How much Oz is a can of soda?

Soda, also known as pop or soft drinks, is a popular carbonated beverage enjoyed around the world. Sodas come in many varieties and flavors, but most are packaged and sold in standard 12 ounce aluminum cans. But how much liquid is actually in a 12 ounce can of soda? Let’s take a closer look at soda can sizes and how much oz of soda is in a typical can.

Standard Soda Can Sizes

The most common soda can size in the United States is 12 fluid ounces (oz). This has been the standard soda can size since the early 1960s, but some brands also offer cans in other sizes:

Can Size Oz
Standard 12 oz
Slim 10 oz
16 oz 16 oz
20 oz 20 oz

So while 12 oz is considered the standard, soda cans range anywhere from 7 oz up to 20 oz from mini cans to large single-serve bottles. But the 12 oz can remains the most popular size.

How Much Soda is Actually in a 12 oz Can?

This is where things get a little tricky. You would assume a 12 oz can would contain 12 oz of soda. However, there is actually a bit less soda than 12 oz once you account for the negative space in the can.

When soda cans are filled and sealed, they are pumped full of liquid at high pressure. This pressurization allows the can to be completely filled with no air gaps.

However, when the can is opened, the pressurization is released. This causes the liquid level to drop slightly as air re-enters the can.

Additionally, the concave bottom of soda cans leaves empty space when placed on a flat surface. So between the air gap at the top and the curved bottom, there is empty space displacing some of the soda.

Most 12 oz cans actually contain around 11.5-11.7 oz of soda once opened and poured into a glass. That .3-.5 oz might not seem like much, but it’s a 2-4% difference between the stated volume and actual volume.

Why the Discrepancy?

So why doesn’t the full 12 oz make it into the can? There are a few reasons for this discrepancy:

Overfill Allowance

Soda manufacturers actually overfill cans to account for spillage and air space. Cans are filled with about 12.5 oz of soda before sealing to ensure they contain a full 12 oz when opened.


Cans are purposely not filled to the brim to allow for carbonation expansion and prevent explosions. This unfilled space at the top is called headspace or ullage.

Seam Gap

There is a slight seam where the can top and bottom are joined together. This small gap displaces a tiny amount of volume.

Can Shape

The indented bottom and tapered shape of cans leaves empty spaces when soda is poured out.

So between allowing room for carbonation expansion, the seam gap, indented can bottom, and difference between liquid volume under pressure vs at rest, a 12 oz can loses around 0.3-0.5 oz in actual fill volume.

Measuring Soda in an Opened Can

To empirically measure how much liquid is in an opened 12 oz can, you would need to pour the soda into a graduated cylinder or measuring cup.

This accounts for the air space at the top and the indented bottom shape of the can.

When soda is poured from an opened 12 oz can into a graduated cylinder, the typical actual volume is 11.5-11.7 oz.

This can be replicated by opening and pouring any 12 oz soda can into a measuring container.

Soda Can Volume vs Weight

Another factor that affects how much soda is in a can is the density and weight of the liquid.

Most sodas weigh about 1.3-1.5 grams per milliliter (g/mL). Compare this to water which is 1 g/mL.

So for a 12 oz can, the weight of the soda depends on the brand:

Soda Density (g/mL) Weight per 12 oz
Coca-Cola 1.32 g/mL 452 g
Pepsi 1.38 g/mL 469 g
Sprite 1.29 g/mL 438 g

As you can see, the denser the soda, the more it will weigh per fluid ounce. So weighing cans is not an accurate way to determine volume.

Gas and moisture content also affect the weight, making it variable between production batches.

Common Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about how much soda is in a 12 oz can:

Why is there less soda than 12 oz in a 12 oz can?

This is due to the overfill allowance, headspace, seam gaps, and shape of the can displacing some liquid volume. Opened cans contain 11.5-11.7 oz of soda.

How is soda can size measured?

Soda cans are measured by fluid volume, typically in ounces (oz). But other factors like carbonation and density also affect the actual amount of soda.

Can I weigh cans instead of measuring volume?

No, weighing cans is not an accurate way to determine volume. The weight can vary based on the brand and batch. Measuring the poured soda is the only way to get an exact oz reading.

How much air is in an unopened soda can?

Unopened cans are purged of air and pressurized with carbon dioxide gas to prevent spoilage and create carbonation. They contain no air, just soda and CO2.

Does soda go flat in opened cans over time?

Yes, opened soda cans will gradually lose carbonation as the CO2 dissipates into the air space. They will go flat within several hours.

Soda Can Volume Regulations

The FDA sets guidelines and regulations for soda can volumes under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The regulations state:

– Soda volume must be within 6% of stated volume when initially sealed. So a “12 oz” can must contain between 11.28-12.72 oz when first filled.

– Allowance is made for typical 5% loss of volume after opening. So soda cans can contain up to 5% less volume after opening, i.e. 11.4 oz for a “12 oz” can.

– All nutritional labeling must be based on the stated can volume, not the actual volume. Calories and other nutrition info will be listed per 12 oz even if the can contains 11.7 oz.

FD&C Act Requirements

The key FD&C Act requirements for soda cans are:

– 6% maximum variance when sealed – must contain 92-100% of stated volume
– 5% maximum variance after opening – must contain at least 95% of stated volume
– Nutrition labeling based on stated volume

This allows for the typical 0.3-0.5 oz volume loss while still ensuring consumers get close to the volume they expect.

Soda Can Volume vs Actual Serving Size

Another consideration is that nutrition labels list serving sizes as one can, even though cans may contain slightly less soda than the stated volume.

For example, a 12 oz can might list:

Serving size: 12 oz
Calories: 150

But if the can only contains 11.7 oz, then the calorie density is actually higher – 150 calories divided by 11.7 oz is 12.82 calories per oz.

So the FDA labeling requirements allow brands to list nutrition info per 12 oz even when the actual volume is around 11.5-11.7 oz. Consumers should be aware of this discrepancy.

When closely monitoring nutrition and calories, you may want to measure the actual poured volume from cans rather than relying on the labeled serving size.

How to Measure Soda from a Can

To accurately determine the volume of soda in an opened can, follow these steps:

1. Open the chilled can of soda – avoid shaking beforehand.

2. Pour the soda into a graduated cylinder or measuring cup placed on a flat surface.

3. Read the measurement at eye level once the foam settles.

4. Note the precise fluid ounce volume.

This will provide an accurate reading of the actual volume of soda you will consume from the can.

You can also subtract this measurement from the stated can volume to determine the volume of empty space in the can.

Does Soda Go Bad in Cans?

Properly sealed, unopened soda cans can stay fresh and retain full flavor for 9-12 months or more. The shelf life depends on storage conditions:

– Store cans in cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight

– Avoid freezing temperatures which can compromise can integrity

– Store soda cans upright to keep carbonation sealed in liquid

Once opened, cans should be refrigerated and consumed within 1-2 days to retain carbonation and flavor. Flat, stale soda loses its delicious taste quickly.

So enjoy your cans of soda promptly after opening for the ultimate refreshment.

Proper Soda Can Recycling

With Americans guzzling more than 5 billion gallons of soda from cans each year, that produces billions of aluminum cans as waste. Proper recycling keeps this metal out of landfills and saves energy.

Follow these tips for recycling soda cans:

– Empty all liquid from cans; liquid can contaminate other recyclables

– Briefly rinse cans if needed; sticky residues can damage recycling equipment

– Place empty, clean cans in recycling bins; do not crush or flatten

– Check local guidelines for any limitations on accepted materials

Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy needed to produce new aluminum. It also gives cans a new life as new soda cans within 60 days. Doing your part to properly recycle cans benefits the environment.

Interesting Soda Can Facts

Some fascinating facts about soda cans:

– Empty aluminum cans are approximately 1/50th of their original weight when full. That’s a 98% reduction in weight.

– Americans recycled around 67.8% of aluminum beer and soda cans in 2020.

– Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours.

– Cans of soda first appeared in 1935.

– The pop-top can tab was invented in 1962, revolutionizing resealable soda cans.

– Soda cans are pressurized to around 90 psi, nearly three times the pressure in car tires.

– The aluminum in recycled soda cans can be reused indefinitely with no loss in quality.

The next time you pop open a frosty can of soda, appreciate the ingenuity behind its engineering and convenience. And when you’re done, be sure to recycle!


While 12 oz is the standard stated volume for canned sodas, actual volume is typically 11.5-11.7 oz once opened. This discrepancy is due to overfill allowance, headspace, seam gaps, and the shape of cans. Regulations allow sodas to contain 5% less volume than stated after opening.

Measuring poured soda is the only way to definitively determine volume in oz. Weighing cans is not reliable due to variations in soda density. Properly recycling aluminum cans saves energy and gives the metal a new life. Understanding soda can volumes and recycling helps optimize enjoyment of these refreshing beverages.

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