How many cups of rice for 20 people? (+3 steps)

In this article, we will answer the question “How many cups of rice for 20 people?”, and how to make rice not stick?

How many cups of rice for 20 people?

20 cups of cooked rice is the necessary amount of rice for 20 people, because the regular serving size is one cup per person, equals about 150 g of cooked rice (1).

To prepare 20 cups of cooked rice, you will need approximately 7 cups of uncooked rice, as each cup of uncooked rice equals 3 cups of uncooked rice (6).

However, the serving size may vary depending on the type of rice, the nutritional needs and also on cultural aspects. The several factors affecting the amount of rice needed for 20 people will be discussed in the following sections of this article.

What factor should you consider to determine the amount of rice for 20 people?

The factors you should consider to determine the amount of rice for 20 people are the following:

The nutritional needs

The nutritional needs of a person vary depending on the age, gender, dietary habits and physical activities, as well as on genetic factors and metabolism (2). It is expected that individuals with intense physical activities have higher energetic needs and would require greater ingestion of carbohydrates, such as rice.

Carbohydrates are necessary for muscle activity and the lack of carbohydrates during exercises can result in fat burn. When no fat stores are available, protein is burned. The daily carbohydrate intake is of great significance for physically active individuals, especially athletes (3).

The type of rice

The type of rice can determine the amount needed for 20 people, because different types of rice have different nutritional profiles and afford a greater satiety than others. Brown rice, due to the amount of fibers and fats in its composition, is more satiating than white rice (4).

Food components that give a greater fullness and sensation of satiety are fibers, proteins and fats, which are in higher amounts in brown rice and other types of whole grains than in white rice.

It is therefore expected that when eating brown rice, the portion size can be smaller than when eating white rice, as brown rice gives a greater fullness.

The food ingestion during the day

Another factor that determines how much rice is needed for 20 people is what the person ingested during the day and in the previous meal. Studies suggest that when a person consumes higher amounts of food containing fermentable fibers such as beta-glucan during the day, the food intake is reduced.

Beta-glucan is a viscous fermentable fiber whose consumption has been shown in animal studies to increase the synthesis and secretion of the satiety-related hormones, that give a feeling of satiety (4).

Also, according to studies, subjects reported significantly less hunger before lunch when they had previously eaten barley for breakfast.

The meal composition 

The meal composition also may influence the amount of rice to prepare for 20 people. If the meal already contains a source of carbohydrate, such as sweet potatoes or polenta, you should prepare less rice than if the meal contains only sources of proteins and fats.

To be considered healthy, a meal includes macronutrients (i.e., protein, carbohydrates, and fats), vitamins and minerals (e.g., vitamin C, iron, and sodium), and food components (e.g., dietary fiber) and the recommended amount of carbohydrates should be limited to 130 g per day.

An ideal meal should contain, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (6): 

  • Vegetables of all types, such as dark greens, and legumes
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, especially whole grains
  • Dairy, including fat-free or low-fat milk or fortified plant based milk alternatives 
  • Protein foods, including meats and eggs and fish
  • Oils, including vegetable oils, animal fats and nuts

How to cook rice for 20 people?

To cook rice for 20 people, you should follow the steps (6):

  • Combine 7 cups of rice, liquid (see chart below), 11 to 17 cups of water (depending on the type of rice) in a large saucepan. Add salt and oil or butter, according to your personal preference. 
  • Heat to boiling; stir once or twice as it begins to boil. Lower heat to a simmer; cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cook until the whole liquid has been absorbed (15 to 25 minutes, depending on the type of rice).
  • Shut the heat off and rest for a few minutes before serving.

Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.

How to flavor rice in a rice cooker?

How much rice for 8 people?

How much rice is 1 serving?


In this article, we answered the question “How many cups of rice for 20 people?”, and how to make rice not stick?


  1. Bhavadharini, Balaji, et al. White rice intake and incident diabetes: a study of 132,373 participants in 21 countries. Diabetes Care, 2020, 43, 2643-2650.  
  2. Gaba, Ann, et al. Harris–Benedict equation estimations of energy needs as compared to measured 24-h energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry in people with early to mid-stage Huntington’s disease. Nutr Neurosci, 2008, 11, 213-218.  
  3. Lemon, Peter WR. Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals. J Am Coll Nutr, 2000, 19, 513S-521S.  
  4. Schroeder, Natalia, et al. Influence of whole grain barley, whole grain wheat, and refined rice-based foods on short-term satiety and energy intake. Appetite, 2009, 53, 363-369.. 
  5. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. US Food and Drug Administration 
  6. All about cooking rice. University of Nebraska

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