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Potato salad: how many pounds of potatoes for 35 people?!

cathyeats May 28, 2011 04:12 AM

There will be a lot of other food, so everyone will probably just have a good spoonful of potato salad. I've seen recipes that call for 3 pounds for 8 servings - that would mean I'd have to cook 9 pounds of potatoes. Does that sound right?

  1. k
    kpaxonite May 31, 2011 02:30 PM

    It depends how good the potato salad is.

    1. Will Owen May 31, 2011 02:27 PM

      I made a smallish batch on Sunday night for Monday's supper, 3 whole russets of just under 1 lb. each. Cooked, peeled and cubed the potatoes, added 4 hard-cooked eggs and half a very large onion, chopped. S&P, of course, and then mayonnaise and some sour cream just to bind; this is our old family recipe, from which I seldom waver. This made between five and six cups of salad. We had it with our ribs and some coleslaw, I had some again for lunch, and we will finish it either tonight or tomorrow. That's a total of five servings.

      I've had that military potato salad, and even though it's far from wonderful any mess sergeant who counted on doling out only half a cup per man would have run out long before everyone was served. 2/3 is a LITTLE better, but I always assume a cup+. That's if nobody wants seconds …

      1. r
        rjbh20 May 31, 2011 07:49 AM

        Obviously it depends on what else you're having, what your recipe is and who your audience is, but a reasonable rule of thumb is half cup/person, which works out to about 6.5 lbs of potatoes for my recipe. BTW, this also assumes at least two other sides (typically brunswick stew & cole slaw),

        1. Antilope May 28, 2011 08:13 AM

          U. S. Armed Forces Recipes - 2003

          Yield 100 servings - Portion 2/3 cup

          Potato Salad

          18 lbs (3 gal - 1 1/8 qts) Potatoes, fresh, peeled, cubed
          16 3/4 lbs (2 gal) Water
          2 1/2 oz (1/4 cup - 1/3 tbsp) Salt
          1 lbs (2 7/8 cup) Onions, fresh, chopped
          1 oz (1 tbsp) Salt
          1/8 oz (1/3 tsp) Pepper, black, ground
          5 5/8 oz ( 1/2 cup - 2 2/3 tbsp) Vinegar, distilled
          2 3/8 lbs (2 qts - 1 cup) Celery, fresh, chopped
          2 lbs (18 eggs) Egg, hard cooked, chopped
          1 1/8 lbs (2 cup) Pickle Relish, sweet
          8 1/2 oz ( 1 1/4 cup) Pimiento, canned, drained, chopped
          4 lbs (2 qts) Salad Dressing, Mayonnaise Type
          1 oz (1/4 cup) Parsley, fresh, bunch, chopped
          1/2 oz (2 tbsp) Paprika, ground


          1. Cover potatoes with water; bring to a boil; add salt; cover. Cook until tender.

          2. Drain well. Cool slightly.

          3. Combine onions, salad oil or olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Add potatoes. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.

          4. Combine celery, eggs, relish, pimientos, and Salad Dressing; add to potato mixture.

          5. Mix lightly but thoroughly to coat potatoes with Salad Dressing mixture.

          6. Garnish with parsley and paprika.

          7. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve. CCP: Holf for service at 41 F. or lower.

          Source: Salads, Salad Dressings, and Relishes No.M 040 00

          U. S. Armed Forces Recipe Service

          3 Replies
          1. re: Antilope
            mamachef May 28, 2011 08:18 AM

            Antilope, do you have the scaled-back proportions for this? Sounds perfect for her......

            1. re: mamachef
              Antilope May 28, 2011 08:36 AM

              No. The Armed Forces Recipes are only listed for 100 servings.

              Here's a link to USDA School Lunches that come in 50 and 100 serving portions:

              Potato Salad (for school lunch program) 50 and 100 servings.

              1. re: Antilope
                Antilope May 28, 2011 08:53 AM

                USDA Recipes for Schools - 2007.

                50 servings - Portion 2/3 cup

                Potato Salad

                9 lbs 5 oz Potatoes, as purchased
                1 lb 2 oz (1 qt - 1/4 cup) Fresh celery, chopped
                7 1/2 oz (1 1/4 cups) Fresh onions, finely chopped
                6 oz (2/3 cup) Sweet pickle relish, undrained
                12 each Fresh large eggs, hard-cooked, chopped (optional)
                1 lb 10 oz (3 cups) Lowfat Mayonnaise OR Reduced calorie salad dressing
                1 Tbsp salt
                1 tsp Ground black pepper or white pepper
                1 Tbsp Dry mustard

                1. Steam potatoes at 5 - 6 pounds pressure for 30-45 minutes, or
                boil for 30-40 minutes. Cool, peel, and dice into 1/2" cubes.

                2. Add all other ingredients. Mix lightly until well blended.
                Spread 5 lb 9 oz (approzimately 1 gal - 1/2 cup) into eah shallow pan
                (12" x 20" x 2 1/2") to a product depth of 2" or less.
                For 50 servings use 2 pans.

                3. CCP. Cool to 41 F or lower within 4 hours.

                4. Portion with No. 6 scoop (2/3 cup).

                Source: USDA Recipes for Schools - 2007.

          2. roxlet May 28, 2011 05:19 AM

            Gotta disagree! I just make 5 lbs for 8 people (we were having ribs, slaw and cornbread as well) and I had virtually no left overs. Clearly, it depends on HOW many other things you are having, but my entertaining philosophy is that I'd rather have too much than too little. I'd go with the original amount.

            3 Replies
            1. re: roxlet
              magiesmom May 28, 2011 05:37 AM

              I'm with roxlet; at my parties potato salad is a big item. for 35 people I'd make at least eight pounds worth.

              1. re: roxlet
                biondanonima May 28, 2011 08:21 AM

                Yes, my knee-jerk reaction was 10lbs, but I have a lot of potato-lovers in my group of friends. It also depends on what you put in your potato salad - if it's mostly potatoes, go with the larger amount, but if you add a ton of other veg/hard-boiled eggs/etc., you might want less.

                1. re: biondanonima
                  rayrayray May 28, 2011 08:53 AM

                  Agree with bion..10 pounds sounds right. Keep 1/3 or so in the fridge in case you do not use it all so you do not have to toss it in case it is not eaten.

              2. mamachef May 28, 2011 04:42 AM

                It sounds like too much. I'd use a 5-lb. bag of potatoes, figuring in all the other foods; it's a few ounces per person.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mamachef
                  ospreycove May 28, 2011 04:56 AM

                  Unless you are feeding the cast from "Justified", I agree with Mamachef. "a few ounces per person.

                  1. re: mamachef
                    DMBUDD May 28, 2011 08:30 AM

                    I agree with you. It is enough for 5 lb bag of potatoes for all ingredients as celery, cucumber, etc to mix up in one salad. All other foods prepare to fit for 35 peoples.

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