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Cup (unit)

Cup (unit)

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The cup is a customary unit of measurement
Units of measurement
A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude of a physical quantity, defined and adopted by convention and/or by law, that is used as a standard for measurement of the same physical quantity. Any other value of the physical quantity can be expressed as a simple multiple of the unit of...

 for volume, used in cooking to measure liquids (fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

 measurement) and bulk foods such as granulated sugar (dry measurement). This measure is usually used as an informal unit in cooking recipe
Recipe
A recipe is a set of instructions that describe how to prepare or make something, especially a culinary dish.-Components:Modern culinary recipes normally consist of several components*The name of the dish...

s where precision is rarely required, rather than as a measure for the sale of foodstuffs.

Actual cups used in a household in any country may differ from the cup size used for recipes; standard measuring cup
Measuring cup
A measuring cup is a kitchen utensil used primarily to measure the volume of liquid or bulk solid cooking ingredients such as flour and sugar, especially for volumes from about 50 mL upwards. The cup will usually have a scale marked in cups and fractions of a cup, and often with fluid measure...

s, often calibrated in fluid measure and weights of usual dry ingredients as well as in cups, are available.

Definitions



There is no internationally-agreed standard definition of the cup, whose modern volume ranges between 200 and 284 millilitres.Cup sizes in recipes are not necessarily the same as customary serving sizes for beverages. For example, a cup of brewed coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 in the U.S. is typically 6 U.S. fluid ounces (180 mL).
In some countries, there is no formal definition at all of how much "one cup" is; for example, in German recipes it will simply refer to an amount that roughly fits into a typical teacup. The cup sizes generally used in Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 countries and the United States differ by up to 44 mL (1.5 fl oz
Fluid ounce
A fluid ounce is a unit of volume equal to about 28.4 mL in the imperial system or about 29.6 mL in the US system. The fluid ounce is distinct from the ounce, which measures mass...

).

No matter what size cup is used, the ingredients of a recipe measured with the same size cup will have their volumes in the same proportion to one another. The relative amounts to ingredients measured differently (by weight, or by different measures of volume such as teaspoons, etc.) may be affected by the definitions used.
Metric cup
In Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Latin American, South Africa and Lebanon one cup is commonly defined as 250 millilitres.
{|

|-
|1 metric cup ||=
|align=right|250||millilitres
|-
|||=
|align=right|16⅔||international tablespoons (15 mL each)
|-
|||=
|align=right|12½||Australian tablespoons
|-
|||≈
|align=right|8.80||imperial fluid ounces
|-
|||≈
|align=right|8.45||U.S. customary fluid ounces
|}
United States customary cup
United States customary cup is defined as half a U.S. pint
Pint
The pint is a unit of volume or capacity that was once used across much of Europe with values varying from state to state from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, the pint was replaced with the metric system during the nineteenth century...

.
{|

|-
|1 U.S. customary cup ||=
|align=right|||U.S. customary gallon
Gallon
The gallon is a measure of volume. Historically it has had many different definitions, but there are three definitions in current use: the imperial gallon which is used in the United Kingdom and semi-officially within Canada, the United States liquid gallon and the lesser used United States dry...


|-
|||=
|align=right|||U.S. customary quart
Quart
The quart is a unit of volume equal to a quarter of a gallon, two pints, or four cups. Since gallons of various sizes have historically been in use, quarts of various sizes have also existed; see gallon for further discussion. Three of these kinds of quarts remain in current use, all approximately...


|-
|||=
|align=right|||U.S. customary pint
|-
|||=
|align=right|8||U.S. customary fluid ounce
Fluid ounce
A fluid ounce is a unit of volume equal to about 28.4 mL in the imperial system or about 29.6 mL in the US system. The fluid ounce is distinct from the ounce, which measures mass...

s
|-
|||=
|align=right|16||U.S. customary tablespoon
Tablespoon
A tablespoon is a type of large spoon usually used for serving. A tablespoonful, the capacity of one tablespoon, is commonly used as a measure of volume in cooking...

s1 U.S. customary cup = 16 tablespoons exactly using the old U.S. customary tablespoon of  U.S. fl oz.
|-
|||=
|align=right|236.5882365||millilitresexactly
|-
|||≈
|align=right|15⅔||international tablespoons
|-
|||≈
|align=right|11¾||Australian tablespoons
|-
|||≈
|align=right|0.833||imperial cups
|-
|||≈
|align=right|8.33||imperial fluid ounces
|}
United States "legal" cup
The cup currently used in the United States for nutrition labeling is defined in United States law as 240 mL.
{|

|-
|1 U.S. "legal" cup ||=
|align=right|240||millilitres
|-
|||=
|align=right|16||international tablespoons
|-
|||=
|align=right|12||Australian tablespoons
|-
|||≈
|align=right|8.12||U.S. customary fluid ounces
|-
|||≈
|align=right|8.45||imperial fluid ounces
|}
Imperial cup
The imperial cup, unofficially defined as half an imperial pint
Pint
The pint is a unit of volume or capacity that was once used across much of Europe with values varying from state to state from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, the pint was replaced with the metric system during the nineteenth century...

, is rarely found today. It may still appear on older kitchen utensils and in older recipe books.
{|

|-
|1 imperial cup ||=
|align=right|0.5||imperial pints
|-
|||=
|align=right|2||imperial gills
|-
|||=
|align=right|10||imperial fluid ounces
|-
|||=
|align=right|284||millilitres
|-
|||≈
|align=right|19||international tablespoon
Tablespoon
A tablespoon is a type of large spoon usually used for serving. A tablespoonful, the capacity of one tablespoon, is commonly used as a measure of volume in cooking...

s
|-
|||≈
|align=right|14¼||Australian tablespoons
|-
|||≈
|align=right|1.20||U.S. customary
United States customary units
United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units used in the British Empire before the system of imperial units was...

 cups
|-
|||≈
|align=right|9.61||U.S. customary fluid ounces
|}
Japanese cup
The Japanese cup is currently defined as 200 mL.
{|

|-
|1 Japanese cup ||=
|align=right|200||millilitres
|-
|||≈
|align=right|7.04||imperial fluid ounces
|-
|||≈
|align=right|6.76||U.S. customary fluid ounces
|}
The traditional Japanese
Japanese units of measurement
' is the traditional Japanese system of measurement. The name shakkanhō originates from the name of two of the units, the shaku, a unit of length, and the kan, a mass measurement.The system is Chinese in origin...

 cup, the , is approximately 180 mL. 10 make one shō, the traditional flask size, approximately 1.8 litres. cups are typically used for measuring rice, and sake is typically sold by the cup (180 mL), the bottle (720 mL), and flask (1.8 litre) sizes. Note modern sake bottle sizes are almost the same as the 750 mL standard for wine bottle
Wine bottle
A wine bottle is a bottle used for holding wine, generally made of glass. Some wines are fermented in the bottle, others are bottled only after fermentation. They come in a large variety of sizes, several named for Biblical kings and other figures. The standard bottle contains 750 ml,...

s, but are divisible into 4 gō.
{|

|-
|1  ||=
|align=right height=30|||litresby 1891 definition
|-
|||≈
|align=right|180.3907||millilitres
|-
|||≈
|align=right|6.35||imperial fluid ounces
|-
|||≈
|align=right|6.10||U.S. customary fluid ounces
|}

Using volume measures to estimate mass


In Europe, cooking recipes normally state any liquid volume larger than a few tablespoons in millilitres, the scale found on most measuring cups worldwide. Non-liquid ingredients are normally weighed in grams instead, using a kitchen scale, rather than measured in cups. Most recipes in Europe use the millilitre or decilitre (1 dL = 100 mL) as a measure of volume. For example, where an American customary recipe might specify "1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of milk", a European recipe might specify "200 g sugar and 500 mL of milk" (or ½ litre or 5 decilitres). Conversion between the two measures must take into account the density of the ingredients. Many European measuring cups have additional scales for common bulk ingredients like sugar, flour, or rice to make the process easier.
Volume to mass conversions for some common cooking ingredients
ingredient density
g/mLOne gram per millilitre is very close to one avoirdupois ounce per fluid ounce: 1 g/mL ≈ 1.002 av oz/imp fl oz
This is not a numerical coincidence, but comes from the original definition of the kilogram as the mass of one litre of water, and the imperial gallon as the volume occupied by ten avoirdupois pounds of water. The slight difference is due to water at 4 °C (39.2 °F) being used for the kilogram, and at 62 °F (16.7 °C) for the imperial gallon. The U.S. fluid ounce is slightly larger.
1 g/mL ≈ 1.043 av oz/U.S. fl oz
metric cup imperial cup U.S. customary cup
g oz g oz g oz
water 1The density of water ranges from about 0.96 to 1.00 g/mL dependent on temperature and pressure. The table above assumes a temperature range 0 –. The variation is too small to make any difference in cooking. 249–250 8.8 283–284 10 236–237 8.3Since an imperial cup of water weighs approximately 10 avoirdupois ounces and five imperial cups are approximately equal to six U.S. cups, one U.S. cup of water weighs approximately 8⅓ avoirdupois ounces.
granulated sugar 0.8 200 7.0 230 8.0 190 6.7
wheat flour 0.5–0.6 120–150 4.4–5.3 140–170 5.0–6.0 120–140 4.2–5.0
table salt 1.2 300 10.6 340 12.0 280 10.0