How Much Food Fits in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

Based on my math, a typical 5 gallon bucket holds 0.71 cubic feet of anything you want. Filled with water, it will hold 42 pounds of the stuff, not counting the weight of the bucket (typically 2 pounds.)

That means for any liquid or semi-liquid food such as wine, beer, peanut butter, honey or cooking oils, just remember 42. Readers of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy may recognize this number as the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.

Once you start talking dry foods the weight really starts to vary.

This is a small list to get you started in planning for how many buckets you will need to store a given weight of certain foods. It also happens to be a great list to get you started in thinking about different foods that can be stored long-term!


Maximum Weights of Dry Goods that will Fit in 5 Gallon Bucket

Hint: use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F to search this page for the specific food you are looking for. 

Cracked Red Wheat 29.2 lbs. 13.2 kilos
Hard Red Wheat 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Hard White Wheat 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Pearled Barley 36.7 lbs. 16.6 kilos
Whole Corn 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Hulled Buckwheat 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Flax 31.7 lbs. 14.3 kilos
Long Grain White Rice 36.7 lbs. 16.6 kilos
Long Grain Brown Rice 35.8 lbs. 16.2 kilos
Par Boiled Rice 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Rolled Oats 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Oat Groats 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Oat Bran (Fine) 25 lbs. 11.3 kilos
Rye 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
9-Grain Cereal 31.7 lbs. 14.3 kilos
Hulled Millet 35.8 lbs. 16.2 kilos

Wheat Bran 12.5 lbs. 5.7 kilos
All Purpose Flour 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos
Cornmeal 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos

Beans 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Anasazi 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos
Black Turtle 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Black Eye 31.7 lbs. 14.3 kilos
Garbanzo 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos
Great Northern 35 lbs. 15.9 kilos
Green 8.3 lbs. 3.8 kilos
Green Peas 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos
Kidney 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos
Lentils 35.8 lbs. 16.2 kilos
Lima 35.8 lbs. 16.2 kilos
Mung 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Pink 34.2 lbs. 15.5 kilos
Pinto 34.2 lbs. 15.5 kilos
Refried 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Small Red 34.2 lbs. 15.5 kilos
Small White Navy 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Soy 33.3 lbs. 15.1 kilos

Pasta – Macaroni 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Pasta – Egg Noodles 13.3 lbs. 6 kilos
Pasta – Spaghetti 29.2 lbs. 13.2 kilos

Diced Carrots 16.7 lbs. 7.6 kilos
Cross-Cut Celery 6.7 lbs. 3 kilos
Chopped Onions 15 lbs. 6.8 kilos
Potato Dices 13.3 lbs. 6 kilos
Potato Flakes 12.5 lbs. 5.7 kilos
Potato Granules 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Potato Slices 8.3 lbs. 3.8 kilos
Split Green Peas 37.5 lbs. 17 kilos
Tomato Powder 29.2 lbs. 13.2 kilos

Applesauce 16.7 lbs. 7.6 kilos
Apple Slices 8.3 lbs. 3.8 kilos
Banana 11.7 lbs. 5.3 kilos

Butter Powder 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Margarine 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Cheese Blend 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Non-Fat Milk 29.2 lbs. 13.2 kilos
Morning Moo White 29.2 lbs. 13.2 kilos

Powdered Eggs 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos
Powdered Whole Eggs 20.8 lbs. 9.4 kilos

Our gratitude for the commenters who noticed the glaring mistake in the original article.  Whoops!

Adapted from a list provided by USA supply.

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25 thoughts on “How Much Food Fits in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

  1. UM- the measurements are all messed up- are the lbs and Kilos backwards? because Beans 35 lb. sure does NOT equal 77 kilos……..

  2. For new readers: His math IS correct. There will be more pounds since it takes 2.2 pounds to equal 1 kilo. For example with Cracked Red Wheat:

    29.2 lbs 1 kilo
    ———- x ——— = 29.2lbs/2.2lbs = 13.2
    ?kilo 2.2 lbs

  3. Were can bulk foods like what’s listed be purchased at. I found rice, beans, and sugar in 25lbs or greater at Sams Club but that’s about it at those volumes. For instence the largest salt volume was only in one pound unit’s.
    Also, bulk planting seeds… who sells them?

  4. I am enjoying your website, lots of good info. Has anyone ever actually eaten food stored in a plastic bucket years later? Just wondering because I read the best way is to seal dry food is in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for long term storage then put the bags in a bucket, because plastic buckets are semi-porous. It would be a waste of money to lose all that good food, especially when you are depending on it in an emergency:)

  5. We fill 5 gallon buckets weekly with flour and sugar. The flour (all purpose) you can JUST fit 25# in each bucket after some leveling. Sugar (Pure white cane sugar) you can fit 33.3 pounds in each 5 gallon bucket.

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