If you’re anything like me, you like scaling recipes. It’s one of the magic things about baking: everything is infinitely scaleable. You should, in theory, be able to make one cookie or 100 cookies all taste exactly the same using the magic of math. So if you want to learn how to scale recipes for small batches, you’ve come to the right place.

Plus in the time of Covid, when you don’t have a lot of ingredients (I’m looking at you butter, flour, and eggs!) scaling recipes just seems like the smart thing to do. You can avoid going to the grocery store more than necessary and still have a huge variety of things to make and eat. Most small batch recipes out there are for baking, since baked goods always seem to be for 2 dozen or more, but I find the following tips and tricks good for scaling cooking recipes too since we just have two of us at home . I’m forever googling: how much is half of 3/4 cup. Now, for my sanity, I will have all the conversions right here on one page.

How to Scale Recipes for Small Batches

If your recipe comes in weights (yay British baking sites!) and you use a scale, you’re in luck. All you need to do is punch everything into a calculator and divide by 2 if you’re halving or 4 if you’re quartering. But, if your recipe is in cups and tablespoons, sometimes there’s a bit more to figure out. You could use one of those online recipe converters. But if you do, you’ll probably end up with a bunch of strange fractions like 7/8 cup or 1/16 teaspoon. I know because I use them all the time and I am forever googling things like:

  • what is half of 3/4 cup
  • how do you measure 1/6 cup in tablespoons
  • how do you measure out half an egg
  • how many tablespoons are there in 1/6 cup

Online recipe converters are helpful because they do most of the math for you, but I’m always double checking. So, here are some things that I find really useful when scaling recipes.

Converting Cups to Tablespoons
If you’re small batching baking, you’ll inevitably run into weird cup measures like 5/8 or 3/8. Don’t bother trying to use your cup measures, instead, just check how many tablespoons you need.

1 cup = 16 tablespoons
7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
5/8 cup = 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
3/8 cup = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
1/6 cup = 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons

Eggs – How Do I Measure Out Half an Egg or Partial Eggs?
Almost all baked goods call for eggs and usually more than one. Most likely if you’re small batching a recipe you’ll get 1/2 egg. Don’t despair. You don’t have to go looking for tiny eggs. It’s super simple to halve an egg.

How to Measure Half a Large Egg
Lightly whisk your large in in a small bowl, being sure to incorporate the white with the yolk then either:

A. Measure out 1.5 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
B. Weigh out 26-28 grams lightly beaten egg

How to Measure One Third of a Large Egg
Lightly whisk your large in in a small bowl, being sure to incorporate the white with the yolk then either:

A. Measure out 1 tablespoon lightly beaten egg
B. Weigh out 18-19 grams lightly beaten egg

How to Measure a Quarter of a Large Egg
Lightly whisk your large in in a small bowl, being sure to incorporate the white with the yolk then either:

A. Measure out 2 1/4 teaspoons lightly beaten egg
B. Weigh out about 13-14 grams lightly beaten egg

What Do I Do With My Extra Egg?
You can save it in the fridge, in a container to use in another small batch recipe or scramble it up.

Small Batch Copycat Cinnamon Streusel Starbucks Coffee Cake Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What Else You Need to Consider:

Sizes/Pan Size
If you’re small batching cookies, just make the cookies the same size as what the recipe calls for. With a small batch, you’ll just end up with less cookies. For cake/bread you’ll need to adjust the pan size, sizing down accordingly unless you want a flatter cake or loaf. Generally, you can use a regular loaf pan for sheet pan cakes that you want to small batch. For loaves/quick breads, half a recipe should usually fit into a mini loaf.

Temperature
This one’s easy, just keep the temperature the same!

Baking Time
For cookies, the baking time will remain the same. For cakes and loaves, they generally take a little less time, so subtract 10-15 minutes off the time and start taking peeks into your oven (without opening the oven door). When the cake/loaf is has risen and is suitably browned, double check with a skewer in the middle (it should come out clean). Make a note of how long it took you to bake so that next time you’ll know exactly how many minutes your mini cake took.

That’s it! If you have any questions or any small batch ideas you want me to make on the blog, let me know in the comments! Happy baking/cooking :)

PS – Here are a couple of small batch ideas to inspire you!

11 Small Batch Baking Ideas – Just a bunch of ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Small Batch Pancakes – For those times when you’re making pancakes for one.
Small Batch French Toast – Just one person? You can still have french toast!
One Egg, Four Kinds of Cookies – You just need one egg to make snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, ginger cookies, and sugar cookies!
Small Batch Browned Butter Blueberry Oat Crumble Bars Recipe – A baby batch of blueberry oat bars. You can use the blueberries you have stashed in your freezer.
Small Batch: Mini Chocolate Loaf Cake Recipe – BONUS, this one doesn’t have eggs, milk, or butter!!
Small Batch Copycat Cinnamon Streusel Starbucks Coffee Cake Recipe – Just in case you’ve been craving Starbucks coffee cake ;)

5 Comments

  1. John Wever says:

    Thanks! Was looking for something like this for a long, long time!
    jw

  2. Angelica says:

    Where is your small loaf pan from?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi angelica,
      it’s from japan :)

  3. brooke b says:

    lets say in a cake recipe im trying to make smaller it calls for 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder or something small like that what do i do?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi brooke,
      depends on how much smaller you’re scaling the recipe. if you’re doing a half batch, there are 1/8 teaspoon measures out there! there are even 1/16th teaspoon measures!

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