Calculating How Much Party Food Per Person

May 22, 2018

  • Calculating How Much Party Food Per Person

When throwing a festive party, how does the host go about calculating how much party food per person?  Hungry guests are no fun and can stress the host more.  Read on for these helpful hints and tips to help you plan the perfect amount of food.

The groundwork

How many people will be coming to the party?  What time of day is the party?  These are the two most important questions to ask when planning a party.  Both factors will greatly affect the amount of food per person.  If the party is in the morning versus lunch or dinner, the food is expected to be light so not as much as needed.  However, a dinner party has more factors such as the number of courses and the type of food.

The menu

The most foolproof method is to plan a menu in advance.  If it is dinner, plan the courses out so it is easy to keep a clear idea of what is to be served when.  Deciding on what type of food is on the menu is a tricky topic.  The host can serve a small selection of delicacies and count on more full portions per person. Or conversely, the host can choose a wide variety of foods and have smaller portions; such as hors d’oeuvres.  The downside to hors d’oeuvres is a lot more preparation work in making small portions of many things.

Overestimate or Underestimate

It is always a great idea to round up on the quantity of food that is made.  At least you can send your guests home with doggie bags.  If the host does not plan enough food, that would not only be embarrassing but it would be disappointing for all of the work to be in vain and the guests need to stop at a fast food place on the way home.


It doesn’t matter what the other foods being served are, it is a good tip to have lots of “filler” foods that are simple and easy.  Think of items that can be refilled quickly, are not messy, and universally loved.  Think of cheese and crackers, pretzels, chips and hummus, etc.  This will again cut down on the amount of food per person that needs to be prepared.  Having an abundance of cheese and crackers and the like can be easily saved for eating later on.  If it so happens that you run out, it is not a bad thing as the main attraction of food is still to come.

General amounts of food by category

With all of the other tips it is still advised to have a portion size plan for guests.  These categories can be helpful when deciding what amount of food and type to serve.  Meats: 6-7 oz.; soup 7-8 oz.; vegetables: 4-5 oz. whether in one vegetable or a combination of two vegetables; breads or rolls: 1-2 pieces depending on the size of bread; potatoes or starches 4-5 oz.; 1 slice of cake or pie; 1 small serving dish of gelatin or creamy dessert.