+44 (0)20 7940 6060

How Many Canapés Per Guest? Plus Three Delicious Recipes

Once you’ve got your venue chosen and booked, you’re likely to start thinking about catering and entertainment for your event. When it comes to selecting an appropriate menu, it can be a challenge to work out how much food and drink to supply for your guests – especially when it comes to canapés.

What are canapés?

First things first, what exactly is a canapé?

Canapés are small, prepared foods that can be eaten with just your fingers and often in one bitesize piece. They are most commonly passed around during reception events or before a seated dinner to keep guests comfortable.

If you’re hosting a drinks reception, awards ceremony or seasonal party, offering canapes can be a great way of keeping your guests comfortable before a larger meal, or occupied whilst other activities are going on and your photographer circulates.

Find out more about events with Ultimate Experience


So how many canapés per guest?

When it comes to working out how many canapés per guest are needed, there is a general formula that can help you (or your caterer) plan how many you need:

First of all, you can make the basic assumption that usually your guests will eat 4-6 pieces in the first hour and around 2-4 pieces each hour after that. From there, there are a few variables to keep in mind that can alter that basic formula:

  • If someone is passing the canapés around to guests at the event, they’re likely to eat less. If the food is unattended at a stand-alone station, you may need to plan for more per guest
  • If your event is taking place during a traditional mealtime, then increase your canapés by 25-50% – this is also works if your event is following a meal, as you can then decrease the number of canapés needed by 25-50%.

More event planning tips

Canapé recipes


Crisp Parsnip Rolls

Crisp Parsnip Rolls

This is a great recipe that is easy to make and always goes down well at a party. Whilst this recipe isn’t vegetarian, in can easily be made so by excluding the Parma ham.

It’s such a great recipe because it only requires a few ingredients and these ingredients can always be swapped around if something isn’t to your taste.

Serves: 30

20 minutes prep

20 minutes cooking

Ingredients for the filling:

2-3 medium parsnips

2 sheets of filo pastry

Olive oil to brush

6 slices of Parma ham

25 g of parmesan cheese- finely grates

1 tsp of poppy seeds

Ingredients for the dip:

40g of mayonnaise

½ tsp of runny honey

½ tsp of wholegrain mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Peel the parsnips and then cut them into long, even lengths.
  3. Simmer the parsnips until they are tender and then drain them, this should be after about 4.5 minutes.
  4. Cool them down by running them under cold water and then dry on kitchen paper.
  5. Roll out the filo pastry, one sheet at a time, and put two of the Parma ham slices along the long edge and sprinkle around a third of the parmesan.
  6. Lay down a single line of parsnip lengths along the edge of the ham and then roll the pastry over the parsnips and use the oil to seal it.
  7. Brush all of the roll with oil and scatter some poppy seeds over the top and repeat for the remaining pastry.
  8. Cut the rolls into 2.5cm pieces and place on a baking sheet before putting into the oven for about fifteen minutes.
  9. For the dip: simply mix together the ingredients with a little salt and pepper​.


smoked salmon canape recipe

Smoked Salmon Pâté

This recipe is a twist on a classic with the addition of smoked salmon pieces and prawns in the pâté itself. It’s really easy to make and doesn’t require any cooking time.

Serves: 18

5 minutes prep

No cooking time


125g smoked salmon pate

50g smoked salmon pieces

50g of cooked and peeled prawns

black pepper

Lemon juice

18 mini oatcakes


  1. Mix the pâté, prawns and smoked salmon pieces together.
  2. Add the black pepper and a little squeeze of lemon juice to the mixture.
  3. Take your oat cakes and spread the mixture on the cake. Voila!


mini brownies recipe


Mini Chocolate and Ginger Brownies

If you’re looking for one of the best canapé recipes for something sweet, this mini brownie recipe could be the perfect solution.

It’s a great dessert idea that is bound to be popular with everyone at your event. These brownies are a rich treat and are surprisingly easy to make!

Serves 36

10 minutes preparation

50 minutes cooking


150g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

250g butter

200g soft brown sugar

150g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

3 beaten eggs

125g crystallised ginger

Icing sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate with the butter.
  3. Mix together the sugar, flour and cocoa powder with the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
  4. Stir in the crystallised ginger.
  5. Pour mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Cool thoroughly before serving with icing sugar sprinkled on top.

If you are looking for a little help with creating your perfect canapés, consider hiring a caterer to create delicious canapés that everyone will be talking about.

Looking for more event planning tips or even the perfect venue? Get in touch with the team at Ultimate Experience to bring your event plans to life.