Sometimes, all you have is a few pieces of cutlery, and you need to figure out how many tablespoons are in half a cup.
That’s ok, there are many roads to converting cup measurements, and using tablespoons are one of them.
Measuring, converting, and figuring out how many tablespoons are in half a cup can look a little different, depending on where you are in the world. In this article, you’ll find some pretty clear guidance on how to get the job done of converting half a cup to tablespoons. And visa versa, of course.
To give you the short answer up front, there are 8 level US tablespoons in half a cup. This is theoretical, though, as it depends somewhat on what you’re measuring. But yes, there are about 8 tablespoons in a cup.
As you will see below in most of these guides, the critical point to measuring dry ingredients is centered around getting the dry element loosely aerated before measuring it. Flour and sugar tend to settle and become packed in too densely. Below is a guide for how to deal with this and get an accurate measuring result.
Converting 1/2 cups to tablespoons
In many counties, a tablespoon is the biggest spoon for dining purposes.
A tablespoon can be abbreviated as TBS, TBSP, T, or tbsp.
There is a slight difference between a tablespoon from the US and the UK, as there is with cups. Here is a conversion table to help you figure out the differences. It can get seriously tricky if you don’t have a guide close by, so consider printing this out for your kitchen.
|Milliliters||½ cup||US tablespoons||UK tablespoons|
How to measure with tablespoons
Here are a couple of helpful tips to accurately and successfully measure using tablespoons
- You should fill your tablespoons until they are nice and level, not heaped up like a mountain. Heaping your tablespoon with ingredients will result in a dry finished product. When you fill the spoon, give it a little tap. You can also use the back of another straight piece of cutlery, like a knife, to get the scoop leveled out. You can do this by scraping that straight edge along the top of the ingredient to get it nice and level.
- When you are measuring ingredients that tend to settle and get dense, like flour or cocoa powder, it’s essential to loosen them up with a fork. Breaking up the lumps and bumps and fluffing the ingredient up a little before measuring them is essential. If you dip the tablespoon into a container filled with flour, make sure it’s not too densely packed instead of first lifting it out. Using too densely packed ingredients can result in a dry baked good.
Here is a helpful table for conversions from tablespoons and into fl.oz
|Tablespoons (TBS)||Cups – Dry ingredients||Fl oz – wet ingredients|
|16 TBS||1 cup||8 fl oz|
|12 TBS||¾ cup||6 fl oz|
|10 + 2 tsp||2/3 cup||4 2/3 fl oz|
|8 TBS||½ cup||4 fl oz|
|5 TBS + 1 tsp||1/3 cup||2 1/3 fl oz|
|4 TBS||¼ cup||2 fl oz|
|2 TBS + 2 tsp||1/6 cup||1 1/3 fl oz|
|2 TBS||1/8 cup||1 floz|
|1 TBS||1 1/16 cup||½ fl oz|
How to measure butter with tablespoons and cups
Butter can be a seriously tricky one to measure if you don’t have any guidance. It can feel quite overwhelming if all you have is a cup and some solid butter! Firstly, here is a table that will help you work out how to switch between measurements depending on what you have in your kitchen:
|¼ cup||½||1/8||4 TBS||12 tsp|
|1/3 cup||½ & 1 1/3 TBS||5 1/3 TBS||16 tsp|
|½ cup||1||¼||8 TBS||24 tsp|
|2/3 cup||1 & 2 2/3 TBS||10 2/3 TBS||32 tsp|
|¾ cup||1 ½||3/8||12 TBS||36 tsp|
|1 cup||2||½||16 TBS||48 tsp|
|2 cup||4||1||32 TBS||96 tsp|
If you’re going to measure butter in sticks, make sure you use a sharp knife to cut through the sticks without squashing the edges and getting an inaccurate section or cut.
Suppose you are using cups to measure out butter; it’s really simplest to use soft butter so that you can fill the cup or tablespoons without any clumps or air pockets. Same applies to measuring butter with teaspoons.
How to measure with cups
The absolute first prize when measuring for baking is to measure in weight with some form of scale. If you need to use cups, that is fine. There are just a couple of steps to take to prevent an inaccurate result.
One of the critical elements to consider is how you are packing the cup. You want to ensure the ingredient you measure is not too densely packed. The exact same principle applies to measuring with a tablespoon or teaspoon. Don’t dip the cup directly into a packed container or sugar or flour. First, loosen that ingredient up to get particles of air through it. Depending on how tightly packed it is, you can either use a fork or a metal spoon.
Once you are confident that the ingredient has been evenly dispersed, you are ready to fill your cup. For an accurate measurement, the best route to do this is to lift the element out and fill the cup. Give the cup a little shake, and then use the back of a knife with a straight edge to level off the excess ingredient.
The same applies if you are measuring sugar or cocoa powder, as these ingredients also tend to settle densely if left for a while.
Here are 3 little guides for cup conversions when working with the different kinds of cups you may come across:
US Customary Cup System
|1 US cup||15.77 UK tablespoons|
|1 US cup||16 US tablespoons|
|1 US cup||236 ml|
US Legal Cup (for labeling and packaging)
|1 US cup||16 UK tablespoons|
|1 US cup||16.23 US tablespoons|
|1 US cup||240 ml|
Imperial Cup and the Metric Cup
|1 metric cup||250 ml|
|1 imperial cup||284 ml|
Measuring dry versus wet ingredients with a tablespoon
You can measure dry and wet ingredients in the same way. This also applies to teaspoons.
Measuring dry ingredients with a teaspoon if you don’t have a tablespoon
Sometimes your setup is super basic. Maybe all you have is a teaspoon. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this position:
Ok, it’s actually not that tricky because one tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons. So you can scale up and down between teaspoon and tablespoon measurements.
If there are 8 tablespoons in one cup, then there are 24 teaspoons in one cup. The tricky part is marking sure you fill the teaspoons as accurately as possible. Teaspoons are a little easier to overfill and heap. This means there is more room for error when measuring for baking with a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon or cup.
If you need to measure one cup of flour in teaspoons, you will need to take your time and get it done right. Here are some tips:
- Ensure your flour is not densely packed. This rule is the same when measuring with tablespoons and cups.
- Once the container of flour is nice and loose, dip your teaspoon into it.
- Ensure the teaspoon is filled as levelly as possible. Keep in mind how level it would be if you were measuring water. Basically, you don’t want it heaped too high, or the total volume of flour weighed out will be higher than an actual cup. Over-measuring in baking usually results in a dry product.
Conversion chart teaspoons, tablespoons, teaspoons, and fluid ounces
If you need to convert to teaspoons and you’re bouncing between cups, tablespoons, and fluid ounces, here is a little chart to help you out:
|1 cup||8 fl oz||16 TBS||48 tsp|
|¾ cup||6 fl oz||12 TBS||36 tsp|
|½ cup||4 fl oz||8 TBS||24 tsp|
|1/3 cup||2 2/3 fl oz||5 TBS & 1 tsp||16 tsp|
|¼ cup||2 fl oz||4 TBS||12 tsp|
More Kitchen Conversion Blogs
Wrapping it all up
There are a couple of key takeaways from learning to convert tablespoons to cups. Ensuring you measure accurately and don’t heap the cups or spoons is absolutely one of them. The other is loosening up the ingredient, so it is aerated and not densely packed.
Hopefully, the guidelines and charts in this article will give you the confidence and know-how to create any recipe, where ever you are and despite how limited your equipment might be. Happy converting!