Making Soup for a Large Group: How Many Gallons You’ll Need


Are you planning on serving soup at your next gathering? If so, then you have come to the correct place.

When making soup for a large group, one gallon is needed for every eight people when serving an adult-sized entrée. For child-sized entrées, one gallon is needed for every 16 children. When serving soup as a side, one gallon is needed for every sixteen adults and thirty-two children.

Below are charts to help you determine exactly how much soup will be needed to feed the size of your group.

How Many Gallons for Adult-Sized Entrées

Soup is a good main dish, especially in the colder months out of the year. However, for some, it is not the most filling entree, so it is good to have a hearty supply on hand, so that everyone can eat until they are full.

For the average adult, two cups of soup will be enough. Some will eat a little more and some will eat a little less. So, it’s good to count on having at least 2 cups for every dinner guest. It’s always good to have a little more as a backup.

There are 16 cups in every gallon, so one gallon of soup will be just enough for 8 people.

But, as we talked about, it’s good to have some as a backup, and sometimes when you buy or make things in bulk, there’s no choice to have some reserved.

Below is a chart that will help you decide how much soup will be needed for adult-sized entrées. For the chart, we assume that every adult will eat two cups of soup, and each gallon costs thirty dollars.

Group SizeAmount of Cups NeededAmount of Gallons NeededPrice Based on Amount of Gallons
10202$60
20403$90
30604$120
40805$150
501007$210
601208$240
701409$270
8016010$300
9018012$360
10020013$390
Gallons of soup for an adult-sized entrée

Keep in mind that the soup cost will vary based on the type of soup that you make or if it is purchased from a store instead of homemade.

How Many Gallons for Child-Sized Entrées

Children will not need as big of portion sizes as the adults. They will probably only eat about a cup of soup, so your dinner will go twice as far. Again, some bigger or hungrier children will eat more but some will also need less. This is just an average.

Below is a chart that will help you decide how much soup will be needed for child-sized entrées. For the chart, assume every child will eat one cup of soup, and each gallon costs, again, thirty dollars.

Group SizeAmount of Cups NeededAmount of Gallons NeededPrice Based on Amount of Gallons
10101$30
20202$60
30303$60
40403$90
50504$120
60604$120
70705$150
80805$150
90906$180
1001007$210
Gallons of soup for a kid-sized entrée

If you have adults and kids in your group, count every two children as one adult. This should help ensure you make the right amount.

How Many Gallons for Adults When Served as a Side

Perhaps you are not making soup as the main course, but rather a side dish or a starter.

You won’t need to make nearly as much soup as you would for the main dish. You don’t want to fill everyone’s stomach before they get to the next course so plan on the adults in the party only eating one cup of soup. This will be just enough to keep them happy for the next dish.

Below is a chart that will help you decide how much soup will be needed for adults when served as a side. For the chart, assume every adult will eat one cup of soup, and each gallon costs thirty dollars.

Group SizeAmount of Cups NeededAmount of Gallons NeededPrice Based on Amount of Gallons
10101$30
20202$60
30303$60
40403$90
50504$120
60604$120
70705$150
80805$150
90906$180
1001007$210
Gallons of soup for a adult-sided side

How Many Gallons for Kids When Served as a Side

Just like we talked about before, kids will eat probably half as much as adults. So, if adults need a one cup portion size for a side or appetizer, then you can guess that you will probably need just a half-cup for each child.

This will really make your soup (and your money) go further. You might also anticipate children to eat a little less, so you’ll probably have a bit left over. I don’t know many children who finish their side dishes and their main dishes.

Below is a chart that will help you decide how much soup will be needed for children when served as a side dish. For the chart, assume every child will eat one-half of a cup of soup, and each gallon costs thirty dollars.

Group sizeAmount of Cups NeededAmount of Gallons NeededPrice Based on Amount of Gallons
1051$30
20101$30
30151$30
40202$60
50252$60
60302$60
70353$90
80403$90
90453$90
100504$120
Gallons of soup as a side for kids

Making Soup for a Crowd – What to Keep in Mind

If you are making a ton of soup for a large crowd, there are some other things to remember when planning and cooking. Some of these things have to do with the size of the dishes you are making and some of them have to do with what soup you actually decide to cook.

We will break down these simple ideas, so you can cook with success!

Your Portion Can Vary By Your Specific Group

If you have an especially hungry group of friends or maybe a group of people who just spent all day skiing or snowshoeing, they will probably eat more. Therefore, you need to make more.

You should keep the group of people you are making food for in mind when deciding the portion sizes.

If you have friends that are really chatty and are more interested in talking with others, you may not need to make as much. By the time they get done chatting, the remaining soup could be cold or they could be feel full because they ate slowly.

The Type of Soup Can Impact Portion Sizes

Hearty soups like Creamy Potato and a Beef Stew can be more filling than other types of soup like wonton or a broth based soup.

So, if you are making a soup that is chucked full with vegetables, noodles, and proteins, you can make less and get away with it.

Know What Size Bowls You Have Beforehand

If you are planning on serving two cups of soup to every guest, make sure the bowls you have are big enough to hold that much soup without being overflowing. If it’s close to the tippy-top, you may want to just plan on making 1 1/2 cups for every guest.

Sometimes a full bowl can trick the stomach into thinking it’s all filled up, even if there is a little less in it.


We hope these tips help keep you in your cooking ambitions!

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