Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be overwhelming for any chef, but it becomes even more difficult when you cater to a large group. You will need to calculate how many turkeys you can feed 100 people at a 100-person event. This guide will help you determine the right portion size for your holiday menu to satisfy everyone.
Cooking for 100
We can help you prepare a Thanksgiving dinner to feed 100 people. If you wonder how much cranberry sauce per individual you need, we have a cheat sheet. How much stuffing should I use per person?
Other Thanksgiving foods can always be served, but we have compiled a list of classic Thanksgiving recipes and their suggested portions per person. We also included the total amount you will need to feed 100 people. Get our Thanksgiving portion guide to print a grocery list that you can use during shopping.
Turkey per Person
- Amount per person – 1 lb. Turkey
- Total Amount Per 100 Servings – 100 Lb. Turkey
Gravy per person
- Per person: 1/3 cup gravy
- Total Amount Per 100 Servings – 33 cups gravy or 8 1/4 qt. Gravy
Stuffing per Person
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup of stuffing
- Total Amount per 100 servings: 75 cups of stuffing, or 18 3/4 qt. Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes per Person
- Per person: 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
- Total Amount for 100 Servings – 50 cups of Mash Potatoes or 12 1/2 qt. of mashed potatoes
Vegetables per Person
- Allowance per person: 1/2 cup vegetables
- Total Amount for 100 Servings – 50 Cups of Vegetables or 12 1/2 Qt. of vegetables
Cranberry Sauce per Person
- Per person: 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
- Total Amount Per 100 Servings – 50 Cups of Cranberry Sauce or 12 1/2 qt. of cranberry sauce
Rolls per Person
- Amount per person – 1 roll
- Total Amount for 100 portions – 100 rolls
Pie per Person
- Per person: 1/8 of a pie or 1 slice
- Total Amount Per 100 Servings – 13 Pies
You might adjust the portions to suit your guests’ tastes. If you know you have dessert-loving guests, make 25 pies and allow for 2 slices per person.
You can take steps in the weeks before Thanksgiving to help you stay organized. It will be easy to serve 100 people on Thanksgiving Day if you have a plan.
1 Month before Thanksgiving
- Guest count. Ask your clients for a final guest count.
- Create your menu. Your client will approve your menu after you have chosen your recipes. You can also propose new ideas, such as smoking turkey instead of roasting it. You can use our recipe resizer to make your favorite recipes yield more.
- Make sure that you have enough kitchen space. You might consider renting a bigger kitchen or a mobile kitchen trailer if your commercial kitchen is not suitable for large events.
- Order your turkeys in advance from bulk suppliers.
2 weeks before Thanksgiving
- Get your serving dishes. You can reduce cleanup time by using disposable aluminum pans.
- Gather your serving tools for each dish. A shortage of serving utensils can slow down a buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner.
- Make a shopping list. Take note of the non-perishable items and which are fresh.
- Allow refrigerated food to be stored in a separate area. Check your refrigerator equipment for adequate space for your prepared foods. There may be enough space for multiple large turkeys.
1 Week before Thanksgiving
- Start food shopping. Get all non-perishable items on your shopping list.
- Make sure you have enough takeout containers for guests to bring home leftovers.
- Plan Thanksgiving Day. Include specific start and end times for food preparation, cooking, serving, and cleanup. All staff involved in the event should be able to see your plan.
- Make side dishes. Now is the time to make dinner rolls and pie crusts. Please keep them in the freezer for later in the week.
- Defrost turkeys immediately after purchasing frozen. Every 4 to 5 lb turkey to freeze takes 24 hours. Frozen poultry should be kept in a reach-in or walk-in cooler.
- Get the turkeys that you ordered. You can pick them up at your local farmer or grocer.
Monday before Thanksgiving
- Get all the fresh ingredients you need. Last-minute products and ingredients.
- Make stuffing ingredients. Cube day-old bread and heat a large saucepan of fresh stock.
Tuesday before Thanksgiving
- Make brining liquid. Combine the dry ingredients to brine your turkeys. Depending on how concentrated the seasonings are in the brine, a turkey can be brined for up to two days. You can brine a turkey for 8 to 12 hours in a concentrated mixture or a less diluted mixture for a few days.
- Freeze any frozen foods. Transfer dinner roll and pie crusts from the freezer to your refrigerator.
- Prepare cranberry syrup. Cranberry sauce has a very long shelf life. This dish can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until Thursday.
- Make pies. Let them cool in the refrigerator. You’ll save time and oven space by baking pies on Wednesday.
- Make green beans casserole. Save the topping for Thanksgiving Day.
- Make stuffing, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. This will allow you to spend most of your time on the turkeys the next day.
- Label your serving utensils or dishes. Your staff will be able to identify which utensils or dishes they should use.
- Set up a buffet and tables. You can also set up the space for dinner at your venue the day before.
- Start cooking turkeys. Keep turkeys warm to avoid foodborne illness. To ensure that the turkey is cooked thoroughly, take the temperature from the thigh meat.
- Let dishes come to room temperature. Take outsides and pies that don’t need chilling from the refrigerator.
- Allow turkeys to rest. After cooking, let them rest for at least 15-20 minutes before carving. Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before carving. This will prevent it from drying out.
- Heat the sides. Once the turkeys have rested, heat the side dishes in an oven.
- Make gravy. Once the turkeys have been cooked, make gravy using their drippings.
- Transfer all items to serving dishes. Move all of your dishes to the designated serving dishes.
- Prepare toppings and sauces. Allow guests to customize their meals by placing toppings such as butter or gravy.
- Uncork wine bottle. Get some bottles of wine and other alcohol for your Thanksgiving dinner.
- Prepare coffee and tea supplies before you start serving dinner. This will make your beverage service run much more quickly once the meal is over.