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Basic Cooking Measurement Abbreviations and Conversions

It’s great to try new recipes when cooking for yourself or for others. But what happens when you run into an unfamiliar abbreviation or term when measuring your ingredients? Keep reading to find a list of cooking measurement abbreviations that you can reference easily. Bon appétit!

Girl looking at measuring cupGirl looking at measuring cup

Cooking Measurement Abbreviations

You may know the basics of cooking measurement. But there can be a big difference between a tsp and a tbsp when preparing a meal, so it’s best to be sure. Here are some measurement abbreviations that are perfect for reading recipes.

Volume Measurements

A set of measuring cups and measuring spoons can only get you so far. If you don’t know what the recipe is asking for, no measuring spoon will save your dish from disaster. You may see these abbreviations in your cookbook:

  • bu - bushel

  • C or c - cup

  • dsp - dessertspoon (in Australia)

  • fl oz - fluid ounce

  • gal - gallon

  • mL - milliliter

  • L or l - liter

  • pk - peck

  • pt - pint

  • qt - quart

  • T, TB, or tbsp -  tablespoon

  • t or tsp - teaspoon

Weight Measurement

The United States typically uses pounds to measure the weight of ingredients. However, countries that use the metric system employ grams to describe how much of an ingredient one should add. Some common weight abbreviations include:

  • g - gram

  • kg - kilogram

  • lb or # - pound

  • mg - milligram

  • oz - ounce

Other Measurement Units

What should you do if a recipe calls for a sp of cinnamon? Or a pkg of chocolate chips? Check out these measurement units that describe size and amount of an ingredient.

  • doz. - dozen

  • lg - large

  • p - pinch

  • pkg - package

  • sm - small

  • sp - speck

Cooking Conversions

In most countries around the world, recipes use the metric system to measure ingredients. However, the United States uses US units (similar to Imperial Units) for cooking measurements. So what should you do when you need to convert units? Use these handy charts for all your conversion needs. The measurement converters on our sister site, LoveToKnow, can come in handy too.

Volume (US to Metric Unit Conversion)

Cooks in the United States tend to measure their ingredients based on the size of utensils. Metric units are more standard across cooking tools. Here are some ways to convert from US units to metric units to keep your cakes fluffy and your soups savory.

US Units

Alternative US Units

Metric Units

1 tsp

⅓ tbsp

5 mL

1 tbsp

3 tsp or ½ fl oz

15 mL

¼ cup

4 tbsp or 2 fl oz

60 mL

⅓ cup 

5 tbsp + 1 tsp

80 mL

½ cup

8 tbsp or 4 fl oz

125 mL

¾ cup

12 tbsp or 6 fl oz

180 mL

1 cup

16 tbsp or 8 fl oz

250 mL

1 pint

2 cups

500 mL

1 quart

4 cups or 2 pints

950 mL

1 gallon

8 pints, 4 quarts, or ½ peck

3.8 L

2 gallons

8 quarts or 1 peck

7.5 L

1 peck

¼ bushel or 2 gallons

8.8 L

4 pecks

1 bushel or 7 ¾ gallons

35.2 L

Some of these measures, like bushels and pecks, aren’t as common in modern recipes. However, it’s still important to know how they convert if you’re using an older, more traditional cooking guide or are cooking for a lot of people.

Weight (US to Metric Unit Conversion)

Some Americans have food scales to measure food, but they mainly rely on packaging amounts and volume measurements when cooking. Here are some ways to determine how ounces and pounds convert to metric grams.

US Units

Alternative US Units

Metric Units

1 oz

1/16 lb 

28 grams

2 oz

⅛ lb

57 grams

4 oz

¼ lb

113 grams

5.5 oz

⅓ lb 

156 grams

8 oz

½ lb

227 grams

11 oz

⅔ lb

312 grams

12 oz

¾ lb

340 grams

16 oz

1 lb

454 grams

35 oz

2.2 lb

992 grams

160 oz

10 lb

4.5 kilograms

Some of these measurements may vary if you’re using Imperial units. US units came from traditional British units, but when Britain transitioned to the Imperial system, it created slight differences. It’s worth understanding these alternate measurements before starting a recipe from a country that’s different from your own.

More Measurement Resources

If you’d like to try your measurement skills out of the kitchen, take a look at our informational measurement articles. Master the prefixes of the metric system with a helpful guide. Or, you can learn more measurement abbreviations that include height, weight, length, distance, and range measurement units.

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