1.5 lbs (adult men) = 12 lbs
  • 6 x 1 lb (adult women) = 6 lbs
  • 5 x 0.75 lbs (teens) = 3.75 lbs
  • 3 x 0.25 lbs (kids) = 0.75 lbs
  • Total: 12 + 6 + 3.75 + 0.75 = 22.5 lbs

Dividing the 22 lb turkey by the estimated 22.5 lbs serving size calculates to approximately 15 people for this scenario.

Buying the Right Turkey Size

Here are some tips for buying the right turkey size for your guest list:

  • Allow 1-1.5 lbs turkey per person, adjusting for gender, age, and other factors.
  • Overestimate slightly – it’s better to have leftovers than not enough food.
  • Make sure your refrigerator or freezer is large enough to store the turkey.
  • Buy frozen turkeys at least 1-3 days ahead so they have time to thaw.
  • For fresh turkeys, buy 1-2 days before and cook within 2 days.

Cooking Time for a 22 lb Turkey

A thawed 22 lb whole turkey requires the following approximate oven roasting time:

  • Unstuffed: 4-4.5 hours at 325°F
  • Stuffed: 5-5.5 hours at 325°F

Always use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature in the thigh reaches 165°F. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving.

If you cook the turkey frozen, add about 45-60 minutes to the cooking time.

Carving and Serving the Turkey

Carving a large 22 lb turkey can seem daunting. Follow these tips for smooth serving:

  • Use an electric knife for easy slicing.
  • Cut the turkey into manageable portions in the kitchen, arrange on a platter.
  • Remove both breasts whole, then slice. Slice the thighs.
  • Keep white and dark meat separate for easier serving.
  • Have plenty of plates, utensils, napkins available for a no-fuss meal.
  • Place wings, drumsticks and other parts in their own dishes.
  • Keep sliced turkey warm in a low oven until ready to serve if eating in shifts.

Leftovers and Storage

Properly stored, leftover turkey will last 3-4 days refrigerated, and 2-6 months frozen. Reheat thoroughly to 165°F. Creative ways to use leftovers include:

  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Turkey casseroles or soups
  • Turkey salad
  • Turkey tetrazzini
  • Turkey enchiladas
  • Turkey hash
  • Turkey pot pie


A 22 lb turkey will feed about 12-15 people for Thanksgiving or other holidays. Calculate servings based on guest size, gender, appetite, and other foods being served. Cook thoroughly, carve properly, and enjoy the leftovers! With proper planning, a 22 lb turkey can provide a memorable holiday feast.

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