Recipe Measure Conversions

Recipes rarely are designed for precisely the number of people you need to feed. This article gives formulas for changing the number of servings and for changing the serving sizes.

One of the more challenging tasks a cook faces is in converting recipes to change the number of servings or the size of the servings. It seems no matter how many or few people will be sitting down to a meal, it never matches the numbers in the recipe.

However, there are some calculations you can make to convert a recipe without leaving a week's worth of leftovers on your hands.

Changing the Number of Servings

To increase or decrease the number of portions, follow these steps.

1. Divide the number of servings you need to make by the number of servings the recipe makes. This gives you the conversion factor.

Example: You will be serving wild rice squash casserole to nine people this weekend. The recipe is for 12 people. Divide 9 by 12 and you get 0.75. Your conversion factor is 0.75

2. Multiply the conversion factor by each ingredient amount in the recipe.

Example: Two cups of rice become 1½ cups of rice, ½ cup of orange juice becomes 2/5 cup of orange juice.

3. Convert any results into an amount that is easy to measure format.

Example: Instead of leaving your recipe as 2/5 cup of orange juice, convert the ½ cup into 8 tablespoons and then apply the conversion factor""leaving you with 6 tablespoons of orange juice.

4. Read your recipe carefully and determine whether you will need any different equipment, baking temperature, or cooking times.

Changing the Serving Size

To increase or decrease the portion size, follow these steps:

1. Divide the serving size you need by the recipe portion size. This will give you the conversion factor.

Example: You want to serve 8-ounce portions of soup instead of 10-ounce portions. Divide 8 by 10 to get a conversion factor of 0.8.

2. Multiply each ingredient amount by the conversion factor.

Example: If one of the ingredients for your soup is 2 ounces of chicken stock, multiply the 2 ounces by 0.8. The number you get""1.6 ounces""is the amount of that ingredient you need for the adjusted recipe.

Again, you will want to determine whether you need to make any changes in equipment, cooking temperature or cooking time.

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