Is 8 tbsp half a cup of butter?

When it comes to baking and cooking, measuring ingredients accurately is crucial for achieving the desired results. One of the most commonly used ingredients is butter, which can be measured in various ways including cups, tablespoons, grams, and ounces. So an important question that often comes up is: is 8 tablespoons half a cup of butter?

The Short Answer

Yes, 8 tablespoons (tbsp) is equivalent to 1/2 cup of butter. Specifically:

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of butter equals 3 teaspoons
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter is equivalent to 1 fluid ounce
  • 4 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter equals 1/4 cup
  • 8 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter equals 1/2 cup
  • 16 tablespoons (tbsp) of butter is the same as 1 cup

So if a recipe calls for half a cup of butter, you can use 8 tbsp and it will be the same amount.

The Long Answer

Let’s take a deeper look at why 8 tbsp is equivalent to 1/2 cup when it comes to butter. We’ll go through the reasons behind this standard conversion:

Definitions of Tablespoon and Cup

First, we need to understand exactly what a tablespoon and cup measure represent:

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
  • 1 fluid ounce (fl oz) = 2 tablespoons (tbsp)
  • 1 cup = 16 tablespoons (tbsp)

Knowing these basic definitions allows us to see that:

  • 8 tbsp = 8 x 3 tsp = 24 tsp
  • 1/2 cup = 1 cup / 2 = 16 tbsp / 2 = 8 tbsp

Standard Dimensions of Butter

Another reason that 8 tbsp butter equals 1/2 cup is due to the standard dimensions of a stick of butter:

  • 1 stick of butter = 4 ounces = 1/2 cup = 8 tbsp

Since most recipes call for butter by the stick, it makes sense that 8 tbsp would be equivalent to half a cup.

Why Butter is Unique

Butter is a solid fat at room temperature, unlike most other fats and oils which are liquid. This means that while most liquids are measured by volume (cups, fl oz), butter can be measured either by volume or weight.

Specifically, 1 cup of butter weighs:

  • 8 ounces by weight
  • 16 tablespoons by volume

This unique property of butter means that the volume and weight correspond perfectly for standard sticks. So if you melt butter and measure it by the cup, 8 tbsp (1/2 cup) will be equivalent to 4 oz by weight.

When Precision Matters

While 8 tbsp is essentially equivalent to 1/2 cup of butter in most recipes, there are some instances where precision matters more:

  • Baking: For baking recipes that require very precise measurements of butter, going by weight (oz) is better than volume.
  • Less than 1 tbsp: If measuring a very small amount of butter, volume measures can vary.
  • Alternative fats: If using margarine or oil spread instead of butter, measurements may differ slightly.

In these cases, it is better to follow the exact amount specified in the recipe by weight or volume.

Converting Between Tablespoons and Cups of Butter

Since many recipes use both tbsp and cup measurements for butter, it’s helpful to know the conversions:

Tablespoons Cups
1 tbsp 1/16 cup
2 tbsp 1/8 cup
3 tbsp 3/16 cup
4 tbsp 1/4 cup
8 tbsp 1/2 cup
12 tbsp 3/4 cup
16 tbsp 1 cup

Remembering that 8 tbsp = 1/2 cup makes converting between the two much easier.

Converting Cups to Tablespoons

To convert cups to tablespoons:

  • Multiply cups by 16 tbsp/cup
  • For example:
    • 2 cups x 16 tbsp/cup = 32 tbsp
    • 1/2 cup x 16 tbsp/cup = 8 tbsp

Converting Tablespoons to Cups

To convert tablespoons to cups:

  • Divide tablespoons by 16 tbsp/cup
  • For example:
    • 32 tbsp / 16 tbsp/cup = 2 cups
    • 8 tbsp / 16 tbsp/cup = 1/2 cup

Precise Weight Measurements

For the most accuracy, butter can be measured by weight instead of volume:

Ounces Grams
1 oz 28 g
2 oz 57 g
4 oz (1 stick) 113 g
8 oz (2 sticks) 226 g
16 oz (4 sticks, 1 lb) 454 g

Using a food scale to weigh butter helps eliminate any small measuring errors. Just remember that 4 oz or 113 g is equivalent to 1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter.

Tips for Measuring Butter Accurately

Here are some tips to help measure butter properly:

  • Use tablespoon measures: Spoon butter gently into a tablespoon measure without packing it down.
  • Level it off: Use a straight edge like a butter knife to level off the butter evenly.
  • Measure sticks: For 1/2 cup or 8 tbsp, cut a stick of cold butter lengthwise in half.
  • Soften first: For best volume measures, bring butter to cool room temperature to soften slightly.
  • Pack it in: If a recipe calls for packed or compressed butter, press it firmly into the cup or spoon.
  • Weigh for precision: Use a kitchen scale for most accuracy in baking recipes.

With practice, measuring butter can become second nature. Going by weight and using visual guides like tablespoon measures can help ensure your baked goods come out as intended.

Common Butter Measurement Conversions

Here is a quick reference guide for some of the most common butter measurement conversions:

Butter Amount Tablespoons Cups Ounces Grams
1 tbsp 1 tbsp 1/16 cup 0.5 oz 14 g
2 tbsp (1 fl oz) 2 tbsp 1/8 cup 1 oz 28 g
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) 4 tbsp 1/4 cup 2 oz 57 g
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) 8 tbsp 1/2 cup 4 oz (1 stick) 113 g
16 tbsp (1 cup) 16 tbsp 1 cup 8 oz (2 sticks) 226 g

Common Baking Measurements

For convenience while baking, it is useful to know some common butter measurements:

Quantity Tablespoons Cups
1 stick (1/4 lb) 8 tbsp 1/2 cup
2 sticks (1/2 lb) 16 tbsp 1 cup
4 sticks (1 lb) 32 tbsp 2 cups

Many recipes will call for “1 stick” or “2 sticks” of butter, referring to these standard quantities.

Substituting Butter in Recipes

In some cases, you may need to substitute butter in a recipe without changing the volume amount. Common substitutions include:

  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or shortening
  • 1 cup butter = 7/8 cup vegetable oil or other liquid oil
  • 1 cup butter = about 3/4 cup applesauce or mashed banana

Be aware that substituting butter can change the texture and flavor of baked goods. You may need to experiment to get the best results.

Storing Butter

To retain accuracy of measurements, store butter properly between uses:

  • Keep butter tightly wrapped to avoid drying out.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for 1-3 months.
  • Can freeze for 6-9 months for longer storage.
  • Allow refrigerated butter to soften before measuring.
  • Do not store at room temperature as butter melts quickly.


So in summary – yes, 8 tbsp of butter does equal 1/2 cup. This handy conversion applies specifically when measuring out standard sticks of butter. Knowing the basic conversions between tablespoons, cups, ounces, and grams allows flexibility when cooking and baking.

For most recipes, the standard equivalence of:

8 tbsp = 1 stick = 4 oz = 1/2 cup

of butter holds true. However, for the most precision it’s best to use a kitchen scale and weigh butter directly in grams. Taking care when measuring butter and following recipe instructions will help ensure your dishes turn out perfectly.

Leave a Comment