How much of a stick is 1/3 cup of butter?

Baking can be an exact science, with recipes calling for precise measurements of ingredients. When a recipe calls for a fraction of a cup of butter, like 1/3 cup, it’s understandable to be unsure exactly how much butter that equates to. Let’s explore the details of how to measure 1/3 cup of butter so your baked goods turn out perfectly.

What Does 1/3 Cup of Butter Look Like?

So what does 1/3 cup of butter actually look like? Here’s a quick overview:

  • 1/3 cup of butter is equal to around 5 1/3 tablespoons or 80 grams of butter.
  • If you cut an average stick of butter lengthwise into 3 equal pieces, one of those pieces would be around 1/3 cup.
  • 1/3 cup of sliced or cubed butter comes to around 2 2/3 ounces in weight.

As you can see, the actual look and measurement of 1/3 cup butter will vary a bit depending on whether you slice a stick into thirds, cube it, or weigh it out in tablespoons. But in any form, it equates to around one-third of a standard 8 tablespoon stick of butter.

How to Measure 1/3 Cup Butter

When a recipe calls for 1/3 cup butter, there are a few easy ways to measure it out accurately:

Slicing a Stick into Thirds

If you have a standard stick of butter, you can simply cut it crosswise into 3 equal pieces:

  1. Cut the stick in half first to make 2 equal pieces.
  2. Then cut one of those halves in half again to make 3 even pieces.
  3. Use one of the thirds for your 1/3 cup of butter.

Using a Butter Knife

A less messy way is to use a butter knife to slice off a 1/3 portion:

  1. Place the stick of butter on its side on a cutting board.
  2. Use a ruler to measure and mark the 2 1/3 inch point.
  3. Use the tip of a butter knife to slice down at the mark and separate the 1/3 cup portion.

Scooping with a Spoon

For baking, butter is often used melted or softened. In this form, you can easily scoop and level it:

  1. Use a spoon to scoop and heap soft butter into a liquid measuring cup.
  2. Level off the top using the straight edge of a knife or spatula.
  3. The leveled butter should come to around 1/3 cup.

Weighing in Grams

For the most precise measurement, use a kitchen scale:

  1. Set the scale to grams.
  2. Place a small bowl on the scale and press tare to zero it out.
  3. Add butter cubes, sliced butter, or softened butter until the scale reads between 75-85 grams.

This will give you the most accurate reading for recipes where precision matters most.

Tips for Measuring Butter

Follow these tips for reliably measuring 1/3 cup butter for baking and cooking:

  • Start with cold butter. Right from the fridge ensures uniform sticks and slices.
  • Cut on the points. Place sticks upright on a cutting board to cut into even pieces.
  • Pack it in. Press sliced or cubed butter firmly into the cup when measuring.
  • Level with care. Use a straight edge and sweep across cleanly.
  • Check your scale. Make sure your scale is properly calibrated before weighing.

How Much is 1/3 Cup Butter in Tablespoons?

Wondering how many tablespoons are in 1/3 cup of butter? Here’s the table:

Measurement Tablespoons
1/3 cup butter 5 1/3 tablespoons

As you can see, 1/3 cup of butter comes out to about 5 1/3 tablespoons. So if you need to substitute tablespoons for the 1/3 cup called for in a recipe, use 5 tablespoons plus a little over 1 teaspoon to get the equivalent amount.

Common Uses for 1/3 Cup Butter

What recipes and dishes use 1/3 cup butter? Here are some of the most common uses for this amount:


In baking recipes like cakes, quick breads, cookies, pie doughs, and pastries, 1/3 cup is a standard amount of butter called for. It provides enough richness and moisture without overpowering other ingredients.

Buttering Dishes

Greasing baking dishes like cake pans, loaf pans, and casserole dishes takes about 1-2 tablespoons of butter. So 1/3 cup would be plenty for preparing multiple dishes for baking.

Table Top Butter

Having a stick of butter out for spreading at the table can go quickly. Cutting one into thirds allows multiple people to take a share without overdoing it.

Saut??ing Vegetables

A couple tablespoons of butter is often used to saut?? vegetables in a skillet. 1/3 cup would be enough to saut?? several batches or a very large quantity.

Scrambled Eggs

For 3-4 servings of scrambed eggs, around 1-2 tablespoons of butter is often added to the pan. 1/3 cup would make extra rich and buttery eggs for a crowd!

Buttercream Frosting

A simple buttercream can be made by creaming together 1/3 cup soft butter with 2 cups powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.


For stove top popcorn, tossing the popped kernels with a couple tablespoons of melted butter is standard. 1/3 cup would make a double batch extra indulgent.

Substitutes for 1/3 Cup Butter

For baking and cooking when you don’t have butter on hand, there are a few good substitutes for 1/3 cup:

  • 1/3 cup oil – Canola, vegetable, coconut, or olive oil can often be substituted 1:1 for melted butter.
  • 1/3 cup margarine – Has a similar fat and moisture content to butter.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce – Replaces some of the fat in baking recipes.
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt – Provides moisture in cakes and muffins.

However, keep in mind that butter has unique properties that impact texture and flavor. Substitutes may not achieve quite the same results in baking.

Storing Leftover 1/3 Cup Butter

To store leftover butter from a stick after cutting off 1/3 cup:

  • Press plastic wrap directly on the cut surfaces so no air gets in.
  • Store unused butter in an airtight container or zip top bag.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3-4 weeks.
  • Label with the date to track freshness.
  • Use for cooking, more baking, or spreading on bread.

Properly stored, butter maintains both its delicious flavor and baking properties for weeks, so no need to waste the leftovers after measuring out 1/3 cup for a recipe!


Whether you slice it off a stick, scoop it with a spoon, or weigh it out in grams, 1/3 cup of butter is a handy and commonly used amount for all kinds of everyday baking and cooking. Now that you know what 1/3 cup looks like and how best to measure it, you’ll approach recipes calling for this quantity like a pro!

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