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Cup as a Measure in Recipes

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Cup (unit)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A simple plastic measuring cup, capable of holding the volume one cup.

The cup is a customary unit of measurement mainly used in North America for volume, used in cooking to measure liquids (fluid measurement) and bulk foods such as granulated sugar (dry measurement). This measure is usually used as an informal unit in cooking recipes rather than as a measure for the sale of foodstuffs; precision is rarely required.

Actual cups used in a household in any country may differ from the cup size used for recipes; standard measuring cups, often calibrated in fluid measure and weights of usual dry ingredients as well as in cups, are available.



There is no internationally-agreed standard definition of the cup, whose modern volume ranges between 200 and 284 millilitres. The cup sizes generally used in the many Commonwealth countries and the United States differ by up to 44 mL (1.5 fl oz).

No matter what size cup is used, the ingredients of a recipe measured with the same size cup will have their volumes in the same proportion to one another. The relative amounts to ingredients measured differently (by weight, or by different measures of volume such as teaspoons, etc.) may be affected by the definitions used.

Metric cup
In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa and Lebanon one cup is commonly defined as 250 millilitres.
1 metric cup  = 250 millilitres

= 16⅔ international tablespoons (15 mL each)

= 12½ Australian tablespoons

8.80 imperial fluid ounces

8.45 U.S. customary fluid ounces
United States customary cup
United States customary cup is defined as half a U.S. pint.
1 U.S. customary cup  = 1/16 U.S. customary gallon

= ¼ U.S. customary quart

= ½ U.S. customary pint

= 8 U.S. customary fluid ounces

= 16 U.S. customary tablespoons

= 236.5882365 millilitres

15⅔ international tablespoons

11¾ Australian tablespoons

0.833 imperial cups

8.33 imperial fluid ounces
United States "legal" cup
The cup currently used in the United States for nutrition labeling is defined in United States law as 240 mL.
1 U.S. "legal" cup  = 240 millilitres

= 16 international tablespoons

= 12 Australian tablespoons

8.12 U.S. customary fluid ounces

8.45 imperial fluid ounces
Imperial cup
The imperial cup, unofficially defined as half an imperial pint, is rarely found today. It may still appear on older kitchen utensils and in older recipe books.
1 imperial cup  = 0.5 imperial pints

= 2 imperial gills

= 10 imperial fluid ounces

= 284 millilitres

19 international tablespoons

14¼ Australian tablespoons

1.20 U.S. customary cups

9.61 U.S. customary fluid ounces
Japanese cup
The Japanese cup is currently defined as 200 mL.
1 Japanese cup  = 200 millilitres

7.04 imperial fluid ounces

6.76 U.S. customary fluid ounces
The traditional Japanese cup, the , is approximately 180 mL. 10 make one shō, the traditional flask size, approximately 1.8 litres. cups are typically used for measuring rice, and sake is typically sold by both the cup (180 mL) and flask (1.8 litre) sizes.
1   = 240113310 litres

180.3907 millilitres

6.35 imperial fluid ounces

6.10 U.S. customary fluid ounces

Using volume measures to estimate mass

In Europe, cooking recipes normally state any liquid volume larger than a few tablespoons in millilitres, the scale found on most measuring cups worldwide. Non-liquid ingredients are normally weighed in grams instead, using a kitchen scale, rather than measured in cups. Most recipes in Europe use the millilitre or decilitre (1 dL = 100 mL) as a measure of volume. For example, where an American customary recipe might specify "1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of milk", a European recipe might specify "200 g sugar and 500 mL of milk" (or ½ litre or 5 decilitres). Conversion between the two measures must take into account the density of the ingredients. Many European measuring cups have additional scales for common bulk ingredients like sugar, flour, or rice to make the process easier.

Volume to mass conversions for some common cooking ingredients
ingredient density
g/mL
metric cup imperial cup U.S. customary cup
g oz g oz g oz
water 1 249–250 8.8 283–284 10 236–237 8.3
granulated sugar 0.8 200 7.0 230 8.0 190 6.7
wheat flour 0.5–0.6 120–150 4.4–5.3 140–170 5.0–6.0 120–140 4.2–5.0
table salt 1.2 300 10.6 340 12.0 280 10.0

For more information on conversions, click HERE

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