Whether you’re an experienced chef or just starting out in the kitchen, accurately measuring ingredients is an essential skill for cooking success. One of the most common conversions that often trips up home cooks involves tablespoons and ounces. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how many tablespoons are in an ounce, you’re not alone!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of what tablespoons and ounces are, discuss their differences, and outline the actual conversion so you can measure with confidence. We’ll also provide best practices for measuring both liquid and dry ingredients. Read on to become a kitchen measuring pro!
Table of Contents
An ounce is a unit of weight commonly used for measuring dry ingredients
A tablespoon is a standardized unit of volume used for both liquid and dry ingredients
The conversion between ounces and tablespoons is: 2 tbsp = 1 fluid ounce
Kitchen scales provide the most accurate measurements of dry ounces
Always measure liquid ounces by volume using a clear liquid measuring cup
For best results, use designated cups for liquid and dry ingredients
What is an Ounce?
An ounce is a unit of mass used in both the imperial and US customary systems of measurement. In the United States, an ounce is equal to 28.35 grams.
Ounces are commonly used to measure the mass or weight of dry ingredients when cooking, like flour, sugar, spices, etc. When a recipe calls for a certain number of ounces of a dry ingredient, it is referring to a measurement by weight rather than volume.
The abbreviation for ounce is oz. Some common conversions are:
1 pound (lb) = 16 oz
8 oz = 1 cup
4 oz = 1⁄4 cup
So in summary, an ounce is a unit of measurement based on the weight or mass of an object or substance. It is useful for accurately measuring dry ingredients for recipes.
What is a Tablespoon?
A tablespoon is a standardized kitchen measuring tool used to measure out both liquid and dry ingredients by volume. In the United States, one tablespoon equals three teaspoons or 1⁄2 fluid ounce.
Tablespoons are one of the most versatile kitchen tools because they can be used to measure small amounts of either liquid or dry ingredients. Common abbreviations are tbsp or T.
Some useful conversions for tablespoons include:
1 cup = 16 tablespoons
1⁄4 cup = 4 tablespoons
1⁄8 cup = 2 tablespoons
So a tablespoon is a standardized unit for measuring ingredients by volume, not weight. Both liquid and dry goods can be measured using tablespoons.
Understanding the Conversion: How Many Tablespoons in an Ounce?
Now that we understand the definitions of ounces and tablespoons, we can look at how to actually convert between the two units.
The conversion is:
2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce
So if you encounter a recipe that calls for ounces of a liquid ingredient, you now know that 1 ounce is the same as 2 tablespoons. Some examples:
1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
2 ounces = 4 tablespoons
4 ounces = 8 tablespoons
6 ounces = 12 tablespoons
8 ounces = 16 tablespoons
Converting fluid ounces to tablespoons is straightforward since they are both volume measurements. Use the 2:1 ratio to quickly convert back and forth.
Measuring Liquid Ingredients
When a recipe calls for liquid ingredients like milk, water, oil, etc. it’s best practice to use a clear liquid measuring cup with ounce and cup markings.
To measure out fluid ounces of a liquid:
Use a clear, liquid measuring cup with volume markings
Add the liquid until it reaches the desired fluid ounce mark
View the measurement at eye level for accuracy
Measuring liquids by fluid ounces instead of volume (cups) leads to more accurate results since the volumes of liquids can vary.
For example, 1 cup of water does not weigh the same as 1 cup of oil. But 1 fluid ounce of water is the same as 1 fluid ounce of oil.
Using fluid ounce measurements for liquids guarantees you’ll have the right amount no matter the actual liquid used.
Measuring Dry Ingredients
When a recipe calls for dry ingredients like flour, sugar, spices, etc. in ounces, you’ll need to use a kitchen scale for the most accurate results.
To measure dry ounces:
Place a mixing bowl on a kitchen scale and press “tare” or “zero” to reset the displayed weight
Add the dry ingredient to the bowl until the scale shows the desired ounce measurement
Avoid packing or tamping down the ingredient
Kitchen scales provide the easiest and most foolproof way to measure dry ingredients by ounce weight.
However, many recipes provide volume measurements like cups and tablespoons for dry goods. You can use measuring cups for dry ingredients, but keep in mind that packing or settling can impact the accuracy.
The Difference Between Liquid and Dry Ounces
The key distinction between liquid (fluid) ounces and dry ounces is what is being measured.
Liquid ounces measure the volume of a liquid. The weight of liquids can vary, but one fluid ounce of any liquid is the same volume.
Dry ounces measure the weight (mass) of dry goods. Since one dry ounce weighs the same regardless of ingredient, it leads to more consistent recipe results.
Liquid ounces measure volume
Dry ounces measure weight
While the conversion is 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce for both liquid and dry ingredients, the volumes and weights will not necessarily be equal. Be sure to carefully follow recipe instructions and use the right technique for measuring liquid versus dry ounces.
Can the Same Measuring Cup Be Used for Dry and Liquid Ingredients?
While it’s possible to use the same measuring cups for liquid and dry ingredients, it’s not considered best practice.
Liquid measuring cups are clear and have volume markings for easier and more precise measuring of fluids. They have a spout for neatly pouring out liquids.
Dry measuring cups, on the other hand, often come in a set of multiple sizes for easier scooping of dry goods. They are typically made of stainless steel for durability.
For maximum accuracy:
Use liquid measuring cups for fluids
Use dry measuring cups for granular ingredients
If you don’t have both types, you can make do with either type for both liquids and dry goods. Just be aware that a liquid measuring cup will not be as easy to work with for dry ingredients. Take extra care when leveling off ingredients measured in a liquid cup.
Understanding conversions between units of measurement is an essential kitchen skill for both seasoned chefs and novice cooks alike. With the information provided in this guide, you should now feel confident tackling recipe measurements involving ounces and tablespoons.
The key things to remember are:
Ounces (oz) measure weight, especially for dry ingredients
Tablespoons (tbsp) measure volume for both liquid and dry ingredients
The conversion is simple: 2 tbsp = 1 fluid ounce
Use kitchen scales for measuring dry ounces
Measure liquid ounces by volume with a liquid measuring cup
Mastering these measurement conversions will guarantee recipe success. With the right tools and knowledge, you can measure ingredients like a pro. So ditch the measuring cups and grab a kitchen scale for your next baking project. Perfectly measured ingredients mean perfect results!