How to Convert a Recipe
To make a recipe smaller (scale down) or make a recipe bigger (scale up), you will first need to calculate the recipe conversion factor, using the following recipe conversion factor formula:
Recipe Conversion Factor = Desired Number of Servings ÷ Original Number of Servings
For example, if the original recipe serves 10 people, but you want it to serve 20 people, you divide 20 by 10 to get a conversion factor of 2 (double the recipe).
Or, if the original recipe serves 10, but you want to reduce the number of servings to 5, you divide 5 by 10 to get a recipe conversion factor of 0.5 (half the recipe).
Next, now that you know the conversion factor, you multiply each of the original recipe's ingredient measurements by the factor.
So if the original recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, doubling the recipe would call for 2 cups of flour (1 x 2 = 2), whereas halving the recipe would call for 1/2 cup (1 x 0.5 = 0.5, or 1.2).
Of course, not all cooking and baking measurements can be converted that easily. For example, if you are increasing the servings from 18 to 21, giving you a recipe conversion factor of 1.166667, 1 cup of an ingredient would convert to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons.
For more complex conversions, reduce the original ingredient to the smallest denominator, multiply that value by the conversion factor, and then allocate the converted value back into smaller and smaller common measurements.
So given that 1 cup is equal to 8 ounces, multiplying 8 by the conversion factor of 1.16667 results in a converted measurement of 9.33 ounces. Next allocated 8 ounces of the 9.33 ounces for 1 cup, 1 ounce for 2 tablespoons, and ~0.34 ounces for 2 teaspoons (1 cup x 1.16667 = 1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons).
Thankfully, the Recipe Conversion Calculator on this page instantly completes those complex conversions for you.
Note that you can also scale a recipe based on the availability of an ingredient. For example, if a recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, but you only have 1-1/2 cups on hand, your recipe conversion factor would be 0.5 (1.5 ÷ 3 = 0.5).
Cooking Measurement Conversion Chart
The following quick reference chart shows some of the common cooking and baking measurement conversions in case you would like to convert an ingredient manually.
|Cooking Measurement Conversion Chart|
|Measurement||Standard Unit(s)||Fluid Ounces||Metric Unit(s)|
|1 teaspoon||60 drops (dps)||.17 fl. oz.||5 ml (milliliters)|
|1 tablespoon||3 teaspoons (tsp)||1/2 fl. oz.||15 ml|
|1/8 cup||2 tablespoons (tbsp)||1 fl. oz.||30 ml|
|1/4 cup||4 tablespoons (tbsp)||2 fl. oz.||60 ml|
|1/2 cup||8 tablespoons (tbsp)||4 fl. oz.||120 ml|
|3/4 cup||12 tablespoons (tbsp)||6 fl. oz.||180 ml|
|1 cup||16 tablespoons (tbsp)||8 fl. oz.||240 ml|
|1 pint||2 cups (c)||16 fl. oz.||473.18 ml|
|1 quart||2 pints (pt)||32 fl. oz.||946.35 ml|
|1 gallon||4 quarts (qt)||128 fl. oz.||3.79 liters (l)|
|Measurement||Standard Unit(s)||Dry Ounces||Metric Unit(s)|
|1 smidgen||1/32 teaspoon (tsp)|
|1 pinch||1/16 teaspoon (tsp)|
|1 dash||1/8 teaspoon (tsp)|
|1 teaspoon||8 dashes (dps)||.02 ounce (oz)||4.8 g (grams)|
|1 tablespoon||3 teaspoons (tsp)||1/2 ounce (oz)||14.3 g|
|1 cup||16 tablespoons (tbsp)||8 ounces (ozs)||230 g|
|1 pound||8 cups (c)||16 ounces (ozs)||453.59 g|
|Note that all measurements are in U.S. and may have alternate interpretations.|
Cooking Measurement Conversion Calculator
If you need to make any conversions while using the recipe scaler, use the following mini converters to convert from one unit of measurement into another.
Calculator Referenced by Chef/Author Kristi Ambrose!
On September 3, 2013, I received the following email from the author of a new cookbook series:
I have seen a lot, and I mean A LOT of cooking conversion sites out there, but this one is by far the best. I am using it in a lot of cookbooks I am writing and will give you full credit on your help! Thanks again for making my life easier. -- Kristi Ambrose
Well, little did I know the first book in her series would be available on Amazon the following month. And sure enough, there it was ... an entire paragraph devoted to referencing the calculator. How cool is that?!
Of course, I felt compelled to return the favor, so, here you go Kristi ...
Kristi Ambrose is in the process of creating a very yummy cookbook series, For The Love Of. According to the author, the cookbooks are best viewed in color, and you don't even need a Kindle to read them!
Take a free "Look Inside" For the Love of Eggs on Amazon (reference to the calculator is on the first page of text, 3rd paragraph).