You’re gearing up to feed a big crowd, and you’ve got the ever-puzzling question—how much potato salad for 30 people? This can feel like a culinary riddle, can’t it? You’re aiming for that golden middle ground where every guest is happily fed, yet you’re not left with a mountain of leftover potato salad.
Whether you are making the potato salad yourself or buying it, the mission is all about mastering the subtle art of portion estimation, which factors in things like the type of your event, the other dishes on offer, and of course, your guests’ appetites.
But don’t worry—you’re not going it alone! Once we figure out the perfect serving of potato salad for one, scaling it up to serve your party of 30 will be a breeze.
What Is The Standard Serving Size For Potato Salad?
Each recipe or ready-made potato salad brand has its version of the perfect serving size. However, the average between them is ½ cup, which translates to 125 g or 4.4 oz.
While this is not a wrong estimation, it doesn’t account for many factors that can affect the portions people eat—even more so for a group of 10, 20, 30 people, or more.
Factors That Can Change The Serving Size of Potato Salad
Alright, so potato salad is on the menu, and you’ve got a crowd to please. You might be thinking, “I’ll just dish out ½ cup of potato salad per person and call it a day.” Hold on a second! To really hit that sweet spot between too little and a lot of leftover potato salad, you’ve gotta know your crowd. There are three factors that should be on your radar:
1. Availability Of Other Foods
If potato salad is just one meal out of many, you can be pretty lax with the quantities.
Likewise, remember that the standard ½ cup estimation only works if you consider potato salad a side dish. If potato salad is the main star, your guests may eat more than that.
2. The Appetite Of The Group
And talking about people—the crowd might be the second most important thing to know.
If your potato salad recipe is well-known and beloved, and the crowd is full of avid potato salad enthusiasts, you bet you’ll need more than half a cup per person. Likewise, a party of young kids won’t have the same appetite as a gathering of athletes.
3. Mealtime and The Nature of the Event
Let’s dive into mealtime preferences and the nature of your event. Now, picture this: You’re at a laid-back BBQ with the smell of smoky ribs in the air, or maybe at an elegant wedding with a buffet fit for royalty. Each event is like a different world, and that’s why timing and setting matter a lot when it comes to portion sizes.
For instance, if your shindig is happening around lunchtime, people might come ready to devour. There’s some science to back this up, as experts often say that eating your heaviest meal earlier in the day is a good move . So, if your gathering is a lunchtime affair like a community BBQ or a daytime wedding reception, it’s a smart bet to go with more generous helpings of potato salad.
Now, flip the script. Imagine it’s a casual evening get-together, like a potluck, with friends dropping in for some light snacks and good conversation. Maybe it’s an art gallery opening or just catching up with old pals. People might have had their big meal at lunch, so they’re not looking to eat a ton. In this case, you can probably scale back on the potato salad portions.
And then there’s the dinner crowd. The preferences here can be a mixed bag. Some people love a hearty dinner, while others go for something lighter. What’s the occasion? A formal dinner party might call for moderate servings, while a family reunion might have everyone going back for seconds.
Bottom line – think about when people are eating, what kind of event it is, and what vibes the gathering has. That’s your trifecta for nailing the potato salad game.
The Perfect Formula For Estimating Potato Salad For a Growd
In large gatherings with more than 30 people, the standard potato salad serving size of ½ cup (125 g or 4 oz) is not enough—it doesn’t account for big eaters or people who cannot eat other food options. You need to scale up.
To err on the safe side and ensure no guest leaves with an empty stomach, you should estimate one cup per person, which means 250g or 9oz per serving.
However, if your gathering is informal (which means guests can have two or more servings), you’ve got more big eaters to feed, or if potato salad is the only side dish, consider adding one extra cup per every ten guests.
So—How Much Potato Salad For 30 People?
Considering the formula explained above, you might need 30 to 33 cups of potato salad to feed a gathering of 30 people, which equals approximately 7.5-8.2 kg or 17-18.5 lbs of potato salad.
Naturally, whether or not you need 30 or 33 cups depends on the nature of the gathering and the guests’ appetite.
How Many Ingredients Do You Need To Make Potato Salad For 30 People?
If cooking for so many people may not be something you’re used to, knowing the quantities you need to prepare 18 lbs of potato salad at home may be tricky.
While other ingredients may vary according to your tastes, I can guide you for the three main potato salad stars.
Potato salad is made of potatoes first and foremost, so you need lots. A single cup of potato salad contains approximately 200-250 grams of potatoes (7-9 oz)
A large Yukon Gold potato can easily weigh around 250 grams, so you can calculate one potato per guest. Naturally, cooking potato salad for 30 people would require 30 potatoes—or 33, if you add one extra portion per every ten guests.
Remember that if you use smaller potatoes, you might need to double the number!
Read Also: How To Boil Potatoes Without Them Falling Apart (6 Effective Tips).
Boiled egg quantity is trickier and depends on your potato salad preference. However, on average, you can have half or one boiled egg per cup.
Depending on how egg-sy you prefer your potato salad, cooking for 30 people may require anything from 15 to 33 eggs.
When it comes to potato salad, mayo is one of those things you add to taste, so you may as well add mayo as you see fit while cooking.
However, remember that the range goes from one tablespoon (14 ml or 0.5 fl oz) to ¼ cup (95 ml or 3 fl oz) per person. Depending on your preferences, you could need 2 to 8 cups of mayo to prepare potato salad for 30 people.
Read Also: Too Much Salt In Potato Salad? (9 Simple Tips To Fix It).
How Much Could It Cost To Buy Ready-Made Potato Salad For 30 People?
You may have gotten a little scared after seeing how much potato salad you need. After all, 33 cups is a lot of food. So, you might buy ready-made potato salad and save yourself the hassle.
Although many bulk potato salad sizes are available, 3 lbs (1.36 kg) containers tend to be the most commonly found at your local supermarket, accounting for roughly 5 cups. To feed 30 people, you must buy approximately six or seven units.
Cost-wise, it would depend on the brand and the type of potato salad you choose. The range goes from $6 to $10 per unit, meaning purchasing enough potato salad for 30 people could cost anything from $36 to $70.
How To Keep Potato Salad Safe And Fresh?
Potato salad can spoil quite fast. Luckily, if you follow some safety guidelines, you can ensure maximum freshness for longer.
- Store the potato salad in airtight containers immediately after preparing it. If store-bought, do not open until right before serving time.
- Make sure to keep the potato salad refrigerated until consumed. Do not let it sit outside the fridge for longer than two hours since bacteria grow in the range of 40-140°F .
- If you need to transport the food to a different location, move the potato salad containers to a cooler with plenty of ice.
- Once served, keep the potato salad inside an airtight container and away from the sun.
- Immediately store leftovers in the fridge or cooler inside a clean and airtight container.
Read Also: How Many Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes Per Person (Easy Scalable Formula).
Preparing potato salad for a group of 30 people or any large crowd or gathering can be a breeze if you consider key factors, including the availability of other foods, the appetite of your guests, the timing of the meal, and the nature of the event.
A standard serving size of potato salad is ½ cup, but for large gatherings, it’s wise to plan for 1 cup per person, totaling around 30 to 33 cups or 7.5-8.2 kg (17-18.5 lbs) for a group of 30.
When making potato salad, estimate 30 potatoes, 15 to 33 boiled eggs, and 2 to 8 cups of mayonnaise-based on your preference.
If you opt to buy ready-made potato salad, expect to spend between $36 to $70.
So, if you stick with these measuring tips, you’re going to have a party, BBQ, or gathering that goes off without a hitch. No potato salad leftovers taking up your fridge space and, more importantly, your guests will be going home with happy, satisfied tummies.
-  O’Connor, Anahad (2023). It’s not just what you eat, but the time of day you eat it. Retrieved from The Washington Post at https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/01/10/meal-timing-big-meals/.
-  U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Danger Zone. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/danger-zone-40f-140f.