Whether you’re hosting an extra family or having a full blown fall gathering, we’ve got some great ideas for the best foods that feed a large crowd. These food ideas are meant to handle big serving sizes, be easy to make, and go easy on the pocket. They will help make hosting people in your home fun and stress free!
Tips for Feeding a Large Crowd
Before diving into the crowd-pleasing meal ideas, let’s have a quick chat about a few things that go into feeding a large group of people. First and foremost, there’s always a level of preparation necessary to pull off meals of group-size. Part of this prep involves choosing meals that accommodate the number of people that will be in attendance. You’ll also want to clarify if there are any food allergies so you can stay away from no-no ingredients (or make appropriate substitutions).
Another aspect of crowd-hosting to consider is the hospitality. Having the proper amount of seating, cutlery, and tableware is a must. You don’t want to run out of the essentials and be left scrounging up additional stuff from your own cabinets. You can also go the extra mile and dress up your paper or plastic cups with a classy cup and marker holder. And if you’re into matching, complete the look with a classy plate holder!
Last but not least, having an itinerary of plans may help as well. If you’re simply having dinner, that’s all you would need to account for. However, if a meal is only a portion of what will be taking place, be sure to have those ducks in a row.
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5 Best Foods That Feed a Large Crowd
Pulled BBQ Sandwiches
Chicken breasts are one of the cheaper types of meat to use for making this yummy meal. Just a couple family-size packs of chicken breasts can yield a lot of sandwiches to go around. Go with the classic bake, shred, and add bbq sauce recipe to make it easy or go with a homemade sauce. To make sure you create a well-rounded meal, don’t forget to add sides. Classic bbq sandwich sides are cole slaw and chips - two things that keep this meal option inexpensive.
From baked penne pasta to traditional spaghetti, pasta meals always go a long way. Not to mention, this tends to be a classic meal for most families (especially if there are kids in tow). Whip up a huge batch and keep it warm in the crockpot. Make some homemade garlic bread or pick up a few boxes of frozen bread sticks to pair with this simple crowd-pleaser.
Even if it’s not Taco Tuesday, you can’t go wrong with having a taco bar. This is one of the best meals that feed a large crowd. If you’re hosting a gathering with well-known friends and family, you could even ask them to pitch in and bring a side or topping. Cook up several pounds of meat in the Instant Pot, add a tableside of toppings, and you’re all set! One trick to make the meat stretch even further is to add cooked rice or beans to the mix.
A few topping suggestions are: chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onion, green onion, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Refried beans, tortillas, chips, and taco shells are the perfect sides and additions for one awesome taco bar.
Similar to a taco bar, a sandwich bar can be stocked with bread slices and choice cheeses and sandwich meats. Condiments are just as easy because all you’ll need are mayo, mustard, and pickles. Pair the sandwiches with a variety of chip options to keep it simple or give your guests the choice of a side salad. Don’t just stop at the classic side salad with lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Consider potato or macaroni salads, too!
Soups are always a good option when you have to feed a large crowd. They can be made well ahead of time and feed an abundance of people. You can also choose to make a few different soups to offer your guests choices. When it comes to soup, they are best served with breads such as Italian, rye, and/or rolls. Complete the meal by having soup and salad.
When it comes to foods that feed a large crowd, these are sure to be a big hit with your crowd. Remember to plan your meal ahead of time, stock up on the ingredients you need, and have a blast cooking!