Use Our Party Food Calculator to Plan the Perfect Appetizer Menu

cheese party trays
Photo: Jason Donnelly

How many appetizers to provide per person is a question every host ponders. From chicken wings and meatballs to dips and nuts, and quite possibly the most important query of all—how many ounces of cheese per person—we've crunched the numbers, so you can plan the perfect amount of food for your next party.

01 of 10

How Many Appetizers Per Person?

charcuterie board cocktaie snacks
Dera Burreson

Running out of food and drink is a guaranteed buzzkill when you're hosting a party. So we created this guide to answer your most common questions, including, "How many chicken wings per person?" and"How many meatballs per person?" We're not talking about nutrition, this is the real deal of what a normal person eats as a heavy portion of appetizers. Get amounts and recipe ideas for all of the above, plus for other common party appetizers. (Note: Our appetizer count is geared for parties with 12 guests, but you can adjust up or down, based on your own count.)

02 of 10

Jalapeño Poppers, Cheese Sticks, and Crostini

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
Andy Lyons

We're lumping these diverse appetizer options together because the serving size is similar for Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Air-Fryer Jalapeño Poppers, and Sweet Pea Ricotta Bruschetta. One is never enough of these savory snack recipes in our party hosting experience, so here's how many appetizers per person to plan on:

  • One serving = 2 sticks
  • Party of 12 = 24 portions
03 of 10

Chicken Wings

Red Curry Chicken Wings
Jason Donnelly

Forget the forks and dole out the napkins for a finger-food favorite: chicken wings. Tender and saucy, chicken wings are a must-have appetizer, especially when you spice them nicely, as in our Thai Chicken Wings with Peanut Sauce recipes. But how many chicken wings per person will suffice for your soiree?

  • One serving = 3 wings
  • Party of 12 = 3 pounds
04 of 10

Dips and Spreads

Pineapple-Black Bean Guacamole
Blaine Moats

No party buffet is complete without non-cheesy dips and spreads to please the dairy-free guests and those who prefer something with vegetables. Hot, like our Spinach-Artichoke Dip with Blue Cheese and Bacon, or cold, such as this Pineapple-Black Bean Guacamole, sweet or savory, the options are nearly endless. Your spread solution:

  • One serving = ¼ cup
  • Party of 12 = 3 cups
05 of 10

Cheese and Charcuterie

cheese party trays
Jason Donnelly

Curious about how many ounces of cheese you'll need per person? If you're pairing your cheese board fromage with meats, you'll need less Brie, cheddar, and Gruyère than you would if you're serving the cheese solo. Either way, a couple of ounces per person is a satisfying portion.

  • One serving = 2 ounces (1 ounce each of meat and cheese)
  • Party of 12 = 24 ounces of a mix of cheeses and meats
06 of 10

Cocktail Meatballs

Molasses-Lime Meatballs
Andy Lyons

Meatballs are so easy to prepare and can often be made ahead, or kept in a slow cooker until party time, as these Molasses-Lime Meatballs prove. (So helpful if you're serving a huge crowd and doing the math about how many frozen meatballs for 50 or more people!) Here's how many meatballs per person you'll need:

  • One serving = 4 meatballs
  • Party of 12 = 2 pounds
07 of 10

Fondue and Queso

Creamy Cheese Fondue
Jason Donnelly

Perfect for dunking, cheesy sauces and dips like Creamy Cheese Fondue and Copycat Skillet Queso make your party buffet more interactive and delicious. Here's how many ounces of cheese per person you'll need to feed the dipping masses.

  • One serving = ¼ cup
  • Party of 12 = 3 cups
08 of 10


Rosemary Roasted Nuts
Jason Donnelly

Guests can't resist a handful of flavor-packed, crunchy nut mixes. These Paleo Rosemary Roasted Nuts and Sweet and Spicy Pecans always fly off the snack table when we serve them. Noshing on nuts is a party idea that never goes stale, and it's a terrific option that will please vegans, gluten-free (depending on the recipe), Paleo and keto dieters all at once. Here's how much you'll need:

  • One serving = 2 ounces
  • Party of 12 = 1½ pounds
09 of 10

Stuffed Mushrooms

Chipotle-and-Ranch-Stuffed Mushrooms
Jason Donnelly

Stuffed mushrooms are a perfect one-bite appetizer. And as a bonus, party snack options like Chipotle-and-Ranch-Stuffed Mushrooms are so quick and easy, they can be made minutes before a party. Take note of how many appetizers per person so you don't run out early:

  • One serving = 3 mushrooms
  • Party of 12 = 1½ pounds
10 of 10

Cheesecake Bites, Mini Cupcakes, and Bite-Size Brownies

Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake Minis
Karla Conrad

No party menu is complete without something sweet. We like to share bite-size desserts to allow for sampling, and to offer an easy, handheld item. Try Mini Blue Corn Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake Minis.

  • One serving = 3 mini treats
  • Party of 12 = 36 mini treats
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