Halving a recipe is a common kitchen chore — whether you're cooking for one or two, or trying to scale down a colossal casserole to feed your family of four. While some may argue that you're better off making the whole recipe and freezing or giving away the leftovers, there are many benefits to making just what you need. Halving recipes reduces waste and saves groceries and time. Here are a few simple tips for halving success.
1. Do the math and write it down.
Before you do any actual cooking, sit down with the recipe and calculate what half of each ingredient is and make notes on the recipe itself. Trust me when I say that you don't want to halve all the other ingredients only to realize that you didn't halve that tablespoon of salt.
Kitchen Math for Better Halving
2. Scale down the pots, pans, and baking dishes too.
Using less ingredients also means that you'll likely need smaller pots and baking pans. Consider not just the volume of the saucepan or casserole dish, but also its width. Larger skillets or baking dishes mean that the halved recipe will cook faster. This may be a good thing towards the effort faster cooking, but it also mean you'll need to watch the clock to prevent things from burning.
Small Batches, the Right Tools, and Other Tips
3. Times will vary.
Yes, cooking times will obviously change when a recipe is reduced, but mixing times are a less obvious change that's easy to overlook. Smaller amounts mix faster and are more prone to overmixing with a hand or stand mixer. I found this especially true when testing our single vanilla cupcake recipe. Hand mixing is better for small-batch baking and will force you to focus on the task at hand.
Timing Is Everything
What are some of your favorite recipe halving tricks?