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How to Calculate Number of Appetizers Per Person

If you want to know how to calculate the number of appetizers per person or work out how many appetizers per person at a sit-down dinner, you need to take a few things into account. Party food planning can be confusing but if you stick to the following guidelines, the process should not be too difficult.

How Many Appetizers Per Person

First of all, what kind of meal are you having? If you are planning a buffet-style event where people help themselves, your calculations will be a bit different to a sit-down dinner where you give each person a set amount of food.

Making the Right Amount of Appetizers for a Buffet

Professional caterers usually plan on twelve appetizers per person if they are catering for a cocktail party, or six if they are catering for a dinner party. If there will be fewer than fifty people, try to serve six different appetizers. If there will be more than fifty people, make eight different types of appetizers. If you are expecting less than ten people, three types should be fine.

Another good idea is to make an equal number of hot appetizer recipes and cold appetizer recipes, so there is always some food circulating. While a chilled appetizer is being served, a hot one can be warming in the oven. Five appetizer portions per person per hour is a good rule to stick to.

Planning Appetizers for a Sit-Down Dinner

If you are serving the appetizers at the table, you will be serving one appetizer per person on a small plate. Obviously, you will want to give your guests something to enjoy without filling them up too much to enjoy the entree. A good rule of thumb is to serve no more than you could fit in one hand, as an appetizer.

If you are using garnishes and other decorative touches, remember that not everything will be eaten. If you are serving seafood appetizers, for example, on a bed of lettuce, your guests probably will not eat the lettuce. If you are using wedges of lemon, sprigs of fresh parsley, slices of tomato or other garnishes, these will be left on the side of the plate too, so these do not count when planning how much food to serve per person.

Handy Party Planning Tips

It is better to make too make appetizers than not enough and this is especially important if you are only serving buffet food and there is no entree. Running out of food is something that no good host or hostess wants to happen. It is easier to refrigerate leftovers than make fresh appetizers in a hurry because you have not made enough in the first place.

Remember that people eat less earlier in the day so if your get-together is taking place in the late morning or early afternoon, you will not need as much. When learning how to calculate the number of appetizers per person, take into account that if your party is taking place within a couple of hours of lunchtime, your guests will not be ravenously hungry.

Older people do not eat as much as younger ones, as a general rule. If you are feeding twenty teenagers, you will need about twice the amount of appetizers than if you were feeding twenty elderly people.

All you need for a successful party is a rough idea of how many easy party appetizers you will need to make. Have some spare food on standby, perhaps olives, cheese, bread and food you can pop into the oven to warm up for ten minutes. If you run out of appetizers, you can use these. If not, you can save them for another time.

 
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