Liters, grams… How do I read French recipes?

The International System of Units (SI, from the French “Système International”) was created at the beginning of the 60’s to have an easier system of measurement based on multiples of ten. For example, 1 kilogram is equal to 1000 grams, 1 gram to 1000 milligrams.

Today, this system is used everywhere in the world except 3 countries: the Liberia, Myanmar and of course, USA!

And here is our question of the day: How do I read and use those amazing French recipes if I cannot understand them? No worries, we are going to help you!

Here are the most common units you will find in French recipes. For each, I converted them to the “best” US unit.

Important: Unfortunately, cups are not as accurate as grams so if you want exact measurement you will need to use a measurement cup in grams.

GRAMS (g) to CUPS (flour, sugar…)

25 g 2 tbsp
50 g ¼ cup
75 g 1/3 cup
100 g ½ cup (114 grams)

LITER (L) / Milliliters (ml) to CUPS (Water, milk…)

0.25 L / 250 ml 1 cup
0.5 L / 500 ml 2 cups
0.75 L / 750 ml 3 cups
1 L 4 cups

GRAMS (g) to OUNCE (oz) (meat, fish, pieces…)

500 g 17.5 oz
750 g 26.5 oz
1 kilogram 35 oz

The last one does not need a table because you won’t use it much except for huge dinners, and also because it is an easy conversion!

Kilos (kg) to Pounds (lbs): 1 kg = 2.2 lbs so, unless you need an exact number, double the kilos and you will get the right amount of pounds. It’s that simple!

Here is a small reminder to put somewhere in your kitchen!

Any problems with a recipe? Ask us in the comments!

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