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Jul 28, 2010 10:04 AM

Ground Beef: Pound to Cup Conversion

Does anyone know the following:

How many cups in 1 pound of raw ground beef?

How many cups in 1 pound of ground beef after it's been browned and the fat drained off?

I am assuming that the 8 oz. per cup standard applies to water only.

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  1. You assume incorrectly. The "A pint's a pound the world around" adage applies. 2 cups (1 pint) of most foods = 1 pound. Granted, once cooked and drained, a pound of raw ground beef becomes less than a pint. But a pint container filled with cooked, drained ground beef would weigh a pound, although it might have taken 1-1/4 pounds (guessing here, and the fat percentage would make a difference) raw to yield that amount.

    6 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Thanks! So if I buy 1 lb. of super-lean ground beef and brown it, I should get 1 cup of browned ground beef (more or less)?

      1. re: greygarious

        Meat has roughly the same density as water. It has a high percentage of water, and barely floats. But ground meat can vary in density. Fresh out of the grinder it will be less dense than if it has been compressed into patties, or comes out of a plastic tube.

        In cooking it looses some water and fat, and can still vary in density depending on it is broken up, and how dry it is.

        But using the 2cups to pound equivalence for water, it is safe to assume that a pound of ground beef will cook up into something between 1 and 2 cups.

        But sort of recipe calls for cooked ground meat by the cup? How critical is the measurement?

        1. re: paulj

          Thanks. See my reply to c oliver below.

        2. re: greygarious

          WRONG! 2 cups of lettuce do not weigh 1 lb. Weights are very different for 2 cups by measure.

          1. re: lstsnp

            "most", as I wrote. Two cups of popped popcorn weighs very little, as would 2 cups of torn or shredded cabbage. Steam that cabbage, so it fills a measuring cup with few if any air pockets, and you'll have about a pound. How much air and water are contained in the food makes a difference. I find that a pound of raw produce generally yields a cup when thoroughly cooked, e.g., onion, eggplant, apples.

        3. I'm curious why you're asking. Do you have a recipe that calls for a cup of ground beef?

          3 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            I am experimenting with meat loaves. All I have in the fridge is soy veggie burgers, which I will crumble up for ground beef. I wanted to record the amounts in such a way that I could substitute real browned ground beef later, and I wasn't sure if soy protein (or other veggie substitutes) have the same weight. Seemed that a volume measurement would work best.

            1. re: c oliver

              Great question - I buy hamburger in large quantity bulk. Then divide into 1 or 2 lb. packages. Also put it into freezer bags and flatten out - thaws out much faster.

              1. re: c oliver

                No. I have a bag of frozen ground beef that I want to make sure it is 1-1 1/2 lbs. I need to know because a recipe calls for 1-lb. of ground beef but, 1/2 lb., will make the dish a little meatier. That's all... :-D

              2. What kind of accuracy do you want?

                Raw ground beef will be about two cups per pound, but since fat's less dense than water and muscle is denser, it'll vary with the fat content. Once you've cooked the meat, fat has rendered out, but you have more air pockets. Squish it down, and you're getting close to the same density.

                Most of the time you won't go far wrong assuming that a pint of relatively wet stuff weighs about a pound. But if you want more than 10% or so accuracy, you'll need to be a little more careful and verify weights and measures.

                1. A pint's a pound is only for water.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    No. The equivalency holds for liquid AND moist foods. That's why at the deli counter, you get a pound of potato salad, coleslaw, etc., in a pint container.

                  2. I'm trying to find out how much ground beef I have after cooking 1 pound of 85/15, 90/10, 80/20. Does anyone know where I can find a chart that gives me this information? Thanks!