Culinary Arts

How Many Milliliters in One Cup? A Complete Measurement Conversion Guide

Written by MasterClass

Apr 29, 2019 • 2 min read

Following a recipe that calls for cups, but you only have metric measuring spoons on hand? Use this helpful conversion table to make sure you get your quantities right.

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What Is a Milliliter?

A milliliter, abbreviated as ml or mL, is a unit of volume in the metric system. One milliliter is equal to one thousandth of a liter, or 1 cubic centimeter. In the imperial system, that’s a small amount: .004 of a cup .002 of a pint, .001 of a quart, and .00026 of a gallon.

What Is the Difference Between the Metric System and the Imperial System?

The metric system is the most common system of measurement around the world. The only nations that do not use the metric system are the United States, Myanmar, and Liberia.

The U.S. system of weights and measures is based on the imperial system, also known as the British Imperial System (Great Britain abolished the imperial system in 1965). The metric system primarily measures ingredients by weight, while the imperial system measures ingredients by volume, making conversions between them especially tricky when it comes to cooking and baking.

Why One Cup Doesn’t Always Equal One Cup

To make matters trickier, cups aren’t all standard in size. There are different ways to measure cups:

  • Legal U.S. cup: the measurement used in cooking units, serving sizes, and nutrition labeling in the U.S. One legal cup equals 8 U.S. fluid ounces.
  • Customary U.S. cup: how much a standard U.S. drinking cup holds.
  • Imperial cup: the Imperial system measures fluid ounces differently than the U.S. system. One imperial cup equals 9.61 U.S. fluid ounces (or 10 imperial fluid ounces), making it slightly larger than one legal U.S. cup. The difference is negligible for a single cup but noticeable in large quantities.
  • Metric cup: a measurement derived from the metric system, but not part of the modern form of the metric system, the International System of Units. One metric cup equals 8.45 U.S. fluid ounces, making it slightly larger than one legal U.S. cup but slightly smaller than one imperial cup.

Need a conversion chart yet? We have you covered.

How Many Milliliters in a Cup?

1 legal U.S. cup = 240 milliliters
1 customary U.S. cup = 236.59 milliliters
1 imperial cup = 284.13 milliliters
1 metric cup = 250 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Half Cup?

½ legal U.S. cup = 120 milliliters
½ customary U.S. cup = 118.3 milliliters
½ imperial cup = 142.07 milliliters
½ metric cup = 125 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Third Cup?

⅓ legal U.S. cup = 80 milliliters
⅓ customary U.S. cup = 78.86 milliliters
⅓ imperial cup = 94.71 milliliters
⅓ metric cup = 83.33 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Quarter Cup?

¼ legal U.S. cup = 60 milliliters
¼ customary U.S. cup = 59.15 milliliters
¼ imperial cup = 71.03 milliliters
¼ metric cup = 62.5 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in an 8 oz Cup?

8 U.S. fluid ounces = 236.59 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Cup of Coffee?

1 cup of coffee = 5.07 fluid ounces = 149.94 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Bottle of Water?

1 bottle of water = 16.91 U.S. fluid ounces = 500 milliliters

How Many Milliliters in a Carton of Milk?

1 carton of milk = 8 U.S. fluid ounces = 236.59 milliliters

How to Measure by Volume

You can also measure volume in cubic centimeters, cubic inches, cubic feet, and cubic meters. These conversions are more commonly used to measure the volume of objects rather than ingredients.

How Many Milliliters in a Cubic Centimeter?

1 milliliter = 1 cubic centimeter

How Many Milliliters in a Cubic Inch?

1 milliliter = .061 cubic inches

How Many Milliliters in a Cubic Foot?

1 milliliter = 3.5315e-5 cubic feet

How Many Milliliters in a Cubic Meter?

1 milliliter = 1e-6 cubic meters