What is 1/4 out of a cup?

When baking or cooking, it is often necessary to measure out fractions of cup amounts. Understanding how to measure a 1/4 cup or a quarter of a cup is an important basic cooking skill.

Quick Answer

A quarter cup is equal to 4 fluid ounces. To measure a 1/4 cup, fill a 1/4 cup measuring cup to the top rim. Level it off using a straight edge if measuring dry ingredients. For liquids, fill the cup and pour into your recipe.

What is a Cup Measurement?

In the United States, a standard cup used for cooking measurements is equal to 8 fluid ounces or 236.6 ml. Cup measurements are a volume measurement. Dry ingredients like flour and sugar are measured using nested dry measuring cups that come in 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup sizes.

For liquid ingredients like milk, water, oil, honey, etc. there are also nested measuring cups, but often liquid measuring cups with pour spouts and measurement markings are used instead.

Key Facts About Cup Measurements

  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 236.6 ml
  • 1/4 cup = 4 fluid ounces = 59 ml
  • Dry ingredients are measured by filling and leveling off the measuring cup
  • Liquid ingredients are measured by filling the cup to the measurement markings

What Does 1/4 Cup Look Like?

Since a standard U.S. cup contains 8 fluid ounces, a quarter of a cup is equal to 4 fluid ounces or one half of a half-cup measurement. Here is what a 1/4 cup looks like:

  • Using a dry measuring cup, fill it to the 1/4 cup line and level off. This will yield 4 oz.
  • Using a liquid measuring cup, fill it to the 4 oz line. The amount of liquid to that line is 1/4 cup.

No matter what type of ingredient you are measuring, a properly measured 1/4 cup amount should equal 4 fluid ounces.

How to Measure 1/4 Cup

Dry Ingredients

To measure 1/4 cup of dry ingredients like flour, sugar, oats, etc:

  1. Use dry measuring cups, not liquid ones with pour spouts.
  2. Spoon your ingredient into the 1/4 cup measure, mounding it slightly over the top.
  3. Level off the top using a straight edge like the back of a knife or metal spatula to make it even with the rim of the cup.
  4. The leveled off dry ingredient now equals 1/4 cup.

Liquid Ingredients

To measure 1/4 cup of liquid ingredients like milk, oil, honey, maple syrup, etc:

  1. Use a glass or plastic liquid measuring cup with pour spout.
  2. Fill the cup up to the 4 ounce line. The amount of liquid up to that line is 1/4 cup.
  3. You can fill the cup using a spoon or simply pour from your ingredient container until it reaches the measurement line.

Tips for Measuring 1/4 Cup Accurately

Follow these tips for the most accurate 1/4 cup measuring results:

  • Use the right tool – Dry 1/4 cup measures need dry measuring cups. Liquid 1/4 cups need liquid measuring cups.
  • Fill and level off – Dry ingredients must be filled to overflowing then leveled off.
  • Eye level – View measurements at eye level to get them perfectly accurate.
  • No packing – Don’t tamp down or pack dry ingredients into the cup.
  • Surface area matters – Finely ground dry ingredients like flour settle into less space than coarsely ground. Fill then level for accuracy.
  • Use standard cup sizes – Make sure your measuring cups hold the standard cup size of 8 oz, not metric sizes.

Common Uses for 1/4 Cup

Here are some common uses for a 1/4 cup measurement in recipes:

  • Butter or oil – Many recipes call for 1/4 cup of butter or oil for sauteing veggies, greasing pans, etc.
  • Milk – Adding 1/4 cup milk when making oatmeal, cream soups, cream sauces, baked goods, etc.
  • Wine or other alcohol – Deglazing a pan with 1/4 cup wine or brandy.
  • Juice – Mixing in 1/4 cup lemon juice for salad dressing or marinades.
  • Sugar and other sweeteners – Using 1/4 cup sugar when baking muffins, cakes, cookies.
  • Flour – Recipe for a small batch of pancakes may use 1/4 cup flour.
  • Chopped foods – Recipes may call for 1/4 cup chopped onions, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

As you can see, 1/4 cup is a handy measurement size used often in cooking and baking recipes. Getting familiar with how to accurately measure it is an important kitchen skill.

Can You Use a Tablespoon Instead?

While you can substitute 3 tablespoons for 1/4 cup in a recipe, it is not quite an equivalent replacement. Here is the comparison:

Measurement Volume
1/4 Cup 4 fl oz
3 Tablespoons 3 fl oz

As you can see, 3 tablespoons equals 3 fluid ounces while 1/4 cup is 4 fluid ounces. So there is a slight volume difference between the two. This small discrepancy becomes more significant in recipes that require very precise measurements like baked goods.

When to Use 3 Tbsp Instead of 1/4 Cup

While not exactly equivalent, here are some cases when you can substitute 3 tablespoons for 1/4 cup if needed:

  • For small amounts of herbs, spices, extracts – the small volume difference won’t impact flavor significantly.
  • When you need to divide a 1/4 cup amount into three parts.
  • When adjusting recipes and small volume differences are unlikely to affect the outcome.

Overall, it’s best to stick to the measurements a recipe calls for. But in a pinch, 3 tablespoons can work instead of 1/4 cup.

Converting 1/4 Cup to Grams

When looking at recipes from around the world or scientific lab measurement, you may need to convert the volume units of cups to weight units of grams. Here are some common conversions for 1/4 cup measured ingredients:

Ingredient 1/4 Cup Conversion to Grams
Flour (all-purpose) 30 grams
Sugar (granulated white) 50 grams
Brown sugar 50 grams
Butter 55 to 60 grams
Milk 59 ml = 59 grams

These conversions are based on the density and weight of common baking ingredients. Note that butter’s conversion has a range since the exact grams depends on whether it is measured solid or melted.

1/4 Cup FAQs

Is 1/4 cup the same as 4 oz?

Yes, 1/4 cup is equivalent to 4 fluid ounces in volume measurement. This is why liquid measuring cups have measurement markings for both cups and ounces.

What is 1/4 cup of sugar in grams?

Granulated white sugar weighs about 200 grams per cup. So 1/4 cup of sugar is 50 grams.

Is 1/4 cup half of a half cup?

Correct, 1/4 cup is half of a 1/2 cup measurement. A standard US cup being 8 ounces, half is 4 ounces and half of that is 2 ounces which is a 1/4 cup.

Can I use a coffee scoop for 1/4 cup?

No, a coffee scoop does not measure a true 1/4 cup. Coffee scoops are usually 2 tablespoons capacity only which equals 6 tablespoons for 3 ounces. To measure an accurate quarter cup you need an actual 1/4 cup measuring tool.


Understanding exactly how much a 1/4 cup measurement equals and learning to accurately measure it is an essential kitchen skill. With some basic measuring tools and a few handy tips, you can become proficient at measuring out 1/4 cup amounts for all your cooking and baking recipes.

Leave a Comment