How many chips do you need per person?

Having enough chips at a party or gathering is an important part of hosting. You want to make sure everyone gets plenty to eat without having too many leftovers. So how do you determine the right amount? Here are some tips for figuring out how many chips each person will eat.

Consider the Type of Chips

Not all chips are created equal when it comes to how much people will consume. Smaller snack-sized chips like potato chips or tortilla chips will get eaten faster than a heartier chip like pita chips or bagel chips. Crunchy, salty potato chips tend to disappear quicker than a sturdier baked chip or pita. This is an important factor when determining how many bags to buy.

Popular Chip Types

  • Potato chips – thin, crispy chips made from sliced potatoes, salty flavor
  • Tortilla chips – made from fried corn tortillas, often served with salsa or guacamole
  • Pita chips – made from baked pita bread, come in various flavors
  • Bagel chips – made from baked bagels, have a heartier crunch
  • Veggie chips – made from vegetables like beets or carrots, more natural option

As a general rule, small snack-sized chips like regular potato chips and tortilla chips will get eaten faster, so you may need more bags of these per person. Sturdier chips like pita and bagel chips will be consumed slower.

Consider the Crowd

The number of chips a person will eat can also depend on the crowd and setting. At a largersocial gathering where chips are just one of many foods available, people may graze on smaller portions. But for more casual get-togethers focused on snacking, attendees may consume more.

Here are some chip guidelines based on the type of gathering:

Chip Guidelines by Gathering

Gathering Chips per Person
Cocktail party or reception with passed appetizers 1 small bag
Casual backyard BBQ or picnic with other food 1 regular bag
Poker night or video game night focused on snacks 2 regular bags
Teen/kid focused birthday party 2-3 regular bags

As you can see, the more that chips are the focal point of the gathering, the more you should plan per attendee. Teens and kids tend to eat more chips than adults.

Calculate Based on Chip Bag Size

Most chip bags contain 1.5 to 2 ounces of chips per serving size. But keep in mind that the serving sizes listed are small. Most people eat 2-3 servings per sitting. Here is a rough estimate of chips eaten based on standard bag sizes:

Chips Eaten per Bag Size

Bag Size Chips Eaten
Snack Size (0.875 oz) About 0.5 bags per person
Small/Convenience Size (1.5 oz) About 1 bag per person
Standard Size (2 oz) About 1.5 bags per person
Party Size (3 oz) About 2 bags per person
Family Size (5 oz) About 3 bags per person

This can help you estimate amounts. For example, if you buy standard 2 ounce bags, plan on 1.5 bags per guest. Or if you have family size 5 ounce bags, each person will eat around 3.

Factor In Chip Servings

Along with bag sizes, look at the typical chip serving size and number of servings per container. A serving size of chips is generally around 15-20 chips or 1-1.5 ounces. But most people will easily eat 2-3 servings as a snack.

Some common chip serving sizes:

  • Lay’s regular chips – About 15 chips per 1 oz serving, 5 servings per bag
  • Ruffles regular chips – About 17 chips per 1.5 oz serving, 2.5 servings per bag
  • Pringles chips – About 16 chips per 1 oz serving, 2.5 servings per tub
  • Tostitos tortilla chips -About 8 chips per 0.5 oz serving, 8 servings per bag

You can use the serving size to help gauge the amount. If there are 2 servings per container and you assume each guest eats 3 servings, you would need 1.5 containers per person.

Consider Chip and Dip Ratio

If you are serving chips with dip or salsa, keep in mind that you typically need more chips than dip. The general ratio is about 2-3 cups of chips per 1 cup of dip. Make sure to factor this in so you have enough chips for scooping.

Recommended Chip and Dip Ratios

Dip Amount Chips Needed
8 oz (1 cup) 2-3 cups or about 5.5 oz of chips
16 oz (2 cups) 4-6 cups or about 11 oz of chips
24 oz (3 cups) 6-9 cups or about 16 oz of chips

You can use standard dip tub sizes like 8 oz or 16 oz and multiply by the chip ratio as a guide. Serve extra chips since you can’t have too many chips but you can run out of dip.

Consider Other Food at the Gathering

Chips shouldn’t be the only thing on the menu at a party or event. Consider what other finger foods, appetizers, entrees and snacks you are serving. The more variety of foods, the smaller the chip portions may be.

Some examples:

  • Sandwiches or pizza – may lower chip consumption to 1 bag per person
  • Veggie tray with dip – may reduce chips by 0.5 bags per person
  • Meatballs or chicken wings – may reduce chips by 0.5-1 bag per person
  • Quesadillas or nachos – people may prefer these over tortilla chips

The more substantial food choices, the less people may opt for chips. But they are still a good accompaniment to most menus.

Factor In Number of Guests

After considering all the above factors, look at your guest list numbers to determine how many bags of chips you need total. Having an accurate guest count will ensure you buy enough without grossly overestimating.

Some tips for estimating guest numbers:

  • Base it on who was invited and previous event turnout rates
  • Overestimate by 5-10% to account for unexpected guests
  • Only count significant others if they were specifically invited
  • Ask for RSVPs to confirm

Once you have a total guest count, multiply it by the number of chip bags per person you estimated based on the crowd and menu. This will tell you how many bags to buy total.

Chip Estimates Based on Guest Count

Number of Guests Chips Needed for 1 Bag Per Person Chips Needed for 2 Bags Per Person
10 people 10 bags 20 bags
15 people 15 bags 30 bags
20 people 20 bags 40 bags
25 people 25 bags 50 bags
50 people 50 bags 100 bags

Having an accurate guest count and factoring in how many bags each person will eat allows you to buy the right chip quantity.

Leave Room for Error

It’s always wise to slightly overestimate how many chips you need rather than underestimate. Running out of chips would be a big letdown. Buy a few extra bags or an extra large family size as buffer.

Some tips for building in a cushion:

  • Add 2-3 extra bags as insurance
  • Get a variety of chip flavors so some leftovers are ok
  • Buy extra dip – more dip never goes to waste
  • Store extras in a sealed container to enjoy later

Chips aren’t too expensive, so the extra bags won’t break the bank. But they provide great insurance against undercalculating needs.

Sample Chip Quantities for Gatherings

Here are some example chip shopping lists based on event details:

Chips Needed for 10 Person Birthday Party

  • Serving pizza, wings, veggie tray
  • Casual family party, mix of kids and adults
  • Get variety of chip flavors
  • Get 2 bags per person = 20 regular bags
  • Add 2 extra = 22 bags total

Chips Needed for 25 Person Outdoor Picnic

  • Other foods like sandwiches, salads, fruit
  • Adult crowd
  • Get regular 1.5-2 oz chip bags
  • Estimate 1.5 bags per person = 37 bags
  • Round up to 40 bags for extra

Chips Needed for 20 Teens at Sleepover

  • Just serving chips and popcorn
  • All teenagers who eat lots of snacks
  • Get variety of flavored and baked chips
  • Plan for 3 bags per person = 60 bags
  • Add extra 10 bags = 70 bags total

These examples illustrate how to factor in the crowd, menu, and number of people when buying chips. Build in extras as a safety net too.

Best Practices for Determining Chip Quantities

Here are some key tips to keep in mind when figuring out how many chips to buy for your guests:

  • Consider the type of chips and serving size per bag or container
  • Factor in the crowd and whether chips are the main focus
  • Use the serving size and servings per package to estimate amounts
  • Account for any dips or salsas and the extra chips needed
  • Think about other foods that will be served and impact quantities
  • Use your confirmed guest count to multiply for totals needed
  • Add a buffer of extra bags beyond your estimate
  • Have a variety of flavors, dips and snacks

With the right calculations and a built-in cushion, you can ensure your guests have all the crispy, crunchy chips they can eat!


Determining how many chips to buy for a party requires some strategic planning, but it can be done. The most important factors to consider are the type of chips, number of guests, other foods being served, and allowing for extra portions. Crunchy snacks like chips are a crowd-pleasing addition to any gathering. By following these tips, you can make sure your event has the perfect quantity of chips!

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