Party Food and Drink Calculator – How Much Do You Need?

Party Food and Drink Calculator – How Much Do You Need?

Wondering how much food to serve at your next shindig so you’re not committing a major party foul? There’s nothing worse than attending a party where the host isn’t thinking about the amount of food or drink that’s needed. We’ve ALL been to a party that promises food and then you get there to find everyone scrambling over the one veggie tray.

Seriously. DON’T. BE. THAT. GUY.

While there is no perfect formula to calculate how much party food and drink you’ll need, there are some basic guidelines that usually ensure a successful party. Here’s our party food calculator. 


The easiest rule is the “One Pound Rule.” Provide one pound of food for each adult guest (not including drinks or dessert).

1 Adult = 1 Pound of Food
1 Child = 1/2 Pound of Food


Calculate two drinks the first hour and then an additional drink for every hour after that.

The more options you have, the less you need of each; decrease the main course portion sizes by 1 to 2 ounces if served on a buffet.


Before the party, make sure your Home Bar is set up and ready to go! 

Calculate 1 alcoholic beverage per guest per hour.

Guests will always eat — and drink — more at night than during the day.

Wine – One 750-milliliter bottle of wine provides five to six glasses. Pick up one bottle for every two guests.

Beer – Guests will drink about 1 bottle every half hour to hour

Cocktails – A 750-milliliter bottle makes about 16 drinks. Pick up a quart of mixer for every three guests.

Make sure you have enough mixers for your event! 

Here are a few drink recipes to consider serving:



Each guest will eat 4 – 6 bites per hour during an appetizer-only event. If a main meal is to be served, calculate 6 bites total per person.

Here are some appetizer recipes to consider:


Serve each adult guest 6 – 8 ounces of protein (meat or seafood). For barbecues, that equates to one hamburger patty.

Awesome Main Dish Ideas:


Pasta/Potato Salad- 1 cup per guest

Baked Beans-  1/2 cup per guest


Small – 2 per guest

Large (cake, pie) – 1 4 oz slice per guest


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Throw A Zero Waste Holiday Party - Manic Pixie Green Girl

Monday 2nd of December 2019

[…] of the hardest things about planning a party is trying to figure out how much food and beverage you need to provide. You can count on a few people bringing food or wine to share. Through the […]

Tips For A Perfect Party | Pro Party Tips From The Verandas Wilmington

Saturday 27th of July 2019

[…] be that host that inspires post-party stops for fast food. There are various websites that help you estimate how much food and beverage should be allotted for each […]

Erin @ Thanks for Cookin'!

Friday 29th of April 2016

Great tips! I'm always worried about how many cocktails one bottle of booze will make. I'm pinning this to come back to again and again :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.