The Party Planner: Cooking for a Crowd

Chart of Food Estimates

Pies

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How much do you need when you’re cooking for a crowd?

If you’re planning a big meal, these estimates can help you determine how much food you should buy.

They’re based on “average” servings; adjust quantities upward for extra-big eaters and downward if children are included.

FOOD SERVE 25 SERVE 50 SERVE 100
Meats
Chicken or turkey breast 12–½ pounds 25 pounds 50 pounds
Fish (fillets or steaks) 7–½ pounds 15 pounds 30 pounds
Hamburgers 8–9 pounds 15–18 pounds 30–36 pounds
Ham or roast beef 10 pounds 20 pounds 40 pounds
Hot dogs 6 pounds 12–½ pounds 25 pounds
Meat loaf 6 pounds 12 pounds 24 pounds
Oysters 1 gallon 2 gallons 4 gallons
Pork 10 pounds 20 pounds 40 pounds
Miscellaneous
Bread (loaves) 3 5 10
Butter ¾ pound 1–½ pounds 3 pounds
Cheese ¾ pound 1–½ pounds 3 pounds
Coffee ¾ pound 1–½ pounds 3 pounds
Milk 1–½ gallons 3 gallons 6 gallons
Nuts ¾ pound 1–½ pounds 3 pounds
Olives ½ pound 1 pound 2 pounds
Pickles ½ quart 1 quart 2 quarts
Rolls 50 100 200
Soup 5 quarts 2–½ gallons 5 gallons
Side Dishes
Baked beans 5 quarts 2–½ gallons 5 gallons
Beets 7–½ pounds 15 pounds 30 pounds
Cabbage for cole slaw 5 pounds 10 pounds 20 pounds
Carrots 7–½ pounds 15 pounds 30 pounds
Lettuce for salad (heads) 5 10 20
Peas (fresh) 12 pounds 25 pounds 50 pounds
Potatoes 9 pounds 18 pounds 36 pounds
Potato salad 3 quarts 1–½ gallons 3 gallons
Salad dressing 3 cups 1–½ quarts 3 quarts
Desserts
Cakes 2 4 8
Ice cream 1 gallon 2 gallons 4 gallons
Pies 4 9 18
Whipping cream 1 pint 2 pints 4 pints

 

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This page was first published in 2009 and is regularly updated.

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