How Many Tablespoons Are There in a US Cup?

Published Categorized as Cooking Tips
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Need help converting measurements? Don’t worry, we did the math for you! Figuring out how much you need is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

One of the most important skills in the kitchen is knowing how to convert measurements. Depending on where you live and who you’re reading, recipes use all sorts of measurements for the ingredients they call for.

Stateside, cookbook authors use US cups, ounces, and fluid ounces. Their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic use milliliters. The common base seems to be tablespoons and teaspoons. It can be daunting, if not frustrating, to get the conversion formulas even close to right.

So we did it for you and we wrote the guide below. It’s approximate but accurate enough, and it will help you convert between units with confidence.

Conversion for Solids

We started with the fact that 1 US cup equals 16 tablespoons. Once we had the weight in tablespoons, we could convert it to teaspoons, because 1 tbsp is about 3 tsp.

According to this high school chemistry course on Study.com, 1 tablespoon contains 15 grams of solid mass. From grams, we could then derive ounces, because 1 g equals 0.035274 oz. Last but not least, we rounded the weight in ounces to the nearest tens.

U.S. CupsTablespoonsTeaspoonsGramsOunces
¼412602.1
5⅔16792.8
½8241204.2
10⅔321585.6
¾12361806.3
116482408.5
Conversion table for solid ingredients

If you’re the type of person who prefers words to tables, you will find the conversions below:

  • ¼ of a US cup holds 4 tablespoons or 12 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 60 grams or 2.1 ounces.
  • ⅓ of a US cup holds 5⅔ tablespoons or 16 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 79 grams or 2.8 ounces.
  • ½ of a US cup holds 8 tablespoons or 24 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 120 grams or 4.2 ounces.
  • ⅔ of a US cup holds 10⅔ tablespoons or 32 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 158 grams or 5.6 ounces.
  • ¾ of a US cup holds 12 tablespoons or 36 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 180 grams or 6.3 ounces.
  • 1 US cup holds 16 tablespoons or 48 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 240 grams or 8.5 ounces.

Remember that the above conversions are only approximations. The exact weight of the solids in a US cup depends on their constitution. As explained in an article by Fiona Logan for Delicious Magazine, a US cup holds roughly 125 g of flour, 200 g of sugar, and 225 g of butter.

Conversion for Liquids

Once again, our starting point was the fact that 1 US cup equals 16 tablespoons. Once we had the weight in tablespoons, we could convert it to teaspoons, because 1 tbsp is about 3 tsp.

According to Carine Claudepierre of Sweet As Honey, 1 tablespoon holds exactly 14.7868 milliliters of liquid. From milliliters, we could then derive fluid ounces, as 1 ml is 0.033814 fl oz. Finally, we rounded the mass in fluid ounces to the nearest tens.

U.S. CupsTablespoonsTeaspoonsMillilitersFluid Ounces
¼412592
5⅔16782.6
½8241184
10⅔321565.3
¾12361776
116482378
Conversion table for liquid ingredients

If you’re the type of person who prefers words to tables, you will find the conversions below:

  • ¼ of a US cup holds 4 tablespoons or 12 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 59 milliliters or 2 fluid ounces.
  • ⅓ of a US cup holds 5⅔ tablespoons or 16 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 78 milliliters or 2.6 fluid ounces.
  • ½ of a US cup holds 8 tablespoons or 24 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 118 milliliters or 4 fluid ounces.
  • ⅔ of a US cup holds 10⅔ tablespoons or 32 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 156 milliliters or 5.3 fluid ounces.
  • ¾ of a US cup holds 12 tablespoons or 36 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 177 milliliters or 6 fluid ounces.
  • 1 US cup holds 16 tablespoons or 48 teaspoons of solids. This is approximately 237 milliliters or 8 fluid ounces.

The same note applies here as the one for the conversion of solids above. Do not forget that all conversions are approximations, and no two liquids are alike. Some are denser than others and thus have more mass. Frothed milk, for example, contains air bubbles and has a lower mass than milk warmed in a pot.

What You Should Know About Measuring Ingredients

As a general rule of thumb, metric measures (that is, grams and kilograms, milliliters and liters) promote greater accuracy than the customary units used in the United States (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and ounces).

Each has its merits. The metric system of measurement is very useful in the preparation of baked goods and desserts, where it’s mission-critical to be able to determine the weight and volume of ingredients accurately. The US customary system is much simpler and facilitates the preparation of most other dishes.

Invest in a good digital scale as well as a set of measuring cups with the proper markings. In Keys to Good Cooking, Harold McGee recommends buying a digital scale that can be read in grams, has a capacity of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) or more, measures in increments of 1/10 gram, and is accurate to 1 gram. Measuring cups with etched or embossed markings will last longer than those with printed markings.

By Dim Nikov

Cooking for family and friends, one dish at a time. I love to make food that's delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare.

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