Until We Go Metric: 7 Cooking Conversions to Know By Heart

published May 20, 2013
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I’m sure I am not the first cook to drop her head in her hands and groan, “Why can’t we just go metric!” while trying to scale a recipe up or down, or trying to divide by 32 in her head. Unfortunately, you can’t force the country to measure in easily-converted units of ten just because it would make baking brownies for the school bake sale less of a headache. But you can make life easier for yourself by memorizing this short list of essential cooking conversions.

These are the basic volume conversions that make it easier to scale a recipe up or down. Memorize this list and you’ll always know, for example, that a quart is four cups, 1/8 cup is two tablespoons, and one tablespoon is half an ounce. (Note that these are all measurements of volume rather than weight. With the exception of water and certain dairy products, one cup does not weigh eight ounces. See this list of Weight Conversions For Flour, Sugar, and Other Common Baking Ingredients for those figures.)

7 Cooking Measurement Conversions to Memorize

  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 4 quarts = 1 gallon

It’s a small thing, but not having to rely on an app or Google to perform these common conversions saves a lot of time and avoids headaches in the kitchen or grocery store.

What do you think are the most important cooking conversions to know by heart?

(Image: Kitch Bain/Shutterstock)