Wednesday 24 October 2007


I've had some requests to sort out the measuring problems that some of you are having in understanding the difference between British and American measures and converting them, so I am posting a handy list here for future reference! Hope this helps!

Converting British weights and measures to American
There are sometimes significant differences between the measures used for ingredients in British and American recipes. For example a British standard tablespoon holds 17.7ml while the American tablespoon has a 14.2 ml capacity. Similarly a British pint measures 20 fluid ounces while an American pint is just 16 fluid ounces. The standard American measuring cups sold here in the UK are one 4 ounce cup and smaller, Many American recipes use an 8 ounce (two cup) as a basis for measuring recipe ingredients. Bear in mind that the same cup measures differently for liquid and dry, depending on the weight of the ingredient, i.e. flour, breadcrumbs and oatmeal will be 4 oz, (110 g), but sugar, butter, dried fruit, chopped vegetables, syrup etc., will weigh differently. The listings below should enable recipes to be successfully made by American cooks. The only advice I would offer, having spent hours trawling websites and reading through books for factual information, hints and tips, is, to be consistent, never mix imperial, metric or cup measures in one recipe, If you use the same measuring system throughout, your dishes should work out correctly. If in doubt, weighing is still the most reliable and much preferred method to use, even by many American cooks. Purchasing a good set of balance scales with either metric or imperial weights, really will eliminate any guesswork and give good, consistent results every time.

Helpful measurement conversions.

British = American
1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon = 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons = 3 tablespoons
3.5 tablespoons = 4 tablespoons
4 tablespoons = 5 tablespoons

Solid measures
Using the one-cup standard measure as sold here in the UK (NB: Please remember to alter the amount for your own recipe):-

British = American
1lb (450g) butter or margarine = 2 cups (or four sticks).
1lb (450g) flour = 4 cups.
1lb 450 g, granulated or caster, (superfine), sugar = 2 cups.
1lb 450 g, icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) = 3 cups.
4 oz, 110 g, icing sugar, (confectioner's sugar), = half a cup plus a heaped tbsp.
8 oz, 225 g, flour = 2 cups.4 oz,
110 g, flour, = 1 cup.8 oz,
225 g, breadcrumbs = 2 cups.4 oz,
110 g, breadcrumbs. = 1 cup.8 oz,
225 g, oatmeal = 2 cups.
4 oz, 110 g, oatmeal = 1 cup.
8 oz, 225 g, grated cheese = 2 cups.
4 oz, 110 g, grated cheese = 1 cup.
8 oz, 225 g, butter, margarine, or shortening = one cup (or two sticks).
4 oz, 110 g, butter, margarine, or shortening = half a cup (or one stick).
2 oz, 50 g, butter, margarine or shortening = a quarter of a cup (or half a stick).
4 oz, 110 g, dried mixed fruit, (fruitcake mix) = 2-thirds of a cup.
2 oz, 50 g, dried mixed fruit, (fruit cake mix) = one-third of a cup.
8 oz, 225 g, brown sugar = 1 cup.
4 oz, 110 g, brown sugar = half a cup
3 oz, 75 g, plain, (semi-sweet) chocolate, broken into squares = 3-quarters of a cup.
4 oz, 110 g, whole hazelnuts = 1 cup.
2 oz, 50 g, flaked, (slivered) almonds = half a cup.
4 oz, 110 g, ground almonds = 1 cup.

Useful teaspoon measures.
1 oz, 25 g, is one heaped or heaping, tbsp of flour, oatmeal, cheese, breadcrumbs, or icing, confectioners grade, sugar.

1 oz, 25 g, is 1 rounded tbsp, of granulated or caster, superfine, sugar.

1 oz, 25 g, is 2 level tbsp of butter, margarine or shortening.

Liquid Measures

British = American
half a tsp, 2.5 ml. = half a tsp,
2.5 ml.1 tsp, 5 ml. = 1 tsp,
5 ml.1 average tbsp,
15 ml. = 1 average tbsp,
15 ml.A quarter of a pint,
150 ml. = Two thirds of a cup.
120 ml, 4 fl.oz, = half a cup.
Half a pint, 275 ml,
8 fl.oz, = A generous 1 cup.
Three-quarters of a pint, 425 ml. = Two cups
1 pint, 570 ml. = Two and a half cups.
One and a half pints, approx. 840 ml. = Three and three-quarter cups.
1 and 3-quarter pints, 1 litre, = 4 and a half cups.
2 pints = 5 cups.


  1. Brilliant Marie.

    And then there's Australian and New Zealand metric measurements to deal with too...phew!

  2. Thank you for this Marie - it is very helpful!!

  3. Dear Marie, Gosh! I hope that didn't take as long as I suspect it did! But thank you for doing the conversion chart and thank you, thank you for the lovely batter rolls! You are right - they are fool proof and I should know! I am such a hopeless cook but they look and taste wonderful. I was making the Christmas Cakes today but because you took so much trouble to do the conversion chart I had to try them straight away! I thought very much of you, your mother, and grandmother as I made them (and always will)! I put some of our flat leaf parsley from the garden, some chopped walnuts and olives into half. Now I want to try adding cheese or dried fruit to some in the future. I think they are the best recipe of the year.
    The lovely thing is now that I can try all your recipes thanks to your conversion chart. I am glad I asked you as I would have been using double the amount of flour!!
    Thank you again for brightening up a dreary autumn day. Hope the sun comes back tomorrow!, Angela

  4. Excellent! Thank you Marie. I hadn't realised that there was a difference in some of the things eg. tablespoon measurements etc. Thanks again

  5. Thank you, that is sooo useful.

  6. Thank you, that is sooo useful.

  7. Thanks Marie - this is extremely helpful! Now I can try some of your delicious recipes! Allison

  8. Wow, what a lot of work for you. Thanks for posting this! Cooking by weight really is so much smarter.

  9. Thanks for that, I have been struggling a bit in an effort to convert from metric to cup sizes. I have been spooning everything Iweigh on my scales into cup measures and it takes ages!


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