Weight Conversions

Get the Math Right for the Weights of Ingredients in Your Recipes

Baking ingredients sit on table
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Volume and weight conversions are an important tool to have in the kitchen. When halving or doubling a recipe, making the correct conversions can make or break your final results.

Weight Conversions - Imperial and Metric Equivalents


Key Conversions

  • 1 ounce = 28 grams
  • 1 pound = 16 ounces
  • 1 pound = approximately 1/2 kilogram
  • 1 kilogram = 1,000 grams
  • 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

Measuring Recipe Ingredients by Weight

Most recipes in the United States measure in volume rather than weight while recipes in other countries list ingredients in weight  measurements such as ounces, pounds, grams, and kilograms. Using weight to measure ingredients offers more accuracy, especially with ingredients like flour that may become compact during storage.

If you are using a recipe that is based on the metric system, you won't have to do complicated math to double the recipe. As all of the weights are multiples of 10 and 100, they are simple to multiply or divide. There aren't any oddball ratios such as 16 ounces per pound that require a calculator app. But you'll have more difficulty if you are going in the opposite direction and trying to convert a recipe with Imperial measurements to metric. In that case, get out the calculator, app, or use your cell phone assistant to help you get the right numbers.

Measuring Weight in the Kitchen

A kitchen scale is necessary to measure ingredients by weight. It is well worth the investment of a few dollars to ensure you are getting the right measurements for your recipes. Measurements are critical for baking, for example. It can mean the difference between a beautiful loaf of bread and a sad lump of hardened dough.

Other recipes may be forgiving and you can adjust them by taste. But better to start off in the right ballpark by measuring.

When using a kitchen scale, you often will weigh a vessel that you will put the ingredients in and zero the scale so its weight is not included. Then you can place your ingredient in the vessel, such as a cup, and the scale will show the net weight. This ensures that the pan of the scale isn't contaminated with your ingredients.

A kitchen scale will measure in the small increments needed for cooking. In a pinch, you could probably use a portable postal scale that would have many of the same functions and weight range.

Weight Ounces vs. Volume Ounces in Recipes

It is important to note that weight ounces are not the same as volume ounces. Dry ingredients like beans, flour, and sugar are often measured in weight ounces while liquids and other wet ingredients are usually measured in volume or fluid ounces.

On packaged goods, weight ounces are listed as ‘NET WT OZ’ where WT stands for weight and volume ounces are listed as ‘NET OZ FL’ where FL stands for fluid.

To convert between volume and weight measurements you would need to know the density of the ingredient, so this is not done often.