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How Much to Serve?

All the RSVPs are in, now the task of planning the meal is upon you. Here’s a quick guide that shows you how much food to plan to bring the full flavor to your next gathering.

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All the RSVPs are in, now the task of planning the meal is upon you. Here’s a quick guide that shows you how much food to plan to bring the full flavor to your next gathering.

Party Portion Guidelines

All amounts are per person.

Hors d'oeuvres

  • As the basis of your meal (such as a cocktail party) – 4-6 bites, per hour
  • Before a meal – 6 bites
  • As a general rule for cocktail parties, the longer the party and the larger your guest list, the more variety you should plan to offer.

The Main Course

  • Ham (serving a single main course) – 3-4 ounces
  • Ribs (serving a single main course) – ½ rack
  • Meat, fish or poultry (serving a single main course) – 6 ounces
  • Meat, fish or poultry (serving two or more main courses) – 8 ounces total
  • Rice and grains (as a side dish) – 1.5 ounces
  • Rice and grains (as a main course dish such as risotto) – 2 ounces
  • Potatoes – 5 ounces
  • Vegetables – 4 ounces
  • Beans (as a side dish) – 2 ounces per person
  • Pasta (side dish) – 2 ounces
  • Pasta (first course) – 3 ounces
  • Pasta (main dish) – 4 ounces
  • Garden Salad – 1 ounce without dressing

Desserts

  • Cake, tart or pastry – 1 slice
  • Pudding or mousse – 4 ounces
  • Ice cream – 5 ounces
  • When offering multiple dessert choices, reduce each by approximately half.
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