Cooking Tips To Keep In Mind When Cooking For A Crowd

Here are tips to keep you sane during the holidays.

IMAGE Shutterstock

The holidays, especially Noche Buena, might see more than family dropping by! If you're planning to have some family stay during the holidays, you will need to cook more than the usual four to six servings of food you normally cook on a daily basis. 

You need help and we have ways to keep it from becoming too hectic at this time. Here are tips to keep you sane when cooking for a crowd: 

You can make this decadent cake the day before you need to serve it!
Photo by Riell Santos

1 Plan and make dishes ahead. 

What part of the menu that you have planned can be made ahead of time? For sure, the dessert is one part of the menu that can be done aheadof time. Make that chocolate cake ahead of time and other Christmas desserts, and keep it chilled until the morning of. This isn't the only dish that can be made and safely stored properly. 

Soups can be made and frozen now for thawing later. You can jumpstart dishes that need time to tenderize meat such as pork and beef. For example, the beef morcon or mechado that everyone expects for Noche Buena can be cooked now and then stored in its sauce and reheated on the day itself. 

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List down what you should do first so you have enough time to do them all.
Photo by Pixabay

2 Review your menu and make a timetable. 

Once you have noted what can be made ahead, you can tackle those that need the longest to cook and make a timetable. It sounds more complicated than it is. Take a look at all the dishes you plan to make and check which recipes will take the longest to make and prepare. These are the ones you need to start with early to be ready on time. 

You can also plan the dishes that need to be cooked in the oven or air fryer so that there isn't any overlaps in usage! With a timetable planned out this well, you can make your dinner in hours instead of the whole day. 

No need to make this creamy salmon dish when you can order it!
Photo by Conti's Bakeshop

3 Order in. 

There is no shame in realizing that you cannot do everything from scratch. For those dishes you know you can't get ingredients of or are not confident enough to tackle, order it in! There are a number of lists from where you can get the best-tasting dishes in time for Christmas. The key is ordering it early so you are confident you'll have it delivered before everyone sits down for dinner. 

The air fryer could be the appliance to make Christmas dinner easier.
Photo by Shutterstock

4 Take advantage of your kitchen gadgets and appliances. 

These appliances were made to make your life easier and that's exactly why you should be taking advantage of them! Need lots of finely chopped onions and soup that needs to be pureed? Pull out the big food processor or blender or plug in the mini one. Have water that needs to be boiling while you make the two kinds of pasta sauces? Use an electric kettle, a portable butane stove, or even the oven to get it started!

Plus, it gives you an excuse to bust out the appliances you bought but rarely use. You just might find a great way to make it useful after it's been collecting dust all year! 

Serve it all on the table.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

5 Keep it family-style. 

There's no need to set up a buffet table when you will all be sitting at the table. So miss out on any of the juicy chikahan moments just because you had to get up and get more food from a buffet table. Keep all the dishes on the table. This not only keeps the conversation going no matter if you're reaching for more paella or more gravy on your chicken relleno, but it makes everyone part of the dinner table, even if all you're asking them is to pass the rice. 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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