Part 5 of my Baking Basics series: These handy conversion charts will help you bake with ease, no matter which units of measurement you use. Includes the most common dry and liquid volume conversions, and tips for measuring different kinds of ingredients.
One of the most frequent questions I receive is around converting recipe ingredients to different units of measurement. Since I live in the United States of America and the majority of my readers are here as well, I opt to write my recipes in U.S. customary units:
Mind you, those last two don’t come up very often around this site!. Could you imagine if they did? I’d be over here telling you to grab 6 gallons of milk and 14 pounds of butter to make frosting … yikes. This isn’t the Costco of food blogs.
Aaaaaanyway, I know this must be frustrating to non-U.S. readers, since almost every other country in the world uses the metric system (and I wish I could tell you why the U.S. hasn’t gotten on board – let’s chalk it up to… we’re busy, or something).
I would like to go back to each recipe and add the equivalent measurements in metric units, but that’s going to take quite some time – so in the meantime, I’d like to at least provide you with some charts with common metric conversions to help my non-U.S readers.
But first, let’s run through the various unit abbreviations you might see to make sure that’s all clear:
Common volume unit abbreviations
US to Metric liquid volume conversions
The formula per tablespoon is 1 Tablespoon x 14.787 to get the measurement in milliliters, or 1 Cup x 240.
|U.S. Units||Metric (mL, L)|
|1 teaspoon||4.93 milliliters (commonly rounded to 5 mL)|
|1 Tablespoon||14.79 milliliters (commonly rounded to 15 mL)|
|1 ounce||29.57 milliliters|
|1 cup||240 milliliters|
|1 pint||473.176 milliliters (commonly rounded to 473)|
|1 quart||0.95 liters|
|1 gallon||3.79 liters|
US to Metric dry volume conversions
The formula per cup is 1 Cup x 240 to get the measurement in milliliters, and 1 Cup x 4.167 to get the measurement in liters.
|U.S. Units||Metric Units (mL, L)|
|1 cup||240 milliliters|
|1 pint||550.61 milliliters (commonly rounded to 551), 0.6 L|
|1 quart||1.10 liters|
|1 gallon||4.40 liters|
Common baking conversions
Keep in mind, the measurement of milliliters is rounded for easy reading. For a more precise conversion, the formula per tablespoon is 1 Tablespoon x 14.787 to get the measurement in milliliters:
Butter can be tricky when you’re reading recipes that call for 1 stick and 1/2 cup of butter interchangeably. Here’s a cheat sheet for butter conversions to make it a bit easier:
Converting from cups to grams and ounces
This is where things get really tricky. Each type of ingredient will have a different weight, therefore resulting in a different cups > grams > ounces conversion.
The exceptions to the rule are water, milk and butter – they weigh the same (1 cup = 8 ounces).
Here are some quick, high level conversions for various types of ingredients to show you what I mean:
|1 Cup of Ingredient||Weight in Grams||Weight in Ounces|
|Butter||227 grams||8 ounces|
|Chocolate chips||170 grams||6 ounces|
|Flour, all purpose||120 grams||4.25 ounces|
|Flour, whole wheat||113 grams||4 ounces|
|Honey||252 grams||12 ounces|
|Maple syrup||312 grams||11 ounces|
|Milk||227 grams||8 ounces|
|Oats||99 grams||3.5 ounces|
|Oil, coconut||226 grams||6 ounces|
|Oil, vegetable||198 grams||7 ounces|
|Peanut butter||270 grams||9.5 ounces|
|Sugar, granulated||198 grams||7 ounces|
|Sugar, packed brown||213 grams||7.5 ounces|
|Sugar, powdered||114 grams||4 ounces|
|Water||227 grams||8 ounces|
|Yogurt||242 grams||8.5 ounces|
Doesn’t that feel like complete insanity? I mean, I guess not – it makes sense when you stop to think about it. These items all have different densities, therefore they have different weights. But that certainly makes it difficult to do a quick conversion of cups to grams or ounces, doesn’t it?
You can certainly get into weighing your ingredients if you’d like to, as it is undoubtedly the most accurate way to go about things… but unless noted otherwise in my recipes, I try to keep things as easy as possible and stick to cups.
I want my recipes to be accessible to people in all ranges of baking expertise, and I want you to have a little wiggle room to accommodate variants in your environment (oven calibration, elevation, climate, etc.), and I don’t expect everyone to own a kitchen scale – but if a particular recipe calls for it, I will make sure to call that out.
I hope this helps! Are there any questions about volume conversions that I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments below!