Whether you are feeding your family, a crowd, or a special occasion, knowing how many pounds of chicken to serve per person can be tricky. There are a few easy calculations that can be done to ensure you have the right amount of chicken to serve. No more worries if you will not have enough or have too many leftovers. Be confident that you will know exactly how much chicken to serve.
Once you take into account what the full menu is and how much other food you will be cooking, it will be easy to complete the meal. Below are all the quick tips, calculations, and guides on how much chicken to serve per person. This will ensure whether it is a whole roasted chicken, chicken breasts, thighs, or legs everyone will be served the right amount of chicken.
Plan the Full Menu to Decide
Consider the role of the chicken in the overall menu. When the meat is the main course, like a roasted chicken or you are serving large boneless skinless breasts of chicken baked, broiled, or grilled, you will want more per person. When the chicken is accompanied by other items say in a casserole or stir fry, you will want less per person.
When Chicken is the Solo Ingredient Main Course
When you are roasting or grilling whole chickens, it is best to determine how much to make based on a pound-per-person basis. When serving whole chicken the bones are part of the weight so keep in mind, that the actual meat eaten will be slightly less than the overall weight. To calculate how many pounds of chicken per person, use the simple grid near the bottom of the article below.
When Chicken is Part of a Main Course Recipe
However, if the chicken is part of a main course entree along with other ingredients, the portion is smaller. This is true for example when serving chicken as part of a stir-fry, curry, or soup as a main dish. This is the best way to figure out how much chicken to add to pasta, stews, or casseroles. This is also typically when boneless skinless chicken pieces are used.
When you are making a recipe where the meat is about ½ of the total ingredients, it is best to use ⅙ of a pound per person. This is when about 2-3 ounces of chicken per person should be used. An easy way to think of this also is that one pound of chicken in a pasta dish, such as my Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Spaghetti, serves 6 people.
Whole Baked or Smoked Chicken
These calculations are based on about ½# or 8 ounces per person for whole chicken as the main course. This is for a typical meal where 2-3 side dishes are being served also. if you want leftovers and/or only enjoy something light like a green salad with it, I suggest ¾# or 10-12 ounces of bone-in chicken per person. This is great for when grilling or roasting a whole chicken using my Easy Dry Rub for Chicken.
Breasts or Thighs
When trying to decide how many pounds of chicken breasts or thighs to serve per person, take into account if you are using boneless or bone-in pieces of meat. You will need more if you are serving bone-in pieces of meat. This is to account for the bone weight that will add to the calculation but not be consumed.
Boneless Breasts or Thighs
For boneless breasts or thighs, you will need ½# of chicken meat per person. This is when eating the piece of chicken without any other ingredients in the main course entree - such as grilled chicken thighs. When enjoying it in a recipe like my Paleo Greek Chicken Thighs, 1 pound will feed 4 people, for 4 ounces of chicken per person.
Bone-in Breasts or Thighs
For bone-in breasts or thighs, you will need ⅔# of chicken per person. This is for a typical meal where 2-3 side dishes are being served also. Think of this also when you are eating a piece of fried chicken or grilled breasts and thighs. Each person will need about 10 ounces of bone-in chicken per person.
Whole Chicken Legs or Drumsticks
Chicken legs and drumsticks tend to have a little less meat on them than do breasts and thighs. Therefore, you will want to serve more chicken per person than the above calculations. For bone-in breasts or thighs, you will need ¾# of chicken per person. Each person will need about 12 ounces of bone-in chicken per person.
Everyone loves spicy, sweet, or mild chicken wings. There are so many great recipes to make using chicken wings, so make sure you have enough. Wings are a great appetizer, snack, or small bite.
For this reason, the calculations below are for serving chicken wings as an appetizer. These amounts work great when making spicy wings in the Instant Pot or deep frying garlic butter wings.
Here is how many pounds of wings you need to serve per person. This would result in 4-5 wings per person.
- 1 pound of chicken wings for 4 people
- 2 pounds of wings for 8 people
- 3 pounds of wings for 12 people
- 5 pounds of wings for 20 people
- 10 pounds of wings for 40 people
- 12 pounds of wings for 50 people
- 25 pounds of wings for 100 people
How Much Chicken for a Party Buffet?
For a buffet where 1 other entree is being served for a crowd, the amount of chicken needed per person is simple to calculate. If the wedding, birthday, anniversary, or party has other entrees, sides, and more - the serving amounts on how much to serve per guest are suggested below.
Use this guide when the complete menu includes appetizers, at least 1 other main course plus the chicken, 3 or more sides, and a dessert. This is how much chicken to serve a crowd - adult-portion sizes are what is considered here. If you are serving ham, find out how many pounds of ham per person for that too. You will have exactly what you need.
This includes a combination of all pieces offered such as legs, thighs, and breasts to come up with the average.
|ENTREE||Per Person||25 people||50 people|
|Boneless Chicken||½ pound||13 pounds||25 pounds|
|Chicken with Bones||¾ pound||19 pounds||38 pounds|
All are estimates and are not exact science. Keep in mind that this is for when this is the main meal of the day and not a light lunch. Guest makeup may also be taken into consideration - for example, are they all adults, some children, etc.
For another easy reference guide, try out the POUND TO OUNCE CONVERSION CALCULATOR.
Best Chicken Recipes for Meal Prep
Once you have your calculations ready, making the best recipes is what is next. Here are my favorite recipes that are great for dinner, meal planning, and parties. They are all easy to make, store/reheat well, and are crowd-pleasing.
I hope you find something new to love. And remember, never wash or rinse raw chicken before cooking it - find out more in Should You Wash Chicken Before Cooking It?
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