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By: Emily Murray


Take two things that sound like they have nothing in common and put them into one sentence - math and cooking. There you have it. How are these things even related? It's an area known as culinary math but don't worry, even if you weren't an "A student" in math class, you will be able to learn the basics of culinary math and will discover that math and cooking can peacefully co-exist. In fact, you likely already use culinary math in your everyday life - it is one of its most common uses.

Here are three of the ways you may already be a math cooking genius and not even know it!

1. Add or subtract from your serving size

Okay this seems pretty basic right? Now think back to math class when you learned things like 10 > 5. These little “greater than” or “less than” signs were a whole lesson in themselves. While those days of grade school math are behind us, think how often this principle still applies. “I would like less mashed potatoes than her.” Yes, it is very basic but this is just one simple and practical math application that you already use in day-to-day life without even realizing it.

2. Counting calories

This dreaded little term “counting calories” is something that many of us have done. First we find what our total caloric needs are based on our body size, age and activity level and then we add up to that number when we choose what foods we will eat throughout the day. Simple culinary math helps us add up to that magic number.

3. Calculating total costs

When you are shopping at the grocery store, it would be easy to simply throw everything you see in the cart however, that feeling of bliss would probably fade quickly as the register total added up sky high. This is why, when most of us go shopping, we have some idea of our budget. While adding items in the cart we are keeping a running tally in our heads of the total cost. There you have it, yet another easy example of your inner culinary math genius!

Here is one aspect of culinary math which requires a bit more memorization but don’t worry it’s not that hard!


So you are going through a brand new recipe and all is going well until it is measured in liters and you are standing there with a measuring cup in hand. This requires some converting and if you don’t know the basic conversions, this is one thing you should begin to understand and it will make your life in the kitchen much easier. Here are some basic metric to U.S. conversions. Try and commit these to memory or simply make a sheet to keep in your kitchen with these reminders. If you really want to cheat, there are also many conversion calculating tools available online for free!

Metric to U.S.
5 ml = 1 teaspoon
15 ml = 1 tablespoon
34 ml = 1 fluid oz.
1 liter = 4.2 cups

Additional cooking measurements to keep on hand.
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
48 teaspoons = 1 cup

Culinary math is something that everyone can learn and fortunately the more you do it, the more second nature it will become!


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