Thanksgiving for many means "turkey time" (unless, of course, you're more into Tofurky). And turkey time means trying to figure out what size turkey to purchase.

turkey, chicken
Morgan Goldberg

I get it. It's confusing. So let me help you.

Instead of standing in the aisle, in a state of utter turkey daze as if you've already been hit with the tryptophan, educate yourself so you can pick up the perfect size turkey for your feast.

Step 1: Determine how many eaters are coming to your turkey party. 

sandwich, bread, salad, lettuce, meat, tomato, vegetable, toast
Parisa Soraya

If you have more than 12 people, and assuming you want some leftovers, approximately 1 1/4 pounds of turkey will be enough per person.

If you have less than 12 people, account for roughly 1 1/2-2 pounds of turkey per person, assuming you want leftovers. For smaller birds, there is less meat-to-bone-and-organ ratio, so you need more weight per person.

And for both sizes, if you do not want leftovers, simply select a bird slightly smaller than what the above formulas yield.

Step 2: Plan your cook time accordingly. 

gravy, sweet, pork
Helena Lin

When cooking your turkey, it's standard to start cooking for the first 2 hours at 325˚F, then increasing the temperature to 425˚F for the remainder of the cook time.

If the turkey is between 10-18 pounds, cook for 3-4 hours, (3.5-4.5 if it's stuffed).

If your turkey is 18-22 pounds, 3.5-4.5 hours should do the trick (4.5-5 if it's stuffed). 

turkey, chicken, duck, goose
Morgan Goldberg

But for your own safety, make sure the thigh of the bird reaches 165˚F before you remove the turkey from the oven. Don't skip this step—breaking out the meat thermometer is definitely worth avoiding foodbourne illness for you and your guests. 

Wishing you a delicious, well-portioned, and illness-free feast.