How to Convert Recipe Measurements and Cooking Temperatures
Cooking ingredients need precise measurements
Tips for converting international temperatures and measurements
Any experienced cook has faced this problem: You've found the perfect recipe for next week's luncheon, or for the cake you want to make for your friend's birthday, and the entire recipe is written for measurements and temperatures in a different country.
Have no fear; cooking and food are universal topics, and while it might take a little work, you can convert a recipe into the terminology you use in your kitchen. It just takes a bit of understanding and some research.
The big question? How to measure recipe ingredients when the terms are foreign to you
Why do you need to convert measurements in cooking?
If you like to find recipes online, you already know what you're up against. The popularity of online cooking sites means you could be in the Midwest of the USA and stumped when you find a recipe posted on a site from England. Suddenly, you realize you're not in Kansas anymore.
Before you can start making that elegant looking dessert or tempting entrée, you realize you'll need to convert measurements into the system you use, which is probably what you grew up with. In the United States, we use terms like ounces, cups, quarts, gallons and the like.
Recipes from other countries will have grams, kilograms and liters. Or, if you're from another country, the amount you need to measure for 1/4 cup of an ingredient may not be immediately obvious. Pretty soon, your head starts to hurt and you're ready to run down to Costco and get a cake in a box.
For those who don't remember, a liter is a bit like a quart, but don't try to use that trade-off in a detailed recipe that relies on accuracy; you'll need the exact conversion for some recipes to come out the way the picture looks.
The guidelines below explain some quick tips and list some valuable online resources that will do the math for you.
Time-saving tip: Find an online calculator to calculate measurements and oven temperatures
Here's the fastest and easiest way to convert cooking temperatures and measurements
The easiest way to quickly swap out the confusing terms and numbers in a recipe for something familiar is to go to an online sites that has calculators to do the work for you.
This may sound like a lot of work at first, but once you're on the site, almost all the information you need to convert a recipe will be at your fingertips. In addition, you will often have many measurements of the same size (a cup of this, three cups of that) so you can run the calculator for multiple purposes during one visit to the site.
Eventually, you may begin to recognize some measurements you most commonly use. Note that each online conversion calculator will usually ask you to enter the recipe's ingredient you're converting, which can make a difference in the end result.
Online converter for U.S., British and European cooking temperatures and measurments
- Cooking conversion online.
Cooking conversion online. Instant online units and measurements conversion: for metric conversion and other systems. Many units supported from common to very exotic.
Change recipe measurements when you add or subtracting servings or portions
How to change the portions or servings in a recipe
While some measurements might be easy (one half of a cup is easily found on your measuring cup), others might be more difficult to calculate.
If you need to change a recipe's measurements, this Culinary Arts site has useful information and tips on how to do the math.
The site explains how to come up with a recipe conversion factor (such as reducing a 10-serving recipe to one that will serve six, which uses a 0.6 conversion factor). It's not that hard once you see how it's done.
Too tired or stressed to do the math yourself? This site has a cooking measurement calculator that does the math for you! The site also has a helpful chart to tell you that a pinch is 1/16th of a teaspoon and one tablespoon is 1/2 of a fluid ounce!
Converting oven temperatures for baking and roasting
Now that you've figured out how to measure your ingredients, you notice the temperature settings are different than the ones on your stove.
Not to worry! The site below will tell you that 350 degrees on a U.S. oven converts to 175 if you're in the U.K., and you will need a setting of 4 if you're using a gas stove with settings ranging from 1/4 to 10.
An online conversion chart for oven settings
- Conversion Chart: Fahrenheit, Celsius, & gas marks
Oven temperature conversion chart for the most common cooking and baking temperatures that shows conversions for Fahrenheit, Celsius and Gas Mark.
How to use a convection oven
With the recent trend toward buying convection ovens, many cooks are left puzzled as to how to change the time or temperature on various recipes.
Using a convection oven can be scary at first, like trying to learn a foreign language.
This video has simple instructions for making those changes:
Video on how to convert cooking times for convection ovens
Bottom line - when in doubt, do a bit of research!
Chances are, you'll increasingly find tasty recipes that use terms you're not used to in your kitchen. Or you will find the new, energy-saving appliance you just bought requires you to tweak a few things when you cook or bake.
Just about any information you want or need can be found online. Many government sites in various countries have guidelines posted for conversions, and manufacturers of appliances also provide tips if they know consumers are changing from one way of cooking to another.
Here's hoping the information in this hub will help you bake that cake that tempted you, or change your recipe to add a few servings, or otherwise tweak it so you can enjoy cooking in our new global culinary environment!