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How Much Baked Beans to Get for Large Groups

  • 4 min read


Baked beans are a classic side dish, particularly at outdoor gatherings and barbecues. They pair beautifully with a range of foods, from grilled meats to vegetarian dishes, and they’re usually a hit with kids and adults alike. But when you’re cooking for a large group, it can be tricky to figure out exactly how much to prepare. Let’s explore how to calculate the right amount of baked beans to get for large groups.

Considering Your Guests

The first factor you need to consider when determining the amount of baked beans to get for a large group is the makeup of your guests. Are you serving a crowd of adults, or will there be children present as well? Adults will typically eat more than children, so this will significantly impact your calculations.

The Role of Baked Beans in Your Menu

Another important factor is the role that baked beans will play in your meal. Are they a main feature, or are they just one of many side dishes? If the latter is the case, you can generally get by with a smaller portion per person.

A Guideline for Portions

As a general rule of thumb, you can count on each adult eating about 1/2 cup of baked beans. This is equivalent to a standard serving size for most side dishes. For children, you might want to cut this portion size in half.

So, if you’re planning a gathering of 20 adults and 10 children, you would need about 12.5 cups of baked beans in total. That’s roughly equivalent to a #10 can or about two to three regular-sized cans from the grocery store. But remember, this is a very general guideline and actual amounts can vary based on your guests and the specifics of your menu.

Estimate for baked beans servings:

Number of PeopleCups of Baked BeansNo. of Standard (15 oz.) Cans

Variations Based on the Overall Menu

If your menu includes other heavy side dishes like macaroni and cheese or potato salad, your guests may take smaller portions of each dish, including the baked beans. However, if your sides are generally lighter (like salads or grilled vegetables), guests may take larger portions of the baked beans. In the former scenario, you might decrease the per-person portion size to 1/3 cup, while in the latter scenario, you might increase it to 2/3 cup.

Thinking About Leftovers

In addition, consider whether you’re okay with having leftovers. If you’d rather have too much than not enough – or if you simply love leftover baked beans – you might want to increase your per-person portion size.

Final Thoughts

Estimating the right amount of food for a large group can be more of an art than a science. The numbers given here are rough estimates, and individual needs and appetites can vary widely. The key is to know your crowd and plan accordingly.

And remember, baked beans are generally well-loved and versatile. If you do end up with leftovers, they can be repurposed in a number of ways – added to a breakfast hash, used as a topping for nachos or baked potatoes, or included in a hearty stew.

So, when in doubt, err on the side of having too many baked beans rather than too few. After all, no one ever complained about having extra of this delicious, comforting side dish!

Note: The information provided here is intended to be a general guideline, and may not be appropriate for every situation. Always consider your specific circumstances and the needs and preferences of your guests when planning a menu for a large group.

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