Measurement conversions in the kitchen don’t seem like a big deal, but then one day you’re trying to cook that party dish for a party of one and halving or quartering the recipe feels like you’re trying to solve a quadratic equation.
Memorizing how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon or how many cups are in a gallon can speed up your kitchen prep and make you a more confident cook. Once we've covered the basic conversions, we'll offer pointers and answer questions, like what’s the difference between dry and liquid measurements?
Food measurement conversions
Here are the most common measurement conversions that will help you divide or multiply your recipe servings. All of this is useful, but knowing how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon and how many tablespoons are in a cup as well as the butter conversions is enough to be a game-changer for your cooking efficiency.
How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?
- 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
How many tablespoons in a cup?
- 1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
- 3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons
- 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
How many ounces in a cup?
- 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
How many cups in a pint?
- 1 pint = 2 cups = 16 fluid ounces
How many cups in a quart?
- 1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 fluid ounces
How many cups in a gallon?
- 1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 fluid ounces
- 1 cup butter = 2 sticks = 8 ounces = 8 tablespoons = 230 grams
How many grams in an ounce?
- 1 gram = .035 ounces
- 100 grams = 3.5 ounces
- 1 ounce = 28 grams
How many ounces in a pound?
- 1 pound = 16 ounces
How many milliliters in an ounce?
- 1 teaspoon = 5 milliliter
- 1 tablespoon = 15 milliliter
- 1 fluid ounce = 30 milliliters
How many milliliters in a cup?
- 1 cup = 237 milliliters
How many milliliters in a pint?
- 1 pint = 473 milliliters
How many milliliters in a quart?
- 1 quart = .95 liter
How many milliliters in a gallon?
- 1 gallon = 3.8 liters
Make sure you have the right tools. Have a set of measuring spoons, a set of measuring cups for dry ingredients and a liquid measuring cup — we’ll get more into that below. While it’s not absolutely necessary, a food scale is really nice to have as it allows you to make recipes that list ingredients by weight. This is particularly useful for baking, which often demands exact measurements.
Level off your dry ingredients for the right measurement. Unless the recipe calls for “a heaping tablespoon” or “a generous cup,” you’ll want to level off the dry ingredients you’re measuring. That just means taking the flat side of a butter knife and running it across the top of the full cup or spoon, so any excess of the ingredient is sloughed off.
Use the right cups for dry and wet ingredients. Many of us at some point have dumped flour into a liquid measuring cup or measured milk in a dry measuring cup. Some recipes are forgiving enough that you can get away with it. But others, especially if you are baking, can be completely ruined. A liquid measuring cup doesn’t allow you to level off your dry ingredients, so it’s really hard to measure exactly. And measuring wet ingredients in a dry cup is difficult, since measuring right to the rim can lead to spills.
What's the difference between an ounce and a fluid ounce? If a recipe lists dry ingredients in ounces, you’ll need a scale to measure it. But if a recipe lists a wet ingredient in ounces, you can measure it in a liquid measuring cup. Ounces measure weight and fluid ounces measure volume, so they are totally different. So, while eight ounces of water can be converted to one cup of water, the same can’t be done for eight ounces of sugar.