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Cook Talk

Graduation party Ideas and/or HELP!
170 people for graduation much do I need?
Cheese tray
veggie tray
chocolate fountain (strawberries, banannas, ritz crackers, pineapple)
Spinach dip

Tossed salad
BBQ Beef
Pulled pork
Chicken wings

Also, instead of sheet cake, we ordered cupcakes, (chocolate & white with different fillings) How many cupcakes, will everyone eat one? Some of the kids will eat more than one?

Need your help! My biggest fear is running out of food, (we ran out at our wedding reception)

Party is set from 2:00 - 7:00. Having it a old reformatory where guests can take 1-2 hours tours also. (hoping this will help with not needing as much food)

What age persons and what are your refrigeration, cooking, and sserving arrangements?

What beverages?

If this is high school or college, I would DEFINITELY add good bread and a pasta or potato salad- the meal items are light and the eaters will eat a lot more fruit and especially shrimp with no carbs. If teens and young twenties, simply count as 200 to help with quantities; as a friend observed once, "they eat like locusts".

Many of these items are already covered on this site. For example, I am going to tell you to prepare a basic estimate for your chocolate fountain, veggies, cheese board and salads based on the tables, post your estimates, and I will check them.

Write back.

Thank you for your response. I am planning on cooking a electric roaster full of rigatoni, (sorry forgot to mention) ordered 5 loaves of fresh italian bread from bakery.
Beverages - Beer, wine, ice tea and soda.
High school graduation - wide age group, many between 30 - 45 years old.
My problem in reading your site over and over, is your basic estimate just for that particular product or do you take into consideration all the other????

Shrimp: 9 bags @ 40 count = 360 pcs
Meatballs: 10 lbs
Cheese tray: 4# swiss & colby, 2# hot pepper
Veggie Tray: not sure of weights
Choc. Ftn: have no idea how much
Spinach dip: ordered 3# of dip, 3 loaves of 2# pumpernickel, 2 loaves of square rye

Tossed salad: 6#
BBQ Beef: 30#
Pulled Pork 20#
Coleslaw: 6#
Chicken Wings, (friend brining) ???
Rigatoni, Electric roaster full, (not sure how much that will yield)

Not sure on quantities

Refrigeration - walk in cooler
cooking - doing ahead of time on Friday

ALSO forgot to add 3# of salami roll-ups for the appetizer table.

Buffet serving style.


Do you feel this should be enough?

OK Kelly, I have tried to go over the entire menu. It looks to me like you are short on some items.

3# of salami roll-ups
If you can't have at least one per person, skip this
Shrimp: 9 bags @ 40 count = 360 pcs
=OK, but you really need twice that amount- do not put them all out at once, 3-4 ounces per person is more usual.
Meatballs: 10 lbs
=This is only 1 meatball per person
Cheese tray: 4# swiss & colby, 2# hot pepper
=Usual is 16 to 20 pounds for 100 people...
Veggie Tray: not sure of weights
=at least 25 pounds and 3-4 quarts of dip
Chicken Wings, (friend bringing) ???
=usually allow 1 pound for each 3-4 people

Spinach dip: ordered 3# of dip, 3 loaves of 2# pumpernickel, 2 loaves of square rye
=3 ppounds is only about 6 cups? You want about 1/4 cup per person for dips.

Tossed salad: 6#
=Need 20 pounds per 100
BBQ Beef: 30#
=Makes 100-120 sandwiches
Pulled Pork 20#
=Makes 70-80 sandwiches
+This is cutting the meat REALLY CLOSE. I would add at least 20 pounds

Coleslaw: 6#
Usual is 20 pounds per 100

Rigatoni, Electric roaster full, (not sure how much that will yield)
=about 60 servings, I would have at least twice this much
5 loaves of fresh italian bread from bakery
=usually 8-10 pounds per 100. What about rolls for the sandwiches?

Choc. Ftn: have no idea how much
See the very specific article. This is not a great idea for this long a party- they usuallu only run 2-3 hours. Chocolate fondue for dipping is safer and MUCH easier.

Cupcakes, yes, everyone will eat one at least. You might consider 200.

Remember 2 pounds of ice per person and 40 pounds per cooler.

kirsten smith
how much rigatoni and macaroni salad for ~125 people for a graduation party?

we will also have lettuce salad, jello, fruit salad and hot dogs and hamburgers.

I just wasn't sure how much rigatoni to make-I;ll just put sauce on it, no meat


Teens? 12 pounds at least- if they are big eaters, you could go more, since the sides are light.
Hi Ellen,
I am having a high school grad party and have invited about 200 people. Guests will range from small chilren to elders, the party begins at 5 p.m.-?.Do I plan on a certain number attending of those invited and how do I plan amounts for the following menu items? I have visited your big pots section and am having a difficult time determining how much of each food item to serve considering the variety of food we are serving.There is only one other grad party on our day.
Hot Dogs
Deli ham with buns
Potato Salad
Tuna salad
Ham macaroni salad
Wild rice casserole
Party potatoes
Pistachio fluff
Mandarin jello salad
veggies and dip
fruit trays
meat and cheese trays
cake and other desserts
coffee, beer and soda
You got very lucky- caught me on a quiet night when there is not much else to do, so instead of telling you to make an initial estimate and post it, I went ahead and did your calculation. That will be $50, please (JOKE!).

I can't help you on estimating the number that will actually attend- this varies hugely- except to suggest that if you have had a similar group for a party in the past, the percentages will probably be about the same.

This is about what I would make for this party:

Hot Dogs (skip- not needed with brats)
Brats-150, but do not open all ahead- you may have some unopened packages to put in the freezer
BBQ's- enough for 120 sandwiches
Tuna salad- 3 gallons- see the sandwich event page
deli ham and meat and cheese trays
2 -3 ounces deli-sliced meats plus 2 ounces deli sliced cheese
Buns 300+ assorted
You need sandwich condiments- see the condiments for 100 on the sandwich event page

Potato Salad- 4 gallons per 100
Ham macaroni salad- 6 pounds dry pasta per 100
Pistachio fluff- 17 packages regular jello (100 regular servings, but cut smaller)
Mandarin jello salad-17 packages regular jello (100 regular servings, but cut smaller)

Beans- 3 gallons per 100= 6 gallons

Wild rice casserole-120 servings
Party potatoes-150 servings
You will have leftovers, but everyone will get their first choice

chips- 6 pounds per 100 for potato or 8 pounds per 100 for corn chips
veggies and dip-covered in detail in veggie trays, but not much will get eaten, I would make 1 60 person relish tray instead
fruit trays-see fruit ray for 25, make 6 times the amounts- the sweet salads will reduce the amount of fruit eaten

cake and other desserts- covered in great detail in the dessert planning charts- you would use double the amount for 100

coffee, beer and soda
use the beverage planning table with the dinner coffee amounts


I am planning a graduation party for my son. We are going to make shredded turkey and warm sliced ham. How much Turkey and how much ham will we need for 200 people? Also how do you suggest keeping the meat moist while it sits in the roasting pans during the pary? I really don't want the meat to dry out. If this helps we are also having buns,potato salad, a baked bean mix (burger and many different beans), potato chips, pickles and cake. Thanks for your time and help, Jennifer

Jennifer because you don't know who will want turkey and who will want ham, you need to prepare 120 people's worth of each.

You don't say if you are serving this as sandwiches or plated, and whether it is buffet type service. Both affect quantities, see the plan for 100 table for entres and the sandwich even page for weights for sandwiches. You keep it moist by keeping it covered and using 1/4 to 1/2 inch chicken broth in the bottom of each pan.

Write back if you need to.

How much do we need to purchase for rigatoni and meatballs for 150 people. They are also serving sloppy joes and creamed chicken sandwiches. I am not sure on what else. My daughter and I are helping out a family at our church that the parents are unable to do the work themselves. But we have no idea how much to purchase for pasta and hamburger.
I am helping a friend with her daughters Grad. open house and I am cooking for her. About 130 people.

Sausage, peppers and onions
Rigatoni and Meatballs

Could you please tell me how much rigatoni to buy and how much sausage and meat for the meatballs to purchase and how much sauce to make. The meatballs will be in a roaster by itself with sauce. Plus the sauce on the rigatoni.

If this is mixed family, not all teens, the numbers below will be about right. If it is all teens, add up to 1/3 more, they eat a LOT!

rigatoni- if this is the only or main starch (no potates, pasta salad, etc) you want 12 pounds dry per 100 or about 15-16 pounds

sausage-- minimum 1 pound fresh raw for each 5 people. Equal weight mixed onions and peppers for the sausages.
meat for the meatballs-- about 20 pounds 90% lean or 23 pounds regular per 100, so you need 26-30 pounds.

Sauce 1 to 1 1/2 quarts per pound of dry pasta, I would do 1 1/2 since you are going to divide it between the pasta and the meatballs.

I'm going to be seving 50 to 75 people for a graduation party. I plan on having self serve sandwiches of roast beef, ham and turkey with white and wheat bread along with cheese, chips, veggie tray, apple salad. How many pounds should I get of each.
Did you read the article under the sandwich button at the top of the main cook talk page? Condiments and sides (chips, etc) are also discussed.

Veggie tray guidelines are on the veggie tray page. Apple salad, 1/2 to 3/4 cup per person (1 small apple).

Take a crack at preparing an estimate, post it, and I will be glad to review.

Hi, I need some quantities for my daughters graduation party for the food I am serving.
It will be for around 150 people. I plan on having 50 lbs of hot shredded beef, along with 300 buns. Will this be enough? I also plan on having potato salad, pasta salad, cheesy potato's, and calico beans. I have no idea of how much of each I should make? There will be chips and cake as well. Could you give me the ratio in gallons, so I it will be easier for me to figure out? Thank you so much for your help. Have a nice day!
These are teenagers, and you need 1 pound beef for each 4 buns, so I would up the beef some. Also, put out a meatless spread for the non-meat eaters- with this many people there will be some. Could be egg salad, mixed peanut butter and jam or nutella, tofu spread, etc. For the rest:

potato salad, 4 gallons per 100
pasta salad, 6 pounds dry per 100 (see recipes on site)
cheesy potato's, 20 pounds hash browns per 100
calico beans, 3 1/2 gallons per 100
chips- minimum, 8 pounds per 100 for potato chips, 10 if corn chips
cake- see the bottom ofthe dessert p-lanning page

You probably also want to look at the beverage planning page.

Hi ellen I am doing a graduation party for 60 people the end of July for my son and I just want to make sure I am not over cooking and at the same time gone to have enough food. The menu is as follows

100 piece chicken
2 pounds macaroni salad
62 hamburgers
48 hot dogs
2 pounds potato salad
2 pounds of cauliflawer salad
2 9x13 pans of pretzel salad
16 pounds ham BBQ
2pounds tapioca salad
2 batches peanut butter cookies
2 batches chocolate chip cookies
3 batches no bake cookies
half a sheet cake
2batches sugar cookies
a tray of mint brownies

Hello. I bought eight 24" hoagie rolls and plan to put large pepperoni,capicola and ham on them. Also, swiss, provalone and american cheese. How many pounds of each should I buy?
Nell, you are over on meats and short on other items:

100 piece chicken-70
16 pounds ham BBQ-OK
62 hamburgers-OK, you will have some left
48 hot dogs-not needed
Don't forget rolls and condiments, see the sandwich page for a condiment table.

2 pounds potato salad- for 60 people, I would allow 2 1/2 gallons
2 pounds macaroni salad- for 60 people, I would allow gallons
2 pounds of cauliflwer salad- double
2 9x13 pans of pretzel salad-double
2 pounds tapioca salad- Don't know- how popular is it? This is about 24 servings.

2 batches peanut butter cookies
2 batches chocolate chip cookies
3 batches no bake cookies
half a sheet cake
2 batches sugar cookies
Make the cookies and bars small. Have one of each flavor for each person.

Nett, this makes about 24 regular-size sandwiches. 8 pounds meat, 4 pounds cheese for fat sandwiches.
I am planing a graduation party for my daughter. We wanted to have a "sweet success" theme and really do just desserts... Then we made our guest list and I have 200 people. Can I do an "open House" and serve only desserts???
Yes, if you set the time for either 2p-5p or 8p-10. See the dessert planning page for quantity help.

If you go over a mealtime, you need to do meal food.

I am having a graduation party with roughly 150-200 people. Son is wanting creamy meatballs and cheese hash browns. How many meatballs per person do I plan and what else do I need to serve with this? He is also having a choc fountain and cake. Thank you for your help.
You want 4 ounces of meatballs per person, minimum, it takes about 1 pound ground meat plus added ingredients to serve 4. The cheesy potatoes are the last recipe on the festive family brunch article.

I would serve fruit trays, roast chicken (1 piece per person), and a green vegetable or salad with this.

I need help with ideas on decorating for a high school graduation.
Either go with a theme (sports, hobby or interest such as theater, year/decade such as 50's, or some current event or show), or with the interests of the student, or with a college thing if said student is headed in that direction.
Kim Kern
afternoon art reception for 200 people.
Hi Ellen,
I have enjoyed your site and used it many times. Thank you.
I am planning a 2 o'clock art reception in May. The person in charge is only wanting a tea/punch, two pick up desserts, fruit tray, and cheese straws. They are providing the other beverage. How much do I prepare for such an event, considering the time of day, etc.
Many thanks,
Hi, Kim,

This is a little light, so you will need somewhat larger amounts of each. I would do:
two pick up desserts- 4 pieces per person, 2-3 bites each piece
fruit tray- 2 of the deluxe fruit tray for 100
cheese straws- 3 ounces per person- this is more than usual, but without cheese and crackers, or something like that, people will eat more of these.

Having a graduation party for 200 people menu consists of:
Teriyaki chicken-boneless skinless thighs
Broccoli beef
orange chicken
sweet and sour meatballs
Lo-mein noodles
potato salad
macaroni salad
fried rice
Cake for desert with a chocolate fountain and fruit for dipping
Can you please tell me how much to prepare of each item.
This is some serious cooking you are going to do.

I would probably skip the potato salad, it does not complement the menu, and do my cold noodle salad instead of the macaroni salad:

Since you have a cooked noodle dish, just 10 pounds noodles for the salad.

For the lomain, 10 pounds dry noodles, also.

This is what I would do for the rest:

Teriyaki chicken-boneless skinless thighs-20 pounds boneless chicken
Broccoli beef- 28 pounds boneless beef
orange chicken- 20 pounds chicken
sweet and sour meatballs- 24 pounds meatballs
Lo-mein noodles see above
potato salad skip, see above
macaroni salad, see above
fried rice, 12-16 pounds dry rice
Cake for dessert with a chocolate fountain and fruit for dipping- see the chocolate fountain article and the dessert planning page

I am wondering how to keep 30 pounds of rigatoni warm for a graduation open house. I would like it to be kept separate from the sauce. Would an electric roaster work work as a warming dish, i.e. put water in the bottom with a dish on top holding the pasta.
In 2 electric roasters at 180 degrees if already fully cooked and hot through. If you cook ahead to reheat, leave the pasta a tiny bit underdone. Water can go under a rack in the roasting pan, it does NOT go in the roaster body itself. The pasta will have top be oiled as well- see the make-ahead notes on the spaghetti page.
Hi-OK, I'm reading through all this stuff and wasn't stressed when I started, but now I wonder. My son's the party is next Sunday (5/22) and I'm planning on just serving his favorite finger foods. We've heard from lots of people that the full meal thing is way overdone and not necessary. The reception is after commencement, so we won' be the only part. Anyway, here's the menu: little smokies wrapped in bacon, spinach dip and crackers, warm buffalo chicken dip and crackers, mini cheesecakes, sheet cake and misc candy on the tables. Am I completely insane? Is this enough? I'm a great cook and don't mind spending hours in the kitchen the days before the big event. I have absolutely no idea how many to expect. I don't think we'll top 200. So...what am I missing? Should I throw in something easy for "filler"? How about quantities? I don't want to stress, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm living in denial.


Hi, Karen, take a deep breath, you are going to be fine. You will just be making a lot of each. I would suggest you add a couple more things- fruit trays and a Mexican spread/dip with chips such as a 7 layer dip would be my suggestion. Write back what you might add and also what your beverages are and how long the party will last, and I will help you figure amounts.
Thanks, Ellen. The party is scheduled to run from 5:00 to 8:00. Now that you say it, adding something in the way of fruit makes sense. I may throw together a big fruit salad. We all like the cream cheese layered Mexican dip, but that's pretty time intensive, too. The warm dip is a crock pot thing that can be put together well ahead of time, as can the spinach dip. I'm looking forward to fussing over the minicheese cakes - that's my biggest questions in terms of amounts. (I want ot make choco chip ones with Oreo crusts and plain ones with graham cracker crusts.) I'm also famous for my homemade kettle corn. Maybe that could be a filler? Thanks for whatever advice you can give. Sorry for the ramble...
I would make 1 of each flavor cheesecake per person. Kettle corn is a fine idea; allow 1 cup ready to eat per person. A queso dip in a crock pot would be fine, allow 1/4 cup per person.
Hello! We are having a graduation party and serving the following food. I'm wondering if I've bought enough: Pulled pork 60#, rigatoni 10# uncooked noodles with 10# hamburger, meatballs 50# with 3 different types of sauce. Grape salad 40# grapes, pasta salad (someone is making this for me) Pickles 3 gals. olives 8# & cheese cubes 18#. Chips, pretzels & cake. We are thinking there may be 325 +/-people, but possibly not because of other parties on same day. Thank you.
Margaret, you may very well run out, especially of pork and pasta. You don't mention rolls, condiments. How long and what time of day the party???
Hi Ellen- I am hosting a grad party on a friday night for 4 hours. We are expecting 70 people(mostly adults) Our menu consist of:
Broasted chicken
Mostacoli (with/without meat)
Tossed salad
Fruit salad
Pasta salad
sheet cake/homemade cakes, cookies
can you tell me how much of each I should make and if this is too much pasta?? Thanks in advance!
Sue again
I am also having meatballs, mexican dip and veggies for an appetizer
It is not too much pasta.

For this simple dinner menu, just use 3/4 of the amounts for 100 posted in the plan for 100 menu, the fruit tray page and the dessert planning page. You might also need the beverage planning page. You can post your estimates and I will check them for you.

meatballs, 3 ounces per person (1 pound per 5);mexican dip, 1/4 cup per person; and veggies, see the veggie tray page

Do you think I need a bigger variety of items? Roasted potatoes or something? Thank you!
Hi Ellen -- Having a grad party for 200
fried chicken (breast and thigh)(300 pieces)
Pulled Beef Sandwiches (640 oz pre cooked)
Garden Salad (10 bowls serve 20 ea)
Pasta rotini salad (50 lbs)
Fruit trays (12 trays -serve 20 ea)
Sandwich/assorted rolls

How do my amounts seem ??
Practical. You might add one other side dish (beans, potato salad, slaw, 3 bean salad?) if it is teens/ college age. They eat a lot.
Hi stumbled upon this-- hoping you can help-- having a grad party maybe 100 people-- mix of adults and teens serving the following-- meatballs, sausage with peppers and onions, rolls (for sandwiches) rigatoni, tossed salad, potato salad,chips and dip, fruit tray and dip-- cake-- how much of each should I have and is it enough variety?? Thanks!!!
Hi, Dawn
All the items on this nice menu are covered in my articles and tables, so normally I would ask you to use them to make an estimate, then post it; but you got lucky, there is only the one request this morning (usually 8-20), so here is what I would do, assuming it is over a meal time and a 3-4 hour party:

meatballs, 1 pound per 4, about 1 quart sauce per 6 pounds
sausage with peppers and onions, 1 poiund sausage per 4-5, equal weight veggies

rolls (for sandwiches), 2 per person regular (because of the teens; you will have some left)

You need sandwich fixings, see the sandwich event page.

rigatoni, 1 pound dry per 8

tossed salad, see plan for 100 table
potato salad, see plan for 100 table

chips and dip, 8-12 pounds (depends on the crowd and corn chips weigh more than potato; 1/3 cup dip per person

fruit tray and dip, see fruit tray page, 1/4 cup dip per person

cake see dessert planning page. asically, a 2 layer sheet cake or about 8-10 regular

If I were adding anything, it might be a relish tray or marinated bean/veggie tray or salad, about 3 gallons.
I have a wedding party for 150 person. how many pounds of cheese straws do i need for the wedding
At least 2 ounces per person if that is the only cracker type bite.
I'm having a dessert only grad party for my daughter. We've ordered 8 dozen cupcakes, but I need to know how much more to get of various other desserts.
Debbie, how many guests and what beverages?
Ellen im having a graduation party for my son in two weeks on a saturday at a park 3;00 till 9:oo. there will be approximately 200 people with an additional 40-50 kids dropping by. there are several other parties that my guests may be attending that day. Im serving chicken -174 pieces
300 chicken wings
100 hot sausauge and rolls
roaster of ziti
roaster of noodles and cabbage
240 perogies
fruit salad, broccoli salad, pasta salad cake, cupcakes and about 650 cookies
are my amounts about right should i add or subtract foods my son still wants macroni and cheese
Sharon, this menu is very, very light if you are expecting that many people. When the party lasts more than 3-4 hours, many people eat twice. And teens tend to eat a full amount, even when they just drop in.

Usual for chicken is at least 1 piece per person, more if there are lots of legs involved. Usual for wings is 5-6 pieces per person. 3 gallons for each of the salads per 100 (you would have nearly 300).

Also, one roaster holds enough for about 60-70 people, so you are looking at about 4 roasters of each side dish.

Cookies, 3-4 per person unless they are large, even with the cupcakes.

Hope this helps you plan.

I am planning my daughters party for July and have decided to do taco bar and tex mex theme for about 130 people. I would like to have tacos(obviously)with the fixings, some type of enchilada, nachos, virgin margarita and sangria and soda as well. I'm not sure how much to buy for the drinks and also am having some difficulty finding recipes to cook for that many people. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
The taco bar for 100 page and the other texmex for 100 pages on this site should solve your problem; do 1 1/3 times the amount for 100.

The beverage planning page will help for the beverages. Treat the Margaritas like a punch.

I am planning my son's grad party for about 350 people. It will be from 1:00-4:00 pm. He wants to have appetizers, and I have been looking at the site to try to calculate amounts. Could you take a look and see if I'm missing anything?

Nachos Bar:
Tostada Chips - 28 lbs.
Cheese Dip - 6 gallons
Chili - 10 gallons
Jalapeno slices - ??

Chicken wings - 125 lbs.
Popcorn - 350 c.
Chex Mix - ??
Relishes - 100 lbs. total
Ranch dip - 6 gallons

I also plan to order a sheet cake, and serve coffee, root beer, and lemonade.

Any advice on cooking that many wings? Thanks!

Baking the wings works, and is the only practical approach for this many. Many good oven recipes on the web.

Allow about 1/4 cup chex mix per person.

1 gallons jalapeno slices per 100.

The cheese is close; 3 #10 cans per 100 is the minimum. I would buy extra chips, just don't open and return if not used; 1 pound per 10.

Fruit trays would be a great addition. Since it is mid afternoon, trays for 200 would be enough.

I am planning a Graduation reception for my son following the ceremony. Two other close friends are having theirs at the same time so most of our invites will be going to at least these other two receptions. After looking at your last post I am feeling like my menu is going to be way too light. My husband still feels like it is fine and doesn't want to overdo. We are planning on around 225 with around 50 of those being high school friends. I was planning on:

400 boneless chicken wings
200 baked potato's (bar with butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon)
100 celery sticks
fruit salad (5 to 6 gallon bags)
100 dirt puddings
100 gourmet cupcakes
2 lg. pans chocolate chip bars (friend making)
small candy buffe mix in with the desserts
Pop, water and juice pouches

My questions are, should I maybe add at meat for the potato bar, such as chili or bbq topping? Am I way short on wings? Do I need to add more items to my menu? How may different candies should I incorporate into the dessert table?

For 250 people, they will eat about 6 pieces of wings each, no kidding!

Yes, adding a meaty topping would be a great choice for the potato bar, see the potato bar page for help with amounts.

The celery sticks are just hanging out there. I would plan 2 ounces assorted veggies per person, 1/4 cup Ranch dip per person.

You will likely be way short on desserts, the teens will take at least 2, and so will some of the others. I would plan at least 400 servings of desserts.

About 6 types of candies for this many people.

Planning grad party. Pig roast buns on side rigatonis, cheesy pot, baked beans, lettuce salad. Having a variety of bars along with sheet cake and fresh fruit. Looking at 150 guests ages 18-60. Will this be enough food or is there something else i should add thats hot. Oh and i will also have a cpl dips with chips, and pikles. thanks
Lisa, how big a pig? What amount of side dishes? More info, please.
Hi Ellen,

I am planning a graduation party for 200 people with a mix of adults and teens. I'm serving multiple meat items and I do not have a clue about how much to prepare. The menu consists of the following:

Ribs (20 slabs)
Grilled Chicken (?legs or wings - how many?)
Chicken Skewers
Hamburgers/Buns (100)
Hot Dogs/Rolls (100)
Pasta Salad (12 lbs.)
Baked Beans
Green Beans

If time permits, specific quantities would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I forgot to mention that the party is from 6-11 p.m.
Ribs (20 slabs)- no idea the weight. If these are full size, consider having the butcher split them across the bones into halves, then cut apart after cooking
Grilled Chicken (?legs or wings - how many?)- legs are cheaper- nice with a teriyaki marinade- 1 per person
Chicken Skewers-skip- trouble and duplicate legs
Hamburgers/Buns (100)-OK dont forget fixings- see sandwich page
Hot Dogs/Rolls (100)- not necessary, skip, or get just a few pounds of Polish sausage or kielbasa
Pasta Salad (12 lbs.)12 pounds dry pasta- you need about 8 gallons
Baked Beans-about 6-7 gallons
Green Beans- about 40 pound (8 #10 cans, or 3 times Ellen's better green bean casserole on the Big Pots page.
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Grad part for 175-200, family and friends, mix of ages

Menu is Picnic buffet from 11-2

hot dogs with toppings/buns (vegan dogs, too)
Potato chips
Potato salad
pasta salad
Ramen noodle cabbage salad (maybe)
Baked beans
watermelon wedges
Lemonade (frozen to mix)
Ice water
Sheet cake from bakery

How much for quantities of each item?
Best brand/kind of hot dogs? Where to purchase?
Best way to cook and keep dogs hot?

Thanks much for your help!

Nathans or Hebrew National by far the best hot dogs, at least 2 per person

Lengthy discussion on cooking on hot dog thread

Potato chips 1 1/2 ounce per person, 1/4 cup dip per person
Potato salad- 35 pounds potatoes per 100 plus fixings
pasta salad-6 pounds dry pasta per 100
Ramen noodle cabbage salad (maybe)- do slaw if not- 20 pounds cabbage or mixed veggies per 100
Baked beans- 3 gallons per 100
watermelon wedges- at least 1/2 pound per person
Lemonade (frozen to mix) 10 gallons per 100, have some sugar free
Ice water
Coffee- dinner level for adults, see beverage planning page
Sheet cake from bakery- sheet serves 50 get double layer sheets (serve 100-120)

Thanks for your response. I guess I should have asked many people to expect when we invited about 230 people to the open house?

And, I'm changing the hot dogs to shredded pork, with BBQ sauce on the side. I will also have a 10-12 serving recipe of vegan tempeh sloppy joes. The rest of the menu will be the same.

I am planning on:

-75-80 pounds of (raw) pork roast, and 300 turkey many oz. of BBQ sauce variety as a condiment?

-30 10 1/2 oz. bags of potato chips

-My mom has offered to make the family recipe potato salad, but my guess is that it will only be 2 to 2 1/2 gallon ice cream buckets worth. How much more should I purchase from a deli?

-I will do 10 lbs. dry pasta to make pasta salad with veggies and Italian dressing

-40 lbs. both vinegar (which recipe do you recommend?) and creamy Cole slaw (store bought dressing) many average heads of cabbage would that be?

-6 gallons baked many 7 lb. 5 oz. cans would that be??

-8 to 10 18-25 lb. watermelons

-20 gallons lemonade; water, plain ice tea, coffee as needed

-sheet cake pre-scored for 192 servings

I think that's all...I appreciate your response!

Caterers advise that about 85% of the invited number generally show up

-75-80 pounds of (raw) pork roast, and 300 turkey many oz. of BBQ sauce variety as a condiment? 1/4 cup per person, but also, put some on the meat when you shred it and freeze it- it picks up flavor and volume and reheats more easily.

-30 10 1/2 oz. bags of potato chips-OK

-My mom has offered to make the family recipe potato salad, but my guess is that it will only be 2 to 2 1/2 gallon ice cream buckets worth. How much more should I purchase from a deli? about 4 gallons

-40 lbs. both vinegar (which recipe do you recommend?) and creamy Cole slaw (store bought dressing) many average heads of cabbage would that be? There are great slaw recipes on this site for 100 for both types. cabbage varies from 1- 2 pounds per head

-6 gallons baked many 7 lb. 5 oz. cans would that be?? 4 #10 cans is 3 gallons

If this saves you time and money, consider donating to support the site.

I am planning a grad party with approx 200 guests.

We are planning on:

120 lbs baby back ribs,
250 pieces fried chicken,
30 lbs of italian sausage (w/peppers and onions on rolls),
8 lbs pesto penne pasta served cold,
8 lbs orzo salad,
cheesy potatoes (from 30 lbs hashbrowns)
roasted veggies (served room temp)
garden salad

How do my quantities look? Thanks.

graduation 60-70 people, how are the numbers?:)

100 piece chicken
12 boxes rigatoni
48 hot dogs
shredded cheese potatoes. not sure quantity?
baked beans
fruit salad
your help would be awesome!!!

Maragret, you amounts look great

Areli, your numbers are fine, here is the rest:
shredded cheese potatoes. not sure quantity?
baked beans
both are on the plan for 100 list, use 2/3
fruit salad- use the fruit tray page. Trays hold better, look pretty and the leftovers are more usable
rolls- 8-9 pounds, 2 pounds butter

Hi Ellen
having a grad party w/ mixed ages for 120
chicken 200 pieces having delivered

meatball sandwich 3-4 meatballs/sandwich
rigatoni w/ just sauce
mac and cheese
potatoe salad > 35lbs of pototoes
fruit salad >6 gallons
toss salad 40lbs
bean salad enough for 60
beans and hotdogs 4cans of 7lbs 2oz w/ 8lbs of hotdogs

how much mac and cheese and rigatoni
dry pasta would you recommend ?

how do my quantites look ?

Appreciate any other tips
Your help would be great

120 people- this may be too much food

meatball sandwich- 3-4 meatballs/sandwich- 100 rolls, about 25 pounds meatballs
beans and hotdogs- 4 cans of 7lbs 2oz w/ 8lbs of hotdogs

rigatoni w/ just sauce-skip- with beans and mac already plenty starch
mac and cheese- 10 pounds dry mac, equal amount cheese

potato salad- 35lbs of potatoes, OK
fruit salad- 6 gallons- 4 plenty, consider fruit trays
toss salad- 40lbs too much- 25 pounds
bean salad enough for 60- OK

how much mac and cheese and rigatoni
dry pasta would you recommend ?

graduation party
we are having a grad. party for about 120 people. on the menu is, pulled pork sandwiches, fried chicken, pasta dish, stuffed cabbage, cheesy potatoes, parsley potatoes baked beans, three bean salad,fruit salad, garden salad, cupcakes, cookies, pretzel jello. i dont know how much of the three bean salad to make. thanks for your help.
3 gallons.
we are having a wedding for about 400 is hot beef &cold ham sandwiches,chicken wings meatballs cheesy potatoes baked beans pasta salad vetables &dip celery carrots radish cucmbers, 2 kinds of cheese balls meat & cheese wraps pickles & olives chips.could you please help me out on how much food I will need. Thanks
Tammi Campbell
I am planning a graduation party for my son and will have approx 30 people there. My menu will consist of the following:
chicken - 50 piece
meatball hoagies -
rigatonis (sauce only)
baked beans
cheese potatoes
macaroni salad
linguini salad
buffalo chicken dip
veggie tray
deviled eggs - 3 doz
chips and dip
cake and ice creams
Can you tell me how many meatball and sauce should I make?
How many pounds of rigatoni noodles and sauce do I cook?
30 people

chicken - 50 piece- 40 plenty
meatball hoagies - 1 pound meatballs per 4, 4 rolls per pound
rigatonis (sauce only)-3 pounds dry, 1 quart sauce per pound

I am planning my son's graduation party beginning at 2 p.m. and I want to be sure I have plenty of food for approximately 40 people.

Meatballs on Football Rolls
Sausage and Peppers
Fruit Salad
Pasta Salad
Garden Salad
Fruit Salad

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mini Cheesecake
Half of Sheet Cake

Planning small graduation party for 40 people:
How does my menu look to you?
Mostly adults.

Sausage and pappers 8lbs. sausage - 1 gallon peppers
Meatballs 8 lbs.
Parsley potatoes 2 gallons
Bsked beans 1 gallon
Baked ziti 3 lbs. dry
Hard rolls 5 dz.
Pasta salad
Fruit salad large.
Green beans with loose sausage and sauce 2gal
soda, water, coffee

Re: Graduation party above for 40 people
Friend offered to make 5 lbs. of potato salad
Also having chips and dips
Marge, this is plenty of food. Mid afternoon is not quite as heavy a mealtime
Meatballs on Football Rolls- 1 pound meatballs per 4
Sausage and Peppers- 1 pound sausage per 5, equal weight veggies
Rolls, 1.2-1.5 per person- depends on whether they are heavy eaters

See fruit tray page for Fruit Salad

Use the plan for 100 lists for these; 4/10 the amount for 100
Pasta Salad
Garden Salad

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mini Cheesecake
Half of Sheet Cake

Charlotte, nice, but you only need about 1 1/2 gallons green beans, and a couple more pounds of meatballs wouldn't hurt.

First Bday Party- HELP!
First Bday Party in 2 weeks.
Approx 60 guests plus 25 kids under age 10. Please advise how much of each item I should prepare:
Hot Dogs
sausage & Peppers/onions

Pasta Salad
Baked Beans
Potato Salad
Cole Slaw

Will have a cake, cookies, fruit tray for dessert as well as chips/pretzels, veggie tray for pickies.

Count this as 75 and you will have some leftovers.

See plan for 100 and use 3/4 of each:
Pasta Salad
Baked Beans
Potato Salad
Cole Slaw

Burgers- consider meatballs instead, kids love them, they can be done ahead and the sandwich fixings are the same for both (see sandwich page for amounts of condiments)
Hot Dogs- about 30- you will have some left
sausage & Peppers/onions- 1 pound sausage per 4-5 adults equal weight peppers

I am having 50th B-day party for fiancee. 75 invited; unsure how many will show. 80% adults

6-lb dry Rigatoni w your recipe for 100 spaghatti sauce (like lots of sauce)
100 pieces Chx strips
Large toss salad w Ital and Ranch dressings
roaster of baked beans
roaster cheesy potatoes
10 lb Baked sliced ham
3 lb sliced American cheese
Rolls for sandwichs
Large condiment platter (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles onions, etc)
3 loaves Italian bread
1/2 sheet cake with cupcakes to equal another 1/2 sheet.
Variety of chips and multiple flavored dips
11 2-liters of soda
2-kegs beer

Do I have enough? Is this enough rigatoni? Any suggestions? As like everyone, want the perfect party!

Time 4 pm until food and beverages are done. Have the rental hall until 11:00 pm. There will be DJ to entertain.
Oops! I plan on cutting your spaghetti recipe in 1/2. I don't want dry rigatoni. Family likes sauce to pour over.
Maryann, the timing from 4-11 pm suggests you should do a 2 part meal- a 5 pm meal and then an 8 or 9 snack.

6-lb dry Rigatoni w your recipe for 100 spaghatti sauce (like lots of sauce)- I would do at least 8 pounds, at most 3 gallons of sauce (2 is the usual)
100 pieces Chx strips-if you are planning for 75, you need 150 chicken strips
Large toss salad w Ital and Ranch dressings-see the plan for 100 page
roaster of baked beans- 3 gallons per 100, so at least 2 1/2 gallons
roaster cheesy potatoes- do for 50, see the recipe and discussion at the bottom of the family brunch page

3 loaves Italian bread- at least 7 pounds
1/2 sheet cake with cupcakes to equal another 1/2 sheet. Only 50 servings- you need a 2 layer 1/2 sheet with the cupcakes

10 lb Baked sliced ham- 12
3 lb sliced American cheese- 5
Rolls for sandwiches- 80
Large condiment platter (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles onions, etc)-see classic relish tray on the veggie tray page, and see the condiment section on the sandwich page

Variety of chips and multiple flavored dips- 1 pound chips per 10 plus 1/4 cup each dip per person for up to 3 dips

11 2-liters of soda- see the discussion on the beverage planning page- at least 20 for this 7 hour party
2-kegs beer- a keg is 160 glasses, most per drinkers drink 1 per hour
Iced tea- 10 gallons

Retreat -
I am planning for 50 people for treat in November.

I would like to know how much should I buy/cook.

Simple meatball spaghetti.
Toss salad and Garlic bread.

Please advise.

Many thanks,

Hi Ellen,

I need your help for two things I am doing this weekend.

#1 Meatball hoagies for 50 - how much burger and how much sauce will I need. I figured about 8 pds of burger, not sure with sauce.

#2 I am planning a hot luncheon for 60 mixed families. We are having ham, mashed potatoes and green beans. How much do I need of each? I hope you can help me out.

Thanking you in advance,

Burger is OK if someone serves the meatballs- when people help themselves, they take more.

For the ham meal, if there are 10 or more children under 12, do 1/2 the amount for 100 under the plan for 100 table. If there are teens or mostly adults, do 2/3 the amount for 100.

Kim, do the meal for 50-60 at the bottom of the spaghetti page
Sports Dinner for 100 people
I am helping organize a sports dinner for 100 people. Attendees will be adults and teenagers

We were planning on serving:

Rolls with butter
Rigatoni or spaghetti with red sauce
Sausage Peppers and Onions
Chicken Parmesian

Salad - 5 large trays
Probably making about 120 meatballs
Probably making 110 pieces of chicken parm
Sausage Peppers and Onions - 7 - 1/2 trays
Rigatoni - 12 pounds

Just wanted to know your interpretation as to how much so we don't undercook or overcook.

Will be using 1/2 size trays and large trays for the salad.

Thank you.

Sports dinner continued
Forgot to tell you that we will be serving the food.

Everyone will get one meatball and one chicken parm. We are actually getting 2 pieces of chicken parm out of each cutlet.

Sausage - 12 sausauges per tray and cut up on a diagonal slice

Thanks for your help.

Hi, Peggy,

If this is adults and teens, I strongly suggest you add two how vegetables or one veg and a fruit garnish, otherwise there will not be enough food on the plate to satisfy the teens.

You want about 20 pounds of sausage.

Veg, broccoli first choice, 24 pounds ready to cook.

See the plan for 100 list for notes about the salad dressing.

Allow 2 rolls per person, 3 pounds butter.

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Rigationi And Meatballs
How much rigatoni and meatballs do I need for a baby shower of 125 people? I was asked to make this for the baby shower. Thank you.
How much rigatoni and meatballs do I need for a baby shower of 125 people? I was asked to make this for the baby shower. Thank you.
See the baked sausage mozzarella supper for a crowd on the spaghetti page. These quantities are right for 120 if you add salad, bread, maybe a vegetable, and dessert.
I am planning a Graduation Party for my daugther, she has picked her favorite foods for the menu. There will be about 150 people of all ages. What should the quantities be?
Sweet and Sour Chicken, Meatballs and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Pasta Salad, Toss Salad and Fried Rice. There will also be a Sundae Bar and Fruit Tree. Thanks
OK, this menu is a two to 3 kitchen event- do you have neighbors or family to help cooking and storage wise?

Sweet and Sour Chicken, raw chicken meat, 1 pound per 4
Meatballs and Gravy, 1 pound per 4

Mashed Potatoes, about 50 pounds raw, you can use the make ahead recipe for freezable holdable potatoes on the Big Pots page
Fried Rice, start with 8 pounds rice
You will have some of one of these left, but there is no telling which one

Pasta Salad- 6 pounds dry pasta
Toss Salad- use the plan for 100 list, make 1 1/2 times the amount

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please consider a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

We're expecting 70 for graduation open house, 3:30 til who knows. Most people will visit several homes. My daughter wants finger food, mostly appetizers I've done before - pinwheels and bacon-wrapped items. She also likes ham but doesn't want the basic ham sandwiches. Any suggestions of what else I could do with ham?
What about hot ham and cheese on little slider buns? Or deviled ham with crackers?
How much deli meat for 150 teens and adults for graduation party 4 - 6:30 pm on day of many other parties?

Plan to make the sandwiches in the kitchen on mountain rolls and put on tray for them to take.

also how much cheese?

Hi Ellen,

I'm having my son's graduation party on a Saturday from 2-7pm and would like some input on how much food I will need. I invited approximately 180 people.

These items we are ordering from Famous Dave's;
pulled chicken-19 lbs
jalapeno Macaroni and cheese-15 quarts
coleslaw-15 quarts
corn bread muffins-180 muffins

These items I will be providing;
Pulled pork
beans-not sure what kind yet
veggie tray
fruit tray
chips and dip
lemonade, soda, beer and wine coolers

Is there anything else you think I'm missing. Variety of ages from toddlers to elderly.

Sarah, so sorry I missed this- I would have done 2 small rolls per person, using the reception level fillings on the sandwich page.
Hi, Ann,

For 180 people, I would tweak the Dave's order .

pulled chicken-19 lbs- OK, none left
jalapeno Macaroni and cheese-15 quarts
Add 3 plain 9x13 (you could make these) for the people who don't eat peppers
coleslaw-15 quarts- cuts it very close- consider a couple more
corn bread muffins-180 muffins
Add 12 pounds bread or rolls 4-5 pounds butter

These items I will be providing;
Pulled pork- at least 35 pounds raw boneless
beans-not sure what kind yet- 14 pounds dry, about 6 gallons. Have at least some meatless for the non-meat eaters.
veggie tray- How about 2 classic relish trays plus salad for 100 from the veggie tray page
fruit tray- Do 1 1/2 the deluxe tray for 100, or 1 deluxe tray and 2 25 person simple from the fruit tray page
chips- 1 pound per 10
dip- 1 cup per 5, you could do slasa and a creamy dip.
Add sandwich fixings (lettuce, onions, pickles etc) for 150, see the sandwich page

lemonade, 12 gallons
soda, 1 per person 20 or under- divide as suggested on the beverage page
beer, amounts in a keg discussed on the beverage page. Average beer drinker drinks 4 12 ounce servings..
wine coolers- consider the High Wire white wine sangria on this site, cheaper and tastes better

cake- double layer full sheet cake serves 100.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please consider a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

Thank you so much for your input Ellen. It is very helpful.
I made a donation to thank you for your time:)
Hi Ellen!!!
Having graduation on Saturday.... This is my 3rd one, but a totally different menu than others. I need some advice on he menu portions. Expecting approx. 150-180 mixed ages from 11:30am to 3:00pm.
Sloppy joes
Electric roaster shredded cheesy potatoes (18 &20 qt sizes)
Fresh fruit
Rainbow rotini pasta salad
Broccoli supreme salad
Lemonade & coffee

How many pounds ground beef & fruit? How many pounds shredded hash browns & how many roasters to use?
How many gallons of each salad? Thank you!!

Roaster alert!!! You have too many roasters planned- you can only plug in one roaster per room or circuit.

Do sloppy joes per the recipe on site

Fruit per the fruit tray page, 1 1/2 times the deluxe fruit tray.

Hash browns, see the recipe on the breakfast planning page. Full help on amounts.

Pasta salad, 6 pounds dry pasta per 100 plus add-ins

Broccoli salad, 16 pounds per 100

I am having a grad party this weekend for my son. Invited a little over 100 guests (mostly adults). I am serving:

Hot Dogs
Sloppy Joes
Pasta Salad
Cole Slaw
Baked Beans
Fruit Salad
Pop & Water

Any suggestions on how much to make?
Thank you.

100 sloppy joes (about 18 pounds meat)
60 hot dogs
buns to match
sauerkraut, pickles onions, etc, see the sandwich page condiment table.

Pasta Salad- start with 6-7 pounds dry pasta
Cole Slaw- 2 1/2 gallons
Baked Beans- 3 gallons
Corn-on-the-Cob- 2 ears per each 3 people, broken in half; 3 pounds butter
Fruit Salad- do fruit trays, easier, prettier, hold better and the leftovers are more useful. See fruit tray page
Cake- 2 layer full sheet serves 100
Cookies- about 2 per person
Pop & Water- 2 bottles of water
Soda is discussed on the beverage planning page, both amounts and what flavors/types. You will save some money if you add 6 gallons of iced tea (2 unsweetened) and 4-6 of lemonade; it will cut down the soda by at least 1/3

By the way, Dawn, if this saves you time, trouble, or money, consider a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.
Hi Ellen,

I am throwing my first graduation party for my daughter. Sat. from 4-6. Invite will probably be around 200, but from what I've read, plan on about 85% showing.
We are going with a spagetti theme.
What do you think about this:
Spagetti with marinara sauce on side and meatballs in a crock pot if people would like.
Bread sticks
Some type of salad (is tossed to plain?)
cake. or cupcakes.
I have no idea how much of anything I need. I believe there will be 4 grad partys that day, so some peolpe won't be starving. Do I need another option, such as alfredo sauce?
Should I do penne pasta too?
Also, what do you suggest I do to help keep the noodles from being sticky?
Thanks for any help.

Hi Ellen,

I am throwing my first graduation party for my daughter. Sat. from 4-6. Invite will probably be around 200, but from what I've read, plan on about 85% showing.
We are going with a spagetti theme.
What do you think about this:
Spagetti with marinara sauce on side and meatballs in a crock pot if people would like.
Probalby should have some fruit too. Beer, water, pop, lemonade for drinks.
Bread sticks
Some type of salad (is tossed to plain?)
cake. or cupcakes.
I have no idea how much of anything I need. I believe there will be 4 grad partys that day, so some peolpe won't be starving. Do I need another option, such as alfredo sauce?
Should I do penne pasta too?
Also, what do you suggest I do to help keep the noodles from being sticky?
Thanks for any help.

OK, so 175.

spagetti theme.

marinara sauce on side
meatballs in a crock pot- you need a roaster, not a crock pot, due to amounts. Holds at 200-220 degrees.
See the spaghetti dinner for 50-60 at the bottom of the spaghetti page. 3 times the amounts would be about right.
You could do 2/3 red and 1/3 Alfredo style sauce- the Alfredo style sauce recipe on the spaghetti page holds well.
Sticky noodles are discussed there. Penne holds better and is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
Don't forget the Parmesan.

Bread sticks,Salad both discussed in the dinner discussion. You could add one classic relish tray from the veggie tray page.

Probably should have some fruit too. 1 1/2 times the deluxe tray for 100 from the fruit tray page would be ample.

Beer, full keg is about 160 servings
water, 2 bottles per person, buy cases where unopened cases can be returned
lemonade, 6-8 gallons, frozen concentrate is excellent
You could skip pop and do iced tea- about 12 gallons, 1/3 unsweetened for drinks.
If you do soda, do for 100, use the guide on the beverage planning page.

cake or cupcakes
A full sheet cake serves 60. You could do 3 sheets or 3 2 layer half sheets in 3 different flavors-
OR do 1 cupcake per person if all one flavor, or about 95 each if 2 flavors

Hi ellen,
My daughters graduation party is set and we're looking at around 200-250 guests. Well she has a particular menu she wants me to follow and this is what she would like. Only my brain is overwhelmed trying to crunch the numbers. This is where i could use your help. PLEASE!!!

Pulled pork sandwiches
Cheesy potatoes
Baked beans
corn on the cob (cooler method style)
potato salad
taco dip w/ chips
cake or cupcakes
root beer kegs!!!

No worries. You want to plan for 250, unless you want to order pizza or chicken delivered if you run out...

Pulled pork sandwiches
1 pound ready to eat per 4, 5 rolls per 5, or 10 slider rolls per pound.
Have 2 dozen vegetarian sausages or patties, such as field roast, boca, or mornin star, for the non-meat eaters; there will be some.

Cheesy potatoes- 3-4 full roaster pans. See the recipe at the bottom of the breakfast planning page.
Baked beans- 3 gallons per 100, have a crock of meatless for the vegetarians

corn on the cob (cooler method style)-do halves, 1 piece per person plus 10%. 3 pounds butter per 100 and some sprinkle on Parm- 2 pounds per 100

Coleslaw- 2 1/2 gallons per 100
potato salad- 4 gallons per 100

taco dip w/ chips, 1 cup salsa per 3 plus 1 pound chips per 10-12

cake or cupcakes- full sheet serves 50-60, so 2 layer full sheet serves about 100-120, and 2 full sheets in 2 different flavors would be plenty.

root beer kegs- full keg makes about 160 glasses, so 3-4. Suggest you also have 6-8 gallons unsweetened ice tea for adults or non-sugar folks, and maybe 2 cases of sugar free cans.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

single mom on tight
I'm trying to plan for 200-300 drop in and out guests for graduation and keep the food at $200 or less. Good Luck. Right!
A sandwich
A salad or chips
Mini cupcake
Want to keep life simple. Problem being the family staying for the entire event. How do I know I have enough for them?
Thought about fruit salad or pasta salad as a filler but really want pulled pork as the sandwich so the salad needs to be less expensive than what fresh fruit is.
Mom, I hear your budget concerns, but you can't do any kind of sandwich meal for $1 per person. Either switch to a 2 hour reception, or cut guest list to allow at least $3-4 per person. Please write back your choices.
Hi! We are having a high school graduation party. Inviting around 400 - do we expect 1/2 will show? Son wants Italian meatballs in sauce, bread, veggie tray, fruit and small cake but then have a cookie bar. Do I need to do pasta or meatballs and bread ok? I'm just worked about keeping pasta fresh . Also don't know how much food to actually get.
I forgot to tell you in the previous post it's on a Sunday from noon to 3.
For ordinary parties, 85% show. Grad parties depends on what other parties are going on at that time. I need the start and end times of the party to help with the estimates.
It's on a Sunday from noon- 3
Our party is on a Sat. from 3-7 p.m. Many of the guest will have been to a number of other parties earlier, but only 2 other parties at this time. Approximately 250 guests (varying ages). I have read to plan on a total of 1# of food per guest. Do you think that seems about right? I am on grad party #2 (had way too much food for #1) and want to be a bit more on target. I have 80# of chicken wings (over 500 pieces), 20# of beef/pork to make into meatballs (weight doesn't include the bread crumbs, onion, egg, milk, spice)- planning on 1 oz raw weight. Rounding out the menu with potato and pasta salad, maybe a sweet salad, cheese and crackers, carrots and celery, ranch, blue cheese, and BBQ for dipping. Most likely a tomato based sauce and a gravy for the meatballs, cupcakes, bars, and chocolate fountain for sweets. Lemonade, Tea, coffee, water, soda, beer for drinks. Main you think that the 1# food weight is accurate?
Planning grad party for 300 plus 50 graduates. I need to know the quantities for the menu . Party starts at. 2:00 till 8:00
Pulled beef
Pulled pork
Barbecued chicken (requested smaller pieces)
Sandwich rolls
Pasta salad
Potato salad
Broccoli salad
Cottage potatoes
Tossed salad
Baked beans
Pepperoni and cheese
Fruit for trays
Chicken wing Dip
Tortilla chips
Bruschetta with. Toasted bread
Pop and bottled water thank you for your hekp
Hi! I'm going to try this again. We are having my sons graduation open house on a Sunday from 12-3. I'm thinking it will be for about 250 people. My son loves italian meatballs so I will have those in roasters with sauce. He wants Vienna bread, salad and/ or veggie tray, and fruit bowl. We are also going to have small cake and a cookie bar. Beverages pop and water. I am thinking about maybe doing milk by the cookies. Is this enough. I would rather not deal with pasta. Should I do salad and veggie trays? Any suggestions would be welcome and also suggestions for amounts would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

Italian meatballs, 1 pound per 4
You really do need a starch- how about simple roaster rice pilaf- see baked rice recipe in the recipe box
Vienna bread, 12 pounds per 100
salad and/ or veggie tray, salad easier, see plan for 100, has dressing amounts also
fruit bowl- use fruit trays, hold better and leftovers more useful, see the fruit tray page
All the buttons are on top of the main cook talk page.

Milk- chocolate is very popular- 1 gallon per 20, as not all will take it.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

Fallnleaf, yes, for a midafternoon party, 1 pound edible food is standard. 250 people.

80# of chicken wings (over 500 pieces), OK, none left
20# of beef/pork to make into meatballs (weight doesn't include the bread crumbs, onion, egg, milk, spice)- planning on 1 oz raw weight. Might increase to 25 pounds- make small. total 3 quarts sauce per each 10 pounds total weight made meatballs, you decide the tomato/gravy split.

potato salad, 90 pounds potatoes
pasta salad, 12 pounds pasta
maybe a sweet salad, skip, or do something interesting like a broccoli slaw or corn and black bean salsa, 2 gallons per 100

cheese, 20 pounds
crackers, 12 pounds
carrots and celery, 1 ounce each per person, but you might trade out some of the celery for cauliflower, grape tomatoes, etc.
ranch, blue cheese, and BBQ for dipping. allow about 2 tablespoons ranch, 1 tablespoon each of the others per person

cupcakes, 1 per person, if no cake on the chocolate fountain, and I strongly recommend no cake on the fountain, see the full article on chocolate fountains for why
bars, 2 small assorted per person

chocolate fountain, use the article on this site as a guide. I am not kidding about it needing a full time attendant.

Lemonade, 12 gallons
Tea, 16 gallons, 1/3 unsweetened with sweet packets
soda, for 100, see the beverage planning page
about 1/2 pound ice per person

beer, keg has 160 servings, 3 per beer drinker
coffee, dinner level for the estimated number of coffee drinkers, from the beverage page.
water, 2 bottles per person, buy from a place you can return unopened cases.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

Carol, this is over 500 pounds of food. Be aware that most caterers use 4 people in the kitchen and 20+ people on the floor to set up, serve, and clean up this many people.

Pulled beef
Pulled pork
Total of 1 pound for each 4 people, you decide the split; usually 5/3 beef to pork
Meatballs- 1 pound per 5-6
Barbecued chicken (requested smaller pieces)- 1 small piece per person
Sandwich rolls- 1.2 per person
See sandwich page for condiment, pickles, onions, etc for 100

Pasta salad- 6 pounds dry pasta per 100
Potato salad- 100 pounds of potatoes
Broccoli salad- 7 gallons
Tossed salad- use the plan for 100 page, do fro 300. Dressings are covered. However, with the pulled meats, you might do slaw instead, 3 gallons per 100

Cottage potatoes about 100 pounds of potatoes
Baked beans about 10 gallons

Pepperoni and cheese, 25 pounds each (could skip pepperoni- you have a lot of meat- and increase cheese to 35 pounds
Fruit for trays- use fruit tray page, do for 250
Crackers, 6 pounds per 100
Chips, Tortilla chips; 1 pound per 15, you decide the split
Chicken wing Dip, 1 cup per 4 persons
add a salsa or other dip, 1 cup per 5 persons
Bruschetta with Toasted bread

Pop- use beverage opage for amounts and flavors per each 100
bottled water- 2 bottles per person, buy from somewhere you can return unopened cases.
about 1/2 pound ice per person if glasses

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

We are having a graduation party for our daughter 1-5 pm. She wanted a "dip bar" with dippable things. Think veggies/dip, fruit kabobs, hummus and pita wedges, spinach dip and artichoke dip with Hawaiian bread, black bean cheese salsa and tortilla chips, pretzels, chips. Also planning cake. Expecting approx 175 people. Figured we'd order 1.5 sheet cakes, and also want cheese and crackers but honestly not sure on proper quantities. What do you think? Thank you for your help!! btw, we know there will be several other grad parties that same afternoon/evening that many of our guests will attend.
This is very possible. You want about 10 bites/servings per person

fruit kabobs, see the fruit tray page and do chunks- easier to prepare, keep better, more usable if left- 4- 6 chunks per person

veggies, about 1 pound per each 10-12
dip, 1 cup per pound

pita wedges,
spinach dip and
artichoke dip with
Hawaiian bread,
black bean cheese salsa
tortilla chips,
Allow a total of 1 cup per person, you divide according to local taste
Total 1 pound assorted chips per 12, 2 ounces bread per person

pretzels, 6 pounds per 100

cheese, 10-12 pounds per 100, some can be logs or spreads
crackers, 6 pounds per 100

cake, 175 people. A full sheet only cuts about 60 servings- you might want a 2 layer.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support the site.

Great, thank you! Do you recommend 2 ox bread per person total (combining the pita and hawaiian), or 2 oz of each?
If you get the smaller, 6 inch pita, allow 1/2 per person, then cut the Hawaiian to 1 pound per 10. For some reason, I was thinking of pita chips. I like regular better- good choice.
Grad party for 80-100

having kids party theme- graduate approved foods only! how much of each should i plan?

chicken fingers
bbq chicken
boneless wings
corn on cob
mozzerella sticks
mini pizza bagels
fruit salad
tossed salad


Hi, Tori, assuming 100. The estimate is a little tough with the breakfast things added in.

chicken fingers- 1 per person plus 10%
bbq chicken- 1 per person plus 10%
boneless wings- 2 per person plus 10%
Dipping sauce, 1 cup each flavor per 8 people

fries- really hard to do and keep crisp for a large size party- up to 50 pounds
corn on cob- use the cobbettes or halves. 3 pounds butter per 100, salt, Parm, paprika

Maybe add 1 starchy salad, pasta or potato, about 4 gallons?

mozzarella -2 per, 1 cup marinara per 8
mini pizza bagels-2 per

??? Unless you are going all night and planning for a midnight breakfast, these will keep someone in the kitchen for the entire party. Consider skipping?

fruit salad- consider fruit tray instead, easier to eat, keeps better, and the leftovers are more usable. See the fruit tray page.
tossed salad- do for just 50, not many will eat it, see the plan for 100 page

You can write back about the pancakes if they are staying in.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Tammy Grassi
Hi I'm having a graduation pary for my son 200-250 people starts at 3:00.. All ages.. And they are eaters..Our parties usually go late night and people eat a second time.. Older relatives arrive earlier, families and teenagers evening to late night. I'm planning on having the following foods can u help me with quantities?

2-liter bottles of pop
Cases of water
Hot sausage peppers onions
Fried chicken
Pulled pork
Hot dogs
Ham burgers
Potato salad
Macaroni salad
Fruit salad
Calico beans
Lunch meat and cheese trays for sandwiches and buns
Veggie trays and dip

Tammi, there is a big difference between 200 and 250, especially for 2 meals. Also, this is too many entrees; you need to pick about 3 and stick with that, and for safety and convenience, I suggest skipping the grilled items- hot dogs and hamburgers. No condiments to mess with, no burns, and one will miss them with all the other food.

So, I am estimating this for an ample 200. You increase as you see fit.

Hot sausage peppers onions- 1 pound sausage per 5-6, equal weight veggies
Fried chicken- 1 piece per person
Pulled pork- 1 pound ready to eat per 6; 5 buns per each pound; at least 1 gallon slaw per each 4 dozen buns
Lunch meat and cheese trays for sandwiches and buns- 1 pound deli-slice meat and 1 ounce sliced cheese per person. 3 ounces bread or rolls per person
Hot dogs-skip
Ham burgers-skip

Rigatoni- 10 pounds dry per 100
Calico beans- 8 pounds dry, 3 gallons cooked, per 100

Potato salad- 4 gallons per 100
Macaroni salad- 2 1/2 to 3 gallons per 100-
Suggest you add slaw, at least 5 gallons

Fruit salad- fruit trays, or even ice cold watermelons, would be much easier and keep better

Veggie trays and dip- use the veggie tray page guide for both

Perogies- these vary a LOT in size- 2 smallish or 1 large per person, and you will likely run out

2-liter bottles of pop- per 100:
Poured over ice
15 to 20 2 liter bottles
PLUS ice, 1 pound per person, double if hot, depending on length of party
PLUS 2 12-16 ounce cups per person
Flavors: about 1/2 regular caffeinated, 1/4 sugar-free caffeinated, balance mixed fruit and sugar-free non-caffeinated
30 to 40 pounds ice per large cooler
Cases of water

Cupcakes- if only 1 flavor, 1 per person plus some extras. if 2 or more flavors, many people will take 2; per 100 people, you want 60 of each flavor for 2 or 45-50 of each flavor for 3

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Hello Ellen

I am having a double graduation party for my two children. I am thinking I will have about 200 guests. Most of these will be adults. We are doing a hog roast theme. Here is the menu.

Pulled pork (whole hog)
Hot Dogs
Baked beans
Cole Slaw
Pasta Salad
Mexican Rice
Refried beans
Tortilla chips
2 9x13 pans Mexican bean layer dip
Mixed fruit
2 9x13 pans of Cherry Delight
2 Full Sheet cakes
5 gallon Lemonade

I am looking for quanties and is this enough food. The party is from 4 to whenever. We are also having it later than most so I don't think there are any other parties on that date. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Pulled pork (whole hog)- at least 1/2 pound whole hog per person, up to 1 pound is the usual recommendation
Hot Dogs- 10-15 dozen, but open only as indicated
Add rolls (4 for every 5 people), hot dog rolls, and sandwich condiments, onions, pickles, etc. See the sandwich event page for help on the trimmings.
Consider having a crock pot of vegetarian sausages or hot dogs- Field Roast is a reliable brand- or vegetarian chili, plainly marked, for non-meat guests- with 200 people, there will be some.

Refried beans-3 #10 cans
Baked beans- about 6 gallons, 7-8 #10 cans, have some meatless
Cole Slaw- 5 gallons
Pasta Salad- 10 pounds dry pasta
Mexican Rice- 14 pounds dry rice

Tortilla chips-16 pounds
2 9x13 pans Mexican bean layer dip
Youneed 1 pint dip per pound of chips- count the Mexican dip and add salsa, sour cream dip etc.

Pretzels- 8 pounds

Mixed fruit??? see the fruit tray page for help on amounts

2 9x13 pans of Cherry Delight- this is only about 16 servings, put it away for the family
2 Full Sheet cakes-100 to 120 servings; yo might get 2 layer sheet cakes in favorite flavors
5 gallon Lemonade- at least 10
Water- if bottled, 2 per person
Soda- use the guide on the beverage planning page

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site.

Hi Ellen....grad party for college grad,age 24. Do i have enuf food for 50 people mostly young people! , 1 1/2 keg of beer, water, sodas

entres baked ziti, lg pan, roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, chic fila 120 pieces, rolls butter, slider sandwiches, veggie tray large, chips pretzels dips
cake brownies

You will run out of pasta, you need 2 pans. That is a lot of liquor for 50- be sure there is coffee available last hour. Otherwise, enjoy.
John Myers
Senior class picnic on last day of school
The junior class is supposed to hold a picnic for the seniors on the last day of school for app 300 students. Biggest problem is trying to organize because kids are in school. Any suggestions: parents bring covered dishes; maybe pizza and sodas, ice cream; possibly catered with subs, sandwiches but only have about $1000. Any suggestions? Thanks
Hi, John,

First, donations. There are businesses in town, both fast food, restaurant, and groceries, that will give for this; get some help busy asking.

There are also parents who can cook. A Nesco roaster will feed 60 kids sloppy joes.

You are talking 500 pounds food, and food safety is an issue, too. There is a good article on this site to help.

You want to fill them up. Pasta salad is an easy filler. For 300, you would do 20 pounds dry pasta, plus all the add-ins, see the recipes for 100 on this site. At least 16 gallons.

If you do sandwich, most sub trays have 15 pieces. You want about 40 trays.

You need 25 pounds chips, 25 pints dips.

Watermelons? Icy cold, deliciously messy, at least 1/2 pound per kid.

There is a complete guide to an ice cream bar for 200 on this site- you would do 1 1/2 times the amounts.

You can write back.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

hi ellen! ive revamped my menu for graduation party - guest list 80-90

2 trays chicken fingers
2 trays bbq chicken
1 1/2 trays roasted potatoes

cooler corn on cob
boneless wings

purchasing veggie platter and fruit platter how big each?
bagels and cereal (kids a breakfast freak)

chips ect how many bags?
soda 150 or so bottles, juice pouches- 6 boxes, water couple cases

dessert - how many cakes?
cookies assorted
other desserts - people bringing.
hows it look?

Graduation party

(sorry if this is a duplicate, I don't see my post from last night.)

I am seriously in need of your expertise. I am having a Grad party for my daughter expecting approximately 80 people (mostly adults). I am known to always have a lot of food and variety so people are expecting to eat and usually come hungry. I am expecting some leftovers because I don't want to run out of food, but I also don't want to supply the neighborhood dinner for the entire week! Party is from 3 - whenever. I have gone over your site several times over the last few months and this is what I have determined I will need. Please let me know if I am way off base.

pony keg
Punch 5 gallons
Water 2 cases (36 ea)
Pop - 80 cans

Shrimp cocktail - 8 lbs
Chicken salad 4 gallons
fried chicken 75 pcs mostly legs
2 sheet pizzas
jo-jo potato's
Croissants 130 - chicken salad and deli sandwiches
pasta salad 10 lbs
deli meat tray 14 lbs
pulled pork 5 lbs
slider buns 100
cheese slices tray 4 lbs
cheese cubes 4 lbs
Buffalo chicken dip 2 (13x9 pans)
veggie tray 480 pcs
Ambrosia salad 2 gallons
Ranch Cole slaw 3 1/2 gallons
veggie pizza 2 11x17 pans
Macaroni & cheese 2 11 x 17 pans
Sweet & sour meatballs 5/person - 400
Macaroni salad 3 gallons

1/2 sheet cake
cookie table

Big L Lori, you posted under
which see.

Little l lori, 5/30
2 trays chicken fingers
2 trays bbq chicken
1 1/2 trays roasted potatoes

cooler corn on cob
boneless wings
all covered in original answer

purchasing veggie platter and fruit platter how big each?
You want about 3 ounces per person of veggies (1 pound ready to eat per 5), same for fruit. These are relatively easy, and cheaper, to assemble at home, see the veggie tray page and the fruit tray page

bagels and cereal (kids a breakfast freak)
Sigh. Allow 1/2 bagel per person, 8 ounce cream cheese per dozen, big jar some kind of jam or preserves.

For the cereal, get 2-3 dozen individual serving bowls in assorted favorite flavors. Gallon of milk.
chips ect how many bags?

soda 150 or so bottles, juice pouches- 6 boxes, water couple cases
discussed in original

dessert - how many cakes? Regular size cake serves 12. Full sheet is equal to 4 9x13- serves 60.

Hope this will do it.

graduation party 50 people
pork bar b q 25#
bake beans
fruit tray
vegetable tray
fried okra
chocolate chip cookies
bottled water
party 4-7 pm
please help with amounts and anything I may have left out
Thank you
Graduation partyHELP! Bren, 50 people
Hi, Bren

pork bar b q 25# plenty, 18-20 would do it
7-8 dozen rolls
2 quarts pickles
3 pounds thin sliced onions
2-3 quarts extra sauce

bake beans, 2 #10 cans or 4 pounds dry
coleslaw 5 quarts

fruit tray, do 2 trays for 25, fruit tray page
vegetable tray, use the veggie tray page, 6 pieces per person

fried okra, this is tough to hold for buffet service, 3 ounces per person

rolls, condiments, see above

brownies, 2 small per person
chocolate chip cookies, 2 per person

bottled water, 2 per person
beer, 1 case per each 6 beer drinkers
soda, 2 cans per person, see the beverage planning person

If it goes well, please make a small donation to support this site. Thanks, and good luck.

Hi Ellen, I am doing a wedding for 200 people we are having a pig roast, about 150-175 pounds of pork, 600 buns, 640 bbq meatballs, I am also making Italian pasta salad, potato salad, as well as calico beans.....I am needing a little help with the amounts of my salads. I have tried figuring it out and the potato salad would require about 70# of potatos, the pasta salad about 18 pounds of pasta, and the beans 25-30 lbs of ground beef, 8-10lbs of bacon and about 15 gallons of various beans.....Am I way over on my numbers.....please help!! :/
Potato salad great, could do 80; only 12-15 pounds pasta in the pasta salad, and no more than 8 gallons of beans- do make sure you have at least 1 pot of meatless beans and a crock pot of vegetarian sausage for any non-pork eaters.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel per guest, to support this site. Thank you.

Grad party 12-3 - not sure if this menu will be enough for approx 150:
pulled pork 40#
hotdogs 75
potato salad 40#
coleslaw 22#
calico beans - not sure on amount?
fruit - not sure on amount? 25# maybe
chips - 12 bags
1/2 sheet cake and several bars
Graduation party Ideas and/or HELP! 150
Little bit scanty for hungry grads- here are a few suggestions

pulled pork 40#, OK, maybe go 45 ready to serve weight
hotdogs 75, do have a little crockpot of veggie dogs for any non-pork eaters in the crowd, there will probably be some
Buns, 5 regular or 12 slider buns per pound of pulled pork
pickles, 1 gallon dill, 1 quart sweet
add thinly sliced onions, about 8 pounds
add 3 quarts table BBQ sauce

potato salad 40#
at least 55- I do 4 gallons per 100
coleslaw 22#- 2 1/2 gallons
calico beans - you want 4 1/2 to 5 gallons total, but do have one crock of meatless. About 12 pounds dry beans

fruit - not sure on amount? 25# maybe, use the fruit tray page, do the deluxe tray for 100, just substitute for the fruits you don't want to use

chips - 12 bags, at least 10 pounds, 1 pint dip or salsa for each pound

1/2 sheet cake, this only makes 30 pieces, do at least 1 full sheet cake (60), and a 2 layer full sheet would not be too much (120)

several bars, cut these small and plan on 2-4 per person, depending on size of cake. People would rather have 2 or 3 of different flavors than 1 large one.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thank you.

Phyllis Bussey
Rehearsal dinner
We are having a rehearsal dinner for around 50 people. There will be other food, pork sliders, kabobs, assorted appetizers, but, I'm I. Charge of sweet sour chicken, fried rice and crab Rangoon. How much of each do you think I'll need to make. Can I brown chicken earlier in day and combine at last minute?
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