Figuring Out Food for Holiday Party

Updated on December 13, 2009
J.S. asks from Hudson, OH
6 answers

I am hosting a rather large holiday party at my house next week. There will be about 50 adults, from hubby's work, neighbors, friends, etc. I am having a hard time figuring out how much food to make. I am making large trays of sausage, peppers and onions, baked ziti, and tortellini alfredo with chicken breast in it, (and will also have some little finger foods and munchies). Is there a "formula" for figuring out how many pounds of food you should make for 5o people? I thought maybe someone had some catering experience, I can't find that info on line. Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

That is just the kind of info I needed! I am doing a large salad, will have an assortment of breads and cheeses, and other picky-food. Was just mostly worried about the size of the main entrees. Thanks a million to each of you!

More Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

For meats once I heard 1/2 lb for meat w/o bones per person and a lb for boned per person. Seems to work well for me. If I were doing snadwiches premade I would do 2 per person. You could ask at your local deli how much they allow for sides and meats.



answers from Indianapolis on

Yes. There ARE charts you use, i.e. 1/4# per person for this or that, your recipes tell you how many servings, too or at least you should be able to guess pretty closely.

Here's the deal........when you have MULTIPLE dishes, you can count on people not eating full portions of everything. The type of finger foods matter too, because if they are more of the meatball or quiche type, they are more filling than some others. Make SURE you have plenty of variety. The more things you can make ahead THE BETTER!

If I had a bit more info, I could help you out a bit more. Call me if you want. Let me know. I've had TONS of experience w/ this.



answers from Youngstown on

thanks for asking this one... we are in the same situation and I have learned from all of you :D



answers from Cleveland on

Hi J.
1 lb of pasta per five people, 1/2 lb of meat per person is a good rule of thumb. But remember if you are making heavy rich foods like chicken Alfredo they might not eat as much of that. Are you having any bread or antipasto salad? Those will fill a lot of people up and the cost is not very much if you put the salad together yourself instead of getting it from the deli or Italian market.
mangia mangia :)If you need anymore help PM me



answers from Columbus on

I read the previous response and wanted to add a couple things. Will your guests have a lot of seating options? If not, they will eat FAR less. Will your guests intimately know eachother (be a very tight knit group), because if not, they will eat far less. Finger food and munchies will be more apt to go if the guests won't have adequate seating with adequate table space and especially if they are not completely comfortable with the people and surroundings. My aunt worked in party planning for years and she always told me these items make a HUGE difference in the amount of food needed.



answers from Cleveland on

Also, don't look at the food and think "OMG" that will never be enough. Think about when you go to a party like this. You probably only take about 1/2 cup each of salad, pasta and meat and most people do not go back for seconds.

Good luck!

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