Cooking For A Crowd Calculator

Cooking For A Crowd Calculator

Unlike our other calculators that are for specific themed events, this calculator provides a breakdown of the amount of protein, vegetables, starches, etc that you would need to feed a large number of people. The calculator will give you an estimation of what you’ll need to feed 10, 25, 30, 50, 100 or more guests. You can even print out the results.

If you’re considering having a large gathering for a birthday, graduation, church event, or fundraiser and need to know how much to buy and prepare to feed a crowd, you’ll can get an estimate of how much you’ll need per person using this calculator.

You decide what you’re serving; the calculator just helps you estimate how much of it to serve.

How Much Food Per Person

This will hopefully help you in determining if you have enough of each category of food, as well as what the total amount would be equivalent to, per person. A few articles have suggested that caterers’ base is a total of one pound to one and one quarter pound of food per person at a buffet (that’s for everything…main course, sides, salad, etc). Feeding America suggests that 1.2 pounds (19.2 ounces oz) of food equals a meal. This most likely references the average eater; not a big eater with a hearty appetite, or a small child.

How much buffet food for 50 guests?

Based on the suggested total amount of one and a quarter pound of food per person, you would need 62.50 pounds of food for 50 guests.  That’s for everything; protein, veggies, side dishes, salad, bread and dessert.

The same formula applies to 100 guests.  Your buffet would need 125 pounds of food for 100 guests.

Next you would need to break your total down into different portions of the meal.

Defining A 1.25 Pound (20.5 ounce) “Meal”

  • A serving of protein (6 ounces)
  • A vegetable side (3.5 ounces)
  • A starch side (3.5 ounces)
  • A side salad (2.5+ ounces – equals roughly one cup of shredded lettuce)
  • Bread or rolls (2 oz)
  • A dessert (3.5 ounces)

Pinterest Cooking For A Crowd

Feeding A Crowd Basics:

  • If you are offering more than one food category option (perhaps 2 proteins or 2 vegetable sides), the total amount of proteins or vegetables offered should increase by 30%. For example, if a normal serving size of vegetables is 3.5 ounces but you are offering two different types of vegetable sides, you’ll need 4.5 total ounces of veggies per person. You would calculate needing 2.25 ounces of each type of vegetable per serving. The reason for this is because guests will help themselves to both types of vegetable sides but will take slightly smaller amounts of each.
  • In general, bones in meat account for 18% of total weight. So add 18% if you are serving a bone-in protein. However, the bones in ribs represent as much as 66% of the protein’s weight.
  • All values provided are cooked weight. Visit our Meat Per Person Calculator to find raw-to-cooked ratios for most proteins

The 10 Easiest And Budget-Friendly Cooking For A Crowd Meals

When you are cooking for a lot of guests, keeping it simple and economical isn’t that difficult.  In this category, the following dishes are ideal.  They are easy to prepare, and many fall under the self-serve category as well.  Placing the word “bar” after any of these automatically elevates its status; think “chili bar”, “taco bar”, “spaghetti bar”, etc.  Many of these dishes also work great for a pot luck dinner.  Once you know what the overall dinner menu will be and how much food you’ll need, it’s easy to ask attendees to bring specific items.

If you have a specific themed gathering planned, check out our many other calculators (taco bar, salad bar, backyard bbq, etc) because we probably already have the exact one you need.

Spaghetti and meatballs
Tacos and burritos
Stuffed Shells
BBQ chicken
Glazed ham
Beef stew

The calculator will provide an estimate of items needed based on standard serving sizes. However, guests’ preferences as well as appetite can vary greatly so you may have too much of one item and not enough of another. You may also need to adjust the numbers if you are serving other main dishes or you know your guests’ preferences.

Visit our The Ultimate Party Drink Planner Calculator to calculate beverages for your gathering and How Many Appetizers To Serve Per Person Calculator

After you enter the number of guests you’ll be serving, the result will provide a breakdown of each category of food which you can use as a checklist to prepare for your event.

# of Guests
Categories: Food, Party Planning