How Many Cookies Do You Need Per Person For Christmas?

This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and of course, cookies! But how many cookies do you need to make for all of your loved ones?

As a rule of thumb, everyone should have around 4-6 cookies per person for Christmas. This handful of cookies should be plenty, especially if you’re also serving other holiday treats. So if you are a family of, say, four people, you’ll want to make anywhere between 16-24 cookies in total.

In this article, I further break down the cookie math, including how many cookies you’ll need if you’re baking for a large group of people.

How to Calculate the Number Of Cookies to Make Per Person?

Generally, in a single-day event, each person should have at least 4-6 cookies. This means that if you are going to have 10 people at your Christmas party, you will need to bake at least 40-60 cookies. If you want to be extra safe, you can always bake a few more than the minimum amount. 

How Many Cookies Per Person For Christmas

*By the way, I came across the perfect 24 Piece Set of Cookie Cutters that come in different shapes and sizes perfect for shaping your cookie dough the right way. You can check out these cutters on Amazon!

The size of the cookies is also a factor to consider. Smaller cookies will mean that more cookies are needed per person, while larger cookies will require fewer cookies per person.

Finally, the type of cookie is also a consideration. Some cookies, like sugar cookies, are very sweet and rich, so you may want to only serve 3-4 per person. Other types of cookies, like shortbread or gingerbread cookies, are not as sweet and can be served in larger quantities.

In general, here is how to calculate the number of cookies to make per person:

For A One-Day Event

Each person should have at least four to six cookies. For a big event of 50 people, you will need to bake at least 200-300 cookies. If you have an even bigger event of 150 people or more, aim to bake at least 900 cookies.

Number of PeopleTotal Number of Cookies
30120 – 180 Cookies
50200 – 300 Cookies
100400 – 600 Cookies
150600 – 900 Cookies
You will need to consider factors such as the size of the cookie and whether or not there will be other treats.

If you’re throwing a holiday party, the number of cookies you’ll need obviously goes up. For large parties (20 people or more), plan on about half a dozen cookies per person.

So if you are expecting 20 people at your cookie exchange, aim to have at least 120 cookies.

For Large Events Spanning Multiple Days

If you are having a bigger Christmas cookie exchange party that will last for several days, you will need to multiply the number of people coming by the number of days the event will last by the number of cookies you chose to bake per person.

Number of People x Number of Days x 4-6 Cookies
30 People x Days x 4-6 Cookies
50 People x Days x 4-6 Cookies
100 People x Days x 4-6 Cookies
150 People x Days x 4-6 Cookies
Example: 30 people x 3 days x 4-6 cookies per person per day = 360 – 540 cookies

So, if you are expecting 30 people at your party and it will last for 3 days, you will need to bake at least 360 – 540 cookies.

For large events spanning multiple days, like a cookie exchange or office party, plan on each person taking home at least half a dozen cookies.

Cookies out of the oven
Making bigger cookies will drop the number of cookies per person required!

If you’re baking a lot of cookies at once, you will need a cooling rack that will be capable of holding a lot of cookies. I recently saw this Wilton Excelle 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies that can hold at least 50 small sugar cookies at one time. You can check out this cooling rack on Amazon!

Note, however, that the number of cookies per person will depend on various factors. For instance, if you are also serving other holiday treats at your party, you may want to reduce the number of cookies per person.

Alternatively, if your guests have a large appetite or are known to be big cookie fans, you may want to bake more cookies per person.

Of course, if you think your guests will want more than the average number of cookies, feel free to bake a few extra. Also, if the people attending will mostly be children, they may want more cookies than the average adult.

How Do You Plan A Christmas Cookie Exchange Party? 

To plan for a Christmas cookie exchange party, first, decide how many people you want to invite and send an invitation a month in advance. A week prior to the party, follow up with a reminder email or phone call. Shop for non-perishable ingredients and start baking a day or two before the party.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about What Is A Christmas Cookie Crawl. This article explains what is a Christmas cookie crawl and how it works. You can check out this article here!

Here’s how I often plan cookie exchanges:

A Month Prior

This is the time I start making my guest lists and sending out invitations. I try to invite people who like to bake and who I think will be able to commit to bringing a couple of dozen cookies.

The invitation should include at least the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the party
  • How many people you plan to invite
  • What type of cookies you would like people to bring (for example, only holiday-themed cookies or no more than three dozen chocolate chip cookies)
  • Whether or not people should bring containers to take home their cookies
  • Your contact information in case people have questions

Two Weeks Ahead

Now start following up on the RSVPs so you have a better idea of how many people will actually be attending the party.

This is also a good time to start shopping for non-perishable ingredients, like flour, sugar, and spices.

One Week Ahead

Around this time, I start making my party menu. This is the time you should also start planning about the kids, and create cookie labels.

I also make a comprehensive shopping list of all the ingredients that I need ahead of time so that my husband and I will have a hassle-free time gathering all the ingredients necessary while at the grocery stores!

1-2 Days Prior

After gathering all your ingredients, it’s time to start baking. I like to bake my cookies a day or two before the party so they have time to cool and I’m not rushed on party day. Make decorations and set the place for the buffet table.

According to the legend Martha Stewart herself:

A cookie swap doesn’t usually include a sit-down meal, so you won’t need formal seating arrangements. But you do need a long table—or several smaller ones—with enough space to display each person’s dessert.

The Day of the Party

Set out the cookies and let the fun begin. As people arrive, have them put their name tags on. Ready refreshments and food, make final touches on the kid’s table, and enjoy the party.

This is the best time to just relax and enjoy the magical creation that took you a month to plan! Grab a cookie and enjoy the party!

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about Why Your Cookies Might Not be Spreading. This article speaks about all the reasons your cookies will remain in a ball instead of spreading into a cookie shape. You can check out this article here!

Can I Make Cookies Ahead Of Time? 

As a general rule, you can make cookies up to 2-3 days ahead of time. If you want to make them even further ahead of time, you can freeze the dough or baked cookies so that the ingredients don’t spoil over time.

Can You Make Sugar Cookies Ahead Of Time
You shouldn’t make cookies more than 3 days ahead of time!

If you have enough storage room, you can make up to several days’ worth of cookies and freeze them.

This is a great way to have fresh-baked cookies on hand without having to bake them every time you want one.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article answering the popular question of How Many Days In Advance Can You Make Sugar Cookies? In this article, I spoke about all the ways you can keep your sugar cookies nice and fresh! You can check out this article here!


Should you serve food at a Christmas cookie swap?

Generally speaking, there is no problem with serving food at a Christmas cookie swap. In fact, it can be a good idea to serve some light snacks or drinks to keep people’s energy up as they mingle and sample all the different cookies.

Should you serve drinks at a Christmas cookie swap?

Generally speaking, it will be a good idea to serve non-alcoholic drinks like tea, coffee, milk, and water at a Christmas cookie swap. Serving these types of drinks will counteract the sweetness of most cookies which makes your guests crave more.

How many cookies should you bring to a Christmas party?

On average, you should bring 2-3 cookies per person to a Christmas party. This should be enough for people to have a few samples without feeling like they need to gorge themselves on cookies. However, this depends on how many people will be attending the party and how long it will last.

How many cookies are enough to gift at a Christmas party?

On average, two dozen cookies should be plenty of cookies to gift at a Christmas party. If you are worried about not having enough, bake a few extra cookies to keep on hand in case you need them. However, this depends on how many people will be attending the party and how long it will last.

Spread The Love & Share Our Post!


My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

Recent Posts