Butter is a staple ingredient used in baking, cooking, and spreading on bread. Many recipes call for butter in measurements like sticks, tablespoons, or cups. When a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, it’s important to know exactly how much that equals in ounces or other measurements.
No, 1 cup of butter is not equal to 8 ounces. One cup of butter equals 8 tablespoons or half a pound. Specifically, 1 cup of butter equals:
- 8 tablespoons
- 16 tablespoons
- Half a pound or 8 ounces
- 227 grams
So while 1 cup of butter is close to 8 ounces, it is slightly less at half a pound or 8 ounces. The reason for the difference is due to the density and air content of butter. Butter is considered a “dense” fat, but still contains approximately 13% air. This means 1 cup of dense butter weighs slightly less than 8 fluid ounces.
Butter Conversion Chart
Here is a handy butter conversion chart showing some of the common measurements for butter and how they convert to cups:
|1 Cup||8 tablespoons|
|2 Cups||16 tablespoons|
|4 Sticks||1 Pound or 16 ounces or 2 Cups|
|1 Stick||1/4 pound or 4 ounces or 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup|
|2 Sticks||1/2 pound or 8 ounces or 1 cup|
|1 Pound||4 sticks or 2 cups or 16 tablespoons or 16 ounces|
Butter Measurement Conversions
Here are some more detailed butter measurement conversions:
- 1 cup butter = 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup butter = 16 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup butter = 0.5 pound or 8 ounces butter
- 1 cup butter = 227 grams butter
- 1 stick of butter = 0.25 pound or 4 ounces or 8 tablespoons or 0.5 cup butter
- 2 sticks butter = 0.5 pound or 8 ounces or 1 cup butter
- 4 sticks butter = 1 pound or 16 ounces or 2 cups butter
As you can see, 1 cup of butter equals 8 tablespoons, 0.5 pound, or 8 ounces. It does not equal a full 8 ounces or 0.5 pound. The reason for this discrepancy is the density of butter.
Why Doesn’t 1 Cup Butter Equal 8 Ounces?
Butter is considered a dense, fatty solid at room temperature. However, it still contains approximately 13% air mixed into the fat and milk solids. So while dense, butter is not completely solid. This air content means that 1 cup of butter weighs slightly less than 8 ounces. Specifically, 1 cup of butter weighs around 7.8 to 7.9 ounces. The air pocketed within the butter is what accounts for the missing 0.1 to 0.2 ounces to make a full half pound or 8 ounce cup.
Butter Density and Air Content
The density of butter ranges from 0.911 to 0.913 grams per cubic centimeter. For comparison, pure water has a density of 1 gram per cubic centimeter. The lower density of butter compared to water shows how the fat content and air mixed in takes up more volume compared to pure water. This is why 1 cup of butter does not weigh a full 8 ounces.
Does Brand or Type of Butter Matter?
No, the brand or type of butter does not make a significant difference when converting cup measurements to ounces or grams. Salted and unsalted butter have very minor differences in density, but not enough to impact volume conversions. Brands may have tiny variances in density, but remain close enough to use the standard conversions. For all intents and purposes, use the typical conversions for cups, tablespoons, pounds, ounces, grams, and sticks of butter across any brand or variety.
Standard Butter Volume and Weight Conversions
Here are some of the standard butter conversions to remember when working with cup measurements in recipes:
- 1 cup butter = 8 tablespoons
- 1 cup butter = 0.5 pound = 8 ounces
- 1 stick butter = 0.25 pound = 4 ounces = 8 tablespoons = 0.5 cup
- 1 tablespoon butter = 0.5 ounce = 14 grams
Use these quick conversions for dealing with cups or tablespoons of butter called for in recipes. For the most accurate measurements, use a kitchen scale to weigh butter directly in grams or ounces. Cup measurements are best when an exact weight is not needed.
Tips for Measuring Butter Accurately
Here are some tips for measuring butter accurately in cups or tablespoons:
- Use tablespoon measures and scrape off the excess butter for an accurate tablespoon measurement.
- Pack butter firmly into a dry measuring cup for a precise cup measurement.
- Level off the top of the butter in the cup with a straight edge like a knife.
- Aim for room temperature butter – very cold butter can throw off measurements.
- Weigh butter in grams for the most precise measurement needed in baking.
How Cups, Sticks and Pounds Relate
Since many recipes use sticks, cups or pounds of butter, it’s helpful to understand how they relate:
- 1 stick = 1/4 pound = 4 ounces = 8 tablespoons = 0.5 cup
- 2 sticks = 1/2 pound = 8 ounces = 16 tablespoons = 1 cup
- 4 sticks = 1 pound = 16 ounces = 32 tablespoons = 2 cups
Knowing these equivalents makes it easy to adapt a recipe if you only have pounds or cups available rather than sticks called for in the instructions.
Metric Volume and Weight Conversions
For bakers and cooks using the metric system, here are some handy butter conversions to grams and milliliters (ml):
- 1 cup = 237 ml
- 1 tablespoon = 14 grams
- 1 cup = 227 grams
- 1 pound = 453 grams
Use these quick metric conversions for butter amounts in cup, tablespoon, and pound measurements.
Things to Consider When Measuring Butter
Here are a few things to keep in mind when measuring butter for recipes:
- Always start with room temperature or softened butter for the most accurate measurements.
- Pack butter firmly into dry measuring cups for perfect cup measurements every time.
- Level off excess butter with a straight edge for precise cups or tablespoons.
- Use a scale for the most precise gram measurements needed for baking.
- Adjust for salt content if using salted versus unsalted butter.
- Sticks, cups, pounds, and grams can all be interchanged using standard conversions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a difference between cups and ounces of butter?
The reason 1 cup butter weighs slightly less than 8 ounces is due to the air content within butter. Butter contains approximately 13% air mixed into the fat and milk solids. This lowers the density compared to pure oils and means 1 cup has a lower weight than a full 8 fluid ounces.
Is salted and unsalted butter the same for measuring?
Yes, you can use the same volume to weight conversions for salted and unsalted butter. The minor differences in salt content do not make a significant impact for cup measurements.
What’s the best way to measure butter accurately?
The best way to accurately measure butter is to use a kitchen scale and weigh it directly in grams. This removes errors from scooping or leveling cups and tablespoons. For cup measurements, pack butter firmly into dry cups and level off any excess.
How many tablespoons in a cup of butter?
There are 8 tablespoons in 1 cup of butter. A useful tip is that 1 stick of butter contains 8 tablespoons.
How many cups are in a pound of butter?
There are 2 cups in 1 pound of butter. A pound is the same as 4 sticks, so you can remember 1 pound = 2 cups = 4 sticks.
While very close, 1 cup of butter does not weigh a full 8 ounces. Due to the slight air content within butter impacting its density, a cup of butter is around 7.8 to 7.9 ounces instead of a solid 8 ounces. This difference comes out to about 0.1 to 0.2 ounces per cup.
Knowing the correct cup to ounce conversion is important for recipes where accurate measurements matter. With butter, you can use the quick tips that 1 cup equals 8 tablespoons or 0.5 pound or 8 ounces. Use proper measuring techniques and room temperature butter for the most precise results. Refer to the butter conversion chart as needed when working with sticks, tablespoons, cups, ounces, grams, and pounds in recipes.