How Much Turkey Breast Per Person? A Host’s Companion

How much turkey breast per person should I serve at Thanksgiving dinner? This question has been asked by many families over the years.

The answer depends on several variables, such as the number of guests, appetites, and preferences. When hosting a holiday meal, it’s important to plan.

One of the biggest decisions is deciding how much turkey breast to serve per guest. If you don’t want to go overboard, you might consider serving only half a bird or less.

Turkey breast

Turkey breast is often served as part of a buffet during Thanksgiving dinners. While some people prefer to eat turkey breast alone, others enjoy stuffing it into rolls or bread.

In addition, you can also stuff it into a whole roasted chicken. However, Turkey breast can only be enjoyed like this if you know how much to cook and serve and this guide tells you everything you need to know.

Let’s jump in!

Turkey Breast

The Basics: What Is Turkey Breast?

Turkey breasts are simply the tenderloins of a turkey. They have a very mild flavor and they are usually cooked with other ingredients such as gravy and vegetables.

Turkey breast is one of the most popular cuts for cooking because it doesn’t take too long to prepare and it tastes great when sliced and grilled.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Turkey?

Turkey is high in protein, low in fat, and contains no cholesterol. It is a good source of iron and zinc, which are essential nutrients that help build strong muscles and bones.

Because it contains so few calories, it is an excellent choice for those who want to lose weight.

Turkey Breast Nutrition Facts:


300-350 kcal/serving


27 gm / 100g


4.5 gm / 100g (3%)


0 gm / 100g(0%)


1 gm / 100g*

Vitamin D:

2 mcg / 100g

Why Is Turkey Served At Thanksgiving?

Turkey breast is traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals because it is easy to prepare and it goes well with all kinds of side dishes.

You can serve turkey breast with any kind of vegetable that you would normally pair with poultry. For example, you could serve mashed potatoes with your turkey breast.

Or, you can add cranberries or pumpkin pie filling to your mashed potatoes.

You can also use turkey breast in place of chicken in recipes where you would typically use chicken breasts. For example, you can make stuffed chicken breasts instead of regular chicken breasts.

It can also be used in sandwiches and wraps. You can even use it to make a quick snack. 

Also as the breast contains all-white meat, it cooks quickly, even if you cook the bone-in variety. Other parts of the turkey, such as the ribs might not take as much time to cook, but they provide less meat, which lowers their appeal when cooking for bigger groups.

This is why we recommend a breast for thanksgiving.

What Kind Of Turkey Should You Buy For Your Thanksgiving Meal?

When choosing your turkey, it’s best to buy organic. Organic turkeys tend to taste better than their conventional counterparts.

Also, choose a large size turkey breast that weighs about 5 pounds. It will make sure that there is enough meat left after carving.

How Much Turkey Breast Should I Serve Per Person?

Turkey Breast Serving Suggestions

Here are some suggestions on how to serve turkey breast:

Half A Bird

If you are planning to serve turkey breast, then you may want to have two servings per person. This way, everyone gets to sample both sides of the turkey.

One Whole Roasted Chicken

If you are planning to roast a whole turkey breast, then you should have three to four servings per person. This allows each person to get a full portion of the breast.

A Half Turkey Breast

If you are serving only half a turkey breast, then you need to plan accordingly. Make sure that you have enough food for yourself and your guests.

If we look at this per pound, you should plan on buying 1-1/4 lbs of bone-in turkey breasts per person you’re serving. Remember that the bones will account for some of that weight.

Cooking time will also reduce the amount of meat you get and the mass will decrease as the meat cooks.

One person will eat between a half-pound to a full pound of turkey, depending on their appetite and eating habits.

Children will normally eat a lot less, but you should prepare for them at least a quarter-pound to a half-pound of meat each.

When we put this against several guests, for example. if you are serving four people, you should stick to the plan of purchasing 5 pounds of the bone-in breast.

For eight guests, boost this amount to 10 pounds. If your party has 10 people, prepare 13 pounds of bone-in turkey.

If you want to have turkey leftovers to use for sandwiches or rolls and to pick on the next day, you can purchase 1-1/2 pounds of uncooked meat per person.

We would suggest you do this as it makes sure you will have more than enough food for everyone. 

However, if you have no need for them and you are trying to avoid leftovers, it’s best to stick with the suggested amount.

You will not have to worry about what to do with any extra turkey, you’ll save money but you’ll still have enough to feed everyone.

Follow our guidance and prepare some sides to go with the turkey so every guest is satisfied, even if you run out.

Boneless Vs Bone-In Turkey

The difference between boneless and bone-in turkey breast is quite simple. The former is made from skinless pieces of meat while the latter includes the bone.

Boneless turkey breast is usually cheaper than its bone-in counterpart. However, the price difference between the two is negligible.

We recommend using bone-in turkey breast because they are easier to carve and cook. They also add flavor to the dish.

On the other hand, boneless turkey breast tends to be drier and tougher.

You can always ask your butcher to cut up a whole turkey breast for you. It will take him longer but he will make sure that you get the right size for your family.

How much turkey you buy will be judged on what cut you buy, whether that is boneless or bone-in. If you opt for boneless, you should stick to around 3/4 pound per guest.

For a bone-in cut, go for the original 1-1/4 pounds for each guest and round this up to 1-1/2 pounds if you want to have plenty of leftovers.

How To Prepare Turkey Breast

Turkey Breast: How To Cook & Serve From The Oven

Prepare the turkey breast by removing the skin. This will help keep the meat moist during cooking.

Next, place the turkey in a roasting pan and season it with salt and pepper. Then, pour one cup of water into the bottom of the pan.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the turkey at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

After the turkey has been cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

To serve, slice the turkey breast into thin slices and arrange it on a platter. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, parsley, chives, etc.

Squeezing turkey breast

Most people do this before cooking but you can do it afterward if you prefer.

Cooking Turkey Breast On The Grill

Grilling is a great way of preparing bone-in turkey breast, but especially if you soak the meat in a brine before grilling. Turkey breast should be rubbed with salt and pepper, then placed into a container with brine.

Brined turkey breast should then be removed from the container and placed on a hot grill or smoker.

The temperature should be set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Turkey should always be cooked by setting its skin side down in a disposable foil pan over indirect heat.

You can brush it with olive oil or melted butter and this will help with the cooking process and intensify flavors.

You then place it on a homemade rack made out of vegetables. Close the lid and roast the meat until the internal temperature is at 165 degrees, you can read this on an instant-read thermometer and when it reaches this temperature, the skin should be deep brown color, almost golden.

Take off the turkey from the grill and allow it to rest for around 15 minutes. Carve up into very thin slices. If there are plenty of pan drippings, you can prepare gravy by following your favorite recipe.

Cooking Turkey Breast In The Slow Cooker

As mentioned before, even with a slow cooker, turkey breast should be cooked until tender. Add aromatics to the bottom of the pot before adding the turkey.

Cook until the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Before putting in the slow cooker, season the turkey breast as desired. Lay the meat on top of aromatic vegetables such as celery, onions, and carrots with a clove of garlic and a sprig of fresh thyme.

Cook low for 6 hours on low heat with the slide closed. Don’t be tempted by opening the lid, or you will lose heat and this will make the cooking process even longer.

Remove the meat after 6 hours and let it rest for 5-10 mins. Carve the meat into thin slices and serve.

What Should I Serve With Turkey Breast?

Turkey is one of the most popular meats served at Thanksgiving dinner. But there’s no reason to limit yourself to just turkey.

There are plenty of other options to choose from when it comes to sides.

Here are some sides to serve with turkey.

Green Beans

This side dish is great for vegetarians who don’t eat meat. Green beans are low in calories and rich in fiber.

They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C.

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are another favorite food among many people. Mashed potatoes are delicious and nutritious.

They contain lots of vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium.

Sweet Potato Casserole

If mashed potatoes aren’t your thing, try sweet potato casserole instead. Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and beta carotene.

These nutrients protect against cancer and promote eye health.

Baked Beans

Beans are a great option for vegetarian meals. Beans are full of protein and fiber. They’re also low in sodium and cholesterol.

Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread stuffing is a traditional American holiday meal side dish. Cornbread stuffing is made with cornmeal and contains lots of fiber.


Gravy is a classic Thanksgiving side dish. Gravy is usually made with flour, butter, and stock. It’s a simple recipe that adds flavor to any meal.

Butter Lettuce Salad

A butter lettuce salad is a refreshing alternative to traditional salads. Butter lettuce has a mild taste and crunchy texture.

It’s also very low in calories.


There are many types of cheese available. Some cheeses are higher in fat than others.

However, all cheeses are an excellent source of calcium.

Chocolate Cake

Although not a side dish, chocolate cake is a favorite dessert for many people. Chocolate cake is a treat that everyone loves.

It’s also a quick and easy dessert to make.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Turkey Breast Per Person Should I Serve?

You should plan on buying 1-1/4 lbs of bone-in turkey breasts per person you’re serving

What Does Turkey Taste Like?

The flavor of turkey varies depending on the breed and age of the bird. The darker the skin, the more flavorful the meat.

Younger birds have less gamey flavors. Older birds tend to have stronger flavors.

Can I Freeze Turkey Breast?

Yes, you can freeze turkey breast. You should not cook frozen turkey breast before thawing.

Thawed turkey breast needs at least 1 hour to defrost, usually more than this.

How Do I Defrost Frozen Turkey Breast?

To defrost frozen turkey breast, place the package in a bowl filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is completely thawed.

Is Turkey Healthy?

Turkey is a healthy choice because it’s high in protein and low in saturated fats. Turkey breast is leaner than dark meat. Dark meat contains more fat and calories.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Turkey Breast?

Cooking time depends on how thick the turkey breast is. To check if the turkey is cooked properly, poke it with a fork. If the juices run clear, the turkey is done.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have learned everything you need to know about preparing turkey breast for dinner.

We encourage you to share our tips with other chefs and remember, to stick to our recommended guidelines on how much meat to serve per person so no one will be left unsatisfied or hungry.

If you are running low, encourage guests to fill up on sides and remind them to always keep room for dessert!

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