Is 8 tablespoons a whole stick of butter?

Yes, 8 tablespoons is equivalent to 1 stick of butter. A stick of butter contains 8 tablespoons, so 8 tablespoons makes a whole stick.

What is a Stick of Butter?

A stick of butter, also referred to as a butter stick, is a common unit used to measure butter in recipes and for cooking purposes. A single stick of butter contains 8 tablespoons, which is equivalent to 4 ounces or 113 grams of butter.

In the United States, a standard stick of butter contains exactly 8 tablespoons. This is because U.S. butter is sold in sticks that are 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons. When a recipe calls for 1 stick of butter, it means 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup of butter is needed.

Sticks of butter come in a long rectangular shape that is individually wrapped. The stick is marked with measurements to easily cut off the amount needed. Each stick is divided into 8 tablespoons, with each tablespoon being 1/2 ounce or 14 grams of butter.

Butter Measurement Conversions

Here are some common butter measurements conversions:

  • 1 stick butter = 8 tablespoons
  • 1 stick butter = 4 ounces
  • 1 stick butter = 1/2 cup
  • 2 sticks butter = 16 tablespoons
  • 2 sticks butter = 8 ounces
  • 2 sticks butter = 1 cup
  • 4 sticks butter = 32 tablespoons
  • 4 sticks butter = 1 pound
  • 1 tablespoon butter = 0.5 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon butter = 14 grams
  • 1 cup butter = 2 sticks
  • 0.25 cup butter = 4 tablespoons
  • 0.125 cup butter = 2 tablespoons

Knowing these butter conversions can be helpful when substituting amounts in recipes or when a recipe calls for a certain measurement of butter.

Why is a Stick of Butter 8 Tablespoons?

There are a few reasons why a standard U.S. stick of butter became 8 tablespoons:

  • A stick of butter is designed to be 1/2 cup, which equates to 8 tablespoons. Cup measurements are commonly used in cooking and baking recipes in the U.S.
  • Dividing a stick into 8 tablespoons allows for easy measuring and cutting of the desired butter amount called for in a recipe.
  • Eight tablespoons equals 4 ounces, which is a standard weight measurement in the U.S. Four ounces makes a nicely sized stick of butter.
  • The dimensions of 1/2 cup work well for forming the long, slim sticks of butter.
  • Butter has historically been sold in 1/2 cup units since the 1920s, so the tradition stuck over time.

So in summary, the 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) measurement is easy to work with, converts well to other units, and fits nicely into a practical stick shape for individual butter portions.

Butter Sticks Around the World

While a U.S. stick of butter is standardized at 8 tablespoons, the size of a butter stick varies around the world:

  • Europe – 250 grams (2.2 sticks of US butter)
  • Canada – 113 grams (1 US stick)
  • Australia – 100 grams
  • New Zealand – 100 grams
  • Japan – 200 grams (1.7 US sticks)
  • Russia – 200 grams
  • India – 100 grams

So be aware that if a recipe from another country calls for a stick of butter, it may not be equivalent to the 8 tablespoons in a US stick. It’s important to check butter conversions when using international recipes.

Does Butter Package Size Matter?

The size and shape of a butter package can sometimes vary, but a stick of butter in the U.S. still contains 8 tablespoons regardless of how it is packaged. Here are some common ways butter is sold:

  • Individually Wrapped Sticks: This is the most common packaging. Each stick is separately wrapped in paper or foil.
  • Multipack Sticks: Some packages contain 2, 4 or 6 sticks wrapped together, but they still maintain 8 tablespoons per stick.
  • Tubs: Bulk butter tubs contain multiple sticks, but the sticks inside maintain the standard 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) size.
  • Portion Packs: Small butter cups or sticks with measured tablespoon servings for individual use.

So whether butter is packaged loose, in a tub, or individually wrapped, a full standard “stick” still equals 8 tablespoons in the U.S. However, other countries may vary in how they package butter into sticks, blocks, or tubs, so amounts may not align with the U.S. standard.

When to Use Whole Sticks vs Tablespoons

In baking, it’s typically preferable to measure butter by the stick rather than tablespoons or cups. Here’s why sticks are best:

  • Consistency – Whole sticks ensure you add the right amount.
  • Accurate measurements – No need to level off tablespoons or cups of butter.
  • Better distribution – Butter blends evenly when adding whole sticks.
  • Faster prep – Removing wrappers is easier than measuring tablespoons.
  • Cold butter – Keeping unused butter in the wrapper keeps it colder for baking.

However, there are times when tablespoon measurements may be more practical:

  • For small amounts of butter – Using teaspoons or tablespoons is more precise.
  • When creaming butter and sugar – Beating together 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter with 1 cup of sugar is often called for.
  • For cooking on the stovetop – Tablespoons can be dropped into the pan as needed.
  • When butter is very cold and difficult to cut – Then it’s easier to measure pats by the tablespoon.

Tips for Measuring Butter

To get the most accurate butter measurements:

  • Use cool, firm butter – This makes cutting easier.
  • Cut lengthwise for full tablespoons – Avoid cutting crosswise which gives uneven tablespoons.
  • Level off tablespoons – Use a knife for straight edges when measuring pats.
  • Avoid over softening – Don’t melt or cream butter if measuring in tablespoons.
  • Pack butter firmly – When measuring cup amounts, pack down firmly for correct weight.
  • Use proper cups or spoons – Liquid measures will be inaccurate for butter.

Butter Substitutions

In a pinch, you can substitute for butter in recipes with these alternatives:

Substitute Ratio
Margarine 1:1
Oil 3/4 cup oil per 1 cup butter
Shortening 1:1
Coconut oil 1:1

However, keep in mind that butter has unique properties that impact texture and flavor. Substitutes may affect the finished product.

Storing Butter

To maintain freshness and quality, store butter properly:

  • Refrigerate butter at 40°F or below.
  • Keep butter tightly wrapped until ready to use.
  • Don’t store in the door, where temperature fluctuates.
  • Seal sticks back in original wrapper to avoid absorption.
  • Use within 3-4 weeks for best quality.
  • To freeze, wrap tightly in plastic then foil; keeps 6-9 months.

Signs Butter Has Gone Bad

Discard butter that shows any of these signs:

  • Mold spots or growth on the surface
  • Rancid or unpleasant smell
  • Liquid or watery appearance
  • Dry, crumbly texture
  • Noticeable color changes throughout


In summary, a full standard stick of butter in the U.S. contains 8 tablespoons. This amount of 1/2 cup or 4 ounces is convenient for baking recipes and American kitchens. While butter sticks vary globally, the 8 tablespoon U.S. stick has been the norm since the 1920s. Being aware of how sticks convert to other butter measurements like grams and cups is useful for cooking and substituting amounts. In baking, whole butter sticks are ideal for even distribution and keeping portions cold and fresh.

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