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Ice cream is a cold treat that many people enjoy. When hosting a party, consider serving ice cream as a sweet treat or as dessert after a meal. However, how much ice cream do you need for a crowd of people?
As a general rule, you will need 12-32 ounces of ice cream per person when serving a crowd of people. People typically eat between 12-32 ounces of ice cream during a party, and more will be consumed if that is one of the only items served. Have various toppings and ice cream flavors available to choose from.
When at a party, people will typically eat a relatively large amount of ice cream, especially when at a party and are having fun. Ice cream is delicious; why not eat it while at a party? Below is more information about how much ice cream you need to serve a crowd and the toppings you need to have available.
How Much Ice Cream Do People Eat?
Because people like eating ice cream, as it is one of the most popular desserts in America, they tend to eat a decent amount when they are at a party. When they are not talking to others, they eat and drink what is available, including ice cream. (Source)
People typically eat 12-32 oz of ice cream in one sitting, and those who eat less tend to go back for more. That gives them an opportunity to try different ice cream flavors and enjoy their favorite toppings or try new toppings that are available. (Source)
Typically when you need to serve a large number of people ice cream, you purchase a gallon-size tub. One gallon of ice cream typically serves 10-15 people if you serve every person three decent-sized scoops of ice cream. (Source)
How Much Ice Cream Do You Need for a Party?
Ice cream is a dessert that many people enjoy, so it makes sense that you would serve it to a large number of people at a party. However, before you serve it, you need to determine how much ice cream you need to have available.
When determining how much ice cream you need to have available for a party, find out how many people will be attending. Keep in mind that children will eat less ice cream than adults, although they will eat as much as their parents will allow them to.
When you purchase the ice cream, you can determine how many ounces are in the container by looking at the top of the container. Ice cream typically comes in a 1-quart or 1-gallon container, but at some ice cream shops, you can purchase 3-gallon tubs of ice cream. If you are serving ice cream at a party, it may be worth the cost to purchase a 3-gallon tub of ice cream.
In the table below, the number of ounces of ice cream that you will need to have available at your party based on the number of people that are attending is listed. You may want to purchase extra ice cream, just in case, but you can determine whether or not to do so after you determine how many people are attending.
|Number of People Attending||Amount of Ice Cream Needed (oz)|
|10 people||120-320 oz|
|25 people||300-800 oz|
|50 people||600-1,600 oz|
|100 people||1,200-3,200 oz|
|200 people||2,400-6,400 oz|
You can purchase ice cream in bulk at your local grocery store. Most of the time, the largest ice cream container holds 1-gallon of ice cream, but sometimes you can find larger containers. 128 ounces is equal to 1-gallon, so keep that in mind when calculating how many gallons of ice cream you need to purchase.
Although the table may make it seem like you need an extremely large amount of ice cream, realistically, if you are serving 200 people ice cream, you only need about 50 gallons of ice cream. That isn’t much when you consider how many people you are serving.
Before you purchase ice cream for your party, determine exactly how many people will be attending. Once you determine that, you can decide how much ice cream you need to buy. You may want to get an extra gallon of ice cream. If it doesn’t get eaten at the party, you can always eat it later or give it to your guests as they leave.
Toppings for Ice Cream
When you serve ice cream at a party, you can’t just serve the ice cream. You need to have toppings for the ice cream. Most people like to add toppings to their ice cream.
The following items are toppings that are often put on ice cream. You can purchase all of these toppings at your local grocery or convenience store.
- Chocolate syrup
- Whip Cream
- Cookie Crumbles
- Gummy Bears
- Strawberry Syrup
- Chopped Candy
- Nuts (Pecans, Peanuts)
- Maraschino cherries
- Chocolate Chips
- Brownies (crumbles or full brownies)
Before you purchase these toppings, determine if any of your guests have any food allergies. Nut allergies are common. If any of your guests have a nut allergy, don’t serve nuts.
If you want to limit the number of toppings you need to purchase, ask your guests what toppings they want to add to the ice cream. Whip cream, chocolate syrup, caramel, and sprinkles are some of the most popular ice cream toppings.
Drinks to Serve with Ice Cream
When hosting a party, you need to serve drinks as well as desserts or other food items. You can serve non-alcoholic drinks like soda, water, and sparkling water, but you can also serve alcoholic drinks (if the attendees of the party are over 21 years old).
The following alcoholic drinks pair well with ice cream:
- Hard Cider
- White Wine
- Red Wine
- Bailey’s (various flavors)
You can even make alcoholic milkshakes with ice cream, booze, and milk. If you don’t want to make boozy milkshakes, make margaritas or cocktails instead. If you are trying to stick to a budget, ask your guests to bring the alcohol. That way, people will bring their favorite alcohol, and everyone will have something that to drink.
What You Need for an Ice Cream Party
When you are going to serve ice cream at a party or to a crowd, you will need to have various items, including:
- Several ice cream scoops
- Single use bowls
- Plastic spoons
- Toppings for ice cream
- Sugar cones
- Waffle cones
- Metal cups with warm water
- Paper plates (optional)
If you want to serve food as well as ice cream, you can choose the foods to serve. However, if you serve desserts other than ice cream, cake, cookies, and mini pies pair well with ice cream. If you are serving other desserts that aren’t typically served in bowls, you will need paper plates.
To serve ice cream, you need ice cream scoops. Have multiple ice cream scoops so multiple people can serve themselves at the same time and so the ice cream flavors don’t mix. Keep metal cups with warm water near the ice cream and put the ice cream scoops in them. The water will keep the ice cream scoops warm and clean so they are ready to use at all times.
Oftentimes, people enjoy eating ice cream from waffle cones or sugar cones, so you need to have them available when serving ice cream at a party or gathering. Sugar cones are cheaper and more popular than waffle cones, so if you only want to purchase one kind, choose the sugar cones.
If you are hosting a party, decorate the ice cream bar. Use decorations that you have used elsewhere to incorporate the ice cream bar. If you are hosting a birthday party, decorate the ice cream bar with a few party hats and streamers.
Ice Cream Flavors to Have Available
Ice cream comes in a variety of flavors. To cater to all of your guests’ preferences, you will need to purchase multiple ice cream flavors. The following are the most popular ice cream flavors that you should consider purchasing:
- Rocky Road
- Birthday cake (especially if you are hosting a birthday party)
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Buttered Pecan
- Cookie Dough
- Moose Tracks
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
If you only want to purchase a few flavors, ask your guests what flavors are their favorites. Purchase more of the most popular flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies & cream. You don’t need to purchase Neopolitan ice cream if you have chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, as those who want Neopolitan ice cream will get one scoop of each type of ice cream.
Ice Cream Alternatives
If any of your guests are lactose intolerant or dairy-free, you will need to provide ice cream alternatives so they aren’t left out and can enjoy the party. If you have ice cream alternatives available, you won’t need to purchase as much ice cream.
The following items are popular ice cream alternatives:
- Dairy-free ice cream
- Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas
- Yogurt parfaits
- Shaved ice
How to Keep Ice Cream Cold During Party
If you serve ice cream at a party, you need to keep it cold so it doesn’t melt and become unappealing to guests. To prevent ice cream from melting, don’t take it out of the freezer until you are ready to serve it to your guests.
You can use dry ice to keep ice cream cold during your party. All you need to do is get a large container, put the ice cream in it, place the dry ice around the ice cream, and pour a small amount of water on the dry ice. This will keep the ice cream cold for hours, although it may melt slightly around the edges.
You can also use regular ice to keep ice cream cold during a party. Get a large tub, fill it halfway with ice, and pour in cold water until the ice starts to shift. Then put the ice cream in the tub.
If you don’t want to deal with ice and water, you can always wrap the container of ice cream in aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will keep the cold from escaping from the ice cream and keep it cold for hours.
How Much Will it Cost to Have an Ice Cream Party?
How much it will cost to serve ice cream at a party varies depending on how many people will be attending, the amount of ice cream you purchase, the toppings you purchase, and the foods and various desserts that you choose to serve.
It typically costs between $4 and $9 for one container of ice cream. The cost will vary depending on the size of the container you purchase and the ice cream flavors you select.
If you want to limit the amount of ice cream that your guests eat, serve other desserts and food options. The more food you have available, the less ice cream they will eat. However, if ice cream is the only food option available, people will likely eat a large amount, and you may run out of ice cream a few hours after the party starts.
Ice cream is a dessert that everybody loves, and people can eat a large amount of it when they are at a party. Ice cream is a relatively cheap treat, so it is a food that you should consider serving at a gathering you are hosting.
Ice cream is often self-served, so you won’t have to stand at the ice cream bar helping your guests all night. Instead, you can get the ice cream that you want and mingle with your friends and acquaintances. If you want to serve a dessert that is low-hassle, ice cream is an option that you should consider.
Although it may seem like you need to purchase a large amount of ice cream to serve it to a crowd, in reality, you need less than you think. Determine how many guests will be attending your event before you purchase the ice cream.