How to measure butter

Article 4 min

We may be biased, but we believe that butter is better in just about everything, from baking to cooking to spreading. One of the most common questions people have when working with butter is, how to measure it or convert it. So whether you are measuring butter in sticks or blocks, cups or grams, we’ve got you covered with a conversion chart, cooking tips, and much more.

By DFC - PLC, Nutrition Team
Sliced butter on wooden board placed on a blue and white checkered tablecloth

How to measure and convert butter

The way butter is measured varies between countries. Butter is often measured by volume in Canadian recipes, by sticks in the United States, and by weight in European and British recipes.

Here are the equivalents of some common weights and volumes:

Butter Conversion Chart (Volume/Weight/Sticks)

Butter by block size Butter by cups Butter by volume Butter by weight Quantity in sticks
1 whole block of butter 2 cups of butter 2 cups / 500 mL 1 lb (16 oz) / 454 g 4 sticks of butter
1/2 block of butter 1 cup of butter 1 cup / 250 mL ½ lb (8 oz) / 227 g 2 sticks of butter
1/4 block of butter ½ cup of butter ½ cup /125 mL ¼ lb (4 oz) / 115 g 1 stick of butter
⅛ block of butter ¼ cup of butter ¼ cup / 59 mL 1/8 lb (2 oz) / 58 g ½ stick of butter
1/16 block of butter ⅛ cup (2 tbsp) of butter ⅛ cup (2 tbsp) / 30 mL 1/16 lb (1 oz) / 28 g ¼ stick of butter
1/32 block of butter 1 tbsp of butter 1 tbsp / 15 mL 1/32 lb (½ oz) / 14 g ⅛ stick of butter

 

How to measure butter in blocks

Measure butter using the lines on the wrapper

Most foil-wrapped butter has measurements printed on the side showing ½ cup, ¼ cup, and other commonly used volumes. Slice the block with a knife at these intervals as a handy measuring shortcut.

Measure butter using a ruler

No measurements on the butter wrapper? No problem! You can use a ruler, as long as the butter block shape is still intact. Keeping in mind that a whole brick of butter is 2 cups (500 mL), you can measure and convert it based on the chart above.

Mark up the butter 

Knowing you will eventually remove all the wrapping on the butter, another trick is to pre-mark the measurement lines. When you first open a new brick of butter, gently score the top into ¼-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.

How to measure softened butter

How to measure softened butter in a measuring cup

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.

How to measure irregularly shaped butter

When you need to measure hard butter that is in irregularly shaped pieces, you can either measure it by weight, or you can use the water displacement method.

Measure butter using the water displacement method

  1. 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. 
  2. Add the butter to the cup, making sure it is fully submerged.
  3. Observe the new volume of water in the measuring cup, and subtract 1 cup. This will tell you the amount of butter you have, by volume (cups or MLs).
  4. Retrieve the butter and pat it dry.

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