Cheese For a Crowd: A Formula for Deciding How Much Cheese to Buy

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Do you serve cheese for Thanksgiving? Or maybe you’re bringing it along as your contribution? How do you know just exactly how much to purchase, so you have just the right amount? Nothing worse than not enough cheese, right? (Though leftover cheese ain’t that bad.)

There’s a little formula that you might not know about, which could inform your wedge-choosing this Thanksgiving day.

To reiterate, leftover cheese isn’t a bad thing, but what if you’re trying not to overspend? Cheese isn’t cheap, especially if you’re choosing some special ones for the holiday. So why not figure out how not to overbuy (or underbuy, for that matter)?

The Cheese Formula: About 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person.

And here’s how you assess even further: An appetizer platter of cheese tends to attract more nibbles than a cheese dessert plate. So for hors d’oeuvres, factor about 1 1/2 oz. each cheese/person. A post-dinner cheese course should have about 1 oz. of each cheese/person.

You know your crowd, so if they’re big cheese eaters, round up. If they’re not, or you’re serving lots of other things, round down. Similarly, if you’re planning for five cheeses, round down. Two cheeses, round up. Any more than five cheeses will just get lost in the shuffle, and even five is pushing it.

Here’s an example: You have eight people coming over. You’re serving three cheeses during appetizer hour. They all love cheese. 8 (people) x 1.5 (ounces) = 12 ounces = 3/4 pound of each cheese. (Remember: 16 ounces in a pound.)

And maybe, just because it’s Thanksgiving, you’ll feel justified rounding up to a pound.