How Much Ground Beef per Person for Tacos, Spaghetti, and Other Meals? 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Tacos

Ground beef can skillfully find its place in many kitchens. It is easy to cook, easy to find, and with a bit of knowledge, it can result in an unforgettable culinary experience. In addition to knowing how to combine it, you should also learn how to get the right quantity per person. So, how much ground beef per person for tacos, spaghetti, and other meals? 

The standard amount of ground beef per person for tacos is about 5 oz, and for spaghetti is 4 oz. If your dish is mostly only ground beef, then you need 8 oz of ground beef per person. However, given the wide range of dishes and your personal preference, the recommended amount can vary from dish to dish. 

Ground beef is a very frequent star in my menus. Whether just for me or my guests and me, I always enjoy cooking with ground beef, and of course, the results thereafter. During my search for perfection, I have stumbled across some handy information, such as the correct ground beef quantity for tacos, sloppy joes, and other tasty delights, which I am about to share in the following paragraphs. 

How Much Ground Beef Is a Serving?

Generally, one serving of ground beef is about 10 ounces. However, this number refers to ground beef only, not considering the foods you will be combining the ground beef with. Ten ounces of ground beef contain 24 grams of protein — while also including many calories and fats — which can account for about a quarter of your daily intake.

Therefore the amount constituting one serving is higher than the recommended amount per person because the amount per person considers the fact that you will pair your ground beef with something else, which will add up to your fat and calorie intake. 

Also, you need to keep in mind the differences between raw and cooked ground beef. As a general rule, applicable to any meat, the cooked meat loses about one-quarter of its weight. So if you buy a pound of raw ground beef, you will get three-quarters of a pound of cooked beef. 

Therefore, always subtract one-quarter of the amount you plan to buy so that you know how much cooked ground beef you will end up with. 

How Much Ground Beef for a Family Meal?

Another thing to consider when planning a meal with ground beef is the increase of the ground beef amount in relation to the number of people. As your ground beef will be a part of or paired with another dish, and you won’t be cooking each portion separately, the ground beef amount won’t increase proportionally with the number of people. 

If you double the amount when cooking for two, that doesn’t mean that you should multiply that amount by ten if you cook for ten people. Here’s where things can get messy because you risk having too much leftover that generally doesn’t do well in the freezer. 

The table below will help you decide how much ground beef to buy and how much you will need for a family meal. 

Number of people 4101520
Ground beef per person (raw)2.5 pounds4.8 pounds7.8 pounds9.5 pounds
Ground beef per person (cooked)1.8 pounds4.3 pounds4.2 pounds8 pounds

This table is a good pointer to make it easier for you to decide how much ground beef to buy and how much to count on when cooked. 

The only exception to this is ground beef patties, as in that case, each person would get their own, so unless someone doesn’t show up, you don’t risk having leftovers. The math is quite simple; you just multiply the amount per person, which is eight ounces, by the number of guests. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Tacos?

The standard amount of ground beef per person for tacos is 5 ounces. This quantity covers two tacos, whereby the ground beef amount per taco is 2.5 ounces. 

While we are on the subject of tacos, in addition to ground beef, which you can replace with slow-cooked beef, you can also keep the cilantro stems. The cilantro stems contain more flavor than the leaves, so keeping them in your taco would not only give your taco that playful cilantro flavor but will also amplify the other flavors that are at play. 

You can also add white onions instead of red. The red onion tends to soften and become soggy, whereas the white onion will remain fresh and resilient. 

You will need about 3 to 4 ounces of ground beef for taco salad per person. However, feel free to reduce this amount, as the ground beef isn’t the star of the dish, but just a mere ingredient. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Tacos

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Spaghetti?

The amount of ground beef for spaghetti is usually calculated per 4 servings. So the standard amount per six servings is one pound of ground beef, which would mean that 4 ounces of ground beef are allotted per person

This is half of the typical amount per person, and the reason for that is that when it comes to spaghetti, ground beef is just an ingredient, not the main dish. The accent is placed on the spaghetti, and the point is to have many well-balanced flavors and textures instead of having one that dominates the dish. 

Spaghetti is very simple to make, but it can also seem very complicated if you lack some information. The spaghetti is best when cooked in seasoned water, so feel free to add some salt and oil to the water. 

Stirring is an essential part of the process as well. Stir every few minutes and don’t rely only on the package instructions about the cooking time. The spaghetti works best when cooked “al dente” (it means that they stick to your teeth when you bite them), so keep an eye on their texture. 

If you, however, don’t feel like stirring all the time, you can place the spaghetti in a large pot, larger than the one you thought you’d need, and they won’t stick, saving you the stirring effort.

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Burgers?

I already mentioned that the amount of ground beef for patties follows simple math. The standard amount is eight ounces per person, which is four ounces per burger- two burgers per person. 

When you make burgers, rule number one is to keep the patties cold up until they are ready for cooking. Heat is their enemy, as warm fat will cause your burgers to stick and lose their shape. So when you cook them, make sure they are straight from the fridge. 

Another helpful tip is to put salt on them right before cooking and not earlier, as salt will draw the moisture out of the patties giving you dry and crumbly burgers. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Sloppy Joes?

Sloppy Joes require about three ounces of ground beef per sandwich. Considering that that is one ounce less per sandwich than burgers, the number of sloppy Joes per person would be three instead of two. So the amount of ground beef for sloppy Joe per person would be about nine ounces instead of the standard eight. 

However, this number is still within the recommended amount per serving which is ten ounces. 

When making sloppy Joes, the most important thing is to toast your buns. The toasted buns will significantly lose their apportion ability, meaning that the sauce won’t get into buns, making them overly moist. 

Also, keep an eye on the sauce quantity- the longer you cook it, the more it will reduce, giving you dry sloppy Joe sandwiches. So having your sauce with the right consistency is the key to a successful sloppy Joe sandwich. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Chilly?

Since ground beef is an ingredient to chili and not the main star of the dish, which is beans, the amount of ground beef here is lesser than the usual amount per person. With four to five ounces of ground beef per person, you can make a lovely and rich chili bowl, as the beans and the other ingredients compliment it perfectly. 

To make the best chili ever, it is a bit of excellent advice to boil your beans instead of using canned beans. Don’t forget to dry them well, as the excess water in the beans will make your chili’s consistency thinner and will add more cooking time. 

A shot of bourbon could be a good idea to make your chili tastier and zingier. Just two-three fingers of bourbon would be enough for this. Remember to stir your chilly while the bourbon evaporates in order to evenly distribute the taste. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Meatballs?

Usually, meatballs are a part of a sauce that is supposed to be on top of something else. In most cases, they are on the spaghetti. Since the meatballs are what gives character to the meal, but still they are not what the dish is about, the recommended amount per person is 4 to five ounces of ground beef. One serving of meatballs is four meatballs. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Tacos

Just like the burgers, you should keep the meatballs cold right until cooking. This will prevent them from sticking and losing their shape. 

To add some moisture to the meatballs, add an egg. This will make them juicy but will also help you shape them easier. You might also want to add grated onions to the mixture to give them some aroma and character, though you might make them too runny, so be careful with this. 

How Much Ground Beef per Person for Meatloaf?

One slice of meatloaf contains 4 ounces of ground beef. Typically two slices are allotted per person, so here too, you have the standard amount of eight ounces per person. 

To have the best possible result when making meatloaf, see that you chop all of your ingredients very finely, as nobody wants to chunks in their slice. Remember that meatloaf is a fine-textured dish, and see that you even out the mixture before cooking. 

Your meatloaf should be soft but not overly moist. To get the perfect consistency balance, it is clever to put some milk-soaked bread into the mixture and knead it nicely to evenly distribute it. 

Dish Taco Taco saladSpaghetti Burgers Sloppy JoesChiliMeatballs Meatloaf
Amount of ground beef (cooked) per person 5 ounces (2.5 per taco)3-4 ounces4 ounces8 ounces (4 per burger)9 ounces (3 per sandwich)4-5 ounces per bowl 4-5 ounces (4 meatballs)8 ounces (4 ounces per slice)

How Much Ground Pork per Person?

Much like ground beef, eight ounces of ground pork are the recommended amount per person. However, whereas the recommended amount of ground beef refers to cooked beef, the recommended amount of pork refers to raw pork, so about six ounces of cooked pork per person. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!