Buffet Food Amounts Chart for 20 to 50 People  Guidelines  3429 reads

20 - 25 Servings 50 Serving

pre dinner
2 large bags tortilla chips, salsa, cheese etc. to go with these
or veggies & 3 c. dip
or indiv. appys, 2-3 per person,
4-5 kinds
3-4 lb. asstd. cheese with crackers,  or veggies and 6 c. dip 2-4 pc. per person,
(suggest 1 platter  18" of cheese -crackers and 1 of veggies and dip)
or individual appys, 2-3 per person 6-8 kinds
salads ~Potato salad made with 5 -7 lb. 
potatoes (total 8 lb. potato salad)
~Caesar salad, 3 heads Romaine
~1 smaller salad, your choice
~Potato Salad, 12-15# potatoes (total 15 lb. potato salad)
~Caesar, 7 Romaine
or 7 lb. tossed salad mix,
~ 1 med. salad, half the size of the potato salad or 2 smaller salads.
meats ~12 lb (raw weight) beef roast
boneless served hot, or large ham,bone in or 15-18 lb. whole turkey, or 6-7 lb. cooked boneless ham or equivalent.
~2 lb. extra sliced deli meats, optional
~25 lb. (raw weight) beef roast boneless or  15 lb cooked ham or equivalent
or 20 lb. turkey and 3 casseroles
casseroles or in place of meats:
2  -9x13 casseroles 
~or 1 casserole and some meat.)
or in place of meats:
4 to 5 -9 x 13 casseroles 
or 3 casseroles and some meat
desserts ~3 desserts, cake, cheesecake 
or fruit salad (one decadent, one 
chocolate, one low cal.)
or 2 x one dessert
or 1 -10-1/2 x 15-1/2 sheet cake
or asstd tiny bars, 2-3 per person
7-8 pies, or 5 cakes, or 2 large trifles 
or an assortment of bars, tiny cream puffs, or small cheese cake squares (tiny 2-3 per person)
or keep it simple, do only 2 desserts, each x3 reg sized desserts.
beverages ~1/2 c. punch per serving.
allow 2-1/2 gal.
~coffee, tea, flavored decaf
~punch, 1 gal. =24-32 punch cups,  3-4 drinks per person
misc. 2 doz. small rolls or 2 garlic bread sliced
1 pint whipping cream = 2 tablespoon ea.
2 c. salad dressing
(Amounts to base your per person
serving calculation for 24 servings:
spaghetti or noodles =3/4 c. cooked need 2-1/2 lb. uncooked
rice 1/2 c. needs 1-1/2 lb. raw
1/3 c. veggies, 5 lb.frozen.)


Double the amounts on the left. Allow 15 lb. potato salad for 50 people

Appetizers served before a buffet are OPTIONAL.  This is just to fill-in for a time lag and to keep  those people that are 'really starving' from eating the flowers!!

If you do choose to serve an appetizer, remember there is a meal following immediately, you do not have to server a big variety or large amount of appetizers.

A Buffet is a variable meal which can be served either cold, hot or with a combination of both hot and cold dishes.

The more dishes you add, the less of any one particular food you will need,  many  people will take a smaller portion of each item, many intending to 'taste' everything, others will be less likely to try every variety of salad etc.  People prefer to be able to eat the meal with a fork, large items don't fit well onto plates (whole bone-in chicken breasts, spareribs,  large dinner rolls, etc.) so avoid those.

Dishes that people can serve themselves easily with a spoon or fork, whether main dish, salad or even dessert are best suited to a Buffet, use tongs to serve a tossed salad, not two spoons, people will be unable to use them with a plate in one hand.

A Caesar salad, (or tossed) and a potato salad, seem to be the normal 'salad staples', along with  the newer pasta salads which are wonderfully interesting,  with coleslaw, fruit salads, marinated vegetable and jellied salads working as terrific 'fill-ins'.

Special treats, like baked salmon, shrimp or seafood in a casserole, and 'real' sliced turkey are popular, as well as ethnic specialties that are suited to a particular crowd.

Hot roast beef is a treat, but cold slice beef and ham are always acceptable.  Add some hot casseroles if you have the oven space, if not add some meat or seafood salads for a large crowd.

Desserts can be sheet cakes, cheese cakes, trifles, fruit platters, cookies and squares.  They can be cut into portions, and placed whole (cake) allowing everyone to help themselves.  Squares or 'non messy' desserts can be cut and placed into muffin paper cups (slightly folded), then these 'little boats' can be arranged on fancy trays (I'd hesitate to do this for more than 50).  I would also use cakes etc. that will not take up additional refrigeration space, although pre frozen goodies would work well.

The larger the crowd, the simpler things should be kept, as you will find it a 'challenge' dealing with massive amounts of food.

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