Understanding Liquid Cooking Measurements
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated December 9, 2020)
If there is one thing that causes more confusion for burgeoning home chefs is that there really is a fundamental difference between liquid cooking measurements and dry cooking measurements. This simple misunderstanding has lead to more ruined recipes and meals than most people would like to admit. While understanding liquid cooking measurements can be a little difficult for many people, it doesn't necessarily need to be that way. Here are some of the more common liquid measurements, and even a couple of the uncommon ones, that are used most often in the United States.
- Teaspoon (tsp). Teaspoons are the smallest of all the liquid measurements used in the United States. It could easily be said that this is the foundation for all the other measurements, and as such most of the other measurements will include how many teaspoons it would take to equal that.
- Tablespoon (Tbsp). The tablespoon is the next smallest whole measurement used. It will take three teaspoons to equal one tablespoon.
- Fluid ounce (fl oz). A fluid ounce can be made by using six teaspoons, or two tablespoons. This type of measurement is often seen in drink or sauce recipes.
- Gill. A gill is a measurement term that isn't really seen all that often in today's recipes, but can still be found in older recipes. This particular measurement term is used to describe 1/2 cup, which can be made from 24 teaspoons, 8 tablespoons, or 4 fluid ounces.
- Cup. The cup is one of the most commonly used liquid measurements, and can be found in quite a few recipes. There are 48 teaspoons, 16 tablespoons, 8 fluid ounces, or 2 gills in a single cup.
- Pint (pt). For every pint (which is used in many drink recipes) are made up of 96 teaspoons, 32 tablespoons, 16 fluid ounces, 4 gills, or 2 cups. This is really the start of the large liquid ingredients, and when used can guarantee that you will end up with quite a bit of product.
- Quart (qt). A quart (which is the common result of many recipes) is made up of 192 teaspoons, 64 tablespoons, 32 fluid ounces, 8 gills, 4 cups, or 2 pints.
- Gallon (gal). The gallon is the last of the commonly used measurements in the United States, at least in the home kitchen. A gallon is made up of 768 teaspoons, 256 tablespoons, 128 fluid ounces, 32 gills, 16 cups, 8 pints, or 4 quarts.
- Firkin. The firkin is the first of the large scale measurements that aren't commonly used in the kitchen, and large scale is a bit of an understatement. To get one firkin, you will need to use 9 gallons, 36 quarts, 72 pints, 144 cups, 288 gills, 1,152 fluid ounces, 2,304 tablespoons, or 6,912 tablespoons.
- Hogshead. The largest of all liquid cooking measurements used in the United States, and one that is definitely not used commonly anymore, is the hogshead. To get a single hogshead you will need to use 48,384 teaspoons, 16,128 tablespoons, 8,064 fluid ounces, 2,016 gills, 1,008 cups, 504 pints, 252 quarts, or 63 gallons. Frankly this one should only be used for exceptionally large recipes.