Don't wonder again about how to measure butter, whether it is packed as a block, stick, tub, or irregularly shaped. Learn how to properly measure butter without scales and the difference in the butter measurements between solid butter, melted, brown, and clarified butter.
Buttered cakes, croissants, French madeleines... Butter is an essential baking ingredient that brings texture and flavor to baked goods. It also helps to prolong their shelf life.
Butter is a dairy product made of butterfat, milk solids, and water. Interestingly, its fat content may surprise you depending on where it is made and consumed.
- Measuring butter
- Measuring butter by weight
- How to measure butter from a block
- How to measure a stick of butter
- How to measure butter in cups
- How to measure tablespoons of butter
- Measuring butter using the butter twist
- How to measure butter in water
- How to measure melted butter
- How to measure butter from a tub
- Butter chart
- Other baking conversions
American butter differs from European butter, with a higher fat content (up to 86%) and less water. So make sure to choose high-quality butter to achieve the best baking results.
Most recipes call for unsalted butter, but others may specify to use of salted butter. Palet Breton is not a French butter biscuit if made with other than salted butter.
Melted butter separates into butterfat and milk solids. If you continue to cook it further, you will get brown butter with brown milk solids. Browned butter is used to make authentic French financiers.
Clarified butter is a superstar of French cuisine, and ghee is an essential ingredient of Indian cooking. Both ingredients represent pure butterfat by carefully removing milk solids and water residue.
Around the world, butter measurements have various forms. For example,
- Canadians tend to measure butter by volume using cups or blocks of butter,
- Americans use butter sticks, and
- Europeans and those who live in Australia and New Zealand use weight-based calculations in the metric system.
To start cooking or baking, carefully read the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for "1 cup butter, melted," you have to measure one cup of butter, then melt it. If it calls for "1 cup melted butter," melt it before measuring.
The same applies to measuring "1 cup flour, sifted" and "1 cup sifted flour." These are two different measurements that result in two different baking outcomes.
But cooking and baking should be an effortless experience. So stop struggling in the kitchen with butter. This quick guide teaches how to measure butter with and without a scale.
Measuring butter by weight
How to measure butter by weight? Measuring butter with a kitchen scale is the most accurate way to succeed in baking. It also helps reduce the washing up of measuring cups and spoons. To measure butter by weight:
- Place a kitchen scale on a flat surface.
- Put a small bowl or wax paper on a food scale.
- Tare the scale to zero to remove the weight of the container.
- Add or remove butter until you reach the recipe amount.
- Tare the scale to zero again if you need to add another ingredient.
Modern digital scales offer a convenient way to measure both liquids in fluid ounces and milliliters and dry ingredients in grams, dry ounces, and pounds.
How to measure butter from a block
If you have to measure a butter block, you should take advantage of its special markings. Just slice your way through at ¼ cup, ½ cup, or other convenient increments.
Or use a ruler or a tape measure, keeping in mind that a whole block of butter equals 2 cups or 500 mL.
You can make your life easier by cutting the butter block into eight parts, each equal to ¼-cup measurement. Wrap each slice individually and use the portions of butter as you need.
How to measure a stick of butter
Sticks of butter sold in the United States have butter wrapper measurements or measurement lines. Each line represents 1 tablespoon of butter. With a sharp knife, cut the butter stick into halves, quarters, or tablespoons the recipe requires.
You can cut the butter unwrapped or still with the wrap, removing the paper wrapping pieces before use.
If you need to measure a butter stick with the wrapper thrown away, use a ruler to cut the stick into 8 equal parts, where each piece equals 1 tablespoon.
How to measure butter in cups
Soft butter, softened butter, or room temperature butter is usually measured with a dry measuring cup.
Let the solid butter soften at room temperature first. Then with a rubber spatula or a spoon, fill the cup, making sure to remove any air, and then using the flat side of a butter knife, level off the butter.
How to measure tablespoons of butter
You can measure small amounts of butter with measuring spoons: tablespoons or teaspoons. Just fill your measuring spoon with softened butter, removing gaps of air, and then using the flat side of a butter knife, level off the scoop.
Measuring butter using the butter twist
To measure the butter with tablespoons, you can try a butter twist. It is a special kitchen gadget to measure butter in 1-tablespoon increments by turning the cutting ring 180 degrees. It also helps when it comes to spreading butter.
How to measure butter in water
Here is a rare way to measure the irregularly shaped butter, but it works when it isn't softened yet to be measured by a cup. So how to measure butter using the water displacement method?
- Prepare at least 2-cup (500 ml) glass measuring cup with graduated measuring marks on the side. Place it on a flat surface. Pour one cup (250 ml) of cold water.
- Add butter pieces that need to be measured into the container. Then, press the butter down: it has to be below the surface of the water.
- Bend over to watch the new water level in the measuring container, and deduct 1 cup. You will get the amount of butter you measure by volume (in cups or milliliters).
- If you need less or more butter, remove or add a few pieces of butter, submerging it. It becomes evident that if you need ½ cup of butter, the measuring container should show the level of 1 ½ cup.
How to measure melted butter
Melted butter loses minimal weight while melting due to water evaporation.
If the recipe calls for ½ cup of melted butter, melt more than ½ cup of butter. Then measure ½ cup of the melted butter with a liquid measuring cup.
While the minimal weight loss doesn't generally impact most recipes that require fat and moisture accuracy, bakers should be careful when measuring.
It especially applies to clarified or brown butter that should be measured in liquid forms.
Both clarified and brown butter makes up 75% of the volume or weight of whole butter. As a result, you will make ¾ cup of clarified or browned butter out of 1 cup.
How to measure butter from a tub
There is such a thing as a tub of butter that mustn't be confused with a stick of butter. One stick of butter equals half a cup, a quarter of a pound, or 4 ounces, or 8 tablespoons, or 113 grams.
One tub of butter, usually containing whipped butter, may represent different measurements from 8 ounces to 45 ounces and more. Most tubs have 16 servings inside, where each serving equals 1 tablespoon.
But how to measure butter in a tub? You can quickly turn one tub of butter into 16 equal slices with a bit of measuring and cutting.
To measure butter in a tub,
- Check the number of serving a tub of butter has; for example, 16.
- Open the tub of butter.
- With a knife, divide the butter into 4 equal parts.
- Divide each part into 4 equal pieces; you will get 16 butter sections in sum.
- Take one small section of butter equal to 1 tablespoon.
- Remove as many butter parts as needed.
Whipped butter is an airy substance filled with one-third of the air. So if you fill ½ cup, you will use about ⅓ cup of regular butter. For new bakers, please remember that whipped butter is not the same as real butter in baking.
You will find this conversion chart for butter useful. It will help convert butter between different measurement units such as sticks, cups, blocks, tablespoons, teaspoons, ounces, pounds, and grams.
Here is the answer if you have a question about how much butter is in something, meaning different measurement units.
To download, print it out for free, and include it in your recipe binder, please, refer to the butter conversion chart post.
|5 tablespoon + 1 tsp
|2 ⅔ oz
|10 tablespoon + 2 tsp
|5 ⅓ oz
|1 ¼ c
|1 ½ c
|1 ¾ c
Other baking conversions
Learning butter measurements and conversions is an essential part of baking. Also, enjoy other handy conversion charts on the website:
- How Many Grams In A Cup
- How Many Grams Is In A Tablespoon
- How Many Grams Is In A Teaspoon?
- How Many Milliliters In A Teaspoon
- How Many Ounces In A Cup
And if you ever need to learn baking basics to level up your baking, sign up for a Baking Jumpstart E-course.