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U.S. Standard to Metric Cooking Conversions

Updated on February 24, 2013
Pastry Sugar Cookies. Pastry is one of the more exact types of cooking, so correct measurements are very important.
Pastry Sugar Cookies. Pastry is one of the more exact types of cooking, so correct measurements are very important. | Source

The Metric Question

For years I have enjoyed watching foreign cooking shows. From Masterchef Australia to other wonderful cooking shows, anything non-US can be a bit hard to follow when you want to make that amazing recipe you just saw. What the heck is a milliliter? A gram? Anyone?

To cut through the confusion - and perhaps botched cooking efforts - it is important to be able to convert properly. Here will be listed the usual conversions so that you never need to worry about it again. Furthermore, I will list a recipe in both measures so you can see how simple it is to convert Metric to US - or even the other way around!

A Moroccan Pastry Buffet
A Moroccan Pastry Buffet | Source

What is Metric and Why is it Important to Convert Properly?

Long story short, the metric system is a more exact mathematical way of measuring things. The prefixes (centi- kilo- milli- etc) stand for 100, 1000, 10000, etc and make it a lot easier to tell how much or how little you are putting into something. Unit conversion within the metric system is easier because you have to shift a decimal rather than doing math as you would in the US Standard - ie 12 inches to a foot, then 3 feet in a yard, so how many inches is in 7 yards?

Honestly long story short: Math is hard. Metric is easy.

Its important to know how to convert properly because when you don't, everything can go wrong. This was most plainly shown in the unfortunate incident with the Mars Orbiter being lost because of bad conversions - costing 125 million. Of course, in cooking you would probably cost a dollar or two, but its still good to get it right the first time.

The Conversion: Temperature


The Conversion: Fluid

US Standard
1 Teaspoon
1 Tablespoon / 1/2 Ounce
1 fluid ounce / 1/8 cup
1/4 cup / 2 fluid ounces
1/3 cup
1/2 cup / 4 fluid ounces
2/3 cup
3/4 cup / 6 fluid ounces
1 cup / 8 fluid ounces / half a pint
1 1/2 cups / 12 fluid ounces
2 cups / 1 pint / 16 fluid ounces
3 cups / 1 1/2 pints
4 cups / 2 pints / 1 quart
3.8 Liters
4 quarts / 1 gallon

The Conversion: Weight

US Standard
1 ounce
4 ounces / 1/4 pound
1/3 pound
8 ounces / 1/2 pound
2/3 pound
12 ounces / 3/4 pound
1 pound / 16 ounces
2 pounds

The Sugar Cookie

To test if you can convert properly I'm going to have a metric recipe up, and then the US standard one follow it. Good luck, and enjoy the sugar cookie!

5 stars from 1 rating of Sugar Cookie

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 4 Dozen
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 15g
Calories 72
Calories from Fat27
% Daily Value *
Fat 3 g5%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Carbohydrates 10 g3%
Sugar 6 g
Cholesterol 8 mg3%
Sodium 54 mg2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


  • 5mL Baking Soda
  • [2 3/4 Cup] Flour, I didn't give cup to weight measurements, sorry, but you should weigh flour!
  • 2.5mL Baking Powder
  • 240mL Butter, Softened
  • 360mL Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 5mL Vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 190c. Mix together the baking powder, baking soda, and flour in a bowl for later.
  2. Cream your butter and sugar together (mush them until creamy). Mix in the egg and vanilla before slowly adding in the dry ingredient bowl you mixed. Roll into small balls and place on wax paper or ungreased cookie sheets and slide them into the oven.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown! The hard part: let stand for a few minutes before moving to the wire racks to cool. Enjoy!

The Results!

Did you make a sugar cookie? For those unadventurous ones, here are the answers even if you didn't try to make a cookie.

Bake at 350.

1 Teaspoon of vanilla and baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1 Cup of butter, 1 1/2 Cups of sugar, 2 3/4 Cups of flour

Success? I hope so!
I hope you were able to see how easy it is to convert. The first few times it may take a pen and paper to write it all down, but sooner or later you will be able to convert without having to look at any charts at all!

I hope this is able to open up a new door of culinary possibilities for you. If you know anyone who is interested in foreign cooking, you might want to show them this page so they can get into it more and have some fun!

Are you able to convert now?

See results


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    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Hi. Yes, I agree when it comes to cooking (not that I'm an expert on that!) metric makes sense. I grew up in the days of imperial measurements (UK) and today we in England are in a bit of a grey area, whereby many older people still use imperial measurements whilst many others use metric. And when it comes to distances or weights, most of us of all ages understand miles and pounds better when it comes to travelling distances or human weight, but when it comes to smaller measurements (inches, centimetres, ounces, grams) many now are more familiar with metric units.

      One thing I'll never get used to is temperature conversions. I still think of a hot day as being 80F not 20 something C. (But who needs to add or multiply temperatures together anyway?) :)

      I'm sure many will refer to your conversion charts as a simple guide when cooking. Alun

    • Danieljohnston profile image

      Daniel Johnston 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thank you!

      Honestly, I don't know why we use the antiquated measurements. Perhaps some horrible pride or something. Metric just makes more sense to be perfectly honest. I hope we get working on a change over!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Daniel,

      This is such a useful hub you did, great idea. I find reading the american "cup" measurement confusing as I am used to to European measurements so this will come in very handy. Useful, Voted Up Sharing Pinned.