How to Measure

When you first start learning to cook, measuring ingredients with accuracy can be the difference between a fantastic meal and a complete flop. This is especially true with baking or desserts, but you often don’t need to be as precise with savoury dishes.

For beginners, measuring can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to maths and units of measure. Don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help, but also don’t be surprised if they aren’t an expert either. You can both learn together!

Liquid or solid?

Liquid ingredients, like milk and olive oil, are typically measured in volume such as millilitres or litres. Solid or dry ingredients, like margarine and flour, are typically measured in mass, such as milligrams, grams and kilograms.

Choose the right tool for the job

Having a range of measuring equipment will help. But knowing which equipment to use is the skill of the master measurer.

Used to measure specific amounts of ingredients, usually solid or dry. Scales measure ingredients in weight or they can also convert measurements to volume. Scales are the most specific method for measuring ingredients and are often important when baking desserts.

Measuring spoons
Used to measure small amounts of ingredients (less than ¼ cup) for example 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Usually used for solid or dry ingredients but can be used for liquids too.

Measuring cups
Used to measure amounts of ingredients in moderate to large quantities where the exact amount of an ingredient is not important for example ¼ cup of roasted almonds. If you accidentally added a little more than ¼ cup of almonds as a garnish to a panna cotta it would not ruin the recipe.

Measuring jugs
Used as a more practical way than cups to measure larger volumes of liquids. For convenience measuring jugs often reference cup measures and also millilitres.


Know your abbreviations

Take a look at any recipe’s ingredients list and you’ll probably see words like tsp, tbs, g, L and ml. These are called abbreviations and they indicate units of measure.

Unit of measure Abbreviations
Teaspoon tsp
Tablespoon tbs
Millilitre ml
Litre L
Gram g
Kilogram kg