Ever want to bake a few cookies without making an entire recipe? Dividing measurements isn't as always as easy as cutting 1 cup in half. Sometimes a recipe calls for 1/3 cup or even worse...1 egg. There are a couple ways to divide measurements that will make dividing a recipe much easier and will let you bake your cake and eat it too.
Break It Down
A lot measurements in recipes are easy to divide and breakdown, especially when just dividing a recipe in half. Half of 1 cup is 1/2 cup, half of 1/2 cup is 1/4 cup, and half of 2/3 cups = 1/3 cup.
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Others aren't as simple. Take 3/4 cup for example. To divide it in half, it's helpful to break it down. Half of 3/4 cup would be 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, or 6 tablespoons. Half of 1/3 cup is even trickier. 1/3 cup equals 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon so, half of 1/3 cup would be 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons.
Breaking everything down into tablespoons and teaspoons makes dividing measurements a little easier and helpful to know what cup measurements are made of.
Break out your kitchen scale and your calculator because the easiest way to divide a recipe in half is to weigh it then divide. This is especially helpful when you want to divide a recipe in half with a recipe that calls for an odd number of eggs.
Knowing how much ingredients weigh will allow you to divide them much more easily and much more accurately! When it comes to baking, kitchen scales are extremely useful and will give you more consistent success in the kitchen. They're also relatively inexpensive. Here are how much common ingredients weigh in grams.
Makinze is currently Food Editor for Delish, where she develops recipes, creates and hosts recipe videos and is our current baking queen.. Reigning from Oklahoma, she's also our go-to for all things regarding Midwestern cuisine. She's also our expert pie crimper.
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Have you ever found yourself constantly googling “what is half of 3/4 cup?” or “what’s half of that?” I’ve been there and know how annoying this can be when you’re in the middle of making a time-sensitive recipe.
That’s why I’ve gathered the best advice and conversion charts from around the internet and summarized them into one quick and extremely useful post.
In the next few paragraphs, we’ll cover EVERYTHING from how to halve the basics to how to halve notoriously tricky objects such as a single egg.
How to Half Dry Ingredients
Dry ingredients such as flour, spices, and even granular sugar tend to be among the easiest to halve. This is due to the effective US cup and spoon measurement system. The standard US baking cups and spoons tend to double in size as they grow larger.
For example, your standard measuring cup set will include a ¼ cup, ½ cup (equal to two ¼ cups), and 1 cup (equal to two ½ cups); some may even include a 1/3 and 2/3 cup (and of course 3/3 cup is the same as 1 cup).
Below is a table delineating specific measurements and exactly what half of each is. Use this table to quickly and accurately halve your dry ingredients.
You can ditch the days of “eyeballing” and “estimating” and rest easy knowing that, as long as you use this table, your baked goods will turn out perfect every time!
How to Halve Wet Ingredients
Wet ingredients like most liquids and some spreads and dressings tend to be a bit more difficult to halve. Generally speaking, you should be using a liquid measuring device such as a glass measuring cup, NOT dry measuring cups and spoons, when measuring any wet ingredients in your recipe.
To begin the halving process, first determine that the item you’re halving should be measured using a liquid measuring system. An easy rule of thumb is that all liquids (water, milk, oil, vinegar, etc.) should be measured using a liquid measuring system.
More viscous substances (yogurt, creamy salad dressings, or peanut butter) can usually be measured using either dry or liquid cups depending on your preference. I tend to measure thicker viscous ingredients in dry measuring cups and thinner ones in liquid cups.
Just like the dry ingredients we discussed above, halving any wet ingredients is as easy as finding the mathematical half of each standard measurement.
Halves or Halfs
Which is correct? Taking a look at grammar, you'll see that halfs is not grammatically correct.
The plural of 'half' is 'halves', not 'halfs'. This is the standard with many words that end in an '-f' or an '-fe', such as when 'wolf' is pluralized as 'wolves' and 'knife' becomes 'knives.
A Quick Guide to the Metric System
Many countries outside of the US use a measuring system called the metric system. Although equally as easy to use, it is very different from the US cups and spoons system you may be used to. We have a handy measurement conversion post that answers a lot of these conversion questions.
I have found that the easiest way to half any metric measurement is by using a digital kitchen scale that has settings for grams, liters, etc.
We will further discuss the benefits of owning a kitchen scale in the next section; however, know that halving metric measurements using a kitchen scale is as easy as taking the number of grams or liters a metric-based recipe calls for and dividing the number by two.
Then, using your zeroed scale, slowly pour your ingredient into a container placed on the scale until you reach the required (halved) number.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale and would not like to invest in one, there is another, slightly more difficult way to halve metric-measured ingredients.
You will essentially need to first convert all of the metric measurements into US customary measurements and then use the tables above to half all of your ingredients.
Check out my other post all about converting measurements. Or take a look at our post on how to double or triple ingredients.
Is Getting a Kitchen Scale Worth It?
The most accurate way to measure any ingredient is by weight; this is why many avid chefs and bakers recommend purchasing a food-safe scale for your kitchen.
These scales are often small, lightweight, and multi-functional. I got mine from Amazon for less than $20 and I use it for measuring (and halving) everything from chocolate chips to flour to melted butter.
Considering how inexpensive and easy-to-store kitchen scales tend to be, I highly recommend purchasing one for your kitchen. It will not only save you time by eliminating the need to convert between the US customary and metric systems, but I guarantee you’ll find “bonus” uses for the product!
For example, I use my kitchen scale to exactly and equally divide bread dough into several different loaf pans before baking. My kitchen scale was definitely worth the small investment!
A List of Tricky Ingredients and Hacks to Halve them
Now you might be thinking to yourself, these tables and explanations are great for your run-of-the-mill ingredients, but what about ingredients that I don’t measure using cups or spoons?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a list of ingredients that are notoriously difficult to halve and my best tricks for easily halving them.
How to Halve an Egg, a Stick of Butter, and Ingredients Measured in Weights
How to halve a chicken breast
The best way to cut a chicken breast in half is to use a kitchen scale. You need to measure the weight of the chicken to evenly divide it in half.
How to halve an onion
Halving an onion is fairly easy. Use a knife and find the center point on the onion, and slice it into two (approximately) equal pieces.
How to trim and halve Brussel sprouts
Slice off the bottom stem of the Brussel sprout. Trim outer browned or discolored leaves. Slice the Brussel sprout down the middle lengthwise.
How to halve a recipe
To cut a recipe in half, it is important to cut measurements in half accurately. For some ingredients, this means using a kitchen scale and weighing the ingredients, and then dividing them. Other ingredients that are in simple measurements can be quickly halved. For example, half of 1 cup is 1/2 cup.
One important factor to remember is that EVERY ingredient in the recipe needs to be halved.