, Published by Concerto Master Account

We have all been there, planning an event, you have the venue and the music sorted but what about the food? What type of food would be perfect for your event? Chances are, canapés are the ideal food for you event.

But the decisions don’t stop there, you need to figure out just how many canapés per guest you need

What are canapés

But for now, lets start with the basics, what exactly is a canapé?

Canapés are small prepared food that can be eaten with just your fingers and often can be eaten in one small bite. They are most commonly passed around during a drinks reception, or before a seated dinner.

Traditions and History

The name cana comes from the French word for sofa. The analogy is that the garnish sits on the bread like a person would on a sofa. Traditionally, canapés are made from a fried stale bread with a topping, but nowadays it includes all types of party snack foods, including vol-au-vents, amuse-bouche and many more.

There are many canapé recipes that create the more traditional description, but today canapé recipes are so much more than just stale bread.

How Many Canapés per Guest Do You Need?

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 need to make the basic assumption that your guests will eat 4-6 pieces in the first hour and 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 then this will be less and if the food is unattended at a stand alone station it will be more
  • If you event is happening during a normal meal time, then increase your canapés by 25-50%, this is also works if you event is following a meal, as you can then decrease the number of canapés needed by 25-50%
  • If there are mostly men, use more and the opposite applies for events that are mostly women

If you follow these rules you should have a good idea of how many canapés per guest are needed and you can plan accordingly. If you know that you definitely want canapés, you might be thinking about what types you want.

We are here to help, with three of our favourite canapé recipes for you to make, taste and enjoy.

Canapé Recipes

Crisp Parsnip Rolls

Crisp Parsnip Rolls

This is a great recipe that is easy to make and always does 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 parsnip isn’t you favourite, for example.

Serves: 30

20 minutes prep

20 minutes cooking

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2-3 medium parsnips
  • 2 sheets of filo pastryolive 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 lengths that are even

3. Simmer the parsnips until they are tender and then drain them, this should be after about 4 and a half minutes

4. Cool them down by running them under cold water and then dry them on kitchen paper

5. Roll out the filo pastry, one sheet at a time, (don’t forget to cover the other sheets to stop them drying out)

6. Put two of the Parma ham slices along the long edge and sprinkle around a third of the parmesan

7. 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

8. Brush all of the roll with oil and scatter some poppy seeds over the top and repeat for the remaining pastry and ingredients

9. Cut the rolls into 2.5cm pieces and place on a baking sheet

10. Cook for 15 minutes in the oven

11. For the dip: mix together the ingredients with a little salt and pepper​

smoked salmon canape recipe

Smoked Salmon Pate

This one is a classic canapé staple as smoked salmon is sure to show at any event with canapés. This recipe is a twist on this classic with the addition of smoked salmon pieces and prawns in the pate itself. It’s really easy to make and doesn’t require any cooking time.

This is also sure to be a favourite with all different types of guests as it’s suitable for pescatarians as well.

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 pate, 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

4. There should be enough mixture for 18 canapés

mini brownies recipe

Mini Chocolate and Ginger Brownies

If you are looking for one of the best canapé recipes that is a bit 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 powder3
  • beaten eggs
  • 125g crystallised ginger
  • Icing sugar for decoration


1. Preheat the over 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 into the tin and smooth the surface of the mixture

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes

7. Cool thoroughly before serving with icing sugar sprinkled on top

So there you have it, a fool-proof formula of how many canapés per guest are needed and some delicious recipes that are sure to make an impression at your event. 

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.

Let us know about your experiences with canapés, what have been your favourites and which ones couldn’t you wait to forget. Let us know if you liked any of our suggestions and will you be trying any of the recipes out at your next party? Let us know in the comments below.