Preparing Food for a Large Group

April 11, 2007

Food for a Large GroupNeed to know how much food for a crowd? Here's a table that gives you lots of food quantity information for a large group from a dozen to 48.

LRP from Lowell, MA


FOOD ITEM SIZE for 1 12 24 48
Meat, Poultry and Shellfish
(bone-in, unshelled)
3/4 pound 9 pounds 18 pounds 36 pounds
Meat, Poultry and Fish
1/4 pound 3 pounds 6 pounds 12 pounds
Chicken Salad, Side Dish
Main Dish
1/2 cup 1 1/2 quarts
3 quarts
3 quarts
1 1/2 gallons
1 1/2 gallons
3 gallons
Potato Salad, Baked Beans
or Coleslaw
1 cup 1 1/2 quarts 3 quarts 1 1/2 gallons
3 gallons
Meat Cold Cuts 1/2 cup 2 pounds 4 pounds 8 pounds
Cheese Slices 1 ounce 1 pounds 2 pounds 4 pounds
Rolls 1/2 cup 2 dozen 3 dozen 6 dozen
Crackers 2 1/2 cup 8 ounces 1 pound 2 pounds
Tossed Salad 1 1/2 cup 4 1/2 quarts 9 quarts 4 1/2 gallons
Salad Dressing 2 tablespoons 1 1/2 cup 3 cups 1 1/2 quarts
Dip 2 tablespoons 1 1/2 cup 3 cups 6 cups
Chips 1 1/2 cup 12 ounces 1 1/2 pounds 3 pounds
Fruit or Vegetable Dippers 4 pieces 4 dozen 8 dozen 16 dozen
Cake, 13x9" , 12-cup
Ring or 9" Layer
1/16 cake 1 cake 2 cake 3 cakes
Cookies 2 2 dozen 4 dozen 8 dozen
Ice Cream 1/2 cup 2 quarts 1 gallon 2 gallons
Coffee, Brewed
Ground Coffee
3/4 cup 9 cups water
1 1/2 cups
18 cup water
3 cups
36 cups water
5 cups
Tea, Brewed
Losse Tea
Tea Bags
3/4 cup 9 cups water
1/4 cup
12 bags
18 cups water
1/2 cup
24 bags
36 cups water
1 cup
48 bags
Iced Tea 1 cup 3 quarts 1 1/2 gallons 3 gallons
Punch 1/2 cup 1 1/2 quarts 3 quarts 1 1/2 gallons
Mineral Water 8 ounces 3 quarts 6 quarts 12 quarts
Ice 4 ounces 3 pounds 6 pounds 12 pounds

We also have this as a printable PDF file:

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14 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

January 9, 2007

My daughter is getting married in July 2007. Due to budget constraints to all involved, I will be preparing the food for the reception and the groom's mother is preparing the food for the rehearsal dinner. Can anyone give me an idea as to how to determine how much food to make. We are planning 3 meats, potatoes, some form of pasta both hot and cold, and possibly 2 - 3 salads.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.


January 9, 20071 found this helpful

My first recommendation is make some things that can freeze - then who cares if there's extra (examples: Lasagna, Baked Mac-n-Cheese). There are dozens of web sites to help figure this out.


Go to and type in "Estimating Food Quantity Party" - and there will be dozens of sites where you just type in the # of people and it helps do the rest.

By Jazzylazzy (Guest Post)
January 12, 20070 found this helpful

I would simplify the menu to only 2 meat choices. Depending on what you are preparing,a serving of meat per person is about the size of your fist. When I have prepared food for large groups, !/2 of a boneless, skinless chicken breast per person is about right. Have fun!

January 14, 20070 found this helpful

If you are brave enough to try it I'm sure you'll figure it out. I think the lasgne,etc. tip (freezable stuff) is good.


I just want to wish you good luck. I was born in Oswego and had many relatives there. We may be cousins!

January 15, 20070 found this helpful

To all who have offered suggestions. I am taking everyone of them seriously and definitely reduced the meat to 2 kinds. And fortunately both families are zitti fanatics so that will be 1 pasta. Thank you all very much.

By jenn (Guest Post)
November 13, 20080 found this helpful

Here is a website that may help. just type in Daves Growlies it will help with recipes for large numbers and it's full of great tips.

I have used several times now I'm using it for my wedding in Dec. I hope this helps.

Answer this Question

August 23, 2017

How much cheese and fruit do I need for 150 people at an evening reception for an art retrospective.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
August 23, 20170 found this helpful

My parents used to cater weekly for church events and it was 4 to 8 ounces per person, total.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 23, 20170 found this helpful

1/4 lb of each year per person. About 36 pounds of each for 150 people.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
August 24, 20170 found this helpful

Use 4 ounces of fruit per person not counting the peels. About 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 24, 20170 found this helpful

If you are going by ounces a person would eat and most people would estimate between 4 to 8 ounces per person. You are looking at 37.5 pounds each of cheese and fruit.


This is based on 4 ounces per person. I would take an average of 6 ounces per person which would be 56 pounds of each.

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March 23, 2015

How much chicken and how many pounds of noodles should I buy for making soup for a crowd of around 60 people?

By Alice from Pittsfield, PAS


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
March 23, 20151 found this helpful

Find a recipe that you like with the number of servings and then simple math will answer your question

January 24, 20181 found this helpful

Chicken soup ingredients for 60 people

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September 29, 2015

I'm preparing to make spaghetti for 120 people. I need to know how many pounds of hamburger meat to use. I'm not making meatballs; I want it as a meat in my sauce.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
September 29, 20150 found this helpful

Simple-Find a recipe for meat sauce that contains hamburger and the amount of servings for that recipe. Divide the amount of hamburger by the amount of servings for that recipe.


Then just multiply the amount for one serving of sauce with meat by the number of servings you need and you have the amount of hamburger needed.

Answer this Question

August 25, 2015

How do I calculate the amounts of each ingredient to make this recipe for 150 people?

2lbs frozen hash browns
2 c.grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp pepper

1 T onion flakes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 12oz carton sour cream
1 1/2 cooked ham diced
1 1/2 crushed conflakes
1/2 melted margarine

This recipe makes 1 9 x 13 pan.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
August 26, 20150 found this helpful

Simply reduce any recipe into individual serving ingredients and multiply by 150. Example: recipe serves 10 made with 2 cups flour:
2 cups Flour = 16 ounces divided by 10 servings = 1.6 ounces for each serving. Multiply 1.6 ounces by 150 = 240 ounces or 30 cups of flour.


Follow this for each ingredient.

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May 18, 2014

We are having a pastor birthday party and church outdoor picnic on meager funds. How do we to calculate food, ie: how much chicken, how many hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans for 350 people?

By Brenda J.


May 18, 20140 found this helpful

You can usually find things like that on google and a lot of cook books, especially those put out by church and other non-profit groups, contain information like that. It is usually for 100 people but when you find out the information for 100 it would be easy to figure out the rest.

Answer this Question

August 9, 2011

How much fruit salad is needed for 150 people?

By Joifull

Answer this Question

January 4, 2017

This is a page about preparing chicken and noodles for a large group. Although it may seem overwhelming, increasing a recipe to feed a large crowd is completely doable.

Serving Chicken and Noodles

April 21, 2014

This is a page about serving cold cuts to a large crowd. A plate of cold cuts is a good choice for for a large gathering.

A plate of cold cuts and cheese.

August 22, 2013

This is a page about serving lemonade to a large crowd. Preparing food and beverages for a large group requires estimating portion size and the overall quantity to prepare, with a bit extra just in case.

Lemonade cups on a table for serving to a large group.

March 17, 2012

This is a page about cooking scrambled eggs for a large group. Scrambled eggs are an easy dish to make for a large gathering.

Cooking eggs for a large group.

October 31, 2011

This page is about making sloppy joes for a large group. Making sloppy joes is simple and can easily be adapted for a large group. Sloppy joes have limited ingredients making them an inexpensive meal.

Sloppy joes for a large group.

October 19, 2021

How many heads of cabbage does it take to make cole slaw for 150 to 200 people?

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