Cooking For A Crowd Calculator

Cooking For A Crowd Calculator

Unlike our other calculators that are for specific themed events, this calculator provides the amount of protein, vegetables, starches, etc that you would need to feed a large number of people. 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.

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.

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.

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 have a specific themed gathering planned, check out our other calculators because we may already have the exact one you need.

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 salad (2 ounces - equals one cup of shredded lettuce)
  • Bread or rolls (2 oz)
  • A dessert (3.5 ounces)

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 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. Please come back and leave feedback after your event on how the Cooking For A Crowd Calculator worked for your get-together!

Visit our The Ultimate Party Drink Planner Calculator to calculate beverages for your gathering

# of Guests