Cooking for a Crowd – Dinner Menus and Recipes for 100 People

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A few years ago I planned the menu and helped cook and serve meals for Bible School.  We fed about 100 people each night that week.  With VBS season coming up, I thought you might be interested in the menu and recipes we used.

We did 4 nights of cooked dinners and ordered pizza for the last night.  We needed to keep the cost down, so I shopped sales for the meat.  I also cooked the hamburger and chicken at home and froze it.  Doing so really cut down the amount of time we needed each night to prepare dinner.

Night One – Sloppy Joes

We used 20 lbs. of hamburger and 6 tall cans of Manwich (or the store brand).  This turned out to be more than we needed.  15 lbs. would have been enough.  To go with it, we bought 100 buns, potato chips and 3 big bags of baby carrots.  Because the meat was already cooked and frozen, we just needed to microwave it to begin to thaw it, then mix with the sauce.

Night Two – Baked Spaghetti

We used the same recipe that I have posted here on Eat at Home, only 12 times the amount.  It made about 5 of the very large foil pans (industrial size).  You’ll need:

  • 5 lbs. hamburger
  • 6 lbs. spaghetti
  • 12 Hunt’s spaghetti sauce
  • 12 15oz tomato sauce
  • 2 bags mozzarella cheese, shredded (8 cups per bag)

We served this with salad and garlic bread (12 loaves, the bakery will slice this if you call ahead).  Don’t forget the salad dressing.

Night Three – Baked Potatoes and Salad

This is an easy meal to prepare and people like it.  Be sure to allow plenty of time for the potatoes to bake.  We served them with butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar and bacon bits.  These items were set out for people to fix their own.  Squeezable butter/margarine and sour cream helps the line to move faster.

The next night we had some left over potatoes and fixings.  We split the potatoes in half and put them in a single layer in a foil pan.  Then we added all the extra toppings that were left over on top of the potatoes and stuck them in the oven to warm again.  That was a huge hit and it was very fast to do.

Night Four – Chicken Pot Pie

Again, this is the basic recipe I’ve shared before, but with a few changes.  For 5-6 large foil pans (the industrial size), you’ll need:

  • 25 cans of cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (or some of each)
  • 25 regular sized (15oz) cans of Veg-All
  • 12 pie crust packs, 2 per pack
  • the meat from 5-6 chickens

I cooked the meat at home and froze it.  Instead of using chicken broth in the sauce, use the juice from the vegetables.  Just mix the veggies and cream soups together and divide among the pans, with the chicken divided in the bottom of the pans.  If it looks too dry, mix up some chicken bullion and pour over the top.  Place the pie crusts on top, cutting to fit.  You don’t need to make it look pretty, just try to get most of the top covered.

We served this with applesauce and fruit cocktail.

I haven’t had to cook for so many people for several years.  Although it’s a lot of work, it’s kind of fun too.  What about you?  Will you be cooking for a large group of people this summer?  Or do you regularly cook for a big group?  I’d love to hear the types of foods you make and any tips you might have.

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  1. Great suggestions. 100 ppl is definitely a different animal than 5!

  2. These are great! I’ve cooked for our Wednesday night church before, which is usually ~65 people. I’ll definitely keep these in mind the next time I sign up.

  3. These are great suggestions!

  4. I don’t cook for a large group or plan to anytime soon but thought these recipes might be a good idea for bulk cooking.

    I know that a daycare I used to go to when I was young used to do their potatoes (probably instant) then put them into industrial casserole then top with slices of cheese then bake for a short time. There must be something else to it cause I’ve tried & tried and can’t get it as tasty as they did!

    A very small school I went to as a child used to make a thing called tater tot casserole. I don’t remember how it’s made for sure but I could ask a friend who makes it regularly for her family of 6. The school probably fed 50 – 75.

    • I would love to have this tater tot casserole that feeds 50-75. I cook the Wednesday night meals at my church. Thank you and may God Bless You

      • My mom used to make something like this. It was brown ground beef with chopped onions, she would mix it with frozen mixed vegetables (peas,carrots etc) pour cream of chicken soup over that, then top with tater tots and bake. I loved it… my kids hate it…. of course

  5. Only comment is that I would do one pan of the baked spaghetti without the cheese.

    It does a real number on my gut and I know that I am not alone.

  6. Claire Jennings says:

    Oh this brings back so many memories! Great, wonderful memories of cooking with you my friend. I don’t think the church meals have been the same!

  7. Great ideas! I love pot pie and have never made it for a crowd like that…what a great recipe. I will be out of town – taking a few other gals from church with me – to work in a college kitchen at the end of June. We will be feeding about 150 teens/adults. Mostly we do the prep work and lots of desserts. Got any dessert ideas for that crowd too? Thanks so much for sharing these recipes.

  8. Vicki Luciano says:

    My children and I like to work at a local homeless shelter. These would be perfect meals. We usually do breakfast and serve breakfast casseroles in the industrial sized aluminum pans. We try to serve fresh fruit with it. The people appreciate the fresh
    Fruit as much as the home cooked meals. For lunch, we serve sandwiches, fruit, chips, and little Debbie cakes.

  9. Meaghan says:

    I just was given the task for cooking for VBS dinners. I was very overwhelmed! I don’t know how I stumbled on this! Thanks, this helps me get started!

  10. Nancy Whitehurst says:

    I often cook at summer camps for a week long & usually it’s around 100.
    The favorite I have learned is taco salad. It’s set up buffet style :chips,meat, lettuce,tomatoe,cheese,sour cream & beans.

  11. Desiree Haubner says:

    These are great ideas. I cook for our local Ronald McDonald House and it is usually 75 people. Always looking for new ideas. We most recently did sheppard’s pie and it was a hit.

  12. This sounds really good. We are having church revival next week will meals nightly. Our ladies are prepping the chicken pot pies on Sat. for our Mon. night meal. We are going to put them in the freezer until Mon. It’ll be quick & easy from freezer to oven. I will post again after to let you know how they went over!

  13. Rebekkah says:

    How much did u spend for all of this for 100 people

  14. Thanks for responding on my last question. Now how many pounds of chicken nuggets would I need for VBS kids 60? And while I am on Hotdogs too? Thank you so much!

  15. Gee, I was kinda disappointed in your recipes. You use a lot of
    processed foods. I wish you would have offered recipes from

    • Pat Desanti says:

      Have you tried to cook for a 100? I cook for 200 every year and less and less people show up to help. You do things that my it easy..If part if it is processed oh well. The majority if these kids live on fast food. At least these recipes and the ones you have already read about are better than fast food..I am sure they make a large salad with every meal. This is my list if what I make for dinner Taco Bar not processed fresh veggies and Salad..Shepards pie with real potato and corn, Salad of course. Penne with meatballs,garlic bread and Salad. Chicken or Hamburger patties the last night with Baked Beans and Mac and cheese, of course Salad..You must remember We also cook Breakfast and lunch ,that is 600 meals day..Let me know how much better you can do..The majority of people have never evened volunteered their time with this kind of work and always have something negative to say…Pray for the food to nourish their bodies and our Lord will make it good.

  16. Instead of using baked potatoes, I had a mashed potato bar. Had mashed potatoes with toppings (sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese, nacho cheese and chives). Also, had some bbq pulled pork. It was a great hit!

  17. Can anyone help me convert the amounts of this recipe for 175 people?

    • For the baked spaghetti for 175 people you’ll need 8.75 lb hamburger, 10.5 lbs. spaghetti, 21 cans spaghetti sauce, 21 (15oz) cans tomato sauce, 12 cups shredded cheese.

  18. When converting for the baked spaghetti recipe, I notice you say you multiplied everything in the original recipe by 12. In the original, it calls for one pound yet the recipe for 100 only calls for 5 pounds. Is this correct??

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