How Many Ounces In A Cup

Measuring cup

It can be quite frustrating sometimes to see different units of measurement in recipes. Some ingredients might be given in cups while others in ounces or oz. But is there an easy conversion between these measurements? Can you tell exactly how many ounces are in a cup? Or, which is the same question, how many oz in a cup?

Most Common Cooking Ingredients

Measuring your ingredient by weight (ounces) instead of volume (cups) can yield more consistent results. That’s why we gathered here in this table how many ounces there are in one cup of the most common cooking ingredients. Make sure to read the whole article to find out why it is that difficult to tell exactly how much is a cup in ounces.

Please note that this article is about how many ounces as weight units there are in cup. When we are talking about simply ounces (or oz for short) we always refer to the weight unit. The volume unit is called fluid ounce and that’s for a whole other article.

How Many Ounces In A Cup

Ounce (oz) values are rounded to 1 decimal value.

IngredientHow Many Ounces In 1 Cup
Water8.5 oz
Flour4.4 oz
Sugar (white, granulated)7 oz
Butter8 oz
Brown sugar7.8 oz
Powdered sugar4.2 oz
Honey12 oz
Cocoa powder3.5 oz

How Much Is A Cup In Ounces

Unfortunately there is no easy conversion method to tell how many ounces are in 1 cup, even if some websites or even kitchen scales try to sell you on that idea. Let’s understand why these 2 systems are not easy to use interchangeably.

Cups represent a unit of volume (as a quantity of space in an enclosed container) while ounces represent a unit of mass. Depending on the density of the substance you want to measure, the answer to the question how many ounces in a cup can vary.

All substances have different densities, so the ounce value you measure in a cup of each ingredient might be very different. Take cocoa powder and honey as an example. The same cup of these two ingredients means a more than 3 fold difference in ounces.

For this reason, never assume how many oz there are in a cup if you have no exact conversion data for that particular ingredient.

A good idea would be to order a kitchen scale and start using that for cooking. That, along with your measuring cups and spoons, can give you exact values no matter how the recipe is written. And besides food scales are incredibly cheap and easy to use.

Cups And Ounces In Kitchen Scales

Modern kitchen scales, especially those sold in the US, often have an option to tell you the quantity in cups. So it might sound useful to simply use your scale to measure out how many ounces are in a cup.

Unfortunately this conversion does not work simply because of the fact that ounces are a weight unit and cups a volume unit, see above. Kitchen scales are programmed to calculate cup values with water. This means that for water they will show you the exact cup value. Milk or wine or similar substances would be almost precise, but you can go definitely wrong using a kitchen scale to measure out cups of honey, cocoa powder, flour etc. So make sure to use your kitchen scale to measure out ingredients by weight (ounces or oz in this case).

There is an easy way though to use your kitchen scale to tell how many ounces there are in a cup for any ingredient. Tare your scale with an empty measuring cup. Then simply measure out exactly one cup of that ingredient, and weigh it in ounces. The scale will show you the exact oz value of one cup of that specific ingredient.

Different Cups – Different Ounce Values

But we’re still not at the end of the challenges of telling how many ounces in a cup.

So far we have assumed that you are using US legal cups, or the recipe is referring to that type of cup. That’s 240 ml, which is used in nutritional labels in the US. But the US customary cup, which is referred to in recipes, is 236.588 ml. Don’t worry though for this one, the difference is so subtle (less than 1.5%) that you can’t go wrong interchanging these.

But there are other cups in use in English recipes, especially if you stumble upon an older one. 1 UK imperial cup (used before 1970) was 284.131 ml, you might find that in recipes before the 1970s. The UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada uses what’s called a metric cup, which is 250 milliliters. Read this Wikipedia article on cups if you are more deeply interested in this topic and want to find even more cup sizes.

Confused? Don’t be.

Let’s refresh our table showing how many ounces there are in 1 cup for the most common cooking ingredients with all these cup units. We are not making a distinction between the two US cup sizes, but use instead the US legal cup, which is generally accepted in cups to oz conversions. Please note that ounce values are rounded to one decimal value.

IngredientHow Many Ounces In 1 US CupHow Many Ounces In 1 Metric CupHow Many Ounces In 1 Imperial Cup
Water8.5 oz8.8 oz10 oz
Flour4.4 oz5.2 oz6.2 oz
Sugar (white, granulated)7 oz8.4 oz9.9 oz
Butter8 oz9.5 oz11.2 oz
Brown sugar7.8 oz9.2 oz10.9 oz
Powdered sugar4.2 oz5 oz5.9 oz
Honey12 oz14.2 oz16.8 oz
Cocoa powder3.5 oz4.2 oz4.9 oz

Interesting fact

It is not by coincidence that in the above table 1 imperial cup is 10 oz of water. The imperial cup was set to 10 imperial fluid ounces, and one imperial fluid ounce was the volume occupied by one ounce of water. Or more precisely water in Scotland and wine in England, but water and wine almost have the same density.

The Solution To The How Many Ounces In 1 Cup Problem

As we mentioned before, the best solution is to have a set of measuring cups and a food scale at home, and try to weigh your ingredients whenever you can.

Also, for critical recipes (especially dough, such as bread, pizza etc.) find recipes that give you exact ounce or even better gram measurements.