If you're working on a recipe and need to know how many tablespoons are in a cup for quick conversions, you can use the information given here to easily scale recipes up and down! Memorizing some of these basic measuring conversions can save you time in the kitchen when cooking and baking!
How Many Tablespoons In A Cup? - ⅛, ¼, ⅓, ½, ⅔, ¾, & 1 Cup Conversions
The number one reason that I end up asking myself this question is for scaling recipes up or down. Once you have some of these simple conversions mastered, it will save you all sorts of time googling the answer!
All of the conversions noted here are based on the US Standard Cup (customary or standard unit cup size), which is also used throughout the blog. Of course, each recipe posted also has metric conversions to grams and liters and notes where other measurements like ounces might apply.
Table of contents
Are cup measurements the same everywhere? Unfortunately, no, they're not! Depending on your recipe this may or may not make a difference in the results.
Recipes using cups for measuring ingredients like carrots, celery, onions, or mushrooms will not impact the overall flavor of your dish by having a bot more or less of an ingredient. Baking recipes, where you are measuring out flour in particular, will need to be exact. Know where the recipe developer is located and use measuring cups of the same unit for best results.
The US Customary System (USCS)
- 1 US Cup = 236.588 mL
- 1 US Cup = 16 US tablespoons (Tbsp)
- 1 US Cup = 15.77 metric tablespoons (UK, international)
The US Legal Cup (used for nutrition labeling per FDA)
- 1 US Legal Cup = 240 mL
- 1 US Legal Cup = 16.2307 US tablespoons (Tbsp)
- 1 US Legal Cup = 16 metric tablespoons (UK, international)
Metric Cup & Imperial Cup
- 1 metric cup (international) = 250 mL
- 1 imperial cup = 284.131 mL
- 1 metric cup (Australia) = 12 Australian tablespoons
*Cup measurements from The Calculator Site.
When baking it is always best to measure ingredients using a kitchen scale. Zero out the scale and measure your ingredients. Do measure your ingredients before sifting, it the recipe calls for sifting.
Ordinarily, even in baking ( particularly with recipes that I am already familiar with ) I still use measuring cups. To properly use your measuring cups, fill the cup to the top and use a knife to scrape across the top and level the ingredient.
Imperial vs Metric
Here in the U.S., the imperial system is still used for measurements. It was originally called the British Imperial System, but when the U.S. was established we kept the Imperial System while many other countries moved to the Metric System.
Imperial measurements include things like pounds, feet, quarts, inches, and miles. Most countries have now adopted the metric system using things like grams, meters, liters, kilograms, and kilometers.
When it comes to cooking-specific measurements, however, many places recognize cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons as measurements for volume!
Basic Tablespoon Conversions
The short answer for how many tablespoons are in a cup is 16 tablespoons. So when you need 4 tablespoons, you can use ¼ cup. For 8 tablespoons, use ½ cup. Or for 12 tablespoons use ¾ cup.
The chart below shares all of these, plus more, as well as the fluid ounces of each cup equivalency.
|Tablespoons (TBSP)||Dry Measurement (Cups)||Liquid Measurement (fl. oz.)|
|16 tablespoons||1 cup||8 fluid ounces|
|12 tablespoons||¾ cup||6 fluid ounces|
|10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons||⅔ cup||4 ⅔ fluid ounces|
|8 tablespoons||½ cup||4 fluid ounces|
|5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon||⅓ cup||2 ⅓ fluid ounces|
|4 tablespoons||¼ cup||2 fluid ounces|
|2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons||⅙ cup||1 ⅓ fluid ounce|
|2 tablespoons||⅛ cup||1 fluid ounce|
|1 tablespoon (or 3 teaspoons)||1/16 cup||½ fluid ounce|
How Many Teaspoons in a Tablespoon?
For each tablespoon in a recipe, there are 3 teaspoons. Or 1 ½ teaspoons for ½ tablespoon. For measurements smaller than a teaspoon, you can measure by hand.
- 1 teaspoon is approximately the size of your fingertip, from the furthest joint to the tip of the finger.
- ½ teaspoon is about half of the fingertip as described above.
- ¼ teaspoon is roughly two pinches using your thumb and two fingers, the index and middle finger.
- ⅛ teaspoon or a 'pinch' is about one pinch using your thumb and two fingers as described above.
- 1/32 teaspoon or a 'smidge' is about one small pinch using just your thumb and index finger.
A 'dash' of a liquid ingredient is like a pinch, roughly ⅛ of a teaspoon.
Measuring Liquids (by Volume)
When measuring liquids, it is important to use a measuring cup that is intended for liquids. You should not use your standard measuring cups set that you would use for dry ingredients.
The easy part of measuring liquids is that 8 ounces of water really does weigh 8 ounces. Here are some more quick references for fluid ounce conversions:
|1 fluid ounce||2 tablespoons|
|2 fluid ounces||¼ cup|
|4 fluid ounces||½ cup|
|6 fluid ounces||¾ cup|
|8 fluid ounces||1 cup|
|12 fluid ounces||1 ½ cups|
|16 fluid ounces||2 cups (or 1 pint)|
|32 fluid ounces||4 cups (or 1 quart)|
|128 fluid ounces||1 gallon|
If you have any other conversions you'd like to have added, just ask! I'll be adding more as time goes by so I do hope that you check back in and let me know if you found any of these tidbits helpful!
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!