Cooking for a Crowd

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated August 28, 2020)

When you have that big dinner party or that open house or all those friends over for a bit of fun and games, you need to make sure you have the right amount of food. I know that with me anyway, I'm not so good at estimating what's a good amount of food for a crowd. Fortunately there are ways to remedy that and refine your estimating and cooking-for-a-crowd skills (which include more than just the amount of food you provide). If you can start with these simple tricks, then you'll be well on your way to throwing the best bash around!

The thing to keep in mind as you cook for a crowd is that it's always better to have more food than not enough food. It's never fun to run out of food when the party wants to continue partying on! If you're in doubt go for more rather than less and if you have leftovers then that's just more food for you that you don't have to cook.

When estimating, try to be realistic with your numbers; consider who you're inviting and always assume people will eat more than one serving. Living in a family and observing those trends is actually a really good starting point for cooking for your own crowds. With chicken breasts and similar items, cook one or two more than the amount of people you're expecting to allow for seconds. When making mashed potatoes or other vegetables, it usually works to assume one vegetable per person (you'll want to make just a bit extra to give yourself some wiggle room). You may have to double or even triple recipes, but it is less stressful to deal with leftovers than to try to whip something up when the real food runs out.

Something else to consider when cooking for a crowd is what to cook. Remember, you can't please everyone when cooking, so there's bound to be someone who won't like something that you make. Don't be upset if that happens. Your choice of food depends primarily on the occasion and then on the actual people who will be attending whatever function you're holding. If you know all the people well, then you can feel free to do basically whatever you want, but if it's a more general crowd try to have a myriad of dishes. Have a few veggie dishes for those who don't eat meat and a couple different entrees with a handful of side options.

You don't have to make sure that everyone likes something that you make, but you should give them options, especially if your party is big and you don't necessarily know everyone really well. Use common sense when deciding on your menu and your intuition will usually be a good indicator of what's good for your function and what's not.

So now you're ready to embark on your cooking-for-a-crowd adventure. You know how to start portioning and you also know the basics of deciding what to provide your guests. With these basic building blocks you're set to throw the best party on the block!

Author Bio

Charlotte Wood


Do I Need a Conditioner?

Conditioner is one of those products you see advertised all the time and you may think it's one of those universally ...

Discover More

Is Free Checking a Good Deal?

The word "free" is always a good one to hear, but when discussing banking, you can't just go off of that. Free checking ...

Discover More

Understanding the Stock Market

The stock market is easily very confusing and if you don't know the basics, even more confusing. However, in order to ...

Discover More
More Cooking Tips

Creating a Memorable Dinner

Whether it is your turn to put together a dinner for your family and friends, or you simply want to do something a little ...

Discover More

Planning a Traditional Seder

One of the most important parts of properly celebrating the Passover holiday is holding a Seder. The Seder is the feast ...

Discover More

Dinner Party Invitations

Have you ever wanted to host a formal dinner party, but were just a tad unsure where to begin? The proper place would be ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)