How Many Meatballs Can You Get from a Pound of Ground Beef?

Meatballs are a classic crowd-pleasing dish that are easy to make and fun to eat. Whether you’re meal prepping for the week, making an appetizer platter, or just craving some comfort food, meatballs are always a hit. But when making meatballs from scratch, one key question always comes up – how many meatballs can you expect to get from a pound of ground beef?

As an avid home cook and meatball lover, I’ve made more than my fair share of meatballs over the years. And let me tell you, the meatball yield per pound can really vary based on a few important factors. In this article, I’ll break down exactly what impacts the number of meatballs per pound and give you some simple tricks to maximize your meatball output.

What Affects Meatballs Per Pound?

The main things that determine how many meatballs you can get from a pound of ground beef are:

  • Meatball size – Smaller meatballs will give you a higher count per pound than larger ones.

  • Fat content of the beef – Fattier ground beef may produce fewer meatballs than leaner beef due to grease loss

  • Mix-in ratios – More breadcrumbs or other mix-in can increase yield compared to pure beef.

  • Cooking method – Pan frying causes more grease loss than baking

With those key factors in mind, let’s look at the typical meatball yield for different meatball sizes and beef fat percentages.

Typical Output for Meatball Sizes

  • 1-inch meatballs = 45 to 55 per pound
  • 1 1⁄2-inch meatballs = 18 to 22 per pound
  • 2-inch meatballs = 12 to 15 per pound
  • 3-inch meatballs = 6 to 8 per pound

Output for Different Fat Contents

  • 80/20 ground beef = 12 to 20 meatballs per pound
  • 85/15 ground beef = 15 to 22 meatballs per pound
  • 90/10 extra lean beef = 18 to 25 meatballs per pound

As you can see smaller meatballs and leaner beef will generally increase your yield. Now let’s look at some tips to maximize your meatballs per pound.

Tips for Maximizing Meatballs per Pound


The smaller you make your meatballs, the more you’ll get per pound. Shoot for 1-inch balls if you want high yield.


Choose 90/10 or higher fat ratio beef so less grease renders out during cooking.


Mix in some panko or Italian breadcrumbs to bulk up the volume – about 1/4 cup per pound.


A single egg helps bind lean beef and lets you form smaller meatballs without crumbling.


Baking meatballs retains more moisture than pan frying.


Portion meatballs with a small kitchen scale for perfect 1-ounce portions.


Gently mix and form meatballs to avoid dense, heavy balls that cook down.

Meatball Calculator

To make it easy to estimate your meatball yield, here is a handy meatball calculator based on the size:

Meatball Diameter Meatballs per Pound
1 inch 50
1.5 inches 20
2 inches 12
2.5 inches 8
3 inches 6

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of how to calculate meatballs per pound. You can precisely plan for parties, meal prep, or find the best meatball recipe cost ratio. No more uncertainties when it comes to making these tasty crowd-pleasers. Here’s to perfectly portioned meatballs made from ground beef every time!

If You have 1lb of ground beef, make these.. Easiest Meatballs with simple ingredients.


How many pounds of meatballs do I need for 5 people?

A good, generic rule is half a pound of meat per person (before cooking) for a large meal. Not sure what you mean by “reduce weight in pounds” – if you’re trying to save money, mix some breadcrumbs and eggs into the meatballs – it’s delicious and adds bulk (reducing the amount of meat you have to buy).

How many meatballs are 28 ounces?

Cooked Perfect – Frozen Homestyle Meatballs, 28 Ounces, 56 Appetizer Size Count (Frozen)

What is the best size for meatballs?

Typically, meatballs will be somewhere between the size of a large cherry and a golf ball. Recipes such as Swedish meatballs and Italian-inspired meatballs are often made with a mixture of both beef and pork, but meatballs can be made with any red meat, game, poultry or a mixture.

Leave a Comment