Answering a question like how many tablespoons are in a cup will help us when we’re baking and cooking.
This conversion applies to dry ingredients.
How many tablespoons in a cup?
1 cup = 16 tablespoons (16 tbsp)
And 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
How Many Tablespoons In A Cup? Complete Conversions
1 cup = 16 tablespoons
¾ cup = 12 tablespoons
½ cup = 8 tablespoons
⅓ cup = 5 ⅓ tablespoons (or 5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon)
¼ cup = 4 tablespoons
⅛ cup = 2 tablespoons
1/16 cup = 1 tablespoon (or 3 teaspoons)
You don’t have to memorize all these conversions.
Nowadays, we can search the answer online in a few seconds.
Or you can write these conversations for 1 cup and other variations on a small piece of paper and keep it in a cupboard in the kitchen.
What is a tablespoon measure?
A tablespoon is usually abbreviated tbsp in recipes. The tbs abbreviation is not used that frequently.
The same tablespoon is also used for measuring liquids.
1 tablespoon is also the equivalent of 15 millimeters (liquids) or 15 grams (dry ingredients). Or approx. one-half ounce (both wet and dry).
Do we need measuring spoons?
Now that we know that we have 16 tablespoons in a cup, we need to establish how we make the conversion, what instruments we can use.
We don’t necessarily need a set of measuring spoons when we add tablespoons to our recipes.
Use a dinner spoon, the large one to convert 1 cup to 16 tablespoons or ½ cup to 8 tablespoons and any other variations of the kind that I included above.
Some people might wonder if their silverware at home is accurate for measurements when baking and cooking.
Our usual large spoons and small spoons (teaspoons, dessert spoons, coffee spoons) are accurate and we don’t need measuring spoon sets if we don’t want to buy one.
Your large spoon is the equivalent to 1 tablespoon so you can totally use that for our conversion of 1 cup to 16 tablespoons.
Our dessert spoons or coffee spoons can be used to measure teaspoons in our baking and cooking.
I should also mention that we can buy a set that includes both measuring spoons and measuring cups.
Measuring spoon sets will include: 1 tbsp, ½ tbsp, 1 tsp, ½ tsp, ¼ tsp, and ⅛ tsp.
How to measure a tablespoon
There are three main steps we must keep in mind when measuring a tablespoon:
- fluff the ingredient
- scoop the ingredient
- level the ingredient
We must follow these steps if we’re using a dry measuring cup, too.
We need to fluff our dry ingredients because they can get compact over time. If we’re measuring a compact dry ingredient, that will impact how much ends in our tablespoon.
Use your tablespoon to fluff up your dry ingredients and then grab a scoop.
In order to scoop your ingredient, dip the tablespoons into the area where you fluffed the ingredient.
Leveling the ingredient is the last crucial step we must perform. The tablespoon should be level to ensure an accurate measurement.
You can level the ingredients on your tablespoon by shaking it a bit.
Or you can use your index/middle finger to swipe the top to remove the excess ingredient.
Types of measuring cups
Since we’re talking about how many tablespoons in a cup, I should also mention that there are two different types of measuring cups.
We have liquid measuring cups for volume and US fluid ounces.
And we have dry measuring cups for measuring weight. For our cup to tablespoons conversion, we’re implying that we’re using a dry measuring cup.
As we saw, 1 cup can be converted to 16 tablespoons. And 1 tablespoon is the equivalent of one-sixteenth of a dry measuring cup.
While we make the distinction between liquid measuring cups and dry measuring cups, we don’t have the same distinction between measuring spoons.
The same tablespoon is used for measuring both dry and wet ingredients. Whether we measure sugar, oil, spices, flour, water, syrup, etc. we use the same set of spoons.
Should we use a kitchen scale for measurement?
Whether we’re baking bread, making a pizza or baking desserts, we have the habit of saying that the most accurate way to measure ingredients is with a kitchen scale.
I weigh my flour so in that case I don’t use cups.
1 cup = 4 ¼ ounces (dry ingredients)
1 cup = 120 grams all purpose flour; 210 grams sugar
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
You can find a very complex ingredient weight chart here.
However, we can also use dry measuring cups to measure our ingredients. It works.
Still, I wanted to mention that while I was studying an interesting book about bread, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg M.D., I came across an interesting piece of advice.
We shouldn’t use the 2-cup measuring cups for measuring flour because they collect too much flour due to excessive packing down into the cup. We can use a 1-cup dry measuring cup.
That’s because we can’t level off a liquid measuring cup filled with flour.
However, as we saw, even if we don’t have a dry measuring cup, we can convert it to 16 tablespoons and we can use our dinner spoons to do the measuring.
Well, if we have to convert 3 cups that means that you’ll have to measure 48 tablespoons. I think I would mess that up. But it’s still very good to know exactly how many tablespoons are in a cup.