The Party Planner: Cooking for a Crowd | Chart of Estimates | The Old Farmer's Almanac

The Party Planner: Cooking for a Crowd

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how much food to cook for a party

Chart of Food Estimates: How Much Food Do You Need?

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Are you cooking for a crowd? If you’re planning a big meal, this handy chart can help you determine how much food you should buy—from meats to sides. From family reunions to potlucks and picnics to a Thanksgiving feast, have enough food for everyone!

These cooking estimates are based on “average” servings; adjust quantities upward for extra-big eaters and downward if children are included.

How Much Food to Serve at a Party

Whole turkey (1 pound/person)25 pounds50 pounds100 pounds
Chicken or turkey breast8–9 pounds16–18 pounds32–36 pounds
Fish (fillets or steaks)7-1/2 pounds15 pounds30 pounds
Hamburgers6-1/2–9-1/2 pounds13–15 pounds26–30 pounds
Ham or roast beef10 pounds20 pounds40 pounds
Hot dogs4 pounds7 pounds13 pounds
Meatloaf6 pounds12 pounds24 pounds
Oysters1 gallon2 gallons4 gallons
Pork8–9 pounds16–18 pounds32–36 pounds
Bread (loaves)3510
Butter3/4 pound1–1/2 pounds3 pounds
Cheese3/4 pound1–1/2 pounds3 pounds
Coffee3/4 pound1–1/2 pounds3 pounds
Milk1–1/2 gallons3 gallons6 gallons
Nuts3/4 pound1–1/2 pounds3 pounds
Olives1/2 pound1 pound2 pounds
Pickles1/2 quart1 quart2 quarts
Rolls (2 rolls/person)50100200
Soup5 quarts2–1/2 gallons5 gallons
Side Dishes
Baked beans5 quarts2–1/2 gallons5 gallons
Beets7–1/2 pounds15 pounds30 pounds
Cabbage for coleslaw5 pounds10 pounds20 pounds
Carrots7–1/2 pounds15 pounds30 pounds
Lettuce for salad (heads)51020
Peas (fresh)12 pounds25 pounds50 pounds
Potatoes9 pounds18 pounds36 pounds
Potato salad3 quarts1–1/2 gallons3 gallons
Salad dressing3 cups1–1/2 quarts3 quarts
Gravy (1/3 cup/person)8 cups16-1/2 cups33 cups
Stuffing (3/4 cup/person)19 cups37-1/2 cups75 cups
Cranberry Sauce (1/2 cup/per)12-1/2 cups25 cups50 cups
Cakes (9-inch)4612
Ice cream1 gallon2 gallons4 gallons
Pies (9-inch)4613
Whipping cream1 pint2 pints4 pints


About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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