How Many Pounds of Meatballs Should I Make for 100 People?

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A close-up of meatballs on a dish garnished with fresh herbs.
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Meatball Size Counts on Portion Control

A close-up of a woman making a meatball mix with ground meat in a bowl.
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You can make five to six 1-inch meatballs per person or two to three 2-inch meatballs per person. A recipe using 32 to 35 lbs. ground meat with fillers or a recipe using 20 to 24 lbs. loose ground meat for sauces, meat loaf, sloppy Joes or chili usually does the trick when serving 100 people, according to catering service Ellen's Kitchen.


Best Guesstimate

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A close-up of ground beef mixed with bread crumbs, herbs and spices and rolled into balls.
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About 20 lbs. of meat is a good average amount, especially if you're planning to use those meatballs in a pasta dish. OChef recommends using ground chuck over beef, when possible.

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Bottom Line

A woman scoops some meatballs onto a friend's plate at a party.
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"All meatballs are not created equal," says OChef. Most home entertainers (and many caterers) make them by hand, not by exact measurement. Make more than enough (seven to eight small or four to five large ones per person) rather than not enough, especially since some tend to eat more than their fair share.