Tips & Tricks to Follow When Cooking for Large Groups

Plate full of ribs

Do you ever feel completely worn out from trying to cook a delicious meal while still being able to spend quality time with your loved ones? It can be tough to juggle all these tasks, especially when cooking for a large group. But don't worry; there are some helpful ways to make the process more enjoyable. By planning and preparing early, using simple cooking methods, and making sure you have enough food, you can host a fantastic gathering that your guests will love!

One of the keys to success is to make sure that you're not only entertaining your guests but also serving up some tasty food. If you can strike a good balance between your tasks, you'll feel less stressed and more efficient in the kitchen. And that means you'll be able to serve up some truly amazing dishes that your guests won’t soon forget!

woman holding plate

Prep Early & Save Hours on Cooking

Taking the time to prepare your ingredients can make all the difference. Washing and chopping vegetables, rinsing and soaking grains, and prepping herbs, spices, and sauces in advance can streamline the cooking process. If you want to simplify meal preparation and still get delicious results, why not try using meat that already contains all the necessary ingredients? This approach saves time and effort in the kitchen, making cooking a more pleasant experience.

A little organization goes a long way if you're cooking for large groups. Knowing where everything is in your kitchen and having it ready to go can make the process much more enjoyable. And remember to take a look at your recipes a few days in advance to ensure you have everything you need in order.

groceries on a kitchen island

Scale Up Your Chosen Recipes

You may encounter situations where you need to scale up your recipes to accommodate more guests. On the fly, it can be confusing – even overwhelming – to follow a recipe that serves six people when you need to serve 12 people. But if you plan ahead, there are some tricks you can perform to scale up your recipes with ease, ensuring you’ll have enough food for everyone.

measuring cup filled with spices

Calculate the Amount of Ingredients Needed

If you're cooking for a group, figuring out how much food to make can be tricky. To start, you'll want to decide how many servings you need and how big you want those servings to be. Once you've got that sorted, you can adjust the recipe to suit your needs. For example, if you're making steak based on a recipe that serves four people but you need to feed eight, you'll need to double the amount of meat and other ingredients you use.

meat on a cutting board surrounded by seasonings

Pay Attention to Ingredient Ratios

It's a good idea to consider the balance of flavors. For instance, if your recipe calls for a specific amount of herbs, spices, or marinade per serving of meat, you should keep those same ratios when making larger portions. But if you don't feel like worrying about ratios, you can always buy pre-seasoned meat to save yourself some time and hassle.

Use Simplified Cooking Techniques

When it comes to cooking for large groups, handling larger quantities of food might mean adjusting cooking times or methods. You could find yourself reaching for bigger pots or pans, tweaking oven settings, or resorting to cooking in batches to meet the demand.

There's a range of cooking techniques at your disposal – from oven baking and slow cooking to stove-top searing and grilling. Selecting the proper method is crucial for catering to a large group. Simplified approaches like slow cookers, grills, or ovens make the process smoother, reducing complexity and making it more time-efficient in the kitchen.

Slow cooker in the kitchen

Know Your People & Portions

Nailing down the perfect quantity of food for a gathering and ensuring everyone leaves with a satisfied palate can be a puzzle. Here are some tips to guide your planning process as you prepare for your upcoming event:

  • Make a guest list: Start anticipating the number of guests you'll be expecting and consider separating the kids from the adults, as their preferences and requirements might differ.

  • Consider what type of event you're hosting: If you're planning a midday gathering, lighter dishes will be perfect for your guests to enjoy! However, if your event is an evening affair, your guests will likely expect more substantial portions of food, including appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts.

  • Account for dietary preferences: Keep in mind the diverse dietary needs of your guests. Make sure to extend your hospitality to those with allergies and those following specific dietary paths. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone feels comfortable and included at your events.

  • Plan for leftovers: It's always a good idea to prepare extra food in case unexpected guests show up or some of your friends want to enjoy a second helping. Being proactive and having extra food on hand can make a big difference in ensuring everyone has a great time and no one leaves hungry.

Pro Tip: Half a pound of poultry or beef, four to five ounces of pasta, a half ounce of grain, and three to four ounces of vegetables per person can be an excellent guideline for planning meals for your event.

spaghetti and other dishes on a dining table

Remember to Enjoy the Moment

Planning and preparing in advance can go a long way when it comes to entertaining your guests and confidently serving a delicious meal. AdapTable Meals offers both convenience and flavor. When cooking for large groups, you want to save time and reduce stress, and we’re here to help you do both! Our pre-seasoned and pre-marinated meat will make your life much easier, and even though it's easy to prepare, it still brings bold and tasty flavors.

  Seasoned meat surrounded by side dishes

Find Meals for Your Gathering

Look for our delicious and nutritious meal options, perfect for any occasion, now at Costco. If you need inspiration to impress your guests, check out our Meal Ideas page at

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