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May 28, 2011 04:12 AM

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

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?

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: mamachef

        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.

      2. 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.

        4 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          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: magiesmom

            I totally agree with magiesmom. I think 10 lbs is overkill and 5 lbs is too little. I know the math says to use 6.25 lbs for 25 servings but I would go with 8 lbs. I always like to have extra just in case, plus I usually send food home with guests! Good question & GREAT feedback for everyone! :-)
            ****Just realized that the original question was for making 35 servings. I generally figure on a 1/4lb per serving (4oz) that would be 8.75lbs for 35 servings. I'd use 10lbs of potatoes!

          2. re: roxlet

            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

              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.

          3. 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

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

              1. re: mamachef

                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

                  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. 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. 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 …