How to Measure Butter

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In Canadian recipes, butter is often measured by volume, not by weight. In the United States, it’s often measured in sticks, and in European and British recipes, by weight.

Here are the equivalents of some common weights and volumes:

Butter by volume Butter by weight Butter sticks
2 cups / 500 mL 1 lb (16 oz) / 454 g 4
1 cup / 250 mL 1/2 lb (8 oz) / 227 g 2
1/2 cup /125 mL 1/4 lb (4 oz) / 115 g 1
  • Quick Tip: Look closely at the wrapping on your unopened brick of butter. Most have measurements printed on the side showing where to cut to get the indicated amount. Use these as a handy measuring shortcut.
  • No measurements printed on the wrapper? No problem! Just use a ruler and measure the length of the brick, then divide the brick according to the chart above, keeping in mind that a new 1 lb (454 g) brick is 2 cups (500 mL).
  • Plan ahead and pre-mark the measurements: When you first open a new brick of butter, gently score the top into 1/4-cup measurements (there will be 8 on a new brick) so you can see the remaining marks even after cutting off portions of butter as you use it.
  • Does your recipe call for tablespoons? 1 cup is equal to 16 tablespoons so you can use the measurements on the wrapping or the chart above and divide 1 cup into four 1/4-cup portions. Then divide each 1/4-cup into four 1-tablespoon portions and cut off as many as you need.
  • When butter is soft, use a firm rubber spatula to push butter into a dry, nesting-style measuring cup or measuring spoon, being sure to expel any air, then level off the top with the flat side of a knife or spatula.
  •  When butter is in hard, irregular shaped pieces, use this easy “displacement” method: Fill a 2-cup (500 mL) liquid measuring cup (the kind with a spout, handle and graduated measures marked on the side) with water to the 1 cup (250 mL) mark. Then add enough butter pieces until the level of the water reaches the amount of butter required when all of the butter is submerged (you may have to poke it down with a knife). For example, when 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter is required, the level should reach 1-1/4 cups (300 mL), for 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, the level should reach 1-1/3 cups (325 mL), etc. Drain off the water and you’re left with your measured amount of butter.

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