Skip to main content

Measuring up

Measures and proportions are essential in cooking.

Adapting recipes is part of everyday cooking and that means knowing the measures, conversions, equivalents, and substitutions to use.


Temperature abbreviations: °C = degrees Celsius // °F = degrees Fahrenheit

Measurement abbreviations: c = cup // g or gr = gram // kg = kilogram // ml = milliliter // l = liter // oz = ounce // t or tsp = teaspoon // T or Tbs = tablespoon // pk = package

Approximate weight conversion: 1 ounce equals 28g, but usually it is taken as 30g as rough estimate.

Approximate temperature conversion: 350° Fahrenheit = 180° Celsius // 375°F = 190°C // 400°F = 200°C // 450°F = 230°C.

Approximate metric conversion: 1 teaspoon is 5 milliliters (ml) // 1 tablespoon is 15 ml // 1 cup equals 250 ml // 1 quart is 1 liter (l) // 1 gallon is 4 l.

In good measure

Small amounts: A pinch is 1/8 teaspoon or less, about what you can hold between two fingers.

Measure dry ingredients like flour and sugar with dry measuring cups. Fill the cup and scrape a knife over the top to remove extra.

When measuring wet ingredients like oil or milk, always place the measuring cup on the counter to ensure a level surface.

Scaling recipes

To scale a recipe, calculate your “conversion factor”. This is the number of servings you want divided by the number of servings in the recipe. Once you have that number, you can multiply the ingredients in the recipe by that number.

Be careful when scaling a recipe, as some ingredients won’t come out to an easily measurable number. This is where your judgment comes in. When it comes to seasoning and flavorings, adjusting a recipe is easy. For an uneven number of eggs, you can always break an egg, beat it and estimate the portion you need. For important ingredients like baking soda or baking powder, try to be as precise as possible.

When scaling a recipe, be prepared to adjust cooking times where necessary.

If scaling a recipe doesn’t really work and the portion is too large, just package and freeze the rest for a ready-made meal later.

Avoid scaling most recipes multiple times over as it’s difficult to maintain the same consistency of the original recipe. Instead, cook in batches to ensure the best result possible.