Cooking Measurements & Conversions Guides

Justin Micheal

Food Writer & Editor in Chief For KitchenSanity

Justin Micheal is KitchenSanity's founder, food writer and editor in chief. As an expert home cook with over 30 years of daily cooking experience and food handler certifications, he's a pro at experimenting with recipes and a stickler for food safety. He writes informative and detailed guides about cooking basics such as proper food storage, cutting and cooking methods, and choosing the right products to make cooking easier.

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You’ve got your recipe in hand, ready to whip up something delicious, and then bam – you’re staring at cooking measurements that might as well be in a foreign language.

But hey, don’t sweat it! This guide is your translator, making those tricky conversions a piece of cake.

From ounces to grams, liters to quarts, and every little pinch and dash in between, I’ll help you make sense of it all. And let’s not forget about those oven temperatures – because no one likes a burnt cake!

Weight Measurements

In the U.S., we’re used to measuring weight in ounces (oz) for ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter, while most other countries use grams (g). But the conversion is straightforward.

Ounces to Grams

Ounces (oz)Grams (g)
1 oz28.35 g
2 oz56.7 g
3 oz85.05 g
4 oz (1/4 lb)113.4 g
8 oz (1/2 lb)226.8 g
16 oz (1 lb)453.6 g

Note: These are approximate values. For high precision, like in baking, always use a scale.

Volume Measurements

When you’re working with larger volumes of liquid ingredients like broths, milk, or water, you’ll need to switch between liters and quarts. This conversion is important for recipes where the volume of liquid impacts the outcome, like in soups or sauces.

1 liter (L) is approximately 1.06 quarts (qt).

Liters to Quarts

Liters (L)Quarts (qt)
1 L1.06 qt
2 L2.11 qt
3 L3.17 qt
4 L4.23 qt
5 L5.28 qt

Milliliters (mL) are often used for smaller quantities of liquids. Understanding this conversion is especially useful for precise measurements like extracts, oils, or specialty ingredients.

In the following table, I’ve converted milliliters into something more familiar for small measurements.

Milliliters to Teaspoons and Tablespoons

Milliliters (mL)Teaspoons (tsp)Tablespoons (Tbsp)
5 mL1 tsp
15 mL3 tsp1 Tbsp
30 mL6 tsp2 Tbsp
45 mL9 tsp3 Tbsp
60 mL12 tsp4 Tbsp

Temperature Conversions

Whether you’re following a recipe from across the globe or just down the street, getting that temperature dialed in is what’ll take your cooking from just okay to absolutely amazing.

This conversion is essential if you’re following recipes from around the world. But who wants to do math while cooking? Not me! Here is a table that breaks down common temperatures:

Common Oven Temperatures

Fahrenheit (°F)Celsius (°C)
250 °F120 °C
300 °F150 °C
350 °F175 °C
400 °F200 °C
450 °F230 °C
500 °F260 °C

To make it even easier, here are common temperatures and settings on your stove for making bread, cakes, or roasts.

Quick Reference for Oven Settings

Oven SettingFahrenheit (°F)Celsius (°C)
Low200 – 250 °F95 – 120 °C
Moderate300 – 350 °F150 – 175 °C
Moderately Hot350 – 400 °F175 – 200 °C
Hot400 – 450 °F200 – 230 °C
Very Hot450 – 500 °F230 – 260 °C

Ingredient-Specific Conversions

You know how a little tweak in the amount of an ingredient can make a huge difference in flavor and texture? I’m going to make sure you’ve got that down pat.

The potency of herbs changes dramatically when dried, so converting between fresh and dried is important for maintaining the intended flavor profile of a dish.

Measuring Herbs

This ratio is a reliable guideline, but remember, the freshness and type of herb can impact its strength.

Conversion Examples:

Fresh Herbs (tablespoons)Dried Herbs (teaspoons)
1 tbsp1 tsp
3 tbsp (1/4 cup)1 tbsp
6 tbsp (3/8 cup)2 tbsp

Butter Measurements

With butter, there’s a fine line between delicious and disaster, especially in cookies. Add too much, and you might end up with cookies that spread too thin or get a bit too greasy. Let’s get those measurements right and keep your cookie game strong!

Butter AmountCupsSticksGrams
1/4 cup0.250.556.7
1/3 cup0.330.6775.6
1/2 cup0.51113.4
1 cup12226.8

American vs. British Cooking Measurements

American and British cooking measurements can be tricky due to differences in volume and weight units.

In the U.S., we primarily use cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons, while British recipes often call for measurements in milliliters and liters.

American MeasureBritish Equivalent
1 teaspoon (tsp)5 milliliters (mL)
1 tablespoon (tbsp)15 milliliters (mL)
1 cup240 milliliters (mL)
1 pint (pt)570 milliliters (mL)
1 quart (qt)1.14 liters (L)

The U.S. commonly uses ounces and pounds, while British recipes might list ingredients in grams and kilograms.

American WeightBritish Equivalent
1 ounce (oz)28 grams (g)
1 pound (lb)0.45 kilograms (kg)

Cooking Tools For Accurate Measurements

The right tools are as important as the right ingredients in cooking. Let’s make sure you’re equipped with precise measuring spoons, cups, and a kitchen scale. They’re key to nailing your recipes every time!

  • Measuring Spoons: For small quantities like spices, extracts, and leavening agents.
  • Dry Measuring Cups: Used for ingredients like flour, sugar, and grains.
  • Liquid Measuring Cups: Designed for water, oils, and other liquids, these have markings for various volumes.
  • Digital Scales: I’ve gotten in the habit of using a digital kitchen scale for most things. They give precise measurements and can easily switch between different units (grams, ounces, pounds).

But did you know that there are different types of measuring cups? Using the right type will also improve the accuracy of your measurements.

  • Liquid Measuring Cups: Designed for fluids, these cups ensure you can measure to the meniscus (the curve at the surface of the liquid).
  • Dry Measuring Cups: Best for ingredients like flour, sugar, or grains that can be leveled off for an exact measure.

Tips for Using Measuring Tools

  • Level Off Dry Ingredients: When measuring dry ingredients, use something with a straight edge to level off the excess for an accurate measure.
  • Use the Right Cup: Remember, liquid and dry measuring cups are not interchangeable.
  • Tare Function on Scales: The tare function subtracts the weight of a container, giving you an accurate measurement of the ingredients.

Specialty Measurements: Pinch, Dash, and Smidgen

Sometimes, recipes call for seemingly vague measurements like a pinch, dash, or smidgen. While not precise, these terms are often used for seasoning adjustments.

  • A Pinch: Is about the amount you can pinch between your thumb and forefinger, typically about 1/16 teaspoon.
  • A Dash: Slightly more than a pinch, about 1/8 teaspoon.
  • A Smidgen: A very small amount, roughly half a pinch, or 1/32 teaspoon.

These measurements are more about intuition and personal taste rather than exact quantities.

Conversion Tips To Simplify Kitchen Math

Here are some tips and tricks to help you convert measurements without a calculator and make fast adjustments on the fly.

  • Halving and Doubling: Familiarize yourself with simple fractions. Halving (dividing by 2) or doubling (multiplying by 2) measurements can be done easily.
  • Approximate Conversions: Remembering key approximations, like 1 cup equals 240 milliliters or 1 tablespoon equals 15 milliliters, can be helpful.
  • Visual Estimates: Use visual cues for common measurements (e.g., a tablespoon is about the size of an ice cube).

When you’re cooking and need to make quick conversions, these shortcuts can be incredibly handy.

  • Use Your Hands: Your palm or fist can be a rough guide for estimating portions (like a cup of rice or a half-pound of meat).
  • Standard Kitchen Tools: A tablespoon or teaspoon can be used for quick and rough measurements.
  • Memorize Basic Equivalents: Knowing that 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon or that 4 tablespoons equal 1/4 cup can speed up your cooking process.
  • Keep a Conversion Chart Handy: A quick reference chart on the fridge can be a great help.
  • Adjust as You Go: Remember, most cooking is often forgiving, and you can adjust most recipes to taste as you go (unless you’re working with raw meats, of course).

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