If you're needing to know how many tablespoons in a cup, you've come to the right place. This is the most comprehensive guide to help you make those measurement conversions, and get you back to baking with accurate measurements, no matter the circumstances.
- How many tablespoons in a cup? – ⅛, ¼, ⅓, ½, ⅔, ¾, & 1 cup conversions
- What is a tablespoon?
- The US Customary System (USCS)
- The US Legal Cup
- Metric Cup vs. Imperial Cup
- Conversion from Tablespoon to Cup (tbsp to cups)
- Measuring liquid - Conversion from Fluid Ounces to Cup
- How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?
- How much is a dash?
- Measuring Conversion FAQs
How many tablespoons in a cup? – ⅛, ¼, ⅓, ½, ⅔, ¾, & 1 cup conversions
When scaling recipes, it can be very helpful to know how many tablespoons are in one cup. While it's easy to scale full cup measurements, it can be more difficult when trying to convert fractions of a cup to tablespoons.
Knowing these basic tablespoon conversions is helpful when you don't have certain measuring cups available because you'll be able to convert all of your cup measurements into tablespoons quickly once you know how many tablespoons are in 1 cup.
There are 16 tablespoons in a cup. If you know how many tablespoons are in a cup, you'll easily be able to calculate how many tablespoons of any ingredient are needed for your recipe. This is especially helpful when quickly halving amounts and figuring out how many tablespoons in ½ cup.
Let's use 1 and ¾ cups as our example. It can be tricky to quickly half fractions for recipes, but if you convert it to tablespoons first, the process is much simpler.
Going back to our example, converting 1 and ¾ cups is as simple as knowing how many tablespoons one cup holds: 16; and how many tablespoons in ¾ cup: 12. Furthermore, we can add these measurements together for a total of 28 tablespoons. 16 tablespoons plus 12 tablespoons equals 28 tablespoons.
Now, if we wanted to half the recipe, we can easily do so. Half of 28 tablespoons is 14 tablespoons. Henceforth, you can either choose to add 14 tablespoons to your recipe or simply convert tablespoon to cup measurements to easily add the correct amount. Below is an easy tablespoons reference chart. You can always come back and reference this table whenever you need a quick conversion.
|⅛ cup||2 tablespoons|
|¼ cup||4 tablespoons|
|⅓ cup||5 ⅓ tablespoons|
|½ cup||8 tablespoons|
|⅔ cup||10 ⅔ tablespoons|
|¾ cup||12 tablespoons|
|1 cup||16 tablespoons|
What is a tablespoon?
A tablespoon (abbreviated in recipes as tbsp, TB, or T.) is a common unit of measurement for cooking around the world. Tablespoons often measure oils, sauces, and leavening agents such as baking powder.
The size of tablespoons is measured slightly differently around the globe, so when browsing a new recipe, be sure to pay close attention to the recipe card for details on which spoon set was used to develop the dish. Luckily, the amounts aren’t vastly different, and rounding can be the reason for the slight distinctions.
A U.S. tablespoon is measured at 14.8ml and .50 fluid ounces.
The rounded metric tablespoon used in the UK and Canada is 15ml and .51 fluid ounces.
The Australian tablespoon is the most dissimilar at 20ml and .68 fluid ounces.
The US Customary System (USCS)
Now that you know how many tablespoons there are in a cup, you may be wondering more about cups themselves. Cups and spoons are not all measured the same. In fact, there are two ways to measure cups just in the United States.
The US Customary cup, or USCS, is the standard measuring that is most commonly used in the United States. In cooking and baking, this system is mostly used in standardized weight measurements.
1 customary cup = 236.588 mL
1 customary cup = 16 tablespoons
1 customary cup = 15.77 metric tablespoons
The US Legal Cup
The US legal cup has a slightly different set of measurements than the US customary cup. Because there can be variations in the weight of a cup depending on how you've measured the flour, packed vs. spooned, it's helpful to have a reliable standard. This standard gives a milliliter or gram amount to the measurement; for example, a US legal cup is equal to 240 ml.
The US Legal Cup system is used to calculate food nutrition labels in the US. This system ensures that all food products with nutrition labels have been accurately measured using the same method. This standardization is particularly important for those who use the label information to manage conditions with healthy eating.
According to the Food and Drug (FDA) administration, the US legal cup system measures a cup as:
1 legal cup = 240 ml
1 legal cup = 16.2307 tablespoons
1 legal cup = 16 metric tablespoons
Metric Cup vs. Imperial Cup
As you may know, there are many differences between the metric and imperial systems. The majority of the world uses the metric system, whereas mainly the United States uses the imperial system. The United States followed the British Imperial System but, once separated from Great Britain, continued to use the imperial system while Britain eventually adopted the metric system.
You'll notice a difference in size when it comes to a standard cup measurement between the metric and imperial systems. A metric cup equals 8.45 fluid ounces, while an imperial cup measures 8 fluid ounces.
A metric cup is slightly larger than an imperial cup measurement. While this doesn't make a huge difference in some recipes, such as soups or casseroles, baking is a science that requires precision. Measuring a quarter cup or half a cup differently can be a reason why an entire recipe turns out differently than expected.
1 metric cup = 250 ml
1 metric tablespoon = 15 ml
1 imperial cup = 284.13 ml
1 imperial tablespoon = 14.79 ml
Conversion from Tablespoon to Cup (tbsp to cups)
It's easy to convert tablespoons to cups once you have an understanding of cups to tablespoons. This is a helpful way to measure dry goods such as white sugar, cocoa powder, or cornstarch.
Since you can now know how many tablespoon in 1 cup,(there are 16 tablespoons per cup), you can also convert how many cups are represented by a large number of tablespoons. This can be particularly helpful when scaling a recipe up. If a recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of sugar, for example, and you want to double the recipe, you will now know that the 12 tablespoons you now need are equal to ¾ cup.
Measuring liquid - Conversion from Fluid Ounces to Cup
As we know by now, not all measurements are figured equally. This is even further expressed when measuring liquids. When putting together ingredients for recipes, you want to make sure you're using measuring tools that are liquid ingredient specific or dry ingredient specific for consistent cooking results.
Liquid ingredients use a volume measurement and leave space on top of the measurement lines at the top to avoid spillage. For example, you can measure milk in a dry measuring cup, but you'll need to fill it to the very top for the full cup. There's a chance that it may spill over the sides, altering the amount you're actually adding to the recipe.
Additionally, if you were to use a liquid measuring cup to measure whole wheat flour, you would not be able to do a proper spoon and level method, which could affect your recipe as well. Dry measuring cups are easily leveled for the correct amount.
Keep in mind that weighing your ingredients with a kitchen scale is the best method for accurate measuring when it comes to baking. Measuring the ingredients with cups and tablespoons is completely fine when it comes to cooking, however, for baking, precision and consistency can only be achieved with a kitchen scale.
Knowing fluid ounce conversions can be very helpful when you wish to convert liquid cups. When you measure liquids properly, it will make for a successful recipe. Converting to cups from fluid ounces is easy with the simple baking conversions in this table.
|0.5 fluid ounce||1 tablespoon|
|1 fluid ounce||2 tablespoons|
|2 fluid ounces||¼ cup|
|2.7 fluid ounces||⅓ cup|
|4 fluid ounces||½ cup|
|8 fluid ounces||1 cup|
|16 fluid ounces||4 cups|
|64 fluid ounces||16 cups (1 gallon)|
How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?
When converting teaspoons to tablespoons, 3 is the magic number. There are three teaspoons in 1 tablespoon. That also means there are 1.5 teaspoons in half a tablespoon and six half teaspoons in one tablespoon.
This is very helpful not only when scaling recipes but also when measuring smaller ingredients. Ingredients such as baking soda, spices, and flavored extracts are often measured in teaspoons. Knowledge of these conversions is also helpful when figuring substitutes e.g. the best baking powder substitute to use for your biscuits or the most effective substitute for vanilla extract for your cookie recipe.
|3 teaspoons||1 tablespoon|
|1 ½ teaspoons||½ tablespoon|
|12 teaspoons||¼ cup|
How much is a dash?
You may have heard the terms dash, pinch, or a smidgen in recipes. A dash is often used to add a small amount to liquid ingredients, whereas a pinch or smidgen is more often associated with dry ingredients. Some people use these terms as a rough reference point in intuitive cooking, but you may be surprised to find that these terms represent actual measurements that you can use.
Some people choose to measure these amounts roughly with their fingers. A pinch can be measured by picking up an amount of dry ingredients such as salt with your thumb and forefinger, for example. This method of rough measurement doesn't typically make much of a difference to a recipe because the amounts are so small.
If you’d like to be more precise, however, you can also purchase a set of small measuring spoons or use the below references:
A dash equals ⅛ of a teaspoon
A pinch equals 1/16 of a teaspoon
A smidgen equals 1/32 of a teaspoon
Measuring Conversion FAQs
No, dry and wet ingredients should be measured using measuring cups specific for liquid or dry ingredients. In cooking this doesn't usually make as much of a difference, however, in baking, using non-precise ingredients has the potential to dramatically affect a recipe.
There are 8 tablespoons in a stick of butter, which is equivalent to ½ cup. If a recipe calls for one cup of butter, you will need to use two sticks of butter or 16 tablespoons.
If you're wondering how many tablespoons in a quarter cup, you can simply take how many tablespoons in 1 cup (16) and divide that by 4. There are four tablespoons in ¼ cup.
Since there are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup, the calculation will work the following way. You will have to divide 16 by 4 = 4 to get how many tablespoons are in ¼ cup then multiply that number by 3 to get to ¾ cup. So the answer is, there are 12 tablespoons in ¾ cups.
There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup so ¼ cup equal to 16/4= 4 tablespoons and not 6 tablespoons.
6 tablespoons in fact can´t be converted to ½, ⅓ or ¼ cups, it is, in fact, ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons.
There are four cups in a quart. A quart is a quarter of a gallon, which is 16 cups.
No, dessert spoons cannot be used to measure ingredients accurately. They are generally between a teaspoon and a tablespoon in size. A proper teaspoon is a much better tool for adding a teaspoon of an ingredient to a recipe.
In Australia, a tablespoon is measured at 20ml as opposed to 15ml in most other countries. An Australian cup is still defined as 250ml, but there are technically 12.5 Australian tablespoons in one cup.
Working with odd fractions can make tablespoon conversions a bit tricky. However, it helps to rely on our knowledge of how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon in cases like these. ⅓ of a cup is the same as 5 and ⅓ tablespoons. Because we know that ⅓ of a tablespoon is the same as one teaspoon, it helps us to understand that ⅓ cup is simply 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon.
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