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How Many Pizzas Do You Need for a Pizza Party?

You have 20 people coming over in an hour. How many pies do you need to feed them?

People are on their way over, your oven is billowing smoke and you need to order a bunch of pizzas, stat. The question is, how many? 

Relax. I’ll help.

How Many Pizzas for 20 People: The Math

The pizza business goes by a handy rule of thumb when deciding on the appropriate number of pies for any occasion: Adults get three slices and children get two (and the dog can maybe have a small piece of crust). If you’re ordering thin crust or some other fancy-ass pie that doesn’t have much weight to it, add an extra slice per person, just to be safe.

Of course, pizzas come in various sizes, and the number of slices per size ranges. Here’s a good estimate:

  • Small: Six slices
  • Medium: Eight slices
  • Large: 10 slices
  • Extra-Large: 12 slices

Now, let’s do some simple math to figure out what you’ll have to order. If you have 20 adults coming over, you’ll need 60 slices. Since you’ll always get the best value by ordering larger pies, that would mean you’ll need five extra-large pizzas.

Let’s do one more example: If you have 10 adults and 10 kids coming over, you’ll need 50 slices (or 70 if you’re ordering thin-crust pies). That would mean you’ll need five large pizzas (or five extra-large, thin-crust pizzas and one large, thin-crust pizza).

That said, while these are good guesses at how many pizzas you’ll need, you still have to make a judgment call. If you know your guests are ravenous, there’s no harm in ordering an extra pizza or two. Remember, pizza is always good the next day (unless you forgot to put it in the fridge). Alternatively, you can add some side dishes to your order, like salad and/or chicken wings.

If you need help choosing toppings, a poll of U.S. adults shows that pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, extra cheese and onions are the most popular ones. On the other hand, anchovies, eggplant, artichokes, broccoli and pineapple, of course, are the most disliked. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to have at least one vegetarian option, even if that’s just an old-fashioned cheese pizza.

Now go ahead and place your order. I’ll take a medium pepperoni, too.

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