How Much Lunch Meat to Buy Per Person for Sandwiches

Are your deli sandwiches part of the menu this weekend? Are you struggling to figure out how much lunch meat to buy per person for sandwiches? We got you covered for exactly how much cold meat per person – see our handy table below for 10,20,25,50,75 and 100 people serving weights and how many cold cuts you should buy.

Buying lunch meat in a huge quantity of ounces can be overwhelming at times since you can not be sure if it will be all consumed or not. 

Imagine having pounds of extra lunch meat in your fridge after the party, who will eat all of the leftover meat?

So, make sure to keep in mind the following tips in keeping it fresh, purchasing the right amount, and the recommended serving sizes of lunch meat for a big group of people.

Also, see how much Italian Beef per Person.

How Long Can Lunch Meat Sit out Before It Goes Off

How Many Pounds Of Roast Beef Sandwiches For A Party Of 25?

Each sandwich should have 3-4 oz of roast beef. 

How many sandwiches per person – Estimate 1 1/2 sandwiches per person. If your group is a group of teenage boys, then go for 2 per person. 

How Many Sandwiches per Kid for A Party?

For a big group of kids under 12, you should budget 1.25 sandwiches per kid.

For kids that are over 12, but that I mean teenagers – then give two sandwiches per person.

You could also consider serving finger sandwiches for a kids party.

How many sandwiches for a large group

  • For 10 People serve 14 full size sandwiches
  • For 20 People serve 30 sandwiches
  • For 50 People serve 80 sandwiches
  • For 100 People serve 170 Sandwiches

So, 25 x 1.5 is 37.5 x 4 oz is 150 oz of roast beef. Let’s round up, 160 oz is 10 lbs of roast beef for a party of 25.

Cold Meat for a crowd of 10 guests

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 10 People

45 oz or 2.8 lb cold cuts for 10 people.

45 oz or 2.8 lb Sandwich Meat for 10 people.

meat for sandwiches for 20 people going on a picnic

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 20 People

90 oz or 5.6 lb cold cuts for 20 people.

90 oz or 5.6 lb Sandwich Meat for 20 people.

cold cuts for 25 guests
Cold cuts for 25 guests

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 25 People

7 lb of meat cold cuts for 25 people.

7 lb Sandwich Meat (sliced turkey) for 25 people.

meat sandwiches for 50 people
Meat sandwiches for 50 people

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 50 Guests

14 lbs of meat cold cuts for 50 people.

14 lbs Sandwich Meat (sliced beef) for 50 people.

Cold meat for 75 kids sandwiches
cold meat for 75 kids’ sandwiches

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 75 People

21 lb of meat cold cuts for 75 people.

21 lb Meat (sliced beef) for sandwiches to serve 75 people.

Cold cuts for 100 with cheese plater
Cold cuts of meat for 100 with cheese plater

How Much Lunch Meat Per Person For 100 People

28 lb of meat cold cuts for 100 people.

28 lb Meat (sliced beef) for sandwiches to serve 100 people.

What is Lunch Meat?

Lunch meats are also known as cold cuts, luncheon meats, processed meat, sliced meats, deli meat, or cooked meats. These are usually eaten cold, thinly sliced, and can be bought in a tin can to make a good sandwich. Usually, people buy it from the refrigerator section in the grocery store to ensure that it is well-preserved since the meat can spoil if not kept cold.

Canned meats are often stored at ambient temperatures, I tend to use these if I am going camping or on a picnic – since fresh cold cuts are usually best.

What are the types of Lunch Meat?

The main types of lunch meats are beef, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, or a mix of these meats. If you wanna have the most delicious lunch meats, you better have those that are linked back to the Roman and Italian dishes. Some of these are:


is commonly used in a crusty sandwiches and is the largest of all lunch meats. This is a type of cooked salami made from a mixture of pork fat and minced pork. Either shaved or sliced plain, it is traditionally enjoyed as part of an antipasto platter and is available from most deli counters in your local store.


Bologna is made from finely ground pork, chicken, or beef and is one of the most flexible types of lunch meat.


Capicola is an Italian type of lunch meat that is obtained from the shoulder or neck area of a pig.

Ham Off The Bone

Ham is one of the most common (and popular) types of lunch meat used in sandwiches. (see how much ham for a big group at Christmas Dinner). It is made from cured pork leg rubbed with a salt mixture then smoked to air-dry and mature. It is moister than other lunch meats and typically it has a shorter shelf life.

How many pounds of roast beef sandwiches for a party of 25
How Many Pounds of Roast Beef Sandwiches for A Party of 25 – at least 8 lbs of roast beef.


Chorizo is Spanish lunch meat that has a distinctive taste of salty, sweet, and spicy. It is mixed with smoked spices and peppers and is the only spicy pork sausage that you have to cook before serving.


Finocchiona is a flavored Tuscan salami with fennel usually mixed with spices and ingredients like red wine, pepper, and salt. It also has a sweet, licorice-like taste because of the added fennel seeds and cured meat.


Meatloaf is another common type of lunch meat that you will encounter. It can be made from different types of animal cuts at the same time. (see our Instant Pot Meat Loaf Recipe)

Ham is considered to be one of the most popular types of lunch meat. Ham goes perfectly either in sandwiches, or with salad vegetables, and cheese. This is everyone’s favorite because of how moist it is. Plus the flavor from the salt and sugar solution before slow cooking it. The only downside of this lunch meat is it should be consumed within three days of purchase.

Here are the other popular types of lunch meat:


Turkey breast lunch meat is the perfect choice for people who need less fat in their diet. Turkey is usually more than 90% fat-free, depending on the variety. It is best in the sandwich when slowly cooked and paired with crusty slices of bread, tomatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, apples, and cucumber for your gathering.

Roast Beef

Roast beef is thin-sliced from the silverside cut of the beef, which is located in the cow’s upper hip. Roast beef is best paired with your horseradish, pickle, caramelized onion, lettuce, mustard, and sundried tomatoes for your sandwiches since it has a peppery delight.

Chicken Breast

Chicken for a sandwich should be finely sliced and be made ready for steaming and pressing. This can be a perfect choice for your group since it is very tasty, lean, and versatile. The chicken breast is perfect for your whole-grain mustard, lettuce, and tomatoes but make sure to consume it within two days of purchase.


Salami is a type of lunch meat that varies in the type of meat or sometimes poultry used and how it is made. Usually, it is fermented and uses beef as the meat. Other people also use mixed meat, such as jagdwurst – a German type of sausage that is made up of beef and pork.

Corned Beef

Corned Beef can also be purchased in prepackaged lunch meat sizes. And do not forget to add cheese slices, say swiss cheese as an additional flavor to your sliced meat deli sandwich.

How much Corned Beef Per Person For Sandwiches

Working out how much corned beef per person for dinner or hash can be hard when there are a lot of people and dishes involved – see our corned beef per person calculator for this.

For sandwiches that are filling including a Rueben sandwich use 1/4 pound of corned beef. Of course, you can use less – be this will be like a 1/4 pound Macdonald’s sandwich and fill you up.

What is Good Lunch Meat?

To make up a really tasty sandwich, the choice of meat gives a huge enrichment to it. To help you get good and healthy lunch meat, here are our suggestions:

  • Choose the leanest cut of lunch meat such as chicken, lean ham, roast beef, or turkey. They have the most nutritional value compared to other deli meats.
  • Choose fresh lunch meat over canned or prepacked meat. Fresh lunch meats are more natural and contain less if any nitrates. They are minimally processed as opposed to those that are prepacked or canned.
  • Choose low-sodium lunch meat. To make your sandwich healthier, get fresh lunch meat that has no preservatives and is low in sodium to cut down the salt intake.

If you opt for canned or prepacked, we suggest you read first the food label carefully and see the ingredients and just what has been added.

You can also opt for ham, chicken breast, pastrami, or roasted meat and cook it yourself to ensure the ingredients are healthy and know how wholesome your homemade sandwich is.

How much meat to use on a sandwich
How much meat to use on a sandwich

How Much Meat to use on a Sandwich??

The slice of bread is a determining factor in how much meat to use on a sandwich. Know that is easier to stack a lot of meat onto a larger slice than a smaller slice of bread.

To estimate the amount of meat, divide the amount of meat there is in the package by eight if the package has a pound of meat in it.

Take note that the package of meat you purchase may have more or less than a pound of meat, but the average lunch meat that is sold in packets or tin cans contains about one pound of meat.

Here’s the suggested amount of lunch meat to use on a sandwich:

  • 2 packages of lunch meat for 10 persons
  • 3 packages of lunch meat for 20 persons
  • 4 packages of lunch meat for 30 persons
  • 7 packages of lunch meat for 50 persons
  • 13 packages of lunch meat for 100 persons

Keep in mind that it is still important to have extra pieces of lunch meat in case people would put more in than you expected. Kids are notorious for this.

So let’s say you have 25 servings to do – then 3.5 packets are needed as a minimum for your luncheon meat recipe but I would opt for 4 packets, better to be a little over – and do not forget the mayonnaise.

Can you reheat a subway – that has cold cuts or meat inside?

How much cheese for sandwiches per person?

Sandwich with cheese slices will make the cheese feed more guests than shredded or grated. cheese as people often overload the sandwich with shredded cheese.

So, just how many oz of Cheese goes on a sandwiches for each or per person – The target amount of cheese is around 1.25 oz of shredded cheese or slices for each sandwich per person.

Best Cheese for a leftover turkey sandwich

How Many ounces is one slice of cheese?

A single cheese slice isa round 0.75 oz.  For example a single swiss cheese slice is approximately 0.55 oz. But when you are planning a large party uses the figure of 1 slice of cheese weight 0.75 oz as a budget figure.

I’m making a sandwich with provolone, ham, and tomato. I have about 1/2 cup of each on hand so how many slices should I use?  Use 1.5 slices of cheese to cover the fillings with a single lay or cheese.

How much cheese to make 10 sandwiches?

You will need 12.5 to 15 oz of cheese for 10 sandwiches of approximately 15 slices of cheese.

How Long do Cold Cuts Last?

How Long does Lunch Meat last after the Expiration Date? As mentioned above, it will last for 3 to 5 days past the expiration date if sealed and stored properly.

Having many extra slices of lunch meat can be problematic, especially if no one is gonna consume it before the sell-by date on the label. To make it last longer and go further best practice is to seal it immediately.

Doing this will give it maximum shelf life and prevent cross-contamination of bacteria.

Moreover, prepacked lunch meats expire a little later since they often have preservatives.

If the product seems to develop a green, slimy film, then better dump it instantly in the trash can.

Can You Freeze Cold Cuts?

When determining food totals it is always a good idea to take into account a few extra people.

Buying an extra pound or two of cold cuts makes sure there is enough food to go around.  The well wrapped cold cuts you can store cold cuts in the freezer for between 3 to 6 months.

How Long do cold cuts last and keep fresh
How Long do cold cuts last and keep fresh

How to Keep Lunch Meat Fresh?

To keep lunch meat the same way you keep the store-bought meats. To keep it fresh, you will need to refrigerate it in the meat drawer area to keep the cold air in or place it in a cool airtight container to keep it moist and fresh since it can lose it pretty quickly.

It will normally last up to 3 to 5 day days otherwise, immediately throw it if you notice any weird smell and appearance in the meat.

How to Assemble or Build your Own Sandwich Platter?

First, the size of your platter will depend on how many guests you are serving at your gathering. Obviously, get a smaller plate if you have 2 to 3 people and get a bigger platter if you are to serve a big crowd. The important matter here is you get to have delicious ingredients added to your sandwiches that your guests will surely love. And serving Coldcut’s on a sandwich platter lets your crowd build their own style sandwiches.

Do not forget to serve some sides like salad or chips! (How Many Bags Of Chips To Buy For A Crowd)

Recommended tools needed on your sandwich platter are small bowls for condiments and spreads, a large tray board parchment paper, spreader knives, and small spoons.

Importantly, mustard and mayonnaise are the best spreads to use for a sandwich and pair it with a refreshing, cool drink. (How Many Soda Cans do I need when catering for a large group?)

Other Interesting ideas for bread slices are rye bread which tastes great with sliced turkey or a roast beef sandwich.

So have lots of fun building your charcuterie board and adding a cheese platter will let your guest build just amazing sandwiches.

  • peanut butter
  • roasted veggies
  • tomato
  • egg salad
  • potato salad
  • chicken salad
  • cheese slices
  • mayonnaise
  • potato salad
  • pasta salad
  • red onion
  • sour cream
  • pickle spears
  • cherry tomatoes
  • mustard

What is the most popular sandwich meat in 2024?

The most popular deli sandwich meat from supermarkets like Wholefoods Market, Kroger, Wegmans is turkey breast.
Sliced deli meat like pepperoni also is popular in some areas. Processed deli meat is the least popular.

How much beef per person for a party is an often asked question. See our beef brisket per person serving calculator here.

Also, see How Much Meat Per Person For BBQ in this guide.

What’s the Right Amount of Meat to Serve per Person?

Is the meat per person for a main or is the beef per person a side dish  – we will give you a handy table for how much beef per guest for 10,20,50 and 100 people.

Average Portion Sizes for Beef, Pork for a Main or Entree

Average Meat Portion Sizes do vary a little bit beef is slightly different than a serving of pulled pork per person plus sandwiches.

Using the Palm to Estimate Portion Size

Use the Palm of Your Hand to Visualize the Right Portion Size is often a method used – but if you are cooking for a large number of guests or a big crowd then measuring by weight is a much better method – this is how the top restaurant and professional caterers do it.

Average Portion Sizes for Beef

There are standard portion sizes for meat and other proteins like fish and poultry. We’ll use them to begin our calculations for the right amount of meat to buy when shopping.

Let’s assume you only feed adults. Cut it back for children and raise it for adolescents.

A typical or good portion size for beef is half a pound (8 oz or 227 gm) of meat.

If you are serving cooked beef with only two dishes I would increase the portion size by 20%

If you have athletes or hungry teenagers use over a half pound of beef for big eaters 

Know the Yield, or You Won’t Have Enough

The yield is the difference in weight between cooking and raw material. The percentage of loss is calculated from shrinkage, trimmings, and bones. What’s left is called yield.

A quarter-pound burger is advertised by restaurants or fast food outlets. However, you don’t get a 1/4-pound burger inside your bun.  That’s the reason it shrinks during cooking.

A common shrinkage is 30% for most fatty meats, especially ground beef. So what that means is increase the amount of raw meat you buy by 30%

It’s important to know if you’re serving a large number of people.

You can also see the USDA Table of Cooking Yields for Red Meat and Poultry to get precise yields for many other different cuts of meat.

We have listed a few below

Here are some meat yields after cooking.

Steak (NY Strip) – 84%

Baby Back Ribs – 50%

Pork Shoulder – 62%

Whole Turkey – 50%

So let’s get to it

Exactly How Much Beef Person For Roast Beef and Sliced Steak

Here is our handly table for calculating how much beef per guest when you have a party or a big event. You can also use this for other boneless meat, chicken breast, or sliced rib roast.

how much roast beef for 100 people
How much roast beef for 100 people

Handy Beef Calculation Table

  • Serve 45 oz or 2.8 lb (1.3 kg) of Roast Beef per person for 10 guests
  • Serve 5.6 lb(2.6 kg) of Roast Beef per person for 20 people
  • Serve 14 lbs ( 6.5 kg) of Beef per person for 50 guests at a large event
  • Serve 28 lb(12.8 kg) of Beef per person for 100 people
How much beef tenderloin for 100 people
How much beef tenderloin for 100 people

Handy Beef Tenderloin Per Person Calculation Table

  • Serve 45 oz or 2.8 lb (1.3 kg) of Beef Tenderloin per person for 10 guests
  • Serve 5.6 lb(2.6 kg) of Beef Tenderloin per person for 20 people
  • Serve 14 lb(6.5 kg) of Beef Tenderloin per person for 50 guests at a party
  • Serve 28 lb(12.8 kg) of Beef Tenderloin per person for 100 people

Handy Beef Brisket Per Person Calculation Table

How Much Brisket for Sandwiches

A whole packer brisket or either grade Choice or Prime has a large amount of fat that needs some trimming.

A Brisket can lose up to 50% of its weight from trimming the fat and shrinkage by the time it is ready to serve.

There are some assumptions that we need to check.  It’s a bit extreme for a packer to lose half of its weight.  The more likely shrinkage is 35-40%.  The serving size of a half-pound of brisket per person can be adjusted as well.  Most Catering outfits assume 1/3 of a pound of meat per person while my teenage son can polish off a pound of brisket.

However, How much brisket for sandwiches – you can use 1/8 pound for a brisket sandwich that has other fillings like egg or lettuce – or up to 1/3 of a pound if it is brisket only sandwich and you are a big eater – The best brisket sandwich is made with sourdough bread and brisket burnt ends!!

What is the best bread to make a brisket sandwich?

See other cooked ground beef and meat calculations and advice here