As most of us know by know, Americans usually measure ingredients by volume, while most of the rest of the world measures by weight. (We just LOVE to be different, don’t we?) While I grew up using cups and tablespoons, I’ve grown more comfortable measuring by weight. It’s a more precise calculation, especially when it comes to the exacting science of baking involving tricky ingredients like flour that seem change volume at will. I’ve gotten quite good at converting recipes back and forth between weight/ volume or metric/English, over the years, so I’d like to share with you some of my learnings.

General Measurements

1 cup 16 Tablespoons 236 mL
1 Tablespoon 3 teaspoons 15 mL
1 teaspoon 5 mL
1 quart 4 cups 0.95 liters
1 ounce 28 g
1 pound 16 ounces 454 g


European and American flours are different, and can cause some confusion in the kitchen. The weight of flour varies greatly depending on the kind, and using flour with the wrong gluten content can have disastrous results. I put together this handy chart to save you all the stress I’ve suffered over collapsed cookies!

Francese Italiana Americana Grammi per cup
t 45 farina 00 Cake/Pastry flour 115 g / cup
t 55 farina 0 all-purpose 125 g / cup
t 65 farina 1 high gluten 140 g / cup
t 150 integrale whole wheat 120 g / cup
de grau manitoba bread flour 130 g / cup
epeautre farro spelt 100 g / cup
seigle segale rye Light: 100 g / cup
Dark: 125 g / cup
sarrasin saraceno buckweat 120 g / cup

Other Ingredients

Water 1 cup 236 g
Butter 1 cup 230 g
1 Tablespoon 14.5 g
1 stick = 1/2 cup
= 8 Tablespoons
115 g
Milk, Yogurt, Cream, Buttermilk 1 cup 245 g
1 liter 1030 g
Baking powder and soda 1 Tablespoon 15 g
1 teaspoon 5 g
White Sugar 1 cup 200 g
Brown Sugar 1 cup 220 g
Powdered Sugar 1 cup 120 g


Sour cream: Whip 1 cup fresh cream to form soft peaks, fold in 1 tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Buttermilk: Stir together 1/2 cup skim milk with 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

Brown sugar: Beat together 1 cup white sugar with 1 Tbsp of molasses. If you can’t find molasses, you can use honey and a bit of water.

Where to shop:

A lot of American ingredients can be hard to find in Italy, which is why I’m compiling a list of my favorite places to shop, mostly in and around Milan. Please send on your suggestions for stores in other parts of Italy as well!

Esselunga: Supermarket where you can find maple syrup, sour cream, tortillas, and peanut butter.

Superpolo: Carries a large variety of foodstuffs from around the world with many american and English specialties. Here you can find just about anything, molasses, sour cream, maple syrup, peanut butter, pancake and cookie mixes, cranberry juice, etc, etc.

Kathay International Foodstores: A large International foods market specializing in Asian goods, but which also carries some North American and English foods, this is my favorite place to shop in Milan, I could spend hours browsing the shelves.

Plaza Latina: Specializes in Latin American products, you can also order items directly from the website.

{ 100 Responses }
  • Judy
    Feb 27, 2016

    I don’t see conversions for “un bicchiere” My notes from 30 years ago when I lived in italy are missing, but I have a recipe that calls for un bicchiere di latte. I seem to remember 3/4 cup, 6 oz or something along those lines. Thanks

    Judy Feb 27, 2016
    • Sep 21, 2016

      From what I’ve heard (though every nonna has her own interpretation), a “bicchiere” is 100 ml of liquid and a “tazza” is 200 ml.

      Laurel Sep 21, 2016
  • Mar 22, 2016

    What is etto in English? The measurement please thank you.

    Luisa Lezaja Mar 22, 2016
    • Sep 21, 2016

      100 grams

      Laurel Sep 21, 2016
    • David
      Mar 29, 2017

      Un etto: it means exactly 100grams in weight. The word means one eigthth, and refers back to earlier weighing and measuring systems in Italy. So, in true Italian fashion, if you ask for ‘due etti di cotto’, you’ll be given 200 grrams of cooked ham though you have literally asked for two eighths. (But the ham will be just as delicious).

      David Mar 29, 2017
  • Jeanne
    Jun 8, 2016

    How much is a bustina di lievito per dolci? 1 tsp.? 1 Tbsp?

    Jeanne Jun 8, 2016
    • Sep 21, 2016

      1 tbsp or 3 teaspoons ;)

      Laurel Sep 21, 2016
  • Stephanie Assouline
    Aug 29, 2016

    I just came across your web site it’s great, thank you.

    I could use some guidance!

    I have two recipes, one calls for:

    1 bustina lievito per torte vanigliato and the other for

    1 bustina di lievito per dolci vanigliato

    What are these ingredients? Regular baking powder??

    Also, calls for Fecola di patate.. which I figure is potato starch and I wonder if that can be replaced — it is so rare a see recipes calling for potato starch…

    Thanks in advance…

    Stephanie Assouline Aug 29, 2016
    • Sep 21, 2016

      Both of those ingredients are baking powder. “Una bustina” is about the equivalent of 3 teaspoons.

      Laurel Sep 21, 2016
    • Jun 10, 2017

      I would also add some pure vanilla extract, perhaps a 1/2 teaspoon

      Lisa Stone Jun 10, 2017
  • Michelyne
    Sep 22, 2016

    Hi Laurel, I am trying to figure out what baking powder is and what baking soda is in Italian.
    I am making banana bread and it calls for both.
    I have a packet of ammoniaca per dolci, and I have packets of lievito instantaneo per dolci.

    Can you let me know what these are, and if they will substitute for baking powder and baking soda respectively?

    Michelyne Sep 22, 2016
    • Oct 20, 2016

      Hi! Let’s see if this will help :)
      lievito incantano = baking powder
      bicarbonato di soda = baking soda (you can find it near the drink section of the grocery store, or sometimes with the cleaning supplies)
      ammoniaca = Baker’s ammonia (cannot substitute for baking soda)
      Happy baking!

      Laurel Oct 20, 2016
  • Angela Schiano di Cola
    Sep 24, 2016

    Hi! Any substitutes for lievito di birra? Thank you!!

    Angela Schiano di Cola Sep 24, 2016
    • Oct 20, 2016

      lievito di birra is just active dry yeast!

      Laurel Oct 20, 2016
  • Ann Guanciale
    Nov 1, 2016

    I enjoy your website and help with Italian recipes.
    I see all your responses for “baking powder”, I have one more:
    Lievito in polvere per dolce in a cookie recipe. Baking powder or yeast?
    Grazie mille!

    Ann Guanciale Nov 1, 2016
    • Nov 4, 2016

      Lievito in polvere (also called lievito per dolci or lievito vanigliato) is baking powder! Yeast is “lievito di birra”.

      Laurel Nov 4, 2016
  • Andres
    Nov 3, 2016

    Hi !
    I’m baking an American cheese cake in Italy. It calls for 2 teaspoons baking powder. I have lievito neutro- do I use the same amount of this as I would American baking powder?
    Thank you so much- your site is a godsend! I shopped at Essiellunga yesterday and was astounded!

    Andres Nov 3, 2016
    • Nov 4, 2016

      Hi Andres!
      Baking powder is the equivalent of “lievito per dolci” in Italy and you can use the same quantities. Though I do wonder why there is baking powder in a cheesecake recipe? If you want to check out my recipe you can find it here. Good luck!

      Laurel Nov 4, 2016
  • CF
    Nov 13, 2016

    what is lievito per dolci in English and what do i use in America

    CF Nov 13, 2016
  • Rian
    Nov 21, 2016

    I found a recipe that calls for 1/2 packet of baking powder, can you please tell me what would be a US spoon measurement equivalent for that?

    Rian Nov 21, 2016
    • Mar 7, 2017

      Hi Rian, is the recipe in Italian or English? If it calls for “mezza bustina di lievito in polvere” that would be 1 1/2 US teaspoons.

      Laurel Mar 7, 2017
  • Nov 26, 2016

    What is colla di pesce in the USA

    Juliana Nov 26, 2016
    • Jan 15, 2017

      It’s just called “gelatin”

      Laurel Jan 15, 2017
  • Wanda Lingenfelter
    Feb 4, 2017

    Hi vorrei sapere 25 grammi di lievito di birra fresco quante’ la quantita of active dry yeast ? Una bustina o 2 bustine ? Grazie mille !!!

    Wanda Lingenfelter Feb 4, 2017
    • Mar 7, 2017

      25 gr di lievito fresco = 1 bustina di lievito secco (active dry yeast)

      Laurel Mar 7, 2017
  • Shirley
    Mar 23, 2017

    What is the difference between baking soda and bakers ammonia in baking? Would you prefer to use the baking soda rather than the bakers ammonia (due to the ammonia smell and also having to keep out of the reach of children)? I read you could use them interchangeably, is this not correct?

    I have a recipe from a friend in Italy for La Scarella that calls for the ammoniaca and grated lemon
    una bustino di ammoniaca – 1 tbsp bakers ammonia

    a different recipe I have calls for
    5 gr di bicarbonato – 1 tsp baking soda.

    Your comment earlier:
    bicarbonato di soda = baking soda
    ammoniaca = Baker’s ammonia (cannot substitute for baking soda)

    Shirley Mar 23, 2017
  • John Loke
    Mar 29, 2017

    Thanks for sharing good site!


    John Loke Mar 29, 2017
  • Mar 30, 2017

    An “etto” is not an eighth of anything. It is an abbreviation for “ettogrammo”; we’d say hectogram; and it is 100 grams. In act in Italy most smaller purchases are made in terms of “etti” (the plural of “etto”). In a marcelleria one might say, “Due etti di vitello, per favore.” I.e. just under a half pound of veal.

    DOn Sordilo Mar 30, 2017
  • lynda
    Apr 15, 2017

    what can you use as a substitute for ammoniaca per dolci in the US

    lynda Apr 15, 2017
  • Olivia
    May 19, 2017

    Dear Laurel,
    I am having trouble finding Vienna fingers here in Milan for my cheesecake base. Do you know if there is a substitute.

    Olivia May 19, 2017
    • Jun 8, 2017

      I use McVitties Digestive cookies which I find at the supermarket ;)

      Laurel Jun 8, 2017

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