How many sandwiches can you get from a pound of deli meat?

A pound of deli meat can make quite a few sandwiches depending on the type of meat, bread, and serving size. With some simple calculations, we can estimate the sandwich yield of different deli meats.

Typical Serving Sizes

First, we need to establish some typical serving sizes for deli meats and bread:

  • Deli meat: 2 oz per sandwich
  • Bread: 2 slices per sandwich

There are 16 oz in a pound. Given the standard 2 oz deli meat serving size, a pound should make approximately 8 sandwiches (16 oz divided by 2 oz per sandwich). However, this will vary based on the density and slicing thickness of the meat.

Meat Types and Slice Counts

Leaner meats like turkey and chicken tend to have thinner slices, resulting in higher slice counts per pound. Fattier meats like roast beef and salami are more dense with thicker slices, lowering the slice count per pound. Here are some typical slice counts for 1 pound of deli meat:

  • Turkey or Chicken: 32-36 slices
  • Ham or Roast Beef: 24-28 slices
  • Salami or Bologna: 18-22 slices

Using the standard 2 oz serving size again, if a pound of turkey yields 36 slices at 2 oz per 4 slices, it can make about 9 sandwiches.

For fattier meats like salami at 18 slices per pound, you may only get 4-5 sandwiches per pound.

Bread Size and Type

The bread used will also impact sandwiches per pound. Smaller bread types like rolls may use only 1 oz of meat, increasing sandwich count. Larger sub rolls may require 3-4 oz of meat, decreasing the yield per pound.

For standard full size slices, count 2 per sandwich. Smaller slices or rolls would increase yield. Larger sub rolls decrease it. Here are some estimates based on bread type:

  • Sliced Bread: 8 sandwiches
  • Rolls: 10-12 sandwiches
  • Sub Rolls: 6-7 sandwiches

Sample Calculations

Let’s do some sample calculations for a pound of turkey and ham using different bread sizes:

Turkey on Sliced Bread

If the turkey yields 36 slices per pound at 2 oz per 4 slices, that results in 9 servings of 4 slices each. With 2 slices of bread per sandwich, 1 pound of turkey can make 9 sandwiches when using normal sliced bread.

Ham on Rolls

For ham which may yield 24-28 slices per pound, estimate 6-7 servings of 4 slices on rolls. Since rolls use 1 slice of bread instead of 2, 1 pound of ham can make 12-14 smaller sandwiches.

Turkey on Large Sub Rolls

A large sub roll may need 6-8 slices of meat. Taking the 36 slice turkey pound, we can get 4-6 sandwiches per pound when factoring for the large sub rolls.

Deli Meat Sandwich Calculator

To make it easy, here is simple calculator to estimate sandwiches per pound based on the type of deli meat and bread:

Deli Meat Slices per Pound Sandwiches with Sliced Bread Sandwiches on Rolls Sandwiches on Sub Rolls
Turkey 36 9 12 6
Ham 28 7 14 5
Roast Beef 24 6 12 4
Salami 18 4 9 3

Tips to Maximize Yield

To get the most sandwiches from each pound of deli meat, consider these tips:

  • Choose leaner meats like turkey and chicken over fattier varieties.
  • Ask for thinner slices at the deli counter.
  • Use smaller breads like rolls instead of large sub rolls.
  • Split overstuffed sandwiches into two smaller ones.
  • Use lettuce or tomato to add volume without extra meat.
  • Spread mayo or mustard thinly or use sparingly.
  • If making subs, cut them in half and make two smaller sandwiches.

Buying Guide

To buy enough deli meat for a certain number of sandwiches, use these general guidelines:

  • 4 sandwiches: 1/2 pound
  • 8 sandwiches: 1 pound
  • 12 sandwiches: 1 1/2 pounds
  • 16 sandwiches: 2 pounds

The exact amount will vary based on meat type, slice count, bread size, and servings sizes. Leaner meats like turkey and chicken will go farther than fattier varieties. Thinner slices also increase yield per pound. Smaller breads like rolls can also help stretch a pound of meat.

Serving Platters

Deli meat platters are popular for events and parties. Here are some serving estimates based on crowd size:

  • 10 people: 2-3 pounds
  • 25 people: 4-5 pounds
  • 50 people: 8-10 pounds

Have a variety of meat options and include both leaner and fattier varieties to please different preferences. Allow for 1-2 ounces of meat per person. Round up totals to allow for extra servings.

Nutritional Considerations

While deli meats can make a quick and convenient sandwich, some processed varieties are high in sodium and nitrates. Consider these healthier options when purchasing deli meat:

  • Turkey or chicken breast
  • Lean roast beef
  • Ham, instead of bologna or salami
  • Low-sodium varieties
  • Nitrate-free options

For best nutrition and fat content, avoid bologna, salami, pastrami and other highly processed meats. Enjoy deli meats in moderation as part of balanced diet, and opt for lower sodium products whenever possible.

Money Saving Tips

Deli meats can be expensive. Here are some tips to save money:

  • Buy larger packs and slices pounds yourself.
  • Watch for sales and stock up when meats are discounted.
  • Purchase cheaper cuts like turkey and ham.
  • Buy pre-packaged versus fresh-sliced to save.
  • Look for coupons and loyalty card discounts.
  • Consider lower cost store brands over premium brands.

With some smart shopping, you can buy deli meat on a budget. Stock up when on sale, choose cheaper varieties like turkey, and slice it yourself from larger packs to get the most for your money.

Cooking Tips

While deli meat is most often enjoyed cold, you can also use it cooked in recipes like:

  • Omelets or breakfast sandwiches
  • Quiches or frittatas
  • Sandwich melts
  • Pizza
  • Pasta salads or casseroles
  • Soup

Avoid overcooking, as deli meat can become tough and dry. Bake gently in casseroles, lightly sauté for omelets, or layer on top of pizza. Adding plenty of sauce or moisture will keep the meat tender when cooking.

Other Sandwich Options

For variety, consider using alternatives to deli meats like:

  • Sliced grilled chicken or steak
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Hummus, pesto or avocado spread
  • Hard-boiled egg slices
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Peanut or other nut butters

Change up your sandwich routine by using fresh veggies, flavorful spreads, and lean proteins besides deli meats. You can also incorporate deli meats sparingly along with these other fillings.

Food Safety Tips

When working with deli meats:

  • Store opened packages no longer than 3-5 days.
  • Keep refrigerated at 40°F or below.
  • Discard meats if slimy or odors develop.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Deli meats are perishable and can harbor bacteria if not handled properly. Keep deli meat refrigerated and use opened packages within a few days for maximum freshness and food safety.


When shopping for sandwiches, estimate anywhere from 4-9 sandwiches per pound based on the type of deli meat and bread. Leaner meats like turkey and chicken will yield more sandwiches from each pound compared to fattier varieties. Thinner slices and smaller breads can also increase sandwich count.

With some simple math and a few assumptions, you can easily calculate deli meat needs for entertaining or weekly meal prep. Just be sure to store deli meats safely and consume within a few days for best quality.

Leave a Comment