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Cup

The 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 measurement).

CupThis 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 definitions used.

Using volume measures to estimate mass
In 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.

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