
Measures are classified as either dry measures or fluid measures. Fluid measures are measures of volume, while dry measures are measures of weight. Whether the ingredient you are measuring is dry or fluid really doesn't matter, and will only confuse you. Simply use the measure that is specified in your recipe.
US recipes are almost always in terms of volume.
Dry Measures:
Fluid Measures:
Note that often no difference is made between fluids and solids, and so a cup may very well be used to measure flour.
British measures distinguish between weight and volume.
Be careful with pints and fluid ounces. A US pint is 473 ml, while a UK pint is 568 ml, a fifth larger. A US fluid ounce is 1/16 of a US pint (29.4 ml); a UK fluid ounce is 1/20th of a UK pint (28.4 ml)
On a larger scale, perhaps for institutional cookery, it must be noted that a UK gallon is eight 20oz pints (4.54 liters) whereas the US gallon is eight 16oz pints (3.78 liters).
The Metric system was officially adopted in the UK some decades ago, and both taught in schools and used in books, but a very large part of the population continues to use Imperial measures. Most modern cookery books give ingredients in both units.
In the rest of the world recipes use the metric system of litres (l) and millilitres (ml), grams (g) and kilograms (kg), and degrees celsius (°C).
In addition to these, some measures are often redefined in terms of metric units. Most countries use the following units:
However, Australian recipes use a 15 ml dessertspoon and a 20 ml tablespoon. And in New Zealand, at least, a pint may be approximated as 600 ml.
You will sometimes encounter additional instructions that are required to get the correct amount of the ingredient. For example, a recipe might request "1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed", or "2 heaping cups flour." If you encounter one of these special requests, consult the table below:
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