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Understanding Dry Cooking Measurements

When I first began cooking, one of the biggest problems that I had was learning what the different abbreviations for measurements meant. It took me the longest time to figure out the difference between a dash, pinch, and teaspoon.

Here are some of the most common cooking measurements, the abbreviations used, and what they mean. Included in this list is also some of the terms that you might hear from professional and older cooks. Think of this almost along the lines of a miniature dictionary. Please note that a majority of these measurements are going to also have the metric equivalent listed, as well, in case you happen to be more familiar with that form of measurement.

  • Pinch. This term is most often heard on professional cooking shows or in older recipes. A pinch is equivalent to 1/8 teaspoon (sometimes written as 1/8 tsp) in the United States.
  • Dash. How many times have you heard the term "add just a dash" of this or that to the recipe? What this means is that you need to add 1/4 teaspoon of the ingredient. This is sometimes written as 1/4 tsp in the United States.
  • Teaspoon. This is one of the more common phrases used in ingredient lists. Most often this is written out in recipes and ingredient lists as tsp. and is the equivalent to roughly 4.67 grams in weight.
  • Tablespoon. The measurement tablespoon is another of the more common found in recipes and ingredient lists. Quite often this is the single most commonly used measurement for ingredients and is written as Tbsp. in those recipes. In weight issues this is equivalent to thirty grams.
  • 1/4 stick butter. This is often seen in recipes for baked goods. This is equivalent to two tablespoons of butter.
  • 1 stick butter. This term of measurement is another one that is most often heard in baking. One stick of butter is equivalent to half a cup of butter, or eight tablespoons of butter.
  • Cup. This term is one of the most frequent terms used in cooking, at least in the United States. Sixteen tablespoons is equivalent to one cup, as is half a pound, this also equates to roughly 228 grams.
  • Ounce. One ounce weighs approximately twenty-nine grams. When used in a recipe the term ounce is written as oz.
  • Pound. When listed in a recipe the measurement of pound is written like lb., and multiple pounds is written like lbs. This would also be the equivalent to sixteen ounces, or roughly 454 grams.
  • Package. This term, usually found in baking recipes, is highly dependent on the ingredient used. For example, if a recipe for chocolate chip cookies calls for one package of chocolate chips, this would be the equivalent of using sixteen ounces of chocolate chips, since most chocolate chip packages weigh that much. This would be the equivalent of using approximately454 grams of chocolate chips.
 

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