So, you can’t find your cup measuring cup or you just need to know, how many tablespoons are there in 1/4 of a cup?
Short answer: There are 4 level tablespoons in 1/4 cup, so a full cup has 16 level tablespoons.
This measurement applies to dry ingredients like flour, salt, and sugar. The same principle applies to wet ingredients, but these liquid ingredients are probably easier to measure with a measuring cup. If you don’t have one then now you know that you’ll need 4 level tablespoons.
Keep reading for a lot more information and to skip to any section in particular, use the table of contents below or click to hide it.
Many cooks go with gut instinct and experience, but for most of us, precise measurement is a must. Even professional cooks know that they need to have precise measures of key ingredients in baking especially.
Baking ingredients like baking soda, salt, flour, and others, when combined with heat and time enter into the world of chemistry where those ingredients are transformed, successfully or not, into a finished dish or dessert in part because of the precise amount of each ingredient is combined with the others.
Too much or too little of one or another and your favorite cake becomes a dense knot of flour or your sourdough bread never rises but collapses in your bread pan.
There are several reasons you might want to do this use tablespoons (and maybe even a teaspoon) to measure. First, if you do not have a measuring cup on hand, you do not have many options. Tablespoons, provided you know how to use them, are a great alternative.
Another reason is to keep it simple for cleanup. A tablespoon is a quick and easy way to work out a quarter cup or other amounts of liquids or solids. You are probably using one anyway. Using a tablespoon over a measuring cup means one less thing to wash when you are done.
When used correctly and with the right knowledge, a tablespoon is accurate and effective. You just need to know how many tablespoons to use when working out one cup or smaller amounts.
It is really quite simple and does not require major math skills. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup. This generally equates to 2 oz of dry goods. By using that as a guide, it is clear that there are 8 tablespoons in half a cup and 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup. Simply halve the amount for smaller measurements.
For other odd-sized cup measurements, we’ve put together a handy table that provides detailed tablespoon measurements for multiple cup fractions:
The short answer is that one tablespoon is typically three teaspoons. So, if you are looking for the equivalent of how many tablespoons in 1/4 cup you will want to use 12 teaspoons (tsp).
A cup equals 16 tablespoons (tbsp) and therefore 48 teaspoons. If you are using large quantities a tablespoon or a US standard cup will make work easier.
So, if all you have is a teaspoon, now you know that you just have to triple the number that you would use if you were using tablespoons.
Sometimes tablespoons aren’t as precise as you expect them to be, for various reasons, including cosmetic appearance!
If you are in doubt or just want to check, try adding 4 level tablespoons of water into your measuring cup (assuming that your measuring cup is standardized). Check whether it measures 1/4 of a cup. If not, your tablespoon isn’t accurate.
The same is true of teaspoons (tsp), but try the same test with 12 teaspoons to see if it measures 1/4 cup.
If your recipe calls for precision, it is better to use measuring cups if you have them available, but if not now you know that you can use tablespoons or even teaspoons as long as they pass the accuracy test!
Yes, in most cases, you can apply the same logic when measuring dry ingredients as well as when you measure liquids. If the recipe calls for ounces, this can change things. In that case, you’ll need a measuring cup or even a scale.
Flour, sugar, and similar ingredients are easy if you know how many tablespoons are needed. Other uniform ingredients like refrigerated butter are hard to measure in a tablespoon. For butter, there’s usually a measurement in cups on the outside wrapper to guide you but other solid ingredients may require a scale for precision.
Converting tablespoons and cups into ounces is pretty easy if you need to know how many tablespoons (tbsp) to use.
A “pinch” or “dash” is not a strict measurement but is often used when a precise amount is not necessary. It is a customary system but never precise.
A dash normally refers to a splash of liquids while a pinch is often used for herbs and spices where taste and preference are factors to consider. A pinch is done by using your thumb and two fingers.
If this idea makes you uneasy and you would rather be more accurate, a pinch, or a dash for that matter, is roughly 1/8th of a teaspoon.
If the volume or amount is critical the recipes would probably not suggest these methods so go with your gut on this one. Take note of how the dish turns out and how the flavor comes through.
This way you can tweak it slightly next time you make it. You are unlikely to go wrong with this method as they are small amounts, but you might find you prefer a bit more or less in the future.
The United States and some other parts of the world work on the imperial system dating from Roman times. In cooking terms, it means that recipes call for ounces (oz) and pounds (lb) or pints and quarts.
This used to be known as the British imperial system. The U.S. has stuck with this system and it is still used today.
For quick reference conversions:
From that, with a bit of easy math, you can work out other volumes or amounts needed.
Many other areas use the metric system. This means grams (gm) and kilograms (kg) for dry goods and milliliters (ml) and liters (L) for liquid ingredients.
It is critical that you understand the measurements used in the recipe. If you measure in units for a metric recipe or vice versa, the results are probably not going to be great. You might get the ratio right if you are consistent, but it is not ideal and will not yield the results you expect.
Here is a simple conversion for weight:
From there, you can work out the values in-between.
Remember that one cup equals 16 tablespoons.
For liquids, here are quick reference conversions:
Many recipes call for a cup or half a cup. This can be tricky as not all cups are created equal. Some are larger and some are smaller than the average. This could be tricky when baking or cooking.
The standard unit cup size, by US standards, is ½ a pint or roughly 237ml in metric. In reality, most cups measure slightly more are around 250 milliliters.
If the recipe requires one cup, ensure you have the right size cup or at least, how many tbsp.
One tablespoon translates as four cups, as we have discussed. Note that dry measurements in the US average around 16% larger than liquid measurements. This is important to note when calculating how many teaspoons (how many tsp) or how many tablespoons in 1 4 cups.
For a 3/4 cup and other conversions, it is easy to calculate based on the information on tablespoons provided. If you want 1 cup or a recipe that needs 4 cups or 8 cups of ingredients, you can work out how many tablespoons are needed.
If you want to be accurate with how many tablespoons in a 1 4 cup or how many tablespoons for other amounts, here are a few things to keep in mind.
When measuring ingredients, always use a level spoon (or cup for that matter). When a recipe or conversion calls for a certain amount, how many dry tablespoons call for a level amount. Some people heap the spoon and this will change the amount significantly.
Dense dry ingredients such as flour need to aerate for a while before measuring.
While most measurements will work with a tablespoon if the recipe calls for precision rather use a scale or measuring jug for the cup equivalency. Sometimes, one cup or how many cups simply does not work.
Working on 1 cup is often not as simple as it might appear. Cups vary in size. What one cup equals is not necessarily the same as another cup. While tablespoons (tbsp) take more time they tend to be more accurate, if you have the patience. Teaspoons are great for smaller amounts.
Hopefully, that answers the question of how many tablespoons in 1 4 cup. Dry tablespoons or dry cups are slightly different but it is easy to convert tablespoons for ideal results. And again, if you only have a teaspoon, just multiply by 3 to get the correct amount. So instead of 4 tablespoons in 1 4 cup, you would need 12 teaspoons in 1 4 cup.
How many tablespoons in 1 4 cup or a quarter cup might not be easy at first. Once you understand what a tablespoon equals, it is really simple.
You can use all of this information to add to the tables that we’ve detailed here for other odd-sized cup measurements and use your tablespoon to measure even more ingredients.
Sabrina is our head writer and expert researcher. She spends countless hours of research on each topic or product she writes about. She also tests products and recipes when she can and is known as a kitchen appliance junkie who is always trying new gadgets. Plus, she's a fairly decent cook above all else!