Summer

When Converting Ounces to Grams, Memorize This Number

August 14, 2017

I dream of the day we can dispense with volume measures and publish recipes with gram weights only! We aren’t there yet, but American home bakers are no longer allergic to scales—many are even getting comfy with grams.

Meanwhile—even for readers and bakers outside the US who already use grams—there’s still some trepidation about translating ounces to grams (or vice versa) when the need arises. If conversion gives you the shakes, these tips will make it easy and accurate.

If all you need is a quick estimation, you can assume 30 grams per ounce, then do the mental (or pencil, or calculator) math, dividing grams or multiplying ounces by 30. That’s fine for a quick estimation, but actual baking, or recording a recipe, requires more accuracy (which is why we love grams to begin with!).

An ounce is actually closer to 28.349 grams than 30 grams. Let’s say you normally work in grams but your recipe calls for 10 ounces of flour. Your cake will turn out lighter and more tender with 283 grams of flour (10 times 28.349) instead of the 300 (10 times 30) grams you might have estimated. But multiplying or dividing by 28.349 is a pain in the neck and even more cumbersome when decimals are also involved in the ounces—like when you need to convert 7.75 ounces. Oy, right?

Alternatively, if you don’t want to pick up a pencil or calculator to get an accurate conversion, just type “ounces to grams” into your browser, and bookmark the converter than pops up. Or download a converter app. (Or save the recipe in grams as a contact on your phone.) Any time you need to convert, just type in your ounces (including any decimal fractions) or grams, and the conversion appears instantaneously. You can round up the results, perhaps to the nearest 5 grams (or not) or to the most attractive looking decimal for your ounces. Done.

Here, some summery recipes (+babka) where we've calculated the grams for you:

Do you love baking in grams? Or don't feel strongly about it? Let us know in the comments!

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20 Comments

Smaug October 26, 2018
One more time; I don't know why people want to equate scales with metric system, there's no reason on earth that a scale needs to be metric. And metric is not more accurate- the arithmetic is easier for people accustomed to base 10 numbers, is all.
 
Joan T. August 26, 2017
I love my scale; math is not my strong suit. Plus, there are less dishes to wash!
 
Bill K. August 21, 2017
I bake and/or cook in Grams because it's more accurate, The kitchen scale has become one of my most valuable tools in the kitchen when following a complex recipe. Measuring flour is the one which in my opinion is the most crucial ingredient. A lot of things though, I don't measure, I just guess at the amount.
 
Karen A. August 20, 2017
Sorry but I bake in ounces, cups, gallons, and pounds. I have a scale but I rarely use it. If I find a recipe using metric, I usually don't bother. But if It looks like something I would like to try, I convert it by using my friend Google. No problem.
 
Victoria C. August 20, 2017
I love all the tips Alice Medrich posts on Food52. After fifty years of cooking, in my retirement I am learning to bake, and Alice Medrich is my mentor. I love all her books, especially the beautiful Pure Dessert and Flavor Flours. I am using a recipe in that book, Double Oatmeal Cookies, and changing around what I call the "extra ingredients," raisins and walnuts. My favorite version so far is exchanging them for real white chocolate cut from a bar (Green & Black's White Chocolate Bar) into chunks coupled with salted dry-roasted macadamia nuts.
 
mayK August 20, 2017
As an european cookbook lover from all over the world I can assure you all that imperial weight measuring is just irritating. As example australian imperial weight is using another imperial scale,- ex. a cup is 250ml instead of 236ml as american/english scale, a tbs is 20 ml instead of 15 ml....anf then comes the liquid oz in another scale than dry...<br />A test of the measuring mugs imperial in volumes showed that the smaller jugs the more inaccurate it becomed.<br />I'm now using a digital scale who can switch between oz and grams, and still is using spoon measuring-set when it comes to f.ex. spices,baking powder. But using a scale when baking cakes, desserts,breadand savory dishes is just so much easier, the measuring of the ingrediens using the tare-function is done in just a few minutes, - and the result is more reliable. <br />It's just more fun and relaxing to use recipes in grams/kg.<br />
 
soupcon August 18, 2017
Life is too short to use a conversion tool for this. Easier to not purchase US or Canadian cookbooks and avoid the headache altogether. It is not only the crazy measurements you find of for example dry ingredients measured in a liquid measure (flour) but also "sticks", sizes such as small, medium or large. I have used a scale for years and now rarely bother to use US or Canadian baking books/recipes. For savory dishes scaled weights are less important.
 
Linda August 15, 2017
Why are American bakers allergic to scales?? I use one all the time and scales are hardly exotic. I'm not American so think in metric and no matter how nice the recipe sounds if it is in ounces, gallons, pints or pounds I won't bother.
 
Catherine August 14, 2017
I love cooking and baking in grams! I have the gram conversions in all of my baking cookbooks, even those that originally included just ounces (... Bread Baker's Apprentice...) I frequently scale down large batches. When I really want only a few muffins or pancakes or whatever, ingredients listed as 45 grams make more sense than 1.58 ounces.
 
Jim August 14, 2017
I'm not sure if you mean completely switching to weights but if you do, how do you accurately measure small amounts such as spices? The volume of 1/8 teaspoon is usually more accurate than the scale at home. Scales that can measure 300 g of flour usually cannot accurately measure small quantities of spices. I doubt that many people have a microgram scale at home. I do, but it's still a lot faster and as much or more accurate for me to use measuring spoons for small amounts.
 
Jim August 14, 2017
For the home baker I don't think it matters very much whether you use ounces or grams as long as you weigh it. Why anyone would convert 10 ounces of flour to grams when they could easily weigh it in ounces? Not very many home bakers are going to need to scale a recipe up or down beyone simply doubling or halving. For a professional baker, sure it makes a lot of sense.<br /><br />Using weight instead of volume for larger measurements and especially flour, makes complete sense, but I don't see why grams makes it that much better. It's no more accurate than ounces, and while it is much easier to add in your head, who doesn't use a calculator anyway?
 
foofaraw August 15, 2017
For me, if the pan in the recipe is in some sort of shape and then I only have different pan, then I need to do changes based on the proportion of each pans' volume, which is normally not whole number. The problem increases if the original recipe is in quart, pint, oz, lb, etc because not all of them is based 10, coupled with my scale or measurement cup only have 1-2 units. So normally I need to change it the original recipe to metric because it is in base 10, then change again to whatever unit my scale/cup has. <br /><br />Not everybody need to do this for they everyday baking, but for people who want to try more exciting and precise recipe (think French pattiserie-they like to use specific pans, exotic flours that Alice Medrich introduces us to), it is another additional work and barrier.<br /><br />It is more accurate in metric because they are normally presented in smaller scale. E.g. grams with digital scale (https://www.target.com/p/taylor-11lb-glass-platform-digital-food-scale/-/A-11011109), the increase is 0.1 oz or 1 grams, but the increase of 0.1 oz (=2.8 gr) is a larger step than 0.1 grams. Similar with fahrenheit vs celcius, it is 9/5 times larger step - so lower accuracy.
 
Jim August 15, 2017
No question metric is easier if you are someone who makes a lot of changes like for the reasons you mentioned. On accuracy that seems like it is based on the scale you have only going to .1 oz. Many of the current ones I've seen including fairly cheap ones go to .01oz. I had a scale like the one you described and even though it measured in units of .1oz and 1g it was only actually accurate to plus or minus .2oz which is way more than 1g. I think sometimes people see the unit gram as being smaller and then assuming those scales are more accurate.<br /><br />I'm very skeptical for most people that measuring small quantities of a gram or less is actually more accurate than using measuring spoons for most people. Most people just don't have those kind of scales at home so I don't think you can easily get away from volume for smaller measures.<br /><br />I agree switching to weight for liquids like water and milk would be more accurate but I also question whether that degree of accuracy matters. Decent measuring cups are fairly accurate. Granted many people probably don't read them exactly and weight especially in metric would be easier but being off for example 3g of water is pretty irrelevant in most baking because you don't know the exact moisture content of your flour on any given day anyway.<br /><br />I just think the main thing on baking is using weight for flour especially regardless of whether it is standard or metric. I agree if we could switch everything over easily, metric is clearly better but only because it is base 10 and easier to calculate. Since most people already have scales with ounces that seems like that simply getting rid of volume for flour and larger dry measures would provide more benefit to more people.
 
AntoniaJames August 16, 2017
With liquids, it's not the accuracy that drives my preference for mass measures, it's the convenience. If you can pour baking oil into a mixing bowl directly, instead of having first to put it into a measuring cup, and then to pour it into the bowl, you save time not only by bypassing the volume measurement process, but also in not cleaning a measuring cup.<br />I use mass measures whenever possible. Occasionally I need to convert from ounces to grams in recipes where less than an ounce is stated a a decimal, because my OXO scale shows ounces in 1/8 increments. <br /><br />Like Dogolaca, I do a simple voice command in Google to get the calculation, which is presented in the search results.<br /><br />Here's a related tip, for readers in the US who prefer metric measures. All ingredients that come in packages, like jars of peanut butter, sticks of butter, bags of flax seeds, nuts, etc., include both US standard volume and metric mass or volume units in the nutrition information. That's handy, reliable information when converting -- though it doesn't solve the problem of discrepancies in actual versus standard weight for ingredients like flour due to the measuring technique of the recipe author. ;o)
 
Jim August 16, 2017
Considering how easy it is to make conversions, you have to wonder why sites such as Food52 don't just have a button to convert all recipes into whatever units are desired? Medrich can post in metric. People with standard scales can get it in ounces and liquid measures can be converted to volume if desired.<br /><br />My only real point is that I don't really think there is that big a benefit to any of the measurement methods and it comes down to personal preference. Given the tools we have readily available, why not just publish for all of them?
 
AntoniaJames August 21, 2017
I agree that it would be so helpful to be able to choose among measuring unit systems, like King Arthur Flour has on their site. It's not as simple for the editors, however, as having someone crunch numbers from a conversion table - at least not for recipes that call for flour and any other ingredient for which there can be great variation in the mass / volume ratio, depending on the volume measuring technique of the person in the kitchen. Any recipe with density sensitive ingredients must be tested for both volume and mass. (In fact, the Food52 editors won't accept my updated mass figures for recipes that are contest finalists, contest winners or wildcard winners.) <br />Frankly it doesn't take very long -- adding perhaps a minute or two at most - to note quantities in both volume and mass while testing.<br />That said, I'm guilty with respect to many of the recipes I've posted on Food52, as I have only in the past few years been consistently using mass measures. Once I realized how much easier it is, I've greatly preferred recipes providing mass units. I have re-tested and updated a few of my bread recipes, but not all. I will make that a priority in the fall, when I tend to have the oven on more regularly. I actually reposted as a new recipe my Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread (it was finalist) as that seemed the most efficient way to make the mass measures accessible to users. ;o)
 
Nancy August 14, 2017
Yes!<br />I live in Canada where the government and the food industry converted - albeit half heartedly - to metric years ago. <br />So, while recipes come with both measures, all packages must have metric and only possibly have imperial. Thus, one quickly learns how to move back and forth.<br />Also keep in mind (for a start in thinking about liquids) that 30g of water = 30 ml of water.
 
Sandra August 14, 2017
Yay! Bravo. I can't wait for the day when all recipes come in weights. You can really get creative and have more control---particularly when adapting bread recipes.
 
AntoniaJames August 14, 2017
Sandra, FYI, all recipes on the King Arthur Flour recipe site offer the choice of volume, US standard (e.g., ounces) or grams. Their recipes are thoroughly tested and have, in my experience, all been excellent. These days, I rarely use a recipe providing volume but not mass measures - and don't search any site for recipes if the site does not include mass measures in all editor-created or reviewed recipes. (The only exception is to search on this site using the author's name as a search term in a recipe search, where I know that the author always provides mass units.) ;o)
 
Dogolaca August 14, 2017
No bookmark or app needed. You can ask Siri on your iPhone. Or use a browser and type<br /><br /> 7.75 oz in g<br /><br />and Google will convert for you. <br /> <br /><br />