How Much Baked Beans to Get for Large Groups

Are you having a large get-together and you are the cook? Maybe you are going for a Southern barbecue and are wanting to serve baked beans. So how many baked beans do you need to get for each person?

The average serving size for baked beans is half a cup per person. Serving sizes may vary depending on how many sides are served along with the beans and the guests in attendance. It’s a good rule of thumb to prepare more to ensure everyone gets enough.

It may seem like a simple answer, but there is so much more to know about making baked beans for a large group. Continue to read before your large gathering!

How Much Baked Beans Do You Really Need?

The average serving side for baked beans, or any side really, is about 1/2 cup per person. Kids will usually eat less, with the average serving size being anywhere from two to four tablespoons per kid.

It all depends on the situation of the meal though. If baked beans are the only side you are serving, you may want to cook a little bit more per person. It also depends on who you are feeding. If the meal is for kids, you could get away with serving a little bit less, while if you are serving hungry teenagers, you may want to cook more.

Below is a chart breaking down how many baked beans you should cook per person and how many cans you would need to buy per group.

Baked Beans usually come in cans of 8.3, 16, 55, and 117 ounces. The chart below gives an estimate of how many cans of baked beans you should buy depending on the number of people you are serving.

(If you end up needing to open a ton of cans, honestly an electric can opener is the way to go. This one is my personal favoriteOpens in a new tab. because it doesn’t leave sharp edges on the lid!)

It is always a good idea to buy more than you think you might need, just in case.

Number of PeopleAmount of Baked Beans Needed (cups)Number of 8.3 oz Cans of Baked Beans NeededNumber of 16 oz Cans of Baked Beans NeededNumber of 55 oz Cans of Baked Beans Needed
11/21 11
This table shows how many cans of baked beans you need for different sized groups for 3 different sizes of cans.

That is a lot of cans to buy. So, we have also created a chart that includes the amount of ounces you need and the option to buy cans in varying sizes. This is more realistic for buying in bulk.

Number of PeopleBaked Beans Needed (cups)Baked Beans Needed (oz)How Many Cans of Baked Beans to Cook
11/241 (8.3 oz)
105401 (55 oz)
2010801 (117 oz)
30151201 (117 oz) + 1 (8.3 oz)
40201601 (117 oz) + 1 (55 oz)
100504004 (117 oz)
This table shows the amount of baked beans you need depending on the number of people, as well as how many cans to get of baked beans to serve that number of people.

The chart also lists the serving size for one person, so you can adjust the measurements to fit the number of people in your group that you are feeding.

For example: If you are serving 25 people, you will take the measurements for 20 people and add 2 1/2 cups (1/2 cup per person) to the number of beans you are making.

We recommend, for groups over ten, buying at least one extra 8.3 oz can to ensure that you have enough.

Cooking for a Large Group

Now that you have figured out how many baked beans you need to buy, you need to figure out how you are going to cook them.

It depends on the size of the group you are cooking for of course. For example, if you are cooking for 100 people, you are going to need a lot of kitchen space.

Can of baked beans being poured into a pot on the stove.
Can of baked beans being poured into a pot on the stove.

Before you start to cook, you should think of how many baked beans you are going to make and where you are going to cook these beans. Also, think of how you are going to keep them warm.

  • Slow cookers
  • Oven
  • Microwave

Slow Cookers

Slow cookers are a great option when cooking baked beans because you can put the beans in the slow cooker in the morning and you do not have to think twice about it.

They are also great for keeping your food warm until it is time to eat.

When you are planning your meal, ask if you can borrow slow cookers from friends and family if that is the route you want to go. A four-quart slow cooker like this Hamilton BeachOpens in a new tab. can hold 128 ounces, so one cooker could do if you are cooking for thirty people or less.

If you are wanting to cook for more people, you may need multiple slow cookers.


You could put your beans in a large ceramic bean pot like this one. You could also use a casserole dish like this one or any other oven-safe dish to cook and stay warm in the oven.

Another thing you could do is use the oven to keep the beans warm. If you are wanting to cook the beans on the stove or in the microwave, you can put tin foil over the container and keep it in the oven for the beans to stay warm until dinner.

If you do decide to use your oven, make sure the heat setting is not too high that your beans will burn.


What is nice about a microwave is that you are able to re-heat things quickly.

If, for some reason, some of your beans are not as warm as you want, you can re-heat the beans quickly in the microwave. This will not work for a large number of beans, so it is important to think ahead, but it could work if you needed to make a bit more beans for your party.

How to Make the Beans Stretch

When planning a meal, especially for a large group, it is important to know how much of the baked beans you will need to buy. But, if something happens and the dog gets to some of the beans or if someone shows up unannounced, here are a few ways to make sure there are enough baked beans to go around.

  • Serve more sides
  • Smaller plates
  • Add extra ingredients to the beans

By doing this, you will make sure that you don’t run out of beans before your crowd is full.

Serve More Sides

If you can, adding more sides to the meal will ensure that everyone gets their fair share of beans and that the people at the end of the line aren’t left beanless and disappointed.

The more food that is offered, the less people will take of each dish.

Smaller Plates or Bowls

People will typically grab less of things if their plate is smaller because there is not enough room for everything.

It is a mind trick that will get your guests to grab less of each item.

If you have a lot of sides, you can also try putting the beans towards the end of the buffet line, or dish it out after the other food has been passed around. This way, the plates will already have other food on them.

Add to the Beans

Something that is great about baked beans is that you can add extra things to them to make them more filling. For example, you can add bacon, green peppers, and/or onions, which makes it a bit more filling.

The more filling it is, the faster your guests will get full, and the fewer beans your guests will eat.

While we want your beans to be eaten up, we hope you’ve discovered some new ways to make sure the whole gang gets their share and you don’t have to stress.


Being part of a really big family, cooking for big groups of people is just how we do things. Cooking, baking, and outdoor cooking have all been huge parts of my life, and I love sharing what I've learned with you.

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