cup is a customary unit of measurement mainly used in North
America for volume, used in cooking to measure liquids (fluid
measurement) and bulk foods such as granulated sugar (dry
This measure is usually used as an informal unit in cooking
recipes rather than as a measure for the sale of foodstuffs;
precision is rarely required.
Actual cups used in a household in any country may differ from
the cup size used for recipes; standard measuring cups, often
calibrated in fluid measure and weights of usual dry ingredients
as well as in cups, are available.
There is no internationally-agreed standard definition of the
cup, whose modern volume ranges between 200 and 284 milliliters.
The cup sizes generally used in Commonwealth countries and the
United States differ by up to 44 mL (1.5 fl oz).
No matter what size cup is used, the ingredients of a recipe
measured with the same size cup will have their volumes in the
same proportion to one another. The relative amounts to
ingredients measured differently (by weight, or by different
measures of volume such as teaspoons, etc.) may be affected by the
Using volume measures to estimate mass
Europe, cooking recipes normally state any liquid volume larger
than a few tablespoons in milliliters, the scale found on most
measuring cups worldwide. Non-liquid ingredients are
normally weighed in grams instead, using a kitchen scale, rather
than measured in cups. Most recipes in Europe use the milliliter
or deciliter (1 dL = 100 mL) as a measure of volume.
For example, where an American customary recipe might specify
"1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of milk", a European recipe might
specify "200 g sugar and 500 mL of milk" (or 1/2 liter or 5
deciliters). Conversion between the two measures must take
into account the density of the ingredients. Many European
measuring cups have additional scales for common bulk ingredients
like sugar, flour, or rice to make the process easier.