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How Much Turkey Should I Buy Per Person?

How Much Turkey Should I Buy Per Person?

It’s more than you might think

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You're going to want leftovers, too.

When hosting Thanksgiving dinner, there are a lot of questions regarding the menu. Should I make canned green bean casserole from fresh green beans? Should I bake pumpkin pie or apple? How can I make vegetarian-friendly sides? But one question dominates them all, and it starts long before you get in to the kitchen: How much turkey should I buy per person?

For every guest, you need at least 1 pound of turkey. Though that may sound like a lot (a standard size serving of turkey is 4 ounces, better known as 1/4 pound) — once the bones and giblets are accounted for, this amount ensures that everyone will have enough to eat when it comes to dinnertime.

However, many hosts (understandably) want plenty of turkey leftovers for pot pies, tetrazzini, and massive Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. If you’re looking for leftovers, buy 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per guest. Some hosts will even buy as much as 2 pounds of turkey per guest. If you’re hosting a more intimate Thanksgiving gathering, that could be the right way to go. That will ensure that you and your guests have ample amounts of poultry to eat over the next few days.

Now that you know how much turkey to buy, check out our guide to hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and our 35 best turkey recipes.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.


These amounts are calculated to serve 100 on a buffet - they already include appropriate extra to allow for seconds.
FAQ: Why do your amounts differ from other tables on the web? In the USA portion sizes have nearly doubled since 1980. These tables reflect CURRENT (2015) usage. Think not? Check out the portion distortion articles and slide shows at the National Institutes of Health.

PLUS 12 8 ounce bottles or 3-4 quarts (1 gallon) salad dressing- more if thick and self serve

reception (1/2 cup serving)
3-4 gallons

If cooking pre-formed burgers or chicken pieces or such, allow one piece per person plus 1/3 more, which is 4 pieces for every three people.

When serving beef and a second meat, such as chicken or ham, on a buffet, you must allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat second meat for each person, if there is a server for the meats. That is about 2 pounds raw lean boneless beef for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless raw second meat for each 4 people. When offered a choice of meats people take larger portions and usually some of each.

Halves (use small chickens), 1/2 each, 120-150 pounds raw

Individual pieces, you need about
Quarters: 1 per person
Legs: 2 per person
Whole wings: 3 per person
Buffalo wings or nuggets: 7 to 8 pieces per person

Fried Chicken
75 pounds cooked for single entree, 1 piece per person for second entree

OR 1 per person for baked, see the Baked Potato Bar for discussion about counts and sizes

Rice and Pasta Quantities

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Rice, side dish7-8 1/2 pounds1 gallon 5 cups
PLUS 2 gallons water, 2 tablepoons salt75 cups Rice, under meat or sauce12 1/2 pounds1 gallon, 3 2/3 quarts
PLUS 2 gallons 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt100 cups Rice, main dish (biryani, etc)16 pounds2 1/2 gallons135 cups Pasta Type

Cooked Quantity or Measure Weight Quantity Dry Pasta Shapes
Small to medium
macaroni, shells, fusilli, penne, farfelle 2 ounces 1/2 Cup 1 Cup 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups 8 ounces 2 Cups 4 Cups Long dry pasta shapes
spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine 4 ounces 3/4 Inch Diameter Bunch 2 Cups 8 ounces 1 1/2 Inch Diameter Bunch 4 Cups Fresh Pasta or Fresh Egg Noodles 8 ounces 2 1/2 Cups Per person Dry Pasta Serving Sizes, Approximate Main Course 4 ounces 1 Cup 2 Cups Side Dish or 1st Course 2.5 ounces 5/8 Cup 1 1/4 Cups

The quantities above are basic standards that can be used for estimating the amount of dry pasta to buy. You can also refer to the table on the backside of the package, which shows yields for that specific type of pasta, but pay close attention to serving sizes- many cooks serve a portion about twice the size indicated on the package.
When using fresh pasta in place of dried pasta, the amount used MUST be increased because when cooked, a specific weight of dried pasta will produce close to 60% more than the same weight in fresh pasta. So if you want to use fresh pasta in a recipe calling for 16 ounces of dried pasta, you will need approximately 26 ounces of fresh pasta to end up with the same amount of pasta on the plate.

How much potato salad? Beans? Rice? Slaw?

For side dishes you can figure a total of 1 gallon per 10 people. Again, this is for total amounts of side dishes, not for each side dish. 100 people need 4 to 4 1/2 gallons potato salad to allow plenty for everyone. As I discussed before, more and heavier side dishes, hearty appetizers and other extras do reduce the amount of meat used, while liquor or self service increases it.

Click Ellen's Kitchen Updates to request updates, suggest new topics or report a broken link, comment, or question. Put "updates" in the subject line if you are requesting updates. PLEASE send questions separately from update requests.