Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday Entertaining: How Much Do I Need?

One of the biggest concerns for most people when entertaining is "How much food and drink will I need?". No one wants to run short, but on the other hand, you don't want to over buy either. The following will give you an idea of what you need to figure, depending on the number of guests.

Meat: Deli or other sliced meat
4 guests-3/4 to 1 pound total
8 guests- 1 1/2 pounds
16 guest-3 pounds

Cheese: Cubed or sliced
4 guests - 6-8 ounces
8 guests- 1 pound
16 guests- 1 1/2 pounds

Salads: Pasta, Coleslaw, Spinach etc.
4 guests-1 pound
8 guests-2 pounds
16 guests-4 pounds

Chips: Tortilla, Potato, Pita chips etc.
4 guests-4-6 ounces
8 guests-8-12 ounces
16 guests-1 pound

Rolls: Any type of rolls or slices of French/Italian bread
4 guests-8-12 total
8 guests-16-20
16 guests- 3 dozen

Cookies/Bars/Pieces of Cake
4 guests: 8
8 guests: 1 1/2 dozen
16 guests: 3 dozen

Punch/Juice/Iced Tea etc.
4 guests: 48 ounces
8 guests: 96 ounces
16 guests: 1 1/2 gallons

Coffee or Tea
Figure 2 cups per person

There are variables that may need to be applied to your get together. I would consider kids around ten and up as an adult. Some will eat more and some less, but it will most likely even out. If you have quite a few kids coming to your get together I'd double the cookies and bars. If there are a lot leftover send each child home with a small plastic bag of cookies. I try to keep the plastic holiday treat bags on hand during the holidays.

I love turkey and can never have too much leftover, so I always buy more than what I need. This guideline will help you figure what size you'll need to serve as a general rule.

8-12 pound turkey: 2-4 people *see note below
12-16 pound turkey: 5-7 people
16-20 pound turkey: 8-10 people
20-24 pound turkey: 11-13 people

If you have more than 13 people you'll most likely want to either cook two turkeys. I've also served turkey and ham for a large number of people.

Note: A whole turkey breast is a great alternative when there are only 2-3 people for a holiday meal. There isn't any dark meat, but if it's cooked in a crock pot the meat stays moist, and it's usually on sale throughout the holiday season.

On OFL we have some nice recipes for Autumn Butters:



  1. Thanks for posting! This will be very helpful in planning family and church meals!

  2. Thank you for the info. It will help greatly with the pending holidays.


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