How many tbsps is a half cup of butter?

Butter is a staple ingredient in many recipes and is a useful way to add flavor and moisture to baked goods, sauces, roasted vegetables, and more. When following a recipe, you may come across a measurement calling for half a cup of butter. But if you don’t have measuring cups handy, how can you quickly figure out how many tablespoons that equals?

Knowing how to convert between cups, fluid ounces, and tablespoons is an essential kitchen skill. While you may be able to eyeball approximations for small amounts, being able to accurately convert measurements allows you to reliably reproduce recipes with consistent results every time. In this article, we’ll explain exactly how many tablespoons are in half a cup of butter. We’ll also provide a handy conversion chart and show you how to do the math yourself in case you ever need to convert fractions of cups to tablespoons in the future.

How Many Tbsp in 1/2 Cup of Butter?

The quick answer is: Half a cup of butter equals 8 tablespoons.

To understand why, we first need to know some basic information about how volume is measured in cooking.

Volume Measurements

In the kitchen, standard U.S. measuring spoons and cups are based on the following equivalents:

– 3 teaspoons (tsp) = 1 tablespoon (tbsp)
– 16 tablespoons = 1 cup (c)
– 2 cups = 1 pint (pt)
– 2 pints = 1 quart (qt)
– 4 quarts = 1 gallon (gal)

There are therefore 48 teaspoons in 1 cup.

Butter is typically measured in tablespoons and cups when called for in recipes, since teaspoons would be too small of a unit for most use cases.

Converting Between Cups, Tablespoons and Fluid Ounces

Since there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, we can use this to convert between cups and tablespoons.

To get tablespoons from cups:
– Multiply the number of cups by 16

For example:
– 1 cup = 16 tbsp
– 1/2 cup = 8 tbsp
– 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp

To go the other way from tablespoons to cups:
– Divide the number of tablespoons by 16

For example:
– 16 tbsp = 1 cup
– 8 tbsp = 1/2 cup
– 4 tbsp = 1/4 cup

For fluid ounces:
– 1 cup = 8 fl oz
– 1 fl oz = 2 tbsp

So if you know that half a cup equals 8 tablespoons, you also know:

– Half a cup = 4 fl oz
– 1 tablespoon = 0.5 fl oz

This allows you to convert between the units easily.

Converting Half a Cup of Butter to Tablespoons

Now that we understand the relationships between cups, tablespoons and fluid ounces, converting half a cup of butter is simple.

Since there are 16 tablespoons per cup, and we have half a cup, we simply divide 16 in half to get 8 tablespoons.

To demonstrate:

The Math

– There are 16 tbsp in 1 cup
– To get half of 16:
– 16 / 2 = 8
– Therefore, half of 16 tablespoons is 8 tablespoons

So half a cup of butter equals 8 tablespoons.

Handy Conversion Chart

Here is a handy reference chart showing some common butter measurements conversions:

Butter Amount Tablespoons Cups Fluid Ounces
1 tablespoon 1 tbsp 1/16 cup 0.5 fl oz
2 tablespoons 2 tbsp 1/8 cup 1 fl oz
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) 4 tbsp 1/4 cup 2 fl oz
5 tablespoons 5 tbsp 5/16 cup 2.5 fl oz
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) 8 tbsp 1/2 cup 4 fl oz
10 tablespoons 10 tbsp 5/8 cup 5 fl oz
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) 12 tbsp 3/4 cup 6 fl oz
16 tablespoons (1 cup) 16 tbsp 1 cup 8 fl oz

As you can see, half a cup converted to tablespoons is simply 8 tbsp.

When Precision Matters

While the above conversions are handy for most basic kitchen measurements, it’s important to note that when precision is absolutely necessary, conversions should be done by weight rather than volume. This is because the density and air content of butter can vary, meaning that 1 cup by volume may not always precisely equal 8 fl oz or 16 tbsp.

For the most accurate measurements in matters where precision is vital, such as chemistry, physics, and baking, the weight in grams or ounces should be used rather than the volume in cups, tablespoons or fluid ounces.

However, for most general cooking purposes where approximations are fine, using standard U.S. volume measurements like cups and tablespoons will produce consistent and reliable results.

Tips for Measuring Butter

When measuring butter by volume, here are some useful tips:

– Use measuring spoons and cups that are designed for dry ingredients rather than liquid measures. The cup measurements will be more accurate since butter is solid at room temperature.

– Pack the butter firmly into the cup or spoon without large air pockets to get the proper amount.

– Level off the top surface cleanly with a straight edge like the flat side of a knife.

– Softened butter at room temperature is easier to measure and achieve proper packing compared to cold refrigerated butter.

– Don’t estimate by sight – use proper measuring tools for consistent and reliable amounts.

– Refer to a reliable conversions chart or do the math yourself to convert between units.

– For recipes using small amounts of butter, it may be easier to first measure in tablespoons and then convert to fractions of a cup.

Sample Recipes Using 1/2 Cup Butter

To give you an idea of how half a cup of butter is used in cooking, here are some sample recipes that include a 1/2 cup butter amount:

Buttery Garlic Bread

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, minced garlic, parsley, garlic powder and salt until well combined. Spread the garlic butter mixture evenly over the cut sides of the bread loaves. Put the bread back together and wrap tightly in foil. Bake for 15 minutes until heated through. Remove foil and broil for 2-3 minutes until top is golden brown. Slice and serve warm.

Classic Sugar Cookies

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until a dough forms. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Cool on wire racks and decorate as desired.

Shrimp Scampi

– 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 8 oz spaghetti or linguine

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a skillet over medium heat, combine melted butter, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant but not browned. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway, until shrimp are pink. Drain pasta and toss with shrimp mixture. Serve with extra lemon wedges.


Here are some frequently asked questions about measuring butter:

Why are there tablespoons and cups?

The standard U.S. system uses both cups and tablespoons to provide different size measurements for convenience in cooking. Cups allow you to quickly measure larger amounts, while tablespoons are useful for smaller amounts.

Can I use measuring cups for liquids to measure butter?

No, you should use dry measuring cups designed for solid ingredients. Liquid measuring cups are not sized properly to give you the correct volume for ingredients like butter or flour. Using the wrong cups will lead to inaccurate amounts in recipes.

What does it mean when a recipe calls for 1 stick of butter?

When a recipe calls for 1 stick of butter, it is referring to a whole stick containing 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup. The convenience of “stick” measurements comes from the fact that most butter in the U.S. is sold pre-packaged in sticks containing 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) each.

What if I only have metrics like grams instead of cups?

You can easily convert butter amounts between U.S. customary units like cups and tablespoons to metric weights like grams:

– 1 cup butter = 2 sticks = 8 oz = 227g
– 1/2 cup butter = 1 stick = 4 oz = 113g

Can I freeze butter for later use?

Absolutely! Freezing butter allows you to store it for longer periods while maintaining freshness. Wrap butter tightly in plastic wrap, place in freezer bags or airtight containers, and freeze for up to 6-9 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.


Whether you’re measuring out a stick for baking cookies or grabbing a tablespoon to sauté some veggies, knowing how to convert butter measurements is an essential kitchen skill. To recap, half a cup of butter equals 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces. This conversion allows you to easily substitute butter amounts in recipes using the common units of cups, tablespoons, and fluid ounces. With the handy tips, conversion chart, and sample recipes provided, you should feel confident measuring, converting and cooking with butter.

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