Standard U.S. Can Sizes and Equivalents

can size equivalents

Food Canning History

The concept of placing food in tins (cans) dates back at least to the seventeenth century Dutch.  English seamen reported seeing tins of biscuits on Dutch ships.  Another sea captain, John Stedman wrote about sailors eating “roast beef packed in dripping in soldered airtight tinplate containers”.

Canning as we know it today was perfected by Nicolas Appert, born in 1750 in the Champagne region of France.  Appert was a chef as well as a chemist and began experiments canning food in glass jars.  Later he packed food in hand-soldered tins which eventually lead to the full-scale mass-production of food canning.

Except for commercial food preparation kitchens, little reference is made to can sizes except in some older cookbooks.   Should you run across those references this chart of standard can sizes may be useful.

Chart Of Standard Can Sizes

Most common sized cans

Numbered Can Size Cans Sizes in Inches Volume Equivalents
#1 Picnic
 2​1116 x 4 11 oz. 1 1/3 cups
#1 Tall  3​116 x 4​1116 16 oz. 2 cups
#2  3​716 x 4​916 1 lb. 4 oz. 2 1/2 cups
#2.5
 4​116 x 4​1116 1 lb. 13 oz. 3 1/2 cups
#3   33 1/2 oz. 4 1/4 cups
#3 Cylinder  4​14 x 7 46 oz. 5 3/4 cups
#5  5​18 x 5​5⁄8 56 oz. 7 1/3 cups
#6Z  2​216 x 3​1⁄2 6.08 oz
 2/3 cup
#8Z short (8 oz can)
2​1116 x 3  7.93 oz  1 cup (+, -)
#10  6​316 x 7 6 1/2 lbs. (104 oz.) to 7 lbs. 5 oz. (117 oz.) 13 cups
#211  2​1116 x 4​1416 12 oz. 1 1/2 cups
#300  3 x 4​716 14 to 16 oz. 1 3/4 cups
#303  3​316 x 4​3⁄8 16 to 17 oz. 2 cups
Picnic (see#1 above)
 2​1116 x 4 10 1/2 to 12 ounces 1 1/4 cups
Less Common Sized Cans    
 #1 Juice    13 oz.  1 5/8 cups
 #1 Square    16 oz.  2 cups
 #2.5 Square    31 oz.  scant 4 cups
 #3 Squat
   23 oz.  2 3/4 cups
       

 

Common Products and Can Sizes With Volumes and Servings

So lets put this in perspective for some foods you may be familiar with.  Take a look at the charts below and you'll find many of the foods with which you may be familiar.  This image will give you an idea of these common can sizes.

standard can size examples

The image above shows 5 cans out of my pantry.  Starting on the left, back is a DiNapoli tomato can of whole, peeled tomatoes, 20 ounces, a #2.5 can.  The next two cans are #300 cans of Swanson chicken broth and Natural Directions organic kidney beans.  The front row shows a short, 8 ounce can of Del Monte tomato sauce in an #8Z Short can.  Next is an 2.25 ounce can of Lindsay sliced olives packed in a can size we've yet to identify. 

Common Foods Assorted Sizes - Weight - Servings


Food Can Size
Ounces / Pounds
Grams / KG
Servings
Condensed soup
#2 10.75 ounces
298 g
2 1/2, 1/2 cup servings
Progresso soups / non condensed soups
#303
19 ounces
538 g
2, 1 cup servings
Tuna
3 3/8" x 1 1/2"
5 ounces
142 g
2 1/2, 2 ounce servings
Sweetened condensed milk
  14 ounces
396 g
10, 2 tablespoon servings
Evaporated milk
2 6/16 x 3 7/16
12 ounces
354 ml
12, 2 tablespoon servings
Tomato paste
6Z
6 ounce
170 g
5, 2 tablespoon servings

 

#300 Can

A #300 can holds about 15 ounces and is one of the most common sized cans you'd find in your pantry. These cans measure 3" wide x 4 7/16" tall  Canned beans, and other vegetables and some fruit can be found packed in this size can. This can is a little less than 4" high and close to 3" wide.  On average you're going to get about 3 1/2 servings out of a #300 can.

You may find older recipes that call for #303 cans.  They were slightly larger but only by a few ounces.  In most cases you'd be safe using the more common #300 can.  These cans are still used today for some products.

Food Can Size
Ounces / Pounds
Grams / KG
Servings
Kidney beans
#300 15 ounces
425 g
3 1/2, 1/2 cup servings
Tomato sauce
#300
15 ounces
425 g
7, 1/4 cup servings
Green beans
#300
14 1/2 ounces
411 g
3 1/2, 1/2 cup servings
Peaches
#300 15 ounces
425 g
3 1/2, 1/2 cup servings
Diced tomatoes
#300 14 1/2 ounces
411 g
3, 1/2 cup servings
Chicken Broth
 #300  14 1/2 ounces
 411 g
 2, 1 cup servings

 

#10 Cans

The #10 can holds over 6 pounds and over 20 servings depending on the contents.  This can measures about 6 3/16" wide and 7" high. You may find these large cans at stores like Costco or Smart & Final, less typically at the grocery store.  Clearly this is a very large can.  If you have a large family this might be economical for you.

Food Can Size
Ounces / Pounds
Grams / KG
 Servings
 Heinz Kechup
 #10  7lb 2 ounces
 3.23 kg
 190, 1 tablespoon servings
 Black beans
 #10  6lb 14 ounces
 3.12 kg
 26, 1/2 cup servings
 Green beans
 #10  6lb 9 ounces
 2.98 kg
 22, 1/2 cup servings
 Beef Stew
 #10  6lb 10 ounces
 3.01 kg
 13, 1 cup servings
 Whole peeled tomatoes
 #10  6lb 10 ounces
 3 kg
 24, 1/2 cup servings
 Hominy (pozole)
 #10  6lb 9 ounces
 2.97 kig
 23, 1/2 cup servings

Fun Fact about Standard U.S. Can Sizes and Equivalents

Sources And Credits

Pickled Potted Canned - How the art and science of food changed the world, by Sue Shephard.
author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.