Ground beef is a versatile meat that’s a staple ingredient in many classic dishes like hamburgers, meatloaf, chili, tacos, and so much more. But when it comes to cooking with ground beef, one common question always seems to come up – how much cooked ground beef does a pound make? Specifically, how many cups are in a pound of cooked ground beef?
As a home cook and food blogger, I’ve cooked with ground beef more times than I can count. And let me tell you, the answer isn’t always straightforward The amount of cooked ground beef you get from a pound can vary quite a bit based on a few key factors
In this detailed guide, I’ll break down exactly what affects the yield of cooked ground beef per pound and provide some simple tips to help you easily estimate the number of cups you’ll get. Whether you’re meal prepping doubling a recipe, or just cooking up some hamburger helper you’ll have the info you need to perfectly plan recipes with ground beef.
What Determines the Cups per Pound of Cooked Ground Beef?
When it comes to measuring cooked ground beef, the main factors that affect the final yield per pound are:

Fat Percentage – Fattier ground beef will cook down more and result in fewer cups per pound. Leaner ground beef usually gives you more cooked volume.

Cooking Method – How you cook the beef also impacts the amount of shrinkage and moisture loss. Pan frying, boiling, grilling etc. can all affect the final quantity.

How Well It’s Drained – Excess fat and moisture that’s drained off will decrease the final number of cups you get. Better drainage = less volume.
With those key factors in mind, let’s look at some general guidelines and ranges for how many cups to expect from a pound of cooked ground beef.
Cups Per Pound of Cooked Ground Beef
 80% Lean Ground Beef – 1 3/4 to 2 cups
 85% Lean Ground Beef – 2 to 2 1/4 cups
 90% Lean Ground Beef – 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups
 93% Lean Ground Beef – 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups
As you can see, the leaner cuts of meat usually result in slightly higher yields per pound. Just keep in mind these ranges are approximations. The exact amount can still vary based on cook methods and drainage.
For example, if you pan fry 85% lean ground beef and drain it very well, you may end up with around 2 cups for a pound. But if you lightly cook and drain the same beef, you may get over 2 1/4 cups.
Now let’s look at some simple tips to accurately measure cooked ground beef and get perfect results in your recipes.
Tips for Measuring Cooked Ground Beef
Use a Kitchen Scale for Precise Measurement
If you want 100% accuracy, your best bet is to weigh cooked ground beef directly on a kitchen scale. This will give you an exact measurement in ounces or grams rather than having to estimate cup amounts.
Pack It Into a Measuring Cup
For an approximate cup measurement, spoon the cooked ground beef into a dry measuring cup and pack it down lightly. Level off the top with a knife or spatula. This will maximize the full capacity of the cup.
Estimate Based on the Raw Weight
As a rule of thumb, ground beef loses around 25% of its weight from cooking. So 1 pound (16 oz) raw yields about 12 oz cooked. You can use this to roughly calculate the cooked amount if you know the precooked weight.
Cook It Separately from Other Ingredients
Browning beef with lots of spices, veggies, or sauce can make it tricky to get an accurate measurement. When possible, cook ground beef on its own first.
Drain Fat and Moisture Well
The better you drain excess grease and liquids, the less your cooked ground beef will weigh and the fewer cups you’ll get per pound.
Adjust for Fat Percentage
Remember that fattier beef will cook down more while leaner beef retains more volume. Keep this in mind when estimating cups per pound.
Handy Ground Beef Conversion Chart
To make it easy, here is a quick reference chart to show common conversions for cooked ground beef. This can help you quickly estimate amounts for recipes.
Raw Weight  Cooked Cups (Drained) 

1 pound  2 to 2 1/2 cups 
8 ounces (half pound)  1 to 1 1/4 cups 
4 ounces  1/2 to 3/4 cup 
1 pound  24 to 30 ounces 
1 cup  5 to 6 ounces 
With the knowledge of how to accurately measure cooked ground beef under your belt, you can perfectly plan for meal prepping, calculate recipe costs, and never have to wonder about the number of cups again. No more guessing how many pounds you need to make a big batch of homemade chili or how much cooked beef for 8 burger patties.
As you cook more with ground beef, you’ll get better at visually estimating amounts. But when in doubt, grab those measuring cups and kitchen scale to get it just right. Here’s to cooking with perfectly portioned ground beef for delicious recipes everyone will enjoy!
Bodybuilding Nutrition Tip: How to Accurately Weigh Cooked Meat
FAQ
How much does 1 cup of cooked ground beef weigh?
How much does 16 oz of ground beef weigh after cooking?
How to measure 1 lb of ground beef?
How many cups of ground beef per meal?
How many cups of ground beef in a pound?
The general rule of thumb is that one pound of cooked ground beef is roughly equivalent to about 2 to 2 ½ cups. However, this can change based on factors such as the leantofat ratio of the beef, the cooking method used, and how much moisture is removed during cooking.
How much is a pound of cooked ground beef?
As such, while a pound equals three cups of cooked beef, the same pound would be equivalent to approximately 2¼ cups of raw ground beef. Raw ground beef is heavier than cooked ground beef. Why Is Cooked Ground Beef Lighter Than Raw Ground Beef? Cooking beef is a chemical process that leads to new substances.
How much meat should a pound of ground beef yield?
A pound of ground beef should measure between 3 and 4 cups when it’s raw. Taking shrinkage into account, this means your total meat yield could be somewhere between 21/4 and 3 cups. Keep this in mind when you’re cooking off hamburgers, too. A single pound of 80to20 ground beef should yield 3/4 pound of cooked meat.
How much does a cup of cooked ground beef weigh?
When it comes to measuring cooked ground beef, 1 cup equals approximately 5.33 ounces. Therefore, 1 pound or 16 ounces of cooked ground beef equals approximately 3 cups.