Making sandwiches for a crowd, or want an idea of how much to buy? Here’s how to figure out how much deli meat per person you’ll need!
Sandwiches are honestly one of the easiest and more popular meals to make for lunch or serve at parties. They’re simple to put together and pretty family friendly- honestly, my daughter could live off of them!
Sometimes, though, it can be hard to determine exactly how much you need. What amount of meat do you put on a sandwich? How much should you buy for the week? For a get-together? And how much bread do you need?
I’ll shed some light on how to calculate these things. Read below for detailed information and save this post for later!
What type of deli meat to buy
Nowadays you can find many kinds of lunch meat:
- Turkey breast
- Roast beef
- Chicken breast
The cheapest thing to do is buy only one or two types. The most popular types of lunch meat seem to be ham and turkey; but you can replace one of those with salami for a different texture.
Where to get the deli meat
There are two main ways to buy deli meat:
Buying pre-packaged and pre-sliced meat can be more convenient. You can see exactly how much you’re getting, and it’s all pre-sliced into pretty equal portions.
At the deli counter
You have WAY more options at the deli counter. Different flavors, types, etc. And you can choose how thin or thick you want your meat to be. The deli counter has large slicers and it’s easy for them to slice how you want it.
Sometimes this can be a cheaper option, especially if certain kinds are on sale. You can get a few pounds of deli meat much cheaper this way.
How many ounces of deli meat are in a package?
Pre-packaged deli meat can come in smaller packages, usually 7 or 8 ounces. You can also buy a “family pack”, which is typically 16 ounces or 1 pound.
At the deli counter, you can ask for a specific weight. Usually a half pound or one pound.
How big is a piece of deli meat?
This depends on where you get the meat.
Pre-packaged meat is usually sliced into smaller circles; while meat from the deli counter could be more oval-shaped or be sliced in a larger circle.
Also, pre-packaged meat is typically thinly sliced; while you can choose the deli meat thickness at the deli case.
How much deli meat goes on a sandwich?
For a regular size single sandwich, with sandwich slice bread, a recommended serving size is 2-3 ounces of meat. This is about 5-7 smaller slices, or 2-3 larger slices.
For smaller sandwiches, like on sliders, you can probably cut the amount in half per sandwich. But keep in mind that because the sandwiches are smaller, people may eat more of them.
How many sandwiches is a pound of meat?
A serving size is about 2 ounces. So one pound equals around 8 servings of deli meat. You’ll get approximately 8 sandwiches per pound.
How many slices of bread are in a loaf?
You need to be mindful of what kind of bread you buy at the grocery store. Some brands have larger slices and have less per package. A standard 20-oz loaf has around 22 slices of bread.
How many sandwiches are in a loaf of bread?
If you buy the 20-oz loaf, that has 22 slices, you’ll get approximately 11 sandwiches per loaf.
How much deli meat would I need for my family?
Let’s break it down into a single person first.
If one person eats one sandwich every day, 5 days a week:
- One sandwich: 2 ounces of lunch meat
- 5 sandwiches per week: 10 ounces
So for a family of 4, you would need 40 ounces, or almost 3 pounds of meat, for the week. And you’ll need about 2 loaves of bread.
How much lunch meat for a party
We’ll use the same calculations as above for a large group of people. It just depends on the number of people and what you’re serving.
- 20 people: 40 ounces of meat, or 2 pounds 8 ounces
- 30 people: 60 ounces of meat, 3 pounds 12 ounces
If the sandwiches are your main course, you may want to aim for the higher side of meat. But if you’re serving a lot of side dishes, you may not need quite as much meat. Same goes if you have a lot of toppings: Cheese slices, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.
Also keep in mind: A number of guests may just eat the meat by itself, not on a sandwich. Or some might just use one slice of bread instead of two. A good rule of thumb is to buy just a little more than you think you need.
How much cheese to buy
A typical serving is 1-2 ounces of cheese per person. A sandwich style slice of cheese, for example, is about 1 ounce.
A small 8-oz package of cheese has around 12 slices; so buy as many as you need for the amount of people.
What to do with leftover deli meat
If you have a ton of luncheon meats left over, you don’t have to stick with eating them as boring sandwiches! Here are some other things you can do:
- Make breakfast sandwiches to freeze (Like this easy Ham and Cheese Bagel Sandwich!)
- Chop up some slices of deli meat and add to a salad for extra protein
- Add to scrambled eggs for a quick, high-protein breakfast
- Shred and add to casseroles
- Make a deli platter with anything left over. These could be made into snack trays and are perfect if you have too much cheese, meat, vegetables, etc.
Just remember, the portion size doesn’t have to be perfect. These are just suggestions. But a general rule of thumb is to buy a little more than you need- you can always eat the leftovers!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.