The basics : How to measure butter

Article 4 min

Butter, the ingredient that makes everything taste delicious! And to give you more of a reason to use this product (not that you needed one), find out how to measure butter easily. Tastier recipes are just around the corner.

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

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

Since butter conversion is something to think about, here are the equivalents of some common weights and volumes:

 

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

 

Quick Tips

1. Pay attention to the wrapping

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.

2. Use a ruler

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).

3. Go ahead and mark up the butter 

Plan ahead and pre-mark the measurements: 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.

4. Be mindful of measurement conversions 

Math isn’t the most exciting thing to be doing while you’re in the middle of cooking/baking, so look at your recipes and get all the conversions done beforehand. For example: Does your recipe call for 1/3 cup of butter? 1/3 cup is equal to 75.6 g/2 oz/5.4 Tbsp.

5. Use a spatula

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.

6. Use the water displacement method 

When butter is in hard, irregular shaped pieces, use this easy 3-step water 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. 
  • Add the required amount of butter (you may need to pat it down with a knife to submerge it)—the level of water should reach 1 cup + the required amount of butter.   For example, when ¼ cup (50 mL) butter is required, the level should reach 1 ¼ cups (300 mL), for ⅓ cup (75 mL) butter, the level should reach 1 ⅓ cups (325 mL), etc. 
  • Drain off the water and you’re left with your measured amount of butter.
     

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