The number of appetizers you serve depends on their type and on how much other food you are having. Their purpose is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable, to take the edge off people's hunger and to whet their appetites. Three or four bites of food per person should be plenty. For shrimp cocktail, oysters or larger crostini, plan about two pieces per person. If you're serving smaller, one-bite hors d'oeuvres, allot three per person total. For dip, 3 ounces per guest will be plenty. Consider putting out some raw vegetables with your dip as a lighter, healthier pre-dinner alternative to chips or crackers.
4 guests: 12 small hors d'oeuvres, 12 ounces dip; 8 guests: 24 small hors d'oeuvres, 1 1/2 pounds dip; 12 guests: 36 small hors d'oeuvres, 2 1/4 pounds dip; 16 guests: 48 small hors d'oeuvres, 3 pounds dip
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