Appetizers To Serve Per Person?

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How Many Appetizers To Serve Your Guests:


If you choose to serve an appetizer before a meal, consider the meal and what you will be serving following and try to select complementary foods.  Choose items you can prepare ahead and serve easily.

Dinner Party – 6 appetizers per person.

Cocktail Party – 8 to 12 appetizers per person.  Guests will generally eat about 5 appetizers each during the first hour and will eat about 3 appetizers each for each subsequent hour.

Caterer’s Formula – A fairly standard formula is used among caterers to figure out how many appetizers are needed from each recipe. 12 pieces per person times the number of people divided by the number of different appetizers.


If the guest list has fewer than 45 people, plan on using roughly 6 different appetizers.  For more than 45 guests, approximately 8 different appetizers.

The rule of thumb for smaller gatherings is that 3 types of appetizers are suitable for 8 to 10 guests; 4 or 5 types of appetizers for 14 to 16 people.

Having an equal number of hot and cold foods is also helpful so that while one appetizer is heating in the oven, a cold one can be circulating, keeping everyone nibbling happily.


Check out all What’s Cooking America’s wonderful and delicious Appetizer Recipes (includes Hors d’ oeuvres, Starters, Amuse-Bouche, and Snacks).


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