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The cup is a customary unit of measurement for volume, used in cooking to measure liquids (fluid measurement) and bulk foods such as granulated sugar (dry measurement). Actual cups used in a household in any country may differ from the cup size used for recipes; standard measuring cups, often calibrated in fluid measure and weights of usual dry ingredients as well as in cups, are available.
As a result of the fact that the imperial cup is actually out of use and the other definitions differ hardly (±3%), the U.S. measuring cups and metric measuring cups may be used as equal in practice.
No matter what size cup is used, the ingredients of a recipe measured with the same size cup will have their volumes in the same proportion to one another. The relative amounts to ingredients measured differently (by weight, or by different measures of volume such as teaspoons, etc.) may be affected by the definitions used.
In the Commonwealth of nations (such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indian Subcontinent, South Africa, ...), Latin America and Lebanon one cup is commonly defined as 250 millilitres.
|=||162⁄3||international tablespoons (15 mL each)|
|=||12.5||Australian tablespoons (20 mL each)|
|≈||8.80||imperial fluid ounces|
|≈||8.45||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
A "coffee cup" is 1.5 dl or 150 millilitres or 5.07 US customary fluid ounces, and is occasionally used in recipes. It is also used in the US to specify coffeemaker sizes. A 12-cup US coffeemaker makes 57.6 US customary fluid ounces of coffee, or 6.8 metric cups of coffee.
United States customary cup is defined as half a U.S. pint.
|1 U.S. customary cup||=||1⁄16||U.S. customary gallon|
|=||1⁄4||U.S. customary quart|
|=||1⁄2||U.S. customary pint|
|=||8||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
|=||16||U.S. customary tablespoons[nb 1]|
|=||48||U.S. customary teaspoons|
|≈||8.33||imperial fluid ounces|
|1 U.S. "legal" cup||=||240||millilitres|
|≈||8.12||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
|≈||8.45||imperial fluid ounces|
The imperial cup, unofficially defined as half an imperial pint, is rarely found today. It may still appear on older kitchen utensils and in older recipe books.
|1 imperial cup||=||0.5||imperial pints|
|=||10||imperial fluid ounces|
|≈||1.20||U.S. customary cups|
|≈||9.61||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
The Japanese cup is currently defined as 200 mL.
|1 Japanese cup||=||200||millilitres|
|≈||7.04||imperial fluid ounces|
|≈||6.76||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
The traditional Japanese cup, the gō, is approximately 180 mL. 10 gō make one shō, the traditional flask size, approximately 1.8 litres. Gō cups are typically used for measuring rice, and sake is typically sold by the cup (180 mL), the bottle (720 mL), and flask (1.8 litre) sizes. Note modern sake bottle sizes are almost the same as the 750 mL American standard for wine bottles, but are divisible into 4 gō.
|1 gō||=||2401⁄13310||litres[nb 3]|
|≈||6.35||imperial fluid ounces|
|≈||6.10||U.S. customary fluid ounces|
In Europe, cooking recipes normally state any liquid volume larger than a few tablespoons in millilitres, the scale found on most measuring cups worldwide. Non-liquid ingredients are normally weighed in grams instead, using a kitchen scale, rather than measured in cups. Most recipes in Europe use the millilitre or decilitre (1 dL = 100 mL) as a measure of volume. For example, where an American customary recipe might specify "1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of milk", a European recipe might specify "200 g sugar and 500 mL of milk" (or 0.5 litre or 5 decilitres). Conversion between the two measures must take into account the density of the ingredients. Many European measuring cups have additional scales for common bulk ingredients like sugar, flour, or rice to make the process easier.
|Volume to mass conversions for some common cooking ingredients|
|metric cup||imperial cup||U.S. customary cup|
|water||1[nb 5]||249–250||8.8||283–284||10||236–237||8.3[nb 6]|