How Much Macaroni Salad per Person for A Crowd

How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person For A Big Group

I love planning an event for a family reunion or get-together. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing happy faces and receiving compliments on the dishes you have prepared.

Macaroni salad is a staple at our family BBQs. And I always make sure there’s enough for seconds or even to go.

I take my time to calculate what ingredients I need and how much of each is needed. It’s better to have some left over than to have made too little.

I usually figure on a cup of cooked pasta per guest. This is the usual portion size for a side dish. Remember, this only includes the pasta and not the other ingredients that go into the salad plate. 

Those need to be included in the calculation as well. Depending on how popular the side dish is, I make a few extra servings for guests who like a second helping.

What is the best way to serve macaroni salad to a large group?

How to make macaroni salad ahead of time for a crowd?

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How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Macaroni salad is a great side dish for any meal. It can be served as a main course too. The amount of macaroni salad per person depends on how much pasta you use. One pound of uncooked elbow macaroni has 1 cup of cooked macaroni. So, if you want to serve 2 people, you would need to cook 2 cups of macaroni.

How Much Is a Serving of Macaroni Salad

For a crowd, picnic, Memorial Day BBQ a serving of macaroni salad is 1/2 cup or 3.5 oz when there are other dishes served concurrently.

Control The Portion Size Of The Macaroni Salad To Stick To your budget
How Many pounds of Macaroni Salad Do I need to feed 10 people?

For 10 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Serve 5 cups, 20 scoops, or 2.2 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 10 folks.


For 20 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Serve 10 cups or 4.5 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 20 guests at a party.


For 30 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

30 People will need 15 cups or 6.6 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 30 people at a big event


For 50 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Serve 25 cups, 100 scoops, or 11 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 50 guests.


For 75 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Serve  16.5 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 75.


For 1 People How Much Macaroni Salad Per Person

Serve 50 cups or 22 lbs of Macaronic Salad for 100 Guests at a reception.


How to Prepare the Macaroni Salad Ingredients per Person

Depending on the variety, pasta doubles in size when cooked. For smaller pasta shapes such as elbows, bowties, penne and rotine, ½ cup of dry pasta equals about 2 ounces of dry pasta. This swells to a full cup of cooked pasta.

Control The Portion Size Of The Macaroni Salad To Stick To your budget
How To Calculate The Portion Size Of The Macaroni Salad

I will calculate the serving sizes per person. The number of ingredients may cause the pasta dish to increase in size. Therefore, you need to include these ingredients in the calculation.

Macaroni salad, depending on the recipe, usually consists of cooked pasta, mayonnaise, chopped onions, celery, and grated carrots.

If you want to serve one cup of macaroni salad per guest, you may want to reduce the actual amount of uncooked pasta just slightly to account for the other ingredients.

For this reason, I usually figure on two-fifths (2/5) of a cup of uncooked pasta. That’s a little less than 2 ounces of pasta. Let’s say about 1.8 ounces of uncooked pasta.

When the pasta is cooked and mixed, this should equal about a full cup serving per person.

What Else Will Be Served

Macaroni salad is a side dish. The amount of salad prepared also depends on how many other side dishes are served and what type of additional side dishes are to be served.

At our family gatherings, I usually serve two to three additional side dishes. I limit the side dishes to two vegetables and one type of starch. It varies from family to family and event to event.

I count on one serving per guest. For events such as Thanksgiving where there is a wide selection of side dishes being served, I will reduce the portion size of the macaroni salad per guest to 1.5 ounces. This is because guests have more options to choose from. 

If more than two side dishes are served at smaller occasions such as a family BBQ I will reduce the macaroni salad portion size to about 1.75 ounces. 

Some hosts aim to prepare more than just one helping per guest in order to cater to those guests who go back for second helpings. 

As a rule, I will only prepare one helping per guest if there are additional sides. 

Best Ways To Serve Macaroni Salad for a Crowd
When Calculating Macaroni Salad for a Crowd – Know Your Guests

Who Are Your Guests

Another factor I consider when preparing a macaroni salad is the guests I will be serving. Some guests may have to follow a restricted diet that does not allow starchy foods.

Other guests may be vegan. Some guests do not like macaroni salad, while others are big fans and will take double portions.

There’s no way to always know if the macaroni salad will be a success, especially if you do not know the guests at the event. In such a case, I would opt to prepare only one serving per guest.

That works out to just under half a cup of uncooked pasta per guest. This way, you can expect that some guests will avoid the macaroni salad, while others may order seconds.

Different Types of Events

Hosting a few family members at a barbecue is certainly different than serving macaroni salad on a buffet.

For larger gatherings of 25 to 60 people, it is safe to assume that guests will not consume more than 3/4 cup of cooked pasta salad if the salad is a side dish. If the macaroni salad also contains a lot of vegetables, the cup size per guest is reduced to 1/2 a cup of macaroni salad.

A standard package (1 pound box) of uncooked pasta generally yields about 8 cups of cooked pasta. You can expect to feed about 16 people with a single box.

If you have a fixed total number of guests and it is 60, four to five boxes of uncooked macaroni pasta should be sufficient. For every 1/2 a cup of macaroni salad, you should use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegetables.

For 60 guests prepare four to six cups of dressing for the salad and about 16 to 22 cups of vegetables.

How To Keep Homemade Macaroni Salad from Drying Out

The secret to keeping your macaroni salad from drying out is in the pasta and the way it is cooked. Undercooked pasta dries out because it can not absorb the dressing.

Overcooked pasta, on the other hand, becomes a mushy mess. It is important to cook the pasta to the right degree of doneness to keep it perfectly creamy.

How Many Servings Is a Pound of Macaroni Salad

One pound of macaroni salad is 5 servings or 2.5 cups.

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