Everyone should know how many cups are in a gallon, it's not only useful in the kitchen, but also in everyday life! Learn about the differences between a U.S. gallon and an Imperial gallon, and so much more!
There’s more to how many cups are in a gallon than you might think!
The answer to how many cups in a gallon seems like it would be fairly straightforward. There are 16 cups in a gallon – in the United States.
This is where a simple answer requires a bit more explanation, such as what is the difference between a US gallon and an Imperial gallon? As well as what is a dry gallon?
Let’s look at how these three measurements compare. Then, you will truly know how many cups are in a gallon!
What is a US Gallon?
The Us gallon is a measurement that measures the volume of liquid. It is considered an imperial unit of measurement, alongside other imperial units of measurement such as inches, ounces, pints, and quarts.
The imperial unit of measurement originated in the early 1800s in Britain and was the main form of measurement in many countries in the 19th century - including the United States.
While the United States was keen to get away from British rule, they ended up keeping this system of measurement, even after gaining their independence from Britain.
However, while the US maintained what was known as “Queen Anne’s Gallon” Britain shifted their measurement of the gallon. The choice made by the United States to maintain the original Imperial System of measurement resulted in what is now known as the US Standard System.
How Many Ounces Are in a US Gallon?
In many cases, the imperial unit of measurement and the US Standard system is the same. For example, both systems measure 1 foot as 12 inches.
When it comes to the gallon though, while both the US Standard System and the Imperial System state that 4 cups equal a gallon, the volume of each cup is different in each system. Therefore, each gallon is a different volume.
To help show the difference between the two it is helpful to bring in another unit of measurement – the metric system. The metric system is used in other countries around the world and measures on a decimal system.
The use of decimals allows us to see a more detailed comparison between these two gallons. The metric system measures volume through liters (or litres).
Here is how many liters are in a US gallon and an Imperial gallon:
1 US gallon = 3.785 liters
1 Imperial gallon = 4.546 liters
You can easily see that the Imperial gallon is larger than a US gallon. Shifting back to the US Standard and Imperial Standard systems, this difference in volume is substantial:
1 US gallon = 128 ounces
1 Imperial gallon = 153 ounces
That is a 25-ounce difference between the two different gallons!
What is an Imperial Gallon?
If an Imperial gallon has 25 more ounces than a US gallon then it is essential to understand an Imperial gallon vs the US gallon, especially if you are ever switching between using recipes that are on the Imperial System vs the US Standard system.
If you are in a place that uses the Imperial gallon and you ask, “how many cups are in a gallon”, you will get the same answer as you would in a country that uses the US gallon. There are 16 cups in a gallon. The question then becomes, how many ounces are in a cup?
How Many Ounces Are in an Imperial Gallon?
We already looked at how there are about 153 ounces in an Imperial gallon; therefore, there are about 9.6 ounces in a cup. That is almost 2 ounces more than a US Standard measuring cup.
So, while there are 16 cups in a gallon, it depends on how many ounces are in each cup. From day-to-day cooking and baking, this will likely not be an issue. If you live in the United States, then the measuring cups you purchase will always be a standard 8 ounces.
If you live in one of a handful of places that continues to use the Imperial gallon, then the standard measuring cups will be just under 10 ounces.
Who Uses the US gallon?
The United States is known as being one of the few countries to still follow a measurement system that is based on the Imperial System. Most other countries have switched to the metric system.
While the United States is the main country that uses the US gallon, there are some places, such as in South America that use the US gallon as a form of measurement for things such as gasoline. In the kitchen though, most recipes and measuring tools will follow the metric system.
Who Uses the Imperial gallon?
While the Imperial gallon was originally a form of measurement in the United Kingdom, the UK has since moved to the metric system for most things.
However, the Imperial System is still commonly used in casual circumstances – such as measuring a pint of beer!
While the UK has moved to the wide use of the metric system, a handful of countries that were originally under British rule have maintained the Imperial gallon as a standard measurement in all areas. These countries include:
- the British Virgin Islands
- the Cayman Islands
- St. Kitts & Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent
- the Grenadines
What is a US Dry Gallon?
Typically, a gallon is associated with liquids. A gallon of milk. A gallon of water. A gallon of juice. Beyond liquids though, a gallon can also measure the volume of dry goods.
The dry gallon also has its history based on British rule. It was a measurement of dry goods and grain in historic Britain. Today though, the dry gallon tends to be primarily measured in the United States.
How Many Ounces in a Dry Gallon?
A dry gallon falls between the volume of a US gallon and an Imperial gallon. There are approximately 148 ounces in a dry gallon. This equals about 18 US standard cups in 1 dry gallon, which is 2 cups more than a US gallon of liquid.
Most standard recipes will call for the measurement of dry ingredients and grains in the form of cups, rather than gallons. Therefore, you will usually not need to convert into dry gallons. If needed though, remember that a dry gallon is more than a liquid gallon.
US Standard Cup Conversions
Once you know there are 16 US cups in a US gallon then it is easy to figure out how many cups are in other standard measurements.
To make it even easier though, here is a quick conversion guide for most liquid measurements in the kitchen. Keep this on hand to quickly reference while you are cooking.
- 32 cups = 2 gallons
- 16 cups = 1 gallon
- 12 cups = ¾ gallon
- 8 cups (or 2 quarts) = ½ gallon
- 4 cups (2 pints) = 1 quart
- 2 cups = 1 pint
- 1 cup (½ pint) = 8 ounces
- ½ cup = 4 ounces
- ¼ cup = 2 ounces
We hope you feel like you truly understand how many cups are in a gallon! If you found this information useful, let us know by leaving a comment below!
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!