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How to Cut a Recipe in Half So Your Dish Turns Out Perfectly

Spoon University logo Spoon University 7/12/2018 Alexa Rosenberg

There will undoubtedly be times in your life when you'll come across the perfect recipe. It's exactly what you have been craving, only there's one issue: it's too large and you need to figure out how to cut a recipe in half. If you're living in a one bedroom apartment and you only cook for yourself, you really don't need a pasta recipe for six. Halving a recipe doesn't have to hurt your brain or be complicated, whether you're cooking for one or have to make a separate meal for yourself. With the list of tips below, taking a recipe made for four and narrowing it down to a recipe for one should be a breeze.

Halving Cups, Tablespoons, and Teaspoons

Yanko Design on Instagram: “While the words “half a cup” or “two teaspoons” aren’t really a set standard, they’re used everywhere, from recipe books, to buzzfeed…” © yankodesign on Instagram Yanko Design on Instagram: “While the words “half a cup” or “two teaspoons” aren’t really a set standard, they’re used everywhere, from recipe books, to buzzfeed…”

Some measurements can be really easy to cut in half. One cup is turned into half a cup, half a cup is a quarter of a cup, and so on. After scouring the internet and getting some second opinions from my math friends, here's the list I came up with so you can start learning how to cut a recipe in half.

1 cup = 1/2 cup or 8 Tablespoons (Tbsp)

3/4 cup = 6 Tbsp

2/3 cup = 1/3 cup

1/2 cup = 1/4 cup or 4 Tbsp

1/3 cup = 2 Tbsp plus 2 teaspoons (tsp)

1/4 cup = 2 Tbsp

1/8 cup = 1 Tbsp

1 Tablespoon = 1 and 1/2 tsp 

1 teaspoon = 1/2 tsp

1/2 teaspoon = 1/4 tsp

1/4 teaspoon = 1/8 tsp

That Awkward Moment When...

how to cut a recipe in half egg © Spoon University how to cut a recipe in half egg

That awkward moment when you're baking in the kitchen and you need to cut an egg in half, or you need to cut 1/8th of a teaspoon down even smaller. 

Cutting an egg in half: Of all the research I did on how to cut an egg in half, the easiest and least stressful way is to use 1/4 cup of egg substitute (sold in a carton at grocery stores). If you're cooking vegan or for a vegan friend, you can use 1/2 of a mashed banana or 1/3 cup of applesauce or 1/4 cup of yogurt or 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.

1/8 Teaspoon: use just a dash of the ingredient. A dash is something I would equate to a pinch. If it's something like salt, just pinch two of your fingers together and use that tiny amount. If a recipe does call for a small amount like this, it's also a good rule of thumb to just season it to taste since most of the time this super small measurement is used for spices, extracts, and such for flavor.

Cooking Times, Temperatures, and Pan Sizes

a silver bowl: Flaky Pastry on Instagram: “Before I #countsheep I'm counting #inventory #shopping day is getting near #notenough #bakingpans for #cake” © flakypastryfactory on Instagram Flaky Pastry on Instagram: “Before I #countsheep I'm counting #inventory #shopping day is getting near #notenough #bakingpans for #cake”

Now that you've finally figured out how to cut a recipe in half, there's still the issue of how long to cook it for, and if applicable, what size pan.

Cooking Temperatures: As a general rule of thumb, you can actually use the same temperature that the recipe recommended in the first place. You just need to make sure you're watching it closely. If you're cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is what it should be so it's safe to consume.  

Cooking Times: For cooking, use the original times, but again, monitor the food closely so it doesn't burn, turn to mush, etc. For baking (cakes, pies, breads, etc), the recipe times will be cut by more than half—it will be two-thirds to three-quarters of the original time. If a cake takes an hour to bake, cook it for 20 minutes and than check to see if it needs a few more extra minutes, while monitoring it closely.

Pan Sizes: Use a pan that is half the volume of the original recipe. If you don't have a pan that is half the volume and you use the original size, you'll need to monitor it very closely. The shallower the pan (like a thin cake pan), the faster it'll cook.

Cooking or baking should never be stressful, whether you're trying to figure out how to cut a recipe in half or baking it as is. Hopefully this list of conversions will help you conquer every recipe in the kitchen so you can bake your cake and eat it too. 

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