Exactly How Much Green Salad to Buy for Any Group Size

Salad is one of those few dishes where having leftovers isn’t a good thing. Unlike warm foods, salad can’t be stored for multiple days and eaten later; it’s best fresh. Thus, when preparing foods for large groups, you want to try and get a salad to the most accurate serving size possible to avoid extra leftovers.

One salad serving is about 2 cups per person, measured not by smashing down the greenery, but allowing it to overflow the cup serving. So when looking to serve a group of people, ensure there are around 2 cups per person and at least 1 cup extra, just in case.

This method of serving can be applicable to any amount of people. We measure how much salad, and the best type of lettuce, to use based on two, five, ten, and twenty+ people. Along with the best ways to keep salad fresh not only while serving it but in the event that there are leftovers afterward. Salad can be tricky, and not as thought out as other dishes. However, with the right tricks, it can be just as popular as your main dish.

A Quick Graph

While there are lots of factors that go into how much food to prepare for any given event, here is a quick graph you can use whilst considering how much to buy.

How Many PeopleHow Much Salad
Two5+ cups
Five11+ cups
Ten21+ cups
Twenty40+ cups
For purchasing, as opposed to preparing

Of course, this graph isn’t going to be able to fill all of your needs, there are quite a few things that go into how much salad to prepare that you might not have thought of!

Things to Consider

While this is a general rule, there are some things that could change how much you will actually need for your specific group that you are serving.

Age Group

When considering how much to buy, you need to consider a few things. Of these things is the age group. If you’re preparing a meal or side, for a group of adults, you’re going to have much higher consumption than children.

If you were preparing for an event where children would be present, you’re going to want to prepare a substantial amount less than if it was a full adult event. Teenagers also aren’t going to consume as much salad, though they’ll consume more than children. If your age group is going to be a more adult group, you’re going to want to prepare more.

Adults will be the one group that you’re going to not cater portion size to.


Gender is also a large factor that is often not considered in how much to prepare. If you’re making a salad for a population that’s mostly of men, less salad is going to be consumed. Not necessarily because women prefer salad more than men do, but because women are more socially malleable.

An article by Food Network said “Whether or not there is intrinsic truth in these cultural preconceptions about gender and food, societal reinforcement of them may influence the decisions we make about what we eat”

So your population’s overall gender is going to be something to consider when thinking about how much to buy.

Side Dish? Or Main?

Another thing to consider is going to be if you want to make the salad the main event or a side dish. If you’re looking for it to be the meal, then you’re going to want to purchase and prepare more, than if you were just going to use it as an aside. If it’s one of the only dishes, people are more likely to consume more.

If you’re looking to have salad as a main dish then you’re going to not only want more salad but also more toppings in order for it to be more filling and for it to be able to feed everyone. If it’s just a side dish then you may need less.

When to Buy

Salad has the unfortunate talent of spoiling quite quickly if you aren’t careful. When considering purchases for your group, remember that you’ll want to buy them a few days, if not the day of the event. This will ensure that you have the freshest salad and greens possible!

Event Type

The event type is also going to be something that is going to change how much salad to buy and prepare. You’re not going to want to buy pounds of salad for something that may have other meals as well.


Weddings often have smaller serving sizes, if you’re looking for some sort of measurement about a half or a cup of green lettuce is going to be able to feed all of your guests along with anything else you’re planning on serving

Casual Party

For a casual party, where there may or may not be other foods being provided, it’s best to keep a smaller amount of salad available. If the population is between 10-15 people, the best serving would be about 10-12 cups of salad. This will allow for enough salad if people want some, there’s plenty. However, you won’t be left with an excessive amount of leftovers so you feel like there has been a waste!

Office Event

Office events are going to be more formal, and are going to have more people. However, in these situations, the chances of other people bringing dishes are much higher. On top of this most of the items brought to an office, parties tend to be finger foods, not a place where salad often fits. However, if you still don’t want to show up empty-handed, the best amount of salad to bring would be around 8-10 cups.

Whilst this is a smaller amount, there tends to be a larger spread of food choices, and salad can get commonly skipped over. No worries though! This amount will feed anyone who needs it!

Dinner Party

Dinner parties are a great event to show off your salad skills, and salad is a great said to bring. If you’re attending a dinner party with a population of between 5-10 people then you’ll want to create a salad with about 4-6 cups! This will be the perfect amount for your group.

Places to Buy Salad in Bulk

There are some options for bargain shoppers if you are looking to supply salad for a large group. Here are some of the favorite go-to’s


Costco is a grocery store that requires a membership but is great for if you’re buying anything in bulk. They have some salads with pre-made and cut toppings, that just need to be mixed together, and other bulk packages that are solely lettuce and other greenery

Purchase HereOpens in a new tab.

Sams Club-

Sams Club is also a membership required bulk store. With more locations nation-wide than Costco, but with great deals on bulk salads. It’s also on average a bit cheaper than Costco.

Purchase Salads HereOpens in a new tab.


Walmart is the most popular grocer in the nation. Whilst it isn’t bulk store the way Sams Club and Costco are, they still have great deals on large amounts of salads.

Purchase HereOpens in a new tab.

Tips For Serving

So now that you’ve got everything together, here are a few tips on serving salad for large groups!

When Serving, Prepare Salad Last

An age-old trick to serving foods is to begin preparing your longest cooking foods first, with your shortest ones last. The same goes for salad. A salad that is left out for too long may begin to wilt in warm temperatures, along with losing some of its coolness. To best prepare salad and have it as fresh as possible, begin cutting your greens only an hour or so before the company arrives. This will keep your greens fresh, and cold.

Mix In Toppings as People Arrive

Just like no one likes a wilted salad, no one likes a soggy salad. Mixing in fresh-cut fruit and vegetables are a great addition to any salad. However, some of your juicer toppings may cause salad to become soggy. Mixing toppings in last stops the potential of the lettuce being pulled down by the toppings before consumption. Instead of leaving everything fresh, clean, and ready to eat!

Keep Dressing to the Side

What’s a salad without some dressing?

Regardless of what dressing you choose, it’s going to not only add flavor to your salad but weight. The heavier the dressing, the soggier your salad will become. Like we mentioned earlier, you’re going to want to add your toppings last and the same goes for dressing. However, instead of adding dressing to the salad for serving, consider serving it separately.

Unless you’re serving something like Caesar salad, where the dressing is the main event, dressing needs to be a separate topping. This allows for people to add as much, or as little, dressing as they want. It also lets the salad breathes, and doesn’t drown it, and turns it into the soup while you wait for the company to arrive.

Salad isn’t always the most exciting thing to make, but it can be a crowd-pleaser if you make it right! Hopefully with a little bit of help from us!

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of CookForFolks.com, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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