If you’re preparing chicken wings for your next meal or event you’re going to want to be sure you’ve covered the most important culinary rule: you’ve cooked enough for everyone!
The key is in the preparation.
I’ve cooked thousands and thousands of chicken wings, and I’m proud to present the only guide you’ll ever need for serving chicken wings.
Whether you’re preparing whole chicken wings or buffalo-style wings, here’s how many chicken wings you’ll need per person suitable for any sized crowd from 5-100+, plus some expert tips on preparation, cooking, and serving chicken wings to your guests.
The term chicken wing is thrown around a lot. Well, it is in my household anyway!
The truth of the matter is that the term “chicken wing” can refer to either a whole chicken wing or one of the smaller drumettes or wingettes, typically referred to as buffalo wings.
The type of chicken wing certainly plays a part in the preparation and cooking method, as well as how many you should serve per guest!
Here are some pictures and a bit about each type, just so we are crystal clear on which type of wing is which!
Whole Chicken Wings
Pretty plain and simple here. The whole chicken wing is exactly how it sounds: the full wing of a chicken, separated from the breast.
Whole chicken wings contain three sections, the drumette, the wingette (or the flat), and the wing tip.
Because the wing is still whole and is a lot larger, it’s less likely to dry out during the cooking process. For this reason, whole chicken wings are generally favored by those wishing to smoke chicken wings.
Chicken Drumette/Wingettes (Buffalo Wings)
Just like how a chicken leg breaks down into the thigh and drumstick, a chicken wing can be broken down into the familiar and lovable drumettes and wingettes. A.K.A Buffalo wings.
These buffalo wings have made their way into every bar, bistro, and grocery store across the world. Truly a revolutionary cut of chicken, perfect for a snack or meal at any time of the day!
Some argue that buffalo wings are better than whole wings, but I sincerely believe both are equally as delicious – I don’t discriminate!
How Many Wings In A Pound?
Whole wings tend to weigh about twice as much as buffalo wings. This makes sense as buffalo wings are just the wingettes and drumettes which make up the whole wing in the first place.
So, if you’re trying to figure out how many wings you’re going to need for your guests, using the raw weight of the chicken wings is a good measure.
On average you’ll find four to five full chicken wings in a pound or eight to ten buffalo-style wings in a pound.
If you’re serving chicken wings as the main course you’ll want roughly one pound of chicken wings per person.
If it’s just for a snack or a side dish you’ll only need about half a pound of chicken wings per person.
How Many Chicken Wings To Serve Per Person
The most important rule when it comes to cooking for any amount of people is to cook enough food. And believe me, when it comes to chicken wings you don’t want to be caught out!
Of course the number of wings you’ll need per person will depend on whether you’re serving them as the main dish or just a side or snack.
So, to be sure you’ve got enough for everybody be sure to serve:
- For The Main Course: You’ll want to prepare at least 4 whole wings or 8 buffalo-style wings per person. This works out to be one pound of chicken wings per person as raw weight.
- As An Appetizer, Side, Or Snack: Prepare at least 2 whole wings or 4 buffalo-style wings per person, working out to be roughly half a pound of chicken wings per person as raw weight.
Of course, this is just a general rule to follow. Depending on the event and the anticipated guests you may wish to cook more or fewer wings to match the occasion
It’s unlikely that Grandma’s book club will go through as many wings as hungry sports fans on Super Bowl Sunday for example!
How Many Chicken Wings For 5 People
Portions are important no matter how many people you’re serving. Of course, you can also make more to account for leftovers! For 5 people you will need:
- As the main course: 5 lb of chicken wings, totaling about 20 full wings or 40 buffalo-style wings is perfect for 5 people.
- As an appetizer or snack: you’ll only need 2.5 lb of chicken wings, which is about 10 full wings or 20 buffalo-style wings.
How Many Chicken Wings For 10 People
To make sure you have enough chicken wings for a gathering of 10 people, you’ll want to prepare:
- As the main course: you will need roughly 40 full wings, or 80 buffalo-style wings to feed 10 people. This weighs approximately 10 pounds in raw weight.
- As an appetizer or snack: you’ll only need about half of this, being 20 full wings or 40 buffalo-style wings, or about 5 pounds of chicken wings.
How Many Chicken Wings For 20 People
Cooking wings for 20 people? Now we’re talkin’. Be sure to prepare:
- As the main course: you’ll want to prepare to cook 80 whole wings, or 160 buffalo-style wings, which is enough for 4 full wings or 8 buffalo-style wings each! When buying your wings it should come up to around 20 pounds total raw weight.
- As an appetizer or snack: even as a snack you’ll still need 40 full wings, or 80 buffalo-style wings, or about 10 pounds of wings in total.
How Many Chicken Wings For 50 People
Cooking for 50 people is quite the task. But, it’s also quite an accomplishment. You’ll want to be serving:
- As the main course: a total of 200 whole chicken wings, or 400 buffalo-wings! This means a total of about 50 pounds of chicken wings!
- As an appetizer or snack: serve at least 100 whole chicken wings or about 200 buffalo-style wings. Averaging about 25 pounds of total raw weight.
How Many Chicken Wings For 100 People
There’s a huge difference between cooking for 50 people and cooking for 100 people.
Things start to get a bit hectic. Take a deep breath. Be sure you’ve got at least:
- As the main course: 400 full chicken wings, or a total of 800 buffalo wings! This is a whopping 100 pounds of chicken wings.
- As an appetizer or snack: even serving snacks for 100 people can be a challenge. Serve a total of 200 whole wings or 400 buffalo wings, requiring about 50 pounds of chicken wings in total.
How Many Chicken Wings Per Child
I’m always surprised at how much my children will actually eat.
But, undoubtedly they won’t usually polish off as much as a full-grown adult will!
If you’re hosting an event or party with children you should look to provide three whole chicken wings per child, or about six buffalo-style wings.
This is roughly three-quarters of a pound of chicken wings per child.
How Many Boneless Wings Per Person?
What about boneless wings, ae?
Since boneless wings are more like chicken nuggets than chicken wings, the quantities per person will certainly differ.
I mean, I can devour a whole lot more chicken nuggets than chicken wings and I’m not even ashamed of it!
If you’re preparing boneless wings for a meal, party, or event, be sure you serve at least 8-10 boneless wings per person.
This can vary depending on the event, if you are serving sides, and whether it’s the main dish or just a snack.
Best Side Dishes For Chicken Wings
People always try to get fancy with the side dishes. But, when you’re cooking for a large group, it’s best to stick with the basics.
Interestingly, if we take a look at some data from Americans who ate 1.42 billion chicken wings during Superbowl, it was found that 72% of Americans prefer French fries as their preferred side for chicken wings.
The next highest was celery at 14%!
Depending on how many people you are cooking for you may wish to spice things up a bit. But, for any larger-sized crowd some of the best side dishes are:
- French fries
- Celery sticks
- Sweet potato
- Stuffed peppers
- Onion rings
- Mac and cheese
- Garlic bread
Serving Chicken Wings To A Crowd
Everything’s going to plan. Since you’ve prepared correctly and have the right portion sizes ready, it’s time to serve.
But, as soon as you need to cook wings for a crowd of 20 or more people, things can start getting a little crazy.
If you’re struggling to plan exactly how you’re going to cook and serve these wings to all your guests, you can consider cooking them in batches, cooking them and reheating them to serve, or making your own chicken wing stand!
Cooking In Batches
You can’t exactly cook hundreds of wings in an oven or smoker all at once!
So, cooking your wings in batches will make things easier to manage in the kitchen and will ensure all the wings are fresh to serve!
This will only really be effective if it’s a stand-up event and you’re serving wings as snacks. This way you can constantly be cooking more to refill the emptying chicken wing trays.
Watch your guests come back for seconds, thirds, and fourths every time you deliver fresh wings!
Cook And Reheat Method
If you’re needing to serve all the wings at once, for a sit-down event for example, then here’s an effective way to ensure all the meals can be served at one time.
Cook your wings in advance, either earlier in the day or even the night before. When it comes to serving your chicken wings you can simply reheat them all at once or in batches as you serve out the dishes.
This completely removes the stress of anything going wrong with the cooking of the wings on the day!
Chicken Wing Stand/Bar
If you want to go the extra mile and your event permits it you can set up a self-serve chicken wing stand.
Have all your wings in a big bowl in the middle of a table or stand. Get your favorite sauces and sides together and place them all around your wing-centerpiece.
This really goes a long way for those events where a lot of mingling and socializing is going on – plus it’s a real talking point and is certainly a memorable experience for your guests if you pull it off right!
How To Keep Wings Warm When Serving
Sure, it’s easy to serve wings straight out of the oven or smoker when you’re cooking for only a handful of people.
But, as soon as you need to cook 50-100+ wings, things get a bit harder to serve, and you start needing a strategy to keep things warm while you’re plating up or serving.
The most reliable way to keep your chicken wings warm when serving is to keep them in the oven at 160°F, or on a hot plate while you’re plating everything else up!
Otherwise, you can opt to do the cook and reheat method, or cook your chicken wings in batches too.
Avoid using closed containers for any breaded, fried, or smoked chicken wings, as these may make your wings soggy it can cause the skin to go rubbery.
There’s some kind of special feeling you feel when everything falls into place and you’re watching all your guests noshing away on their chicken wings.
Remember, for the main course you’ll want to serve 4 whole wings or 8 buffalo-style wings per person.
This works out to be roughly one pound of chicken wings per person.
If you’re serving your wings as a snack you’ll only need half this amount!
Depending on how many people you’re serving you may wish to prepare all your wings at once, in batches, or utilize the cook and reheat method.
Oh, and one last thing — next time you’re cooking wings for a crowd be sure to invite me!