Just because the turkey is smaller doesn’t mean the dessert table should be. 

By Ariel Klein
October 22, 2020
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The holidays may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be special. Most people look forward to keeping up with old traditions, but if you think about it, there are many benefits of celebrating on a smaller scale. A more intimate gathering means less stress overall—there’s not as much preparation, your grocery bill won’t be as colossal, and it probably won’t take an entire week to clean up the kitchen once your guests leave. 

Whether you’re planning on hosting your immediate family or just a few friends—and taking the party outdoors or hosting a digital Thanksgiving dinner—you may want to consider springing for a smaller turkey. Here’s what you should know about picking out and preparing a delicious little bird. 

Where to Buy a Small Turkey

Since the majority of supermarkets only carry standard 20 pound turkeys, it’s a good idea to call your supermarket ahead of time (several weeks is ideal) to make sure they have what you’re looking for. Many specialty markets and local grocers supply smaller turkeys, and stores like Whole Foods may have them as well. You can also find smaller-sized turkeys online at Williams Sonoma and Fossil Farms

Finding the Right Size for Your Group

Some might think that a bigger turkey is tastier, but that’s not necessarily true. In fact, a smaller turkey is easier to cook because it has less of a chance of getting dried out. While you may be accustomed to seeing a 20 pound turkey in the center of the dining room table, a smaller one ranges from about 5 to 10 pounds. 

An 8 pound turkey is the perfect size if you’re entertaining up to 6 people. And if you’re hosting a group of 8 people, a 10 pound turkey should be perfect. (And leftovers are always, of course, welcome).

Cooking a Smaller Turkey

Preparing a turkey can feel intimidating to some, but the good news is, the same rules apply to cooking a smaller bird. You can even use the same size roasting pan, so there’s no need for extra tools or gadgets. Cook your small turkey for about 20 minutes per pound until the internal temperature is 165ºF

Once you’ve cooked your little turkey to perfection, serve it up with your favorite Thanksgiving sides. In my house, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a delicious sweet potato dish and an herby, savory stuffing