There are a lot of steps that go into creating the perfect recipe. Adjusting the amount of a single ingredient can change the outcome that customers know and love. And occasionally, especially catering restaurants working with a varying size of guests, operators will need to adjust the size of batches that are made. Need to adjust your recipe to feed 400 guests instead of the normal 250? Find a new recipe online you want to try at a different scale? Properly adjusting your recipes is essential for keeping the integrity of the final product, especially in a bakery setting. Let’s review the basics of measuring ingredients and how to easily adjust recipes with kitchen conversion charts. 

Imperial vs. Metric Volume Conversions 

Most recipes in the US will use imperial units (teaspoons, cups, quarts, etc.) while most other countries utilize the metric system (liters, milliliters, etc.) and enjoy easy conversions in multiples of 10 and 100 without the confusion of converting between cups, pints, tablespoons, etc. Reference the table below to quickly and easily convert ingredients.

Metric Volume Imperial Volume
15 milliliters 1 tablespoon
500 milliliters 1 pint
1 liter 1 quart
1 gram 0.35 ounces
1 kilogram 2.2 pounds


Liquid vs. Dry Ounces

Liquid ounces and dry ounces are very different. Liquid ounces indicate volume and are measured in fluid ounces, while dry ounces measure the weighted ounces. Be sure to use liquid measuring cups and spoons when measuring liquids, as dry measuring cups may not always be as accurate and can negatively impact your finished product. 


Measuring ingredients is done utilizing measuring cups and spoons, usually made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel. Glass and plastic are ideal for precise measuring with the ability to see through the sides. Metal measuring tools are durable, but can be more susceptible to rust. Central offers a wide range of styles perfect for any preferences.  


Common Conversions 

Some kitchen conversions are used so often that it would be useful to memorize. How many cups are in a gallon? How many pints are in a quart? What does a pinch in my recipe mean? Below we lay out the most common conversions and also provide a downloadable graphic to print and hang in your kitchen for easy reference at any time.  

  • Pinch or dash = less than 1/8 teaspoon 
  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon 
  • 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid oz 
  • 4 tablespoons = ¼ cup 
  • 16 teaspoons = 1 cup 
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid oz 
  • 2 cups = 1 pint 
  • 2 pints = 1 quart 
  • 4 quarts = 1 gallon 

Looking for more even more resources when running a commercial kitchen or catering business? Read our recent articles: Starting A Catering Business and Catering Presentations.

Click here to download a printable version of the below kitchen conversion chart. 

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