The recipe says serves four and you want to feed twelve or one. What to do? With the Cook for Good recipes in the spiffy new format, you can click the quantities up or down to suit your situation.
For example, this month I wanted to make sixteen servings of Mighty Miso Stir Fry. Our Vegans for Peace group does a monthly lunch for homeless and at-risk people at the Love Wins Community Engagement Center. Our theme was Chinese Takeout. (It was a hit! One of the men said it was the best meal he’d had there, reminding him of his mother’s cooking back in Japan.)
I reset the serving number from 4 to 16, and the quantity numbers for each ingredient reset accordingly. The system isn’t perfect because it suggests you measure 4 tablespoons instead of the easy equivalent 1/4 cup. Still, I got a shopping list in just a few clicks.
I use the serving-size adjustment when cooking for a crowd on New Year’s Day, birthdays, and at other celebrations. You might want to use it when cooking for one or two.
Converting Cooking Measurements
Here’s how to scale US volume measurements up or down.
- 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup = 1 fluid ounce
- 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup = 2 fluid ounces
- 16 tablespoons = 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
- 2 cups = 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
- 2 pints = 1 quart = 32 fluid ounces
- 4 quarts = 1 gallon = 64 fluid ounces
From Imperial (US) to Metric Measurements
Are grams and milliliters more your style? You can switch from Imperial to metric with a click too, but this conversion changes cups of flour and sugar to metric volume units (liters and milliliters) instead of metric weight (grams). I recommend using my metric weight units provided in italics instead.
Some of the conversions are a hoot. Who is going to calculate 118 5/17th ml of shortening or molasses? Or 946.35 ml white whole wheat flour? Round these numbers up or down to a number that makes sense to a human: 118 or even 120ml and 946 or 950 ml. If you toggle the units back, the Imperial units may be weird. Just reload the page to reset.
I weigh many ingredients instead of using volume measurements. (See why I love my kitchen scale here.) When weighing, I use metric grams instead of Imperial ounces to avoid fractions. There are 454 grams in a pound and only 16 ounces.
I hope the US joins the rest of the civilized world in adopting the metric system and kitchen scales. Only Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States still use the Imperial system.
Tips for Success when Multiplying or Dividing Recipes
Most stew and sauce recipes scale up or down like champs. You may want to under-spice a bit, taste, and add more as needed.
Baking recipes can be trickier. You may need to adjust the ratio of baking soda or baking powder, cooking time, and pan size.