Butter is a staple baking ingredient used in a variety of recipes from cookies to cakes to pastries and more. When following a recipe, it’s important to accurately measure butter to ensure your baked goods come out right. Recipes may call for butter by the tablespoon (tbs) or cup, so it’s helpful to know how these units convert.
12 tablespoons (tbs) of butter is equivalent to 3/4 cup of butter.
Butter Conversion Guide
To understand how many cups are in 12 tablespoons of butter, it’s important to first understand some key butter measurements:
- 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of butter = 1/2 ounce
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter = 1 ounce
- 4 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter = 2 ounces
- 8 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter = 4 ounces
- 16 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter = 8 ounces
There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup of butter. So:
- 1 cup of butter = 16 tablespoons
- 2 cups of butter = 32 tablespoons
- 4 cups of butter = 64 tablespoons
Now we can find out how many cups are in 12 tablespoons of butter:
- 12 tablespoons / 16 tablespoons per cup = 0.75 cups
Therefore, 12 tablespoons (tbs) of butter equals 3/4 cup of butter.
Butter Measurement Conversions
Here is a handy reference chart showing some common butter measurement conversions:
|1 tablespoon||1 tablespoon||1/16 cup|
|2 tablespoons||2 tablespoons||1/8 cup|
|4 tablespoons (1/4 cup)||4 tablespoons||1/4 cup|
|5 tablespoons||5 tablespoons||1/3 cup|
|8 tablespoons (1/2 cup)||8 tablespoons||1/2 cup|
|10 tablespoons||10 tablespoons||5/8 cup|
|12 tablespoons (3/4 cup)||12 tablespoons||3/4 cup|
|16 tablespoons (1 cup)||16 tablespoons||1 cup|
As you can see, 12 tablespoons of butter equals 3/4 cup.
Metric Butter Conversions
For bakers working with the metric system, here are some handy butter conversion figures:
- 1 tablespoon of butter = 14 grams
- 1/4 cup of butter = 57 grams
- 1/3 cup of butter = 76 grams
- 1/2 cup of butter = 113 grams
- 2/3 cup of butter = 150 grams
- 3/4 cup of butter = 170 grams
- 1 cup of butter = 227 grams
So 12 tablespoons of butter would equal:
- 12 tablespoons x 14 grams per tablespoon = 168 grams
When to Use Butter Measurement Conversions
Here are some examples of when you may need to convert butter measurements:
- Substituting butter for shortening or margarine in a recipe – since these products come in sticks divided into tablespoons, you may need to convert to cups.
- Scaling up or down a baking recipe – conversions help you adjust butter amounts proportionally.
- Converting a recipe to metric measurements or vice versa.
- When you only have a portion of a butter cup measure available, like 3/4 cup or 1/3 cup.
- Substituting melted butter for solid butter in a recipe or vice versa.
- When butter is listed by volume and weight in the same recipe.
Tips for Measuring Butter
To get the most accurate measurements, here are some useful tips for measuring butter:
- Use standard dry measuring cups and spoons designed for measuring ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, etc. Avoid using mugs or drinking glasses which do not offer standard sizes.
- Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature before measuring. Cold, hard butter can be difficult to measure accurately and pack into cups.
- Use flat, straight-edged butter knives or small spatulas to level off the butter evenly across the top of the measuring cup for precise measurements.
- When measuring small amounts of butter like a tablespoon, scoop and level the butter in the spoon for accuracy.
- Measure over wax paper or parchment to minimize mess.
- Store butter sticks in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to minimize air exposure and help butter retain its volume.
- Opt for stick butter over tub butter to make tablespoon measurements easier.
Why Accurate Butter Measurements Matter
You may be wondering why it’s so important to accurately measure butter when baking. Here are a few reasons why precision matters:
- Flavor – Butter provides rich flavor in baked goods. Too much can make recipes overly greasy or fatty. Too little may result in drier, less flavorful results.
- Texture – The right amount of butter contributes to desirable texture in items like cakes, cookies, and pastries. Not enough butter can lead to dry baked goods while too much creates overly dense, thick texture.
- Leavening – Butter’s fat content interacts with leaveners like baking powder and baking soda during the baking process. Improper amounts of butter can mess with lift and rise.
- Appearance – Butter assists in browning, resulting in crisp, golden brown cookies and cakes. Incorrect amounts can lead to pale or overly browned finished baked goods.
- Balanced Recipe – Butter must be properly balanced with other ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, etc. Too much or too little throws off this balance, sabotaging the recipe.
So be sure to take the time to measure butter carefully and accurately based on what a recipe calls for!
Factors That Affect Butter Measurement
There are a few factors that can affect butter measurements, making precision challenging:
- Temperature – Cold, hard butter is difficult to accurately cut and measure. Softened, warm butter is easier to work with, but may compress more than desired in cups.
- Whipped Butter – The process of whipping introduces more air into butter, decreasing its density. 1 cup of whipped butter will not yield the same amount as 1 cup of regular butter.
- Melted Butter – Melted butter takes up less volume than solid butter. Take care when substituting melted for solid butter in recipes.
- Salt Content – Salted butter contains a small amount of salt, affecting its density. Use unsalted butter for the most precise measuring and control over salt content.
- Packing – How firmly butter is packed into a cup or spoon affects its volume. Packing too firmly or lightly can alter measurements.
- Butter Shape – Poorly shaped, very uneven butter sticks make cutting straight tablespoons difficult.
Being aware of these aspects can help you be a better, more precise butter measurer.
Common Butter Measurement Mistakes
To get the most accurate measurements, avoid these common butter measuring mistakes:
- Not leveling off butter in cups or spoons before measuring.
- Measuring cold, hard butter instead of properly softened butter.
- Using volume measures like cups or spoons for melted butter instead of weight.
- Measuring over the mixing bowl instead of on a flat surface like wax paper.
- Using flimsy, warped measuring tools instead of sturdy, straight-edged ones.
- Measuring whipped or already melted butter as if it were solid.
- Cutting jagged, uneven tablespoons that are too large or too small.
- Packing butter into cups and spoons excessively tightly or loosely.
- Not adjusting measurements when using salted versus unsalted butter.
With practice and the right techniques, you can become adept at measuring butter accurately.
In a pinch, you can substitute butter in recipes with the following alternatives:
- Unsalted butter – Substitute 1:1 for salted butter, reducing salt in recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per 1 cup butter.
- Margarine – For 1 cup butter, use 7/8 cup margarine. Soften margarine to room temperature before measuring for best results.
- Shortening – Replace butter with an equal amount of vegetable shortening by volume. May result in slightly heavier texture.
- Oil – Substitute 3/4 cup oil for every 1 cup butter. The texture will be much denser and heavier without the water in butter.
When substituting, pay close attention to volume versus weight measurements for accuracy. And keep in mind that flavor, moisture, and chemistry differences between butter and substitutes may slightly alter finished recipes.
Cup to Gram Butter Conversions
Forrecipes using the metric system, you can convert butter cup measurements to grams using the following approximate conversions:
- 1/4 cup butter = 57 grams
- 1/3 cup butter = 76 grams
- 1/2 cup butter = 113 grams
- 2/3 cup butter = 150 grams
- 3/4 cup butter = 170 grams
- 1 cup butter = 227 grams
- 2 cups butter = 454 grams
So for 12 tablespoons of butter, which equals 3/4 cup:
- 3/4 cup butter = 170 grams
Gram to Cup Butter Conversions
You can also convert in the other direction, from grams to cups:
- 28 grams butter = 2 tablespoons
- 56 grams butter = 1/4 cup
- 85 grams butter = 1/3 cup
- 113 grams butter = 1/2 cup
- 170 grams butter = 3/4 cup
- 225 grams butter = 1 cup
Weight vs Volume Butter Measurements
Both the weight in grams and volume in cups or tablespoons are important for precision when baking. Volume measures how much space butter takes up while weight indicates the actual mass of the butter. measuring weight requires a kitchen scale for accuracy.
Why does the weight versus volume matter? Butter contains a fair amount of natural water content. Factors like humidity and temperature can affect this moisture content and volume. 1 cup of butter may not consistently weigh the same year-round or in different environments. So for ultimate precision, weigh butter instead of only measuring cups.
How is butter packaged?
Butter is packaged in a few common ways:
- Sticks – Long sticks divided into tablespoons for easy measuring. Sold in boxes containing 1-4 sticks (1/4 lb to 1 lb).
- Tubs – Rectangular plastic tubs, typically containing 2-4 cups of butter. May be salted or unsalted.
- Whipped butter – Soft, easily spreadable butter that incorporates air during processing. Found in tubs.
- European blocks – Large, long blocks of butter pound or 250 gram increments. No tablespoon markings.
Sticks are the most common packaging found in home kitchens for easy measuring by tablespoons and cups.
How is butter made?
Butter is made by churning cream until the fat separates into solid butterfat bits and liquid buttermilk. Here is the basic process:
- Cream is separated from whole milk and pasteurized.
- The heavy cream is warmed and pumped into a churning machine.
- The cream is agitated and churned until butterfat clumps form.
- Buttermilk is drained off, leaving behind butterfat chunks.
- Butterfat is washed, salted if desired, then kneaded into a solid mass and shaped.
- The butter is packaged into blocks, tubs, or sticks.
Homemade butter can be created by simply shaking heavy cream in a jar until it separates and clumps together!
Key Takeaways on 12 Tablespoons of Butter in Cups
- 12 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter equals 3/4 cup of butter.
- There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup of butter.
- Proper butter measurements are key for best results in baking recipes.
- Use proper dry measuring tools and techniques for accuracy.
- Pay attention to temperature, packing, salt content, and volume versus weight.
- Converting between cups, tablespoons, and grams ensures precise measurements.
When a recipe calls for butter by the tablespoon, you can easily convert to cups knowing there are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup. Specifically, 12 tablespoons of butter equates to 3/4 cup. Using proper measuring tools and techniques allows you to precisely measure butter by volume. Weighing butter provides even more accuracy. Understanding butter measurement conversions of cups, tablespoons, grams, and ounces is key for both bringing recipes up or down to needed servings and for substituting butter successfully in any baking situation.