One of my first culinary classes was like a math class. Not very enthusiastic at first, I soon understood its importance as the semester progressed.
The course was basically about memorizing a few conversions of cooking measurements and putting them into practice in the recipes. But there’s no need to go back to school: just follow these charts!
Equivalence of weights and measures
Teaspoons and tablespoons
Here’s the easy way to remember measurements in teaspoons and tablespoons: There are 3 tablespoons. in 1 tbsp. 1 tbsp. tablespoon equals ½ fluid ounce, and 16 tbsp. tablespoons make a cup. To save yourself this calculation, follow the following conversion table.
|Pinch or hint||†||Less than 1/8c. tea|
|1-½ tsp. tea||†||½ tsp. soup|
|3 tbsp. tea||†||1 C. soup; liquid ounce|
|4-½ tsp. tea||†||1-½ tsp. soup|
|2 tablespoons. soup||†||1/8 cup; 1 fluid ounce|
|4 tbsp. soup||†||¼ cup; 2 liquid ouncess|
|8 against soup||†||cup† 4 fluid ouncess|
|12 against soup||†||by cup† 6 fluid ouncess|
|16 against soup||†||1 cup† 8 fluid ouncess; pint|
To convert recipes, remember that 16 tbsp. equals 1 cup, which 1 cup contains 8 fluid ounces, and that 4 cups makes 1 liter. So you don’t have to count, here’s the full table.
|1/8 cup||†||2 tablespoons. soup; 1 fluid ounce|
|¼ cup||†||4 tbsp. soup; 2 liquid ounces|
|1/3 cup||†||5 c. + 1 tbsp. tea|
|½ cup||†||8 c. soup; 4 liquid ounces|
|2/3 cup||†||10 c. tablespoons + 2 tbsp. tea|
|¾ cup||†||12 c. soup; 6 liquid ounces|
|7/8 cup||†||¾ cup + 2 tbsp. soup|
|1 cup||†||16 c. soup; 8 fluid ounces; pint|
|2 cups||†||32 c. 1 pint; 16 fluid ounces|
|4 cups||†||2 pints; 1 pint; 32 fluid ounces|
Pints, pints, gallons and pounds
There is a saying that an American pint is equal to one pound, which is not quite true of the Canadian pint, which is 1.2528 lbs.
Simply put, what does a pound weigh? 16 ounces, and 1 cup weighs 8 ounces, so 1 pint is 2 cups.
|1/2 pint||†||1 cup; 8 liquid ounces|
|1 pint||†||2 cups; 16 fluid ounces|
|1 pint||†||4 cups; 32 fluid ounces|
|1 gallon||†||4 liters; 16 cups|
|¼ pound||†||4 ounces|
|½ pound||†||8 ounces|
|¾ pound||†||12 ounces|
|1 pound||†||16 ounces|
What do all the above conversions have in common? They are based on the Imperial system. But what happens to a recipe that comes from another country? It will be in grams, milliliters, and degrees Celsius, rather than ounces, cups, and degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s how to convert them.
Volume units and metric conversion
If you can remember that, 1 tbsp. equals 5 ml, 1 tsp. to 15 ml and a cup to about 250 ml, the calculation will be simple. Or skip the math and refer to the table below.
|1ml||†||1/5 tsp. tea|
|5ml||†||1 C. tea|
|15ml||†||1 C. soup|
|60ml||†||¼ cup; 2 liquid ounces|
|125ml||†||½ cup; 4 liquid ounces|
|180ml||†||3/4 cup; 6 liquid ounces|
|250ml||†||1 cup; 8 liquid ounces|
|375ml||†||1-½ cup; 12 fluid ounces|
|500ml||†||2 cups; 16 fluid ounces; 1 pint|
|950ml||†||4 cups; 32 fluid ounces; 1 pint|
|1 litre||†||33.8 fluid ounces|
|3.8 liters||†||4 pints† 1 gallon|
Weight Units and Metric Conversion
Know that 1 ounce equals 28 grams and 1 pound equals just over 450 grams. Remember this applies to weight, not fluid ounces (which are measurements of volume).
- 1 gram = 0.035 ounces
- 100 grams = 3.5 ounces
- 500 grams = 17.6 grams; 1.1 pounds
- 1 kilogram = 35 ounces; 2.2 pounds
Cooking Temperature Equivalents
Want to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit? Multiply Celsius by 1.8 and add 32. Or follow this chart.
Liquid ingredients and dry ingredients
We all love versatile kitchen utensils. But when it comes to measuring ingredients, nothing beats two separate sets: one for measuring liquids and the other for dry ingredients.
Liquid measuring instruments
Liquid measuring cups are perfect for milk, water, oil, honey, molasses and corn syrup. They are made of transparent glass or plastic and often have a handle and spout. They are available in 1, 2, 4 or 8 cup sizes. It’s helpful to have them in different sizes, like this set of three mugs.
Place the cup on a flat surface to measure liquids. If it’s a thick ingredient, like honey, spray the cup with cooking spray beforehand. Pour in the ingredient and measure at eye level. Measuring by looking above the cup may distort the measurement (except for a cup made for this purpose). When you’re done, empty the contents of the cup with a rubber spatula.
Dry Ingredient Measuring Tool
For ingredients such as brown sugar, flour, nuts, chocolate chips, sour cream, or fat, purchase a set of dry ingredient measuring cups. These metal or plastic utensils have a straight, even edge that makes them easy to level with the back of a knife. Choose a ¼ cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup, and 1 cup set. If it comes with extra measures (1/8 cup, 2/3 cup, or 3/4 cup), even better.
To measure dry ingredients, scoop or spoon them into the cup. Allow the ingredients to protrude slightly and replace the cup on the surface if necessary. Then smooth the surface by passing a straight spatula or the back of a knife over the edge.
Follow the recipe carefully for the brown sugar. If the brown sugar needs to be tamped, press it into the measuring cup with the back of a spoon before leveling the surface.
Small Quantity Measuring Instruments
Finally, to complete your measuring tool, you will receive a set of measuring spoons. They have straight, even edges and can measure both liquid and dry ingredients. Most sets contain ¼ tsp. teaspoon, ½ teaspoon. 1 tsp. and 1 tsp. soup. They can also sometimes contain 1/8 c. teaspoon, ¾ teaspoon. and ½ tsp. soup.
To measure dry ingredients with a measuring spoon, form a small mound before leveling the surface. For liquid ingredients, pour to the sides of the spoon. A coat of cooking spray prevents thick objects, such as honey, from sticking to the spoon.
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