2012 and newer macbook pros can run with 16GB of RAM, but 2010 and 2011 models are not supposed to be able to do the same … allegedly.
Turns out that even though the apple tool that tells you the maximum amount of memory you can run with the 2011 models is 8GB, you might still be able to actually upgrade to 16GB, if your cpu is an i7 27xxQM or 28xxQM processor.
Drop into your command line and run this command
> sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2760QM CPU @ 2.40GHz
As you can see, in my case, the cpu is the correct one for an upgrade.
The RAM in these is usually 1333 MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM but for the upgrade you’ll want 1600 MHz PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM
PS: Of the 2010 models, only the 13″ models can take 16GB of RAM, my source for all this information was the macbook pro wikipedia page.