How Many Cups In A Liter: Handy Guide For Precise Measuring

How many cups in a liter? We will answer this question and help you master precise measuring so that you never fail at any recipe again!

Cooking might seem simple, especially to those who do not practice it on their own. It seems like you only need to read the recipe, follow a few straightforward instructions and that's it. How come then so many people fail at it?

I'll tell you a secret. It is not as simple as it seems. You can have the best recipe in your hands and still end up with a messy kitchen and your meal in a trash can.

Why is that?

There are numerous things that can go wrong, but today I'll deal with measuring issues. Let's paint the picture: you have found a great recipe online, read the reviews and made sure that it turns out great. Unfortunately, there is a problem: the recipe lists the measurements you are not familiar with - for example, cups instead of milliliters.

In such situations, metric, imperial, and the US conversion tables come in handy as they guide you and help you prepare the recipe the right way. Quite often, recipes call for cups of water or milk, while some other recipes require you to measure your liquid ingredients in milliliters and liters. The question arises: How many cups in a liter?

I will resolve this dilemma for you...:)

Also check out my Cooking Measurements Conversions here.

How Many Cups in a Liter

Let us cut right to the chase!

We all know that recipes require precision and that we have to measure the ingredients accurately if we want to be successful. Besides a reliable kitchen scale, it would be a good idea to have a set of measuring cups as well.

As we said, recipes often call for cups of milk or water, but there are different kinds of cups, and it is sometimes safer to measure liquid ingredients in millimeters, deciliters, and liters.

In general, and quite roughly, one liter is usually considered to be equivalent to about four average cups. However, the measurement differs somewhat depending on which type of cups are used.

There are following types of cups:

  1. Metric
  2. U.S. customary
  3. U.S. "legal"
  4. Canadian
  5. Imperial
  6. Japanese
  7. Traditional Japanese cups

For us, it is most important to know the metric, US, and the UK or Imperial system as that is what we encounter in our day to day life. So, here we go:

1. The Metric System

  • In the metric system, 1 liter equals 1000 mL. One metric cup equals 250 mL. You can easily calculate how many cups there are in one liter: 1000 / 250 = 4. Therefore, there are four cups in one liter in the metric system.

2. The US system

  • In the United States, we rely on the so-called US cup when it comes to measuring liquids. 1 US cup has a capacity of 236.58 mL or 8 US fluid ounces. One liter equals 1000 mL or 33.814 US fluid ounces.
  • The math is the same as in the previous example: 33.814 / 8 = 4.22675. Hence, there are 4.22675 cups in one liter in the US system.

3. For Imperial System (UK)

  • We often find recipes that are written for the UK audience - it is logical as we share the same language. Unfortunately, we do not share the same measuring system as well. British people rely on the Imperial system.
  • One imperial cup has a capacity of 284.131 mL or 10 imperial fluid ounces. One liter equals 1000 mL or 35.1951 imperial fluid ounces. That means that math is as follows: 35.1951 / 10 = 3.51951. As you can see, there are 3.51951 imperial cups in one liter in the UK system.

Word of Caution

Nowadays, people in the UK use the metric system rather than the imperial one. In translation, the modern recipes will deal with the metric cups rather than the traditional imperial cups.

How can you know whether the person who wrote the recipe meant the imperial cup or the metric one?

You can never be 100% sure, but if you find the recipe in the old recipe book, you can assume that the conversion you need is that from the imperial system (3.52 cups in 1 liter). If you find the recipe online, which is more likely, the answer is most probably 4 cups per liter as given in the metric system.

Related article: How Many Ounces in a Shot; How Many Tablespoons In An Ounce

What to Do When You Need to Convert More than One Liter into Cups?

It is quite simple, you will use the same logic and the same math formula and multiply the number of liters with the number of cups - of course, this number will be different depending on the system you are referring to.

Let us label the number of liters with an "x", the math would then be as follows:

  • The US system: X multiplied by 4.22675
  • The Imperial system: X multiplied by 3.51951
  • The metric system: X multiplied by 4

Here are some examples that will clarify everything even further:

If you are interested in finding out how many US cups there are in a liter and a half, you will simply multiply 1.5 by 4.22675 and find out that you need 6.34 US cups.

You can likewise use this volume units conversion tool to convert between imperial, US, and metric cups and liters.

Further Reading: Countertop Water FilterWater CoolerWater Bottle


Volume Units in Short + 2 Practical & Easy to Follow Reference Lists

1. Liter

It is a metric system volume unit and the abbreviation used to label it is "L".

  • 1L = 1000 mL = 33.814 US fluid ounces = 35.1951 imperial fluid ounces. 

2. Cup

Cup is another volume unit used to measure both liquids and dry ingredients (with some difference that we will discuss later on). The abbreviation used to mark one cup is "c".

  • 1 US c = 8 US fluid ounces
  • 1 imperial c = 10 imperial fluid ounces 
  • 1 metric cup = 250 mL.

Word of Caution: Dry cups vs. Liquid cups

The US liquid cups are different from US dry cup measurements, and you should acknowledge that before you start converting the measurements provided in your recipe.

If you need to measure dry ingredients such as flour or sugar, you should use a dry measuring cup. In this way, the measurement will be far more precise as it is often too hard to level off the dry ingredients in the liquid measuring cup. After all, dry cups convert to grams and ounces and cannot directly translate to milliliters and liters, and the same goes the other way around too.

Bonus

Practical reference list for the metric measurement system:

  • 1/4 cup: 60 mL
  • 1/3 cup: 70 mL
  • 1/2 cup: 125 mL
  • 2/3 cup: 150 mL
  • 3/4 cup: 175 mL
  • 1 cup: 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 cups: 375 mL
  • 2 cups: 500 mL
  • 4 cups: 1 liter

Practical reference list for the Metric to Imperial conversion:

  • 25 ml: 1 fl oz
  • 50 ml: 2 fl oz
  • 75 ml: 2 1/2 fl oz
  • 100 ml: 3 1/2 fl oz
  • 125 ml: 4 fl oz
  • 150 ml: 5 fl oz
  • 175 ml: 6 fl oz
  • 200 ml: 7 fl oz
  • 225 ml: 8 fl oz
  • 250 ml: 9 fl oz
  • 300 ml: 10 fl oz
  • 350 ml: 12 fl oz
  • 400 ml: 14 fl oz
  • 425 ml: 15 fl oz
  • 450 ml: 16 fl oz
  • 500 ml: 18 fl oz
  • 600 ml: 1 pint
  • 700 ml: 1 1/4 pints
  • 850 ml: 1 1/2 pints
  • 1 liter: 1 3/4 pints

Conclusion

You are now one step closer to mastering precise measuring and thus perfecting your cooking skills. If you have anything to add feel free to do so. If not, share the knowledge! 🙂

Before you go, you might want to find out How Many Cups in a Pound of Powdered Sugar.

Further Reading: How Many Oz In A Quart.

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: