Metric Conversions

Measuring devices
Metric conversions for cooking Anita Schecter

Here in the United States, we use the imperial system of measurement. It's everywhere from the odometer in your car to the measuring cups in your kitchen. Yes, those teaspoons and tablespoons are all part of this system, too.

While we find the imperial system familiar as part of our culinary culture, it is not a common system for the rest of the world. In fact, only three countries continue to use this system of measurement: the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar. So what is the rest of the world using?

The Metric System

The rest of the world uses the metric system, which is a decimal system based on multiples of 10. While many Americans haven't used the metric system since high school math or chemistry class, it remains a simpler system that's much more accurate. For culinary purposes, this measurement system uses liters and grams in place of cups, ounces, pints, and so on.

While the metric system has gained more traction in the United States, even appearing on food packaging, the traditional imperial system of measurement continues to be the to go-to for most non-business or science-related activities, including home cooking. So when your international recipe calls for 15 milliliters of salt, what do you do? You can turn to this handy English-Metric system conversion table for basic equivalents.

US to Metric Volume Conversions

US Customary Quantity (English)

Metric Equivalent

1 teaspoon

5 mL

1 tablespoon

15 mL

2 tablespoons

30 mL

1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces

60 mL

1/3 cup

80 mL

1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces

125 mL

2/3 cup

160 mL

3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces

180 mL

1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint

250 mL

1 ½ cup or 12 fluid ounces

375 mL

2 cups or 1 pint or 16 fluid ounces

500 mL

3 cups or 1 ½ pints

700 mL

4 cups or 2 pints or 1 quart

950 mL

4 quarts or 1 gallon

3.8 L

1 ounce

28 grams

1/4 lb. (4 ounces)

112 grams

1/2 lb. (8 ounces)

225 grams

3/4 lb. (12 ounces)

337 grams

1 lb. (16 ounces)

450 grams

Note: When a high level of precision is not required, basic equivalents may be used as follows:1 cup ≈ 250 mL1 pint ≈ 500 mL1 quart ≈ 1 L1 gallon ≈ 4 L

US to Metric Weight Conversions

US Customary Quantity (English)

Metric Equivalent

1 ounce

28 grams

4 ounces or ½ lb.

113 grams

1/3 lb.

150 grams

8 ounces or ½ lb.

230 grams

2/3 lb.

300 grams

12 ounces or ¾ lb.

340 grams

16 ounces or 1 lb.

450 grams

32 ounces or 2 lbs.

900 grams

Note: The ounces referred to in this weight conversion table are not fluid ounces.