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Thanksgiving Dinner Portion Planner

While ensuring you have everyone's Thanksgiving favorites on the table can be daunting, figuring out how much of each dish to have doesn't have to be. Take the guesswork out of portion size and shopping math with our Thanksgiving planner.

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Appetizers

The number of appetizers you serve depends on their type and on how much other food you are having. Their purpose is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable, to take the edge off people's hunger and to whet their appetites. Three or four bites of food per person should be plenty. For shrimp cocktail, oysters or larger crostini, plan about two pieces per person. If you're serving smaller, one-bite hors d'oeuvres, allot three per person total. For dip, 3 ounces per guest will be plenty. Consider putting out some raw vegetables with your dip as a lighter, healthier pre-dinner alternative to chips or crackers.

4 guests: 12 small hors d'oeuvres, 12 ounces dip; 8 guests: 24 small hors d'oeuvres, 1 1/2 pounds dip; 12 guests: 36 small hors d'oeuvres, 2 1/4 pounds dip; 16 guests: 48 small hors d'oeuvres, 3 pounds dip

Illustrations by Marilyn Pollack Naron

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Cheese

If you serve cheese before the meal, offer 2 ounces of cheese per guest. We prefer the prettier look of serving cheese in wedges instead of cubes. Guests can slice their own bites to eat with crackers, and they will be less likely to overdo it before the meal begins. If serving cheese as a final course, you can serve less, since at that point cheese is more about flavor than appetite.

4 guests: 8 ounces; 8 guests: 1 pound; 12 guests: 1 1/2 pounds; 16 guests: 2 pounds

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Wine

The right amount of wine to serve varies from guest to guest. One bottle of wine is 6 moderate or 4 very big glasses, and that should be enough to serve two to three guests. If you're serving wine before the meal, as well, assume your guests will probably drink a little bit more. And, you know your friends: Serve enough to satisfy them while still being responsible.

4 guests: 1 to 2 bottles; 8 guests: 2 to 3 bottles; 12 guests: 4 to 5 bottles; 16 guests: 6 to 7 bottles

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Soup

With turkey and all the fixins yet to come, there's no need to ladle more than 1 cup of soup into each guest's bowl as an appetizer.

4 guests: 4 cups; 8 guests: 8 cups; 12 guests: 12 cups; 16 guests: 1 gallon

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