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Reducing the Size of Recipes

Many recipes can be cut in half or thirds. Here are some guidelines to help you adapt a larger recipe to a smaller one.

When the recipe says: Reduce to:
To make 1/2 of a recipe
1/4 cup 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup 1/4 cup
2/3 cup 1/3 cup
3/4 cup 6 tablespoons
1 cup 1/2 cup
 
1 tablespoon 1-1/2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon Dash
To make 1/3 of a recipe
1/4 cup 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
1/3 cup 1 tablespoon + 2-1/3 teaspoons (or round to 1 tablespoon + 2-1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
2/3 cup 3 tablespoons + 1-1/2 teaspoons
3/4 cup 1/4 cup
1 cup 1/3 cup
 
1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon Generous 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon Scant 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon Scant 1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon Dash
  1. It may be easier to make the entire recipe for baked goods and freeze half.
  2. When reducing recipes, you may need to use smaller saucepans, skillets and baking pans. The time for baking smaller amounts of food may be less.
  3. The standard size egg for recipes is the large egg. To halve an egg, break it, mix it together with a fork and use 2 tablespoons. Refrigerate the rest and use in an omelet or scrambled eggs within two days.
  4. A 9 x 2 x 13-inch pan holds 14 to 15 cups; when halving a recipe use a square 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan or a round 9 x 2-inch pan. When using a different pan size, try and keep the depth of food the same. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F when substituting a glass pan for a metal one.
  5. To help divide recipes, remember:
    • 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
    • 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
    • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
    • 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons
    • 1 pound = 16 ounces (weight)
    • 1 pint = 2 cups
    • 2 pints = 1 quart
    • 1 quart = 2 pints

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.