Weighing and measuring

To use recipes properly, you will need to weigh and measure the ingredients properly.

  • All modern UK recipes give instructions with metric measures for ingredients.
  • Weights are in grams (g) or kilograms (kg) and are measured with scales (whichever type you have).
  • Liquid volumes are in milliletres (ml), centilitres (cl) or litres (l) and are measured with measuring jugs.
  • Older recipes may give so-called ‘imperial measurements’, which used to be the standard measurements in the UK – weights in ounces (oz) and pounds (lb), and liquids in pints.
  • Your scales and measuring jugs will normally also have the imperial measurements, so you can choose to use these instead if you wish; because the conversions are not precise, you should always follow either the metric or the imperial measurements in your recipe, and not mix the two.
  • A useful conversion table is here.
  • Some recipes also use spoon measures – tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp). You can buy special measuring spoons, or just use your normal tablespoons and teaspoons unless the recipe is very particular about accuracy. A spoon measure means a level spoonful unless the recipe says something different, such as ‘1 heaped tbsp’.
  • For blocks of butter and margarine, normally 250g in size, it is normally easiest to cut the right size from the block; the wrapper usually has printed lines marking each 50g.
  • If you use recipes from the internet, you will see that many US recipes use ‘cup’ measurements. You can buy special cup measures, or use this conversion table to convert to either metric or imperial amounts.