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!
|Original Amount||Half Of Original Is:||One-Third Original Is:|
|1 cup||1/2 cup||1/3 cup|
|1/2 cup||1/4 cup||2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons|
|3/4 cup||6 tablespoons or 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons||1/4 cup|
|1/3 cup||2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons||1 tablespoon + 1 1/4 teaspoon|
|2/3 cup||1/3 cup||3 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons|
|1/4 cup||1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons||1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon|
|1/8 cup||1/16 cup or 1 tablespoon||2 teaspoons|
|1 tablespoon||1 1/2 teaspoon||1 teaspoon|
|1/4 teaspoon||1/8 teaspoon||Dash|
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.
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
- A single Egg—Begin by cracking your egg into a small bowl and beating until the yolk and whites are thoroughly combined. Next, grab a tablespoon and carefully measure out two tablespoons of your beaten egg and BOOM! You’ve got half of an egg.
- A stick of butter—Most sticks of butter come in wrappers with markings indicating different measurements. To measure your desired amount, simply find the corresponding mark on the wrapper and slice with a knife.
- Ingredients measured in weights—This is again where having a kitchen scale comes in handy! If you have a kitchen scale, you will be able to exactly measure what half of any weight amount is. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can often google “How many cups of _______ are in a pound?” and go from there.
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.
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.
Slice off the bottom stem of the Brussel sprout. Trim outer browned or discolored leaves. Slice the Brussel sprout down the middle lengthwise.
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.
Acorn squash is easy to halve once you learn how to do it. You need a good knife and a cutting board.
First, microwave the whole acorn squash for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the squash up enough to make it easier to cut.
Next, slice the acorn squash down the center from the stem at the top all the way to the bottom.
Scoop out the seeds and pulp prior to cooking with your preferred recipe.
First, cut off the bottom of the head of garlic. Next, set the garlic up on the freshly sliced bottom and then find the center point and slice the bulb down the middle.