Catering quantities

Catering quantities

Leiths School of Food and Wine
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
Peter Cassidy

How much food you serve depends on many variables, such as appetites, the type of occasion and what else is being served. However, it is helpful to have a guide, particularly when cooking for large numbers where there is the greatest potential for waste. Quantities in the recipes in this book may differ slightly from those below, depending on other ingredients in the dish. You should allow the full portion per head when plating up individual servings, but can reduce the quantity per head if presenting food on a communal dish, as when helping themselves more people take less than the allotted portion. The quantities below are generous, and when cooking for larger numbers, you can reduce the amount per head. For example, you should allow 225 g meat per person when making a stew for 4 people, but 170 g per head would be enough when feeding 60.


Allow approximately 300 ml soup per head, depending on the size of the bowl.

Fish and shellfish

–Whole large fish: Pre-cleaned weight with head on: allow 350–450 g per person.

–Prawns: Allow 60–90 g per person as a starter; 150 g per person as a main course.

Fried or baked portions of fish or meat

–Fish steaks or portions: Allow a 140 g piece for a starter, 170 g for a main course.

–Beef, lamb or pork steaks: Allow a 170–225 g piece per person.

–Beef, lamb or pork mince for burgers etc: Allow 170g–200 g per person.


–Chicken: Allow 350 g per person when cooking a whole bird. An average chicken serves 4–6 people.

–Duck: A bird weighing 2.7 kg will feed 3–4 people; a 1.8 kg bird will feed 2 people.

–Turkey: Allow 450 g on the bone per person.

–Beef, lamb or pork: Allow 350 g per person on the bone, 225 g off the bone.

–Beef, lamb or pork fillet cooked in a piece: Allow 170–200 g per person.


–Stewed or braised dishes: Allow 225 g meat or poultry per person.

–Fish stews: Allow 170 g per person.

–Mince dishes: Allow 100 g minced meat per person in a dish such as lasagne, moussaka, ragù sauce for pasta etc.

Rice and pasta

–Risotto or pilaf: Allow 30 g per person (raw weight) for a starter, 60 g per person for a main course.

–Pasta: If using fresh pasta, allow 70–80 g fresh pasta per person for a starter, 100–120 g per person for a main course. If using dried pasta, allow 50–60 g per person for a starter, 80–100 g per person for a main course.


–Vegetables (including potatoes) served with a main course: Allow 100–125 g each vegetable per person, depending on how many vegetables you are serving, except for French beans or peas, allow about 60 g; spinach, allow 350 g.

–Rice: Allow 60 g (raw weight) per person.

–Salads: Allow 1–1½ portions of salad, in total per head, so if only one salad is served, allow a generous helping each and if serving several different salads, allow for less of each. If 100 guests are to choose from 5 different salads, allow a total of approximately 150 portions, ie serve 30 portions of each salad.

–Green salad: Allow a generous, loose handful of leaves for each person.

–Cheese: If serving after a meal, choose one blue-veined, one hard and one soft cheese: 75 g per person for up to 8 people; 60 g per person for over 20 people.

–Fruit: Allow 100–125 g prepared fruit, such as cherries, strawberries or raspberries, per person.

Canapé parties

–Allow 10 cocktail canapés per head, or approximately 4–6 per hour.

–Allow 14 cocktail canapés per head if served as a meal.

–Allow 4–5 cocktail canapés per head with pre-lunch or pre-dinner drinks.

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