How Much Salad Per Person – Salad Bar Calculator

How Much Salad Per Person – Salad Bar Calculator

Whether you are serving a tossed salad for a few guests or putting together a salad bar for a large crowd, this calculator will give you an idea of how much salad you will need for each guest.

The calculator doesn’t just stop at how much lettuce you will need per person.  Because, we know you’ll also want to get an idea of how many toppings and how much salad dressing you’ll need per person.  You will get a pretty good idea of how much of everything you’ll need to pull together your salad or salad bar for your guests.

You can read more about determining the quantities per person and pulling the toppings together, or…skip to the calculator below.

First…How Much Lettuce For A Salad Per Person

How much is a serving of salad?

In catering, one cup of lettuce is considered the typical portion for a side salad, and two and a quarter cups if it’s served as the main course.  One cup of shredded is approximately 2.6 ounces, and 5.85 ounces for  2 1/4 cups.  So you would need 2.6 ounces of salad per person for a side salad and you would need 5.85 ounces of salad per person for a main course.

The average average head of iceberg lettuce weighs 1.19 lbs and is roughly 6″ in diameter.  Based on our own tests, the yield or edible portion, after removing  any wilted or damaged outer leaves and the core, is about 88%. After adjusting yield to our 19 oz head of lettuce, we are left with 16.76 oz.  From that we can estimate that one head of iceberg lettuce will yield 6.4 side salad portions of lettuce and 2.86 portions of lettuce for a main course.

How Many Servings Are In A Head Of Lettuce

There are approximately 6 side servings in a head of lettuce.  There are approximately 6 side servings in a one pound bag of shredded lettuce.

How much salad for 50 guests?  For a side salad consisting of one cup of shredded lettuce, you would need 8 1/3 pounds of bagged lettuce or 8 heads of lettuce.

Salad For A Crowd Amounts Per Person

These amounts are for serving salad as a side salad.  Use the calculator for a breakdown in pounds, as well as topping and dressing amounts.

How much salad for 10 – You would need approximately 26 oz of salad for 10 people.
How much salad for 20 – You would need approximately 52 oz of salad for 20 people.
How much salad for 25 – You would need approximately 65 oz of salad for 25 people.
How much salad for 30 – You would need approximately 78 oz of salad for 30 people.
How much salad for 50 – You would need approximately 130 oz of salad for 50 people.
How much salad for 75 – You would need approximately 195 oz of salad for 75 people.
How much salad for 100 – You would need approximately 260 oz of salad for 100 people.

What types of lettuce for a salad bar?

Salad bars usually consist of two types of lettuce offerings.  Options usually iceberg, romaine, red leaf, baby spinach, or spring mix.  Spring mix is generally purchased pre-packaged in bags and consists of a variety of baby lettuce leaves and other green-leaved edibles such as spinach, red and green romaine, red and green oak leaf, chard, arugula, endive, etc.

You should select 2-3 lettuce varieties from the following:

Red leaf
Baby spinach
Spring mix

How Many Salad Topping Options Should You Offer

Salad toppings can consist of fruits and vegetables, a protein, and dressing.  How many options you offer is really dependent on how many guests you are serving and whether the salad is meant to be a side dish (served along with the main course) or the main course.

Salad Bar Toppings

If you are just having a small gathering (let’s say under 10 people), 3 to 4 salad topping options should suffice.

As the size of your guest list increases, so should the number of salad topping options.  Eight to twelve fruit and vegetable topping options seems to be the standard among caterers but if the salad is the main course there’s really no limit to toppings.

What Quantity Of Salad Toppings Per Person

For a side salad, figure on roughly needing 1.25 ounce of toppings per person.  For a main course, you’ll need roughly 3 ounces of toppings per person.

If you’ve decided to have 4 topping options, you would divide the total amount of toppings you need by 4 to figure out how much of each to buy.

For example: for 10 guests, you would need 12.5 total ounces of toppings.  You’ve decided to have 4 toppings (cheese, onion, tomato, and cucumber).  Divide 10 by 4 and you know you’ll need at least 3 ounces each of cheese, onion, tomato, and cucumber.

Salad Bar Topping Ideas

As for toppings, there are an unlimited number of ingredients you can offer your guest.  Here’s a list of 60+ salad topping ideas to get you started.


Vegetables Fruits
grated carrots pineapple chunks
sliced bell peppers apple cubes
radish slivers raisins
sliced red onion dried cranberries
mushroom slices sliced pears
avocado slices blueberries
quartered tomatoes sliced strawberries
cherry tomatoes dried berry mix
cucumber slices pomegranate
alfalfa sprouts sliced peaches
sliced olives melon slivers
sweet peas mandarin oranges
broccoli florets Cheese
cut asparagus blue cheese crumbles
shaved red cabbage shredded cheddar
crumbled feta cheese
Crunchy Toppings Parmesan
tortilla strips shredded mozzarella
fried onions
croutons Beans
fried potato straws kidney beans
sesame sticks black beans
chow mein noodles red lentils
Seeds And Nuts edamame
sesame seeds white beans
pine nuts navy beans
almond slivers
cashew splits Miscellaneous
chopped walnuts julienne pickled beets
peanuts broiled brussel sprout halves
sunflower seeds sliced jalapenos
sun-dried tomatoes
Grains and Pastas zoodles (spiral zucchini)
orzo chopped egg
acini de pepe marinated artichoke hearts
wild rice shredded coconut
barley macaroni salad

Which Salad Toppings To Choose

With an unlimited array of options, you should choose toppings for a side salad that compliment your meal.

How Much Salad Dressing Per Person

For salad dressing, allot 2 tablespoons (1  oz) per person for a side salad and 3.25 (1.625 oz) tablespoons when salad is the main course.  Salad dressing is a key ingredient; if you run out, it’s over.  Bottled salad dressing doesn’t go bad, so leftovers aren’t a big deal.

Which Salad Dressings To Offer

A 2020 survey found that Ranch dressing is preferred almost 3 times over other dressings.  After that, the eight most popular salad dressings were Caesar, Vinaigrette, Thousand Island, Bleu Cheese, Creamy Italian, Oil and Vinegar, French, and Honey Dijon.

Offering A Protein

If you decide you would like to offer a protein with your salad, you should allot 1 ounce per person per side salad and 4 ounces per person as a main course.

Things To Keep In Mind

Guest are hungrier and eat salad more frequently at dinner than at lunch.
The more variety you offer, the less you should offer of each item.

Number Of Guests
Categories: Party Planning