| | aquasapone | mayfield | soap naturally | soap list

Lucretia B's International Cookbook Lucretia B's Amazing International Cookbook

Duelling with Measures: Imperial, American, US Standard, metric, cups or teaspoons?

Scientific Measurements

The following table gives very accurate and scientific values for American (US Standard) and metric equivalents. I personally find it rather confusing, but that's what the rules dictate. The reason why I haven't included the corresponding Imperial values is that the information would look even more complicated and, on the other hand, no real help would come from comparing yet another measuring system.
In fact, I would like to point out that accurate and scientific measures are not required for cooking.
What really matters are proportions. So, for instance, if the recipe calls for 1 tb oil and 1 cup rice, using a metric cup (i.e., 250 ml) and a metric tablespoon (i.e., 15.625 ml) instead of the American cup (i.e., 236.59 ml) and the American tablespoon (i.e., 14.79 ml) will NOT change the results. Sure, using the metric system you'll get a slightly bigger serving - but the overall performance of your preparation will be exactly the same.

My suggestion to beginners, based on over 30 years' experience in the kitchen, is to choose a system based on volume (i.e., cup, tablespoon and teaspoon) and leave the complex problem of defining precise quantities to chemists. Measuring cups and spoons can be purchased from most general stores or supermarkets and are much cheaper and handier than scales.

Obviously, when cooking for 300 people, then it might be better to apply the necessary adjustments. In this case, and whenever you want to rely on accurate measurements, the Converter at Twin Peaks Gourmet Trading Post is a particularly handy tool.
On the other hand, if you have some experience in the kitchen and all you want to do is fix a meal for the family, you might be better off with the sensible measures table, later on in this page.

American Measures = US Standard Metric Notes
1 ts (teaspoon) 4.93 ml
3 ts 1 tb 0.5 fl oz 14.79 ml
1 fl oz 29.57 ml
4 tb (tablespoons) 1/4 cup 2 fl oz 59.15 ml 1/4 metric cup = 62.5 ml
12 tb 3/4 cup 6 fl oz 177.45 ml 3/4 metric cup = 187.5 ml
16 tb 1 cup 8 fl oz 236.59 ml 1 metric cup = 250 ml
2 cups 1 pint 16 fl oz 473.18 ml
2 pints 1 quart 946.36 ml
2.11 pints 1 lt
4 quarts 1 gallon 3.785 lt
1 oz 28.37 g
16 oz 1 lb 454 g
3.53 oz 100 g
2 lb + 3.2 oz 1 kg

Sensible Measurements

Unless you are experimenting with a very difficult cake, all you need to measure your ingredients are a few common tools. A pinch is the smallest measurable amount: it's what you can pinch between your thumb, index and middle finger. Teaspoons and tablespoons, despite varying in size, are the best reference for small amounts. Just keep in mind that, generally speaking, 1 tablespoon equals to 3 teaspoons. Instead, as I've always found the term cup very little reassuring, I was really happy the day I discovered that the volume of a measuring cup corresponds more or less to 250 ml (metric) or 1/2 a pint (Imperial and American).
Anyway, just to make things a bit spicier, I am putting together as much information as I can about the different measuring systems. Gladys Dinletir, Elise Smith, Waldine R. Van Geffen, and other friends from a couple of mailing lists have already given their contribution to my collection. If you would like to throw in your own experience, you're very welcome to send me an email with your suggestions.

Flour Cornmeal Oatmeal Rice Sugar Grated Cheese
1 cup 4 oz 5.3 oz 3.4 oz 7 oz 7 oz 3.2 oz

Water Oil or Butter Small Eggs Large Eggs Raisins Chopped Nutmeat
1 cup 8 oz 7 oz 7 5 6 oz 4 oz

1 cup uncooked Rice Macaroni Dried Kidney Beans Dried Lima/Navy Beans, Lentils Dried Split Peas
= Cooked 3 - 4 cups 2 - 2.5 cups 4 cups 3 cups 2.5 cups


As far as temperatures are concerned, there's nothing much I can do to help you, even after typing here the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures from freezing point to the highest domestic "baking point". The problem, with ovens and stoves, is that their temperatures are not necessarily consistent with the value as shown by their thermometres (in case they have one).

Fahrenheit 32º 40º 50º 60º 70º 80º 90º 98.2º 100º 110º 120º 130º 140º
Celsius 4.4º 10º 15.6º 21.1º 26.7º 32.2º 37º 37.8º 43.3º 48.9º 54.4º 60º
Fahrenheit 150º 160º 170º 180º 190º 200º 212º 250º 300º 350º 400º 450º 500º
Celsius 65.6º 71.1º 76.7º 82.2º 87.8º 93.3º 100º 121º 149º 177º 205º 233º 260º

If you're looking for some practical reference, here's my two bobs' experience.

Stove Top Settings

Low heat

Medium heat

High heat

Last updated 28 jun 2011 | | aquasapone | mayfield | soap naturally | soap list

Valid CSS! © Copyright 1997-2011 Lucretia B, et al. - All Rights Reserved Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional