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What Size Turkey Do I Need for Christmas

Blog • August 31st 2023
roasted turkey crown

What size turkey do I need is a question which many dinner party planners may find themselves asking. On the one hand, not having enough turkey to go round can be a disaster. On the other hand, order too big a turkey and you are drowning in left overs! (Although we doubt you could ever get enough of Farmison's delicious, award-winning, free range turkey!) If you are planning a festive feast and find yourself wondering what size turkey do I need, then this guide is for you. Whether it is for Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other occasion, turkey is a fantastic option for a roast dinner. Read on to find out what size turkey will suit you best. Plus, we will share the answers to lots of other questions you may have.

Table of Contents:

What Size Turkey Do I Need? - Farmison's Formula

The first step to figure out what size turkey you need, is to find out how many people you are feeding. Once you confirm the guest list for your traditional christmas dinner or thanksgiving feast, you will be able to calculate what size turkey you need using Farmison's magic formula! Follow the simple calculations below to

  • For parties of 9 or less:
    • Number of guests x 0.55 = ideal turkey size in kg.
    • Number of guests x 1.2 = ideal turkey size in lbs.
  • For parties of 10 or more:
    • Number of guests x 0.45 = ideal turkey size in kg.
    • Number of guests x 1 = ideal turkey size in lbs.

If you want leftovers, (we know how incredible a boxing day turkey sandwich can be!) then you might want to order a slightly larger bird. Calculate the number of left over portions you want as if they are additional guests. This is Farmison's formula for if you'd like leftovers:

  • (Number of guests + Number of left over portions) x 0.45 = ideal turkey size in kg.
  • (Number of guests + Number of left over portions) x 1 = ideal turkey size in lbs.

What Size Turkey Do I Need? - Without Maths

We appreciate you might have enough on your plate without having to do maths! To make things easier, we have listed our suggestions on what size turkey you need depending on how many guests you are feeding below. These numbers should give hearty portions.

  • What size turkey do I need for 4 people = 2.2kg or 4.8 lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 6 people = 3.3kg or 7.2lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 8 people = 4.4kg or 9.6lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 10 people = 4.5kg or 10lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 12 people = 5.4kg or 12lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 14 people = 6.3kg or 14lbs.
  • What size turkey do I need for 20 people = 9kg or 20lbs.

If you require more than 14lbs of turkey, we recommend preparing two birds rather than one. Or, to keep things simple you could prepare turkey breasts alongside the whole roasting turkey. This means you get extra meat and still have a whole bird for your centrepiece.

What Different Types of Turkey are Available?

Once you have figured out what size turkey you need, you may be wondering what style of turkey to choose. Depending on personal taste, oven space and size you may want to choose a whole turkey, a turkey crown or turkey breast. This is what you can expect from each cut of turkey:

  • Whole roasting turkey - Exactly what it sounds like, when you buy a whole roasting turkey you get the entire bird. The breast on the bone, the wings, the legs and the giblets. This is great if you and your guests enjoy a mixture of white breast meat as well as the darker thigh and drumstick meat. It also makes for a spectacular centrepiece on your Christmas or Thanksgiving table.
  • Turkey crown - A turkey crown is similar to a whole turkey but with the thighs and drumsticks removed. Still excellent as a centrepiece, a turkey crown will take less time to roast than a whole turkey. Follow our Christmas turkey crown recipe for an exceptional main course.
  • Turkey breast joint - A turkey breast joint is boneless and is customarily filled with stuffing. For example, Farmison offers a delectable turkey breast stuffed with chestnut, apricot and winter sage which is perfect for Christmas dinner. If you are feeding a smaller group, this is a very attractive option. It takes less time to cook and there is less wastage because turkey breasts are simple to carve.

How Far in Advance Should I Buy My Turkey?

Turkey is the traditional dish of Thanksgiving and one of the most popular meats to eat for Christmas dinner. As a result, it is advisable to order your turkey well in advance of the big day. This means you can minimise stress for yourself and avoid rushing around at the last minute. In order to avoid disappointment, we recommend placing your Farmison Christmas order from the beginning of September. You can then book a delivery slot for a date between then 19th and 23rd of December for the freshest, most mouthwatering turkey you can imagine. Or, if you have room in your freezer, an excellent option is to order early and freeze your bird. We have a useful freezer guide which spells out everything you need to know about freezing turkey. It couldn't be more simple to eat better meat this festive season.

How Long to Cook Your Turkey for Depending on Size

As a rule of thumb, calculate the time needed to cook your whole turkey by multiplying its weight by 40 minutes per kilo or 20 minutes per lb. For example, we recommend:

  • Cooking a 2kg turkey for around 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Cooking a 4.5kg turkey for around 3 hours.
  • Cooking a 6kg turkey for around 4 hours.

Adding a trivet of vegetables to the tray and covering with foil will help keep the turkey super succulent. Remove the foil for the final 30 minutes of cooking to create a crisp, golden skin. Remember to leave your turkey to rest for between 30 mins to an hour before serving. For more expert advice on how to cook your turkey, take a look at our guide to christmas cooking times.

Eat Better Turkey this Festive Season

The holidays demand excellent celebration food. Farmison's range of festive meat for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner promises indulgence and delight for tables of all sizes. However, Christmas and Thanksgiving are also a time to reflect. At Farmison we are reflecting on how we can continue to give back to British farming, encourage sustainability and promote proper animal welfare. Join us on our mission and eat better meat this festive season with Farmison.