How Many Steaks in a Cow?

How Many Steaks in a Cow

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How many steaks can you get from a cow? Does this question keep you up at night, well, not anymore as you will get the answer here? We bet you are expecting an easy answer, but things are not as black and white as you expect.

If you are taking a cow to the slaughterhouse, it is quite common to think about the number of steaks you will get, the required freezer space, and the kind of cuts. Most people believe that the number of steaks is directly proportional to the cow’s weight, however, that is not always the case.

Several other factors come into play to determine how many steaks you can get from a cow. One can not give an exact number as to how many steaks because it varies for several reasons.

How Many Steaks in a Cow?

Every time a customer asks how many steaks, how much hamburger, and how much beef comes out, the answer varies for each animal. There is no simple, definitive answer, it depends on the animal’s size and how it is processed.

On average, a person can get 220 lbs of steaks from a whole cow assuming its weight is anywhere between 1200 to 1400 lbs. 220 lbs of steak add up to provide 120 to 180 cuts of steak.

There are different types of steaks one can get from a cow. We will elaborate the steak yield from a whole cow further with the following breakdown

  • 24-28 Strip Steaks
  • 24-28 Ribeye Steak
  • 20-24 Filet
  • 20-24 Sirloin Steak
  • 8 Short Ribs
  • 16-20 Roast

This totals for about 120 to 180 steaks. This is an estimated number assuming a certain average weight. It is hard to conclude the exact number as each cow weighs differently.

Figuring Out Number of Steaks You Can Get From a Cow

Cow’s live weight is estimated to be around 1200 and 1400 lbs, when slaughtered, the weight reduces significantly after the removal of bones, guts, hide, horns, head, and blood. The beef calculation can be done in two stages

  • Dressing Percentage or Hot Carcass weight is the weight when blood, guts, and bones are removed in the first processing stage. After this, there is only 60% – 64% of the live animal weight left.
  • Processed weight is the weight after the final stage of processing when the beef is stored in the freezer. At the end of the process, there is the remaining 40% of the animal’s live weight.

If we perform a calculation on 40% of the animal’s live weight, the usable beef per animal would be 480 lbs. Not all 480 pounds of beef is used for steaks only, a lot of trimmings end up going to ground beef for burgers.

It is estimated that about 50% of usable beef ends up as steak cuts which add up to more or less 220 lbs per cow.

Number of Steaks From a Quarter Cow

Till now, we have been telling you about the number of steaks a whole cow will provide. Once the cow is slaughtered, it is often divided into four ways for buyers.

So, that people who can not buy a whole cow can settle for the Quarter Cow. What would the calculation be if a person buys a quarter cow? Here’s how many steaks you can get from a quarter cow.

  • 6-7 Strip Steak
  • 6-7 Ribeye Steak
  • 5-6 Filet
  • 5-6 Sirloin Steak
  • 2 Short Rib
  • 4-5 Roast
  • 50 lbs Ground Beef

So, a quarter cow can provide up to 30 steaks approximately. This number may vary depending on the cow and the seller.

Factors Influencing The Number of Steaks From a Cow

Some factors can not be ignored when calculating the number of steaks a cow can provide. The number differs in relation to the following factors.

  • Cow Size – It is evident that the larger the cow the more beef and steaks you will get. Large cow with good muscle to fat ratio provides more steaks than smaller cows.
  • Breed – The number may vary depending on the type of breed discussed. For instance, some beef breeds are well-known to provide the best steaks than other dairy breeds.
  • Steak Cut Size – It is no brainer that the larger the cut size of each steak, the lesser the steaks you will get from a cow. Smaller steak cut size significantly increases the number.
  • Processing Method – Nothing influences the number of steaks a cow provides more than the processing method. The number increases or decreases in relation to how the cow is processed and the kind of cuts.

Beef Breeds For Best Steaks

It is unfair not to mention some breeds while talking about the steak. These breeds are not just famous for providing a large number of steaks but have the tastiest steaks. It also relies on how the cattle were raised, fed, or processed.


When talking about the beef breeds with the best steaks, one is bound to discuss Angus. It surely deserves the top spot as it is the most popular breed of beef in the United States. This breed puts on muscle weight relatively easily and delivers tender cuts.Red Angus is scottish cattle breed available as beef resource.


Fluffy cow breed , Hailing from Japan, Wagyu is now bred all over the world for a number of qualities. Wagyu beef is popular for tenderness and flavor and sells at a higher price for its taste and quality.


Hereford is a white faced cattle British breed from Herefordshire which is now found in all parts of the world. It is a top pick of many farmers for the high-quality and tasty beef.


Native to Piedmont in Italy, this breed is famous for being lean and high in protein. It is often cross-bred with other beef breeds like Angus. It is quite a healthy option for beef consumers.

Concluding Thoughts

While it depends on multiple factors like weight, size, breed, and processing method, on average, a person can get about 120 to 180 steaks from a whole cow. A cow provides about 220 lbs of beef for steaks. Moreover, expect about 30 steaks from a quarter cow.

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