Hosting a Crowd? Here’s How Much Roast Beef You’ll Need for 30 People

I love hosting large gatherings with friends and family The more the merrier! But cooking for a crowd always brings up one question – how much food do I need to make sure everyone gets fed?

Roast beef is one of my go-to main dishes when cooking for lots of people. But figuring out how much roast beef to buy and prepare for 30 people can be tricky.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to buy, cook and serve the perfect amount of delicious roast beef for 30 hungry guests. Let’s get started!

Determine the Amount of Roast Beef Per Person

The first step is deciding how much roast beef to allot per individual. Here are some handy guidelines:

  • For average portions, allow 1/2 pound of raw roast beef per person. This provides around 3-4 ounces cooked.

  • For heartier appetites, plan on 3/4 pound raw weight per person

  • To serve generous slices and have leftovers, bump it up to 1 full pound per person.

  • Offer at least 2-3 hearty side dishes to prevent roast beef overload.

For 30 people, you’ll need 15-30 pounds of raw roast beef depending on your per-person amount. Always get extras rather than running short!

Choose the Right Roast Beef Cut

Picking the right cut of beef is key for optimal flavor and tenderness when cooking for a crowd. Here are my top roast beef recommendations:

  • Rib roast: The prime rib option. More expensive but worth it for a special occasion. Figure on 1/2 roast per 5 people.

  • Top round: Much more budget-friendly choice. Benefits from slow roasting to develop tenderness.

  • Chuck roast: Versatile, inexpensive cut great for roasting or braising into fork-tender perfection.

  • Eye of round: Lean, affordable cut. Be sure to trim fat and roast low and slow.

I like to splurge on a big beautiful prime rib when I’m cooking roast beef for a group. Nothing beats that classic flavor and juicy texture!

Properly Season Your Roast Beef

Perfectly seasoned roast beef takes things to the next level. Use these flavorful spice rubs:

  • For basic seasoning, coat the roast with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Use about 1-2 tablespoons of each.

  • An Italian herb blend of rosemary, oregano and thyme adds wonderful aroma. Rub it all over the beef.

  • For bolder flavor, give the roast a generous coating of steak seasoning or Montreal seasoning blend.

Don’t forget to let the roast come to room temperature before cooking for even heating!

Determine the Cook Times

Cooking times for roast beef vary based on size, cut and doneness preference. Here are general guidelines:

  • Prime rib roast: Cook around 15-18 minutes per pound at 325°F for medium rare doneness.

  • Top round roast: Roast at 325°F for 20 minutes per pound until it reaches 135°F internally.

  • Eye of round: Roast at 275°F about 25 minutes per pound, until it hits 130°F for medium rare.

  • Chuck roast: Cook low and slow, allowing 1-2 hours per pound either roasted or braised until fork tender.

For a large group, I suggest roasting on the medium to medium well side to satisfy all preferences. A tasty sear will still provide texture.

Use Proper Roasting Pans

You’ll need roasting pans big enough to hold your sizable roast beef. Use heavy-duty stainless steel roasting pans with racks. Multiple smaller pans also work well.

Make sure to place pans evenly in the oven so the roast cooks evenly. Rotate pans halfway through cooking.

Allow the Roast Beef to Rest

Never skip letting roast beef rest after cooking – at least 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute so they don’t immediately run out when sliced.

Carve and Serve the Roast Beef Beautifully

Carve the rested roast into thin slices against the grain. Remove slices to a pre-warmed platter as you carve to keep warm.

For 30 people, figure around 4-6 ounces of roast beef per person. Serve buffet-style or plate individually in the kitchen for a fancier presentation.

Offer warm au jus or beef gravy for topping slices or dipping. Horseradish sauce also pairs perfectly with roast beef.

Going Above and Beyond for a Crowd

Looking to seriously impress your 30 guests? Consider these special touches:

  • Carve the roast beef right in front of everyone for an interactive chef’s table vibe.

  • Make luscious beef broth from the bone, drippings and scraps for the best gravy ever.

  • Infuse fresh herbs, garlic and citrus under the roast skin for incredible depth of flavor.

  • Offer unique sides like Yorkshire puddings, roast garlic mashed potatoes or braised root vegetables.

  • Set up a toppings bar with horseradish crema, chimichurri, crispy onions, blue cheese and sauteed mushrooms.

  • For apps, serve mini roast beef sandwiches on pretzel rolls or crostini with blue cheese.

The Perfect Roast Beef – Medium Rare


How many people does 10 lbs of roast beef feed?

Bone-in roasts: Figure about one-pound per person. A 10-pound roast will feed 8-10 people. Boneless: Allow about a half-pound per person, which should yield about a 6-ounce piece. A 3-pound tenderloin would feed 6 people.

How much roast beef for 35 people?

Use calculator to help determine how much meat to buy. A question we often get is “How much meat do I need?” The starting rule of thumb is: Boneless Meat: 1/2 lb. per person for adults and 1/4 lb. per person for children.

How many pounds of roast beef do I need for 25 people?

Ham or roast beef
10 pounds
20 pounds
Hot dogs
4 pounds
7 pounds
6 pounds
12 pounds

How many pounds of beef do I need for 20 adults?

Boneless Meat
Number of People
Bone in meat
8lb / 3.64kg
16 – 17
12lb / 5.44kg
9lb / 4.08kg
18 – 19
14lb / 6.35kg
10lb / 4.54kg
20 – 21
16lb / 7.25kg
11lb / 4.98kg
22 – 23
18lb / 8.16kg

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