How many pounds of green beans for 8 people?

Quick Answer

For 8 people, plan on serving 1-2 pounds of fresh green beans or 10-12 ounces of frozen green beans per person. So for 8 people you’ll need 8-16 pounds of fresh green beans or 5-6 pounds of frozen green beans. The exact amount depends on the other dishes being served and how much each person typically eats. Green beans are usually served as a side dish.

Calculating How Much to Buy

When cooking for a group, it’s important to buy enough fresh produce without having lots of leftovers. Here are some tips for buying green beans for a crowd:

  • Plan for 1-2 pounds of fresh green beans per person if serving as a side dish. For 8 people that’s 8-16 pounds.
  • If using frozen green beans, buy 10-12 ounces per person. For 8 people that’s 5-6 pounds of frozen green beans.
  • Add extra if green beans are a main dish or if you know your crowd has big appetites.
  • Buy less if you’re also serving other veggie sides like salad, broccoli, etc.
  • Purchase extra fresh green beans so you can discard any that are damaged or bruised.

The precise amount can vary based on whether you’re serving other sides, the main dish, and how hungry your crowd is. Start with 1-2 pounds per person and adjust as needed. It’s better to have extra than not enough.

Serving Size Per Person

As a side dish, plan on serving 1/2 – 1 cup of prepared green beans per person. Here are some serving size guidelines:

  • 1/2 cup cooked green beans = minimum side dish serving
  • 2/3 cup cooked green beans = average side dish serving
  • 1 cup cooked green beans = generous side dish serving

This accounts for some bean loss during trimming and cooking. If serving green beans as a main dish rather than a side, plan on 1 1/2 – 2 cups per person.

Purchasing Loose vs Packaged Green Beans

Green beans are sold both loose and pre-packaged at grocery stores:

  • Loose green beans – Sold individually by the pound. Allows you to inspect quality and select extra to account for damaged beans. Need to weigh produce and do math to determine how much to buy.
  • Pre-packaged green beans – Sold in plastic bags or containers in pre-determined weights like 1 pound or 2 pound. Convenient but less ability to inspect quality. May be more expensive than loose.

Both options work well. Choose based on your preferences, grocery options, and convenience.

Allow for Bean Loss During Preparation

When purchasing green beans, it’s important to buy extra since some bean loss will occur during washing and trimming. Plan for about 10-15% in bean loss.

Here’s a simple formula to allow for bean loss:

Pounds of raw beans needed = Number of servings x Serving size + 10-15% more

So if you need 8 servings (8 people) with 1 cup servings, the math would be:

8 servings x 1 cup per serving = 8 cups
8 cups raw beans x 10% loss = 0.8 pounds
Total = 8 pounds + 0.8 pounds = 8.8 pounds of raw green beans

Always rounding up, you’d want to buy about 9 pounds of raw green beans for 8 servings of 1 cup each.

Cooking Green Beans

Green beans can be prepared many ways – here are some popular cooking methods:


Steaming is a healthy cooking method that preserves nutrients. To steam:

  • Wash and trim green beans.
  • Place in steamer basket over boiling water.
  • Steam for 5-10 minutes until tender but still crisp.
  • Toss with seasonings like garlic, lemon, dill, etc.

Steaming takes a short time so only start cooking the beans when ready to serve.


Boiling is easy and quick:

  • Wash and trim green beans.
  • Bring large pot of water to a boil.
  • Add beans and boil for 3-5 minutes until tender-crisp.
  • Drain beans and season as desired.

Boiling works well but some nutrients can be lost in the cooking water.


For deeper flavor, try roasted green beans:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Toss trimmed beans in oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan or your favorite seasonings.

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the beans.


Saute green beans for a quick stovetop method:

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add trimmed green beans and cook, stirring frequently 3-5 minutes.
  • Season with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.

Sauteing is fast and adds great flavor.

Choosing the Best Green Beans

Picking fresh, tender beans is key:

  • Look for slender, straight green beans without bulges or bruises.
  • Avoid beans that are limp, bendy or have brown spots.
  • The beans should snap cleanly when bent rather than feel limp.
  • Smaller beans are more tender while larger beans can be fibrous.

The perfect green bean is bright green, snaps crisply, and is 3-6 inches long.

Storing Fresh Green Beans

To keep fresh green beans their best:

  • Store unwashed beans loose in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Wash just before cooking to preserve freshness.
  • Do not place in sealed container or they will develop moisture.
  • Rinse under cool water right before cooking.

Washing green beans too far in advance can cause premature spoilage.

Frozen vs Fresh Green Beans

Both fresh and frozen green beans work well:

Fresh Green Beans

  • More tender and crisp texture.
  • Brighter green color.
  • Shorter shelf life of 5-7 days.
  • Needs trimming and prepping before cooking.
  • More expensive.

Frozen Green Beans

  • Very convenient and easy to use.
  • Can be stored longer.
  • Usually pre-trimmed and prepped.
  • Less fresh flavor and texture.
  • Cheaper than fresh.

Choose fresh when possible for optimum flavor and texture. But frozen are a quick, easy option.

How Much Raw Yields Certain Amount Cooked?

Green beans shrink quite a bit when cooked. Here’s a general guideline:

  • 2 pounds raw beans = 4-5 cups cooked
  • 1 pound raw beans = 2-2.5 cups cooked
  • 8 ounces raw beans = 1-1.5 cups cooked

The exact yield can vary based on the cooking method and how long they are cooked. Roast green beans shrink more than steamed.

Typical Serving Sizes

Here are standard serving size amounts for green beans:

  • Side dish – 1/2 – 1 cup
  • Main dish – 1 – 2 cups
  • Thanksgiving/Holiday meal – 1 cup or more
  • With dinner rolls – 1/2 cup
  • Green bean casserole – 1 cup

Serve more beans if serving as an entree, less if paired with multiple sides. Adjust serving size based on your menu.

Nutrition Facts

Green beans are very healthy and nutritious. One cup of cooked green beans contains:

  • Calories – 44
  • Protein – 2g
  • Carbs – 9g
  • Fiber – 4g
  • Vitamin C – 14% DV
  • Vitamin K – 38% DV
  • Iron – 10% DV

They are low calorie, full of vitamins, and deliver fiber. An excellent veggie choice.

Doneness Test

It’s important not to overcook green beans. Here are tips for testing doneness:

  • The beans should be bright green.
  • They should be tender but still firm and crisp.
  • Test for tenderness by piercing a bean with a fork.
  • Do not cook so long that beans are mushy.
  • Beans done steaming in 5-8 minutes, boiling in 3-5 minutes.

Perfectly cooked beans “snap” when bent. Undercooked beans are too firm. Overcooked beans are soft and mushy.


If you don’t have green beans, try substituting with one of these vegetables:

  • Asparagus – similar texture and taste
  • Broccoli – firm texture
  • Sugar snap peas – crisp like beans
  • Zucchini – requires slicing but works

Adjust seasonings if substituting – for example, broccoli takes well to lemon.

Most Popular Green Bean Recipes

Here are 5 of the most popular ways to serve green beans:

  1. Garlic green beans – Sauteed with garlic and olive oil.
  2. Green bean casserole – Made with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions.
  3. Dilled green beans – Tossed with fresh dill and lemon juice.
  4. Green bean salad – Served chilled as a salad with vinaigrette.
  5. Roasted green beans – Oven roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper.

These recipes are easy crowd pleasers. Beans pair well with garlic, herbs, and light seasonings.

Serving Size for Homemade vs Canned Green Beans

Homemade and canned green beans differ in serving sizes:

  • Homemade – 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups per serving
  • Canned green beans – About 1/2 cup drained beans per serving

Canned beans are more dense and smaller in size than fresh beans. Always drain and rinse canned beans to reduce sodium.

Price Per Pound

In most grocery stores, expect to pay:

  • Loose green beans – $1.99 – $3.99 per pound
  • Packaged green beans – $1.69 – $4.99 per pound
  • Organic green beans – $2.99 – $5.99 per pound

Check for sales, coupons, and bulk discounts to save money. Pricing will be higher out of season.

Food Safety

Follow these food safety tips when prepping green beans:

  • Wash hands and prep area before handling.
  • Rinse beans thoroughly under running water before cooking.
  • Keep raw and cooked beans separate to avoid cross contamination.
  • Cook beans thoroughly until tender but still crisp.
  • Store cooked beans in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Proper washing, prepping, cooking and storage prevents foodborne illnesses. Discard any rotten, damaged or bruised beans.


When serving 8 people, plan on buying 8-16 pounds of fresh green beans or 5-6 pounds frozen. Prepare 1-2 cups per person as a side dish. Look for slender, bright green beans free of blemishes. Store properly, cook to the perfect tenderness, and season to taste. Green beans are a healthy, versatile side dish for any occasion. With the right amount, your crowd will ask for more beans please!

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