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Cup Sizes

Asked by angiemob. Answered on 13th November 2012

Full question

Nigella sometimes suggests using a "cupful". How many ounces is a cup please? Many thanks, Angie Salisbury.

Our answer

Nigella sometimes uses cups to measure ingredients as this can sometimes be easier than getting out a large pair of scales. We tend to give cup sizes as a measrue of volume rather than weight, as different ingredients will have different weights per cup, depending on their density.

Nigella's own cups (and those in her Kitchen Kit range) have volumes of 1 cup = 250 mls/9 fl oz, 1/2 cup = 125 mls/4 1/2 fl oz, 1/3 cup = 80 mls/3 fl oz, 1/4 cup = 60 mls/2 1/4 fl oz.

US standard cups have slightly different mesures, where 1 cup = 240mls or 8 US ounces, but generally the difference between the two types of cup is very small.

In Kitchen Nigella sometimes refers to a "breakfast cupful" and again we would take this to be around 250mls. If you are hiving off a cupful of pasta cooking water before draining the pasta then the cup size doesn't really matter too much and you could just use a tea or coffee cup. The cooking water is added to the pan of pasta and sauce a splash at a time, just to help to loosen and emulsify the sauce, so you will only add as much as you need.

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