Our cups to pounds calculator can help you figure out your recipe! Whether you need to convert cups to pounds or convert pounds to cups, we have you covered. Is part of your recipe in liters, teaspoons, or grams? Check out the cooking measurement converter for even more weight and volume units that you can switch between. Or jump down the page if you want to see what the conversion for 1 cup to pounds of your ingredient is!

What is the difference between pounds and cups when baking?

Our cups to pounds calculator uses two imperial measurements: cups and pounds. However, these two units measure substances differently. A cup is a unit of volume - how much space does something take up. Most recipes using cups are based on the US customary cup (236.59 mL), which is what we will be using in this calculator, although there is also a metric cup (250 mL) occasionally used by countries such as the UK, AU, NZ, CA, and ZA.

Most recipes use cups when baking, but occasionally you come across ingredients in a recipe in pounds - especially when measuring out flour. A pound (lb) is a unit of mass - how much does something weigh? The abbreviation lb comes from the Roman unit libra, which is Latin for scales or balance and was an earlier measurement from which pounds descended. A pound is also equal to 16 ounces, or 0.45 kilograms.

If you are taking your baking to the next level and need exact measurements, you may be better off measuring weight in grams. Because this is a cups to pounds converter, the units are set automatically to pounds and cups; however, you can change the units to several different volume and mass units.

How do I convert cups to pounds and pounds to cups?

If you need to convert cups to pounds, it is best to use a cups to pounds calculator like the one on the left. Because cups and pounds measure different things - volume and mass - you can’t use a standard conversion between the two. Instead, you need to use the density to convert pounds to cups or convert cups to pounds.

Because density = mass/volume, if we know the density of the substance and the desired volume OR mass (weight), we can calculate:

mass = density * volume

volume = mass / density

What is the density of the substance I am measuring?

Within our cups to pounds calculator, we have included the densities of most of the common ingredients that you would come across in a recipe that would require you to convert pounds to cups or convert cups to pounds. Keep in mind that there is variation in the density of substances dependent on specific qualities of a particular brand of a product and how tightly you pack it into a container. Therefore, even though we have done our best to research densities for you, there may be some variation between our list and the specific ingredient you are using.

If you know the density of the ingredient you are using, or you need to do a pounds to cups or cups to pounds conversion for a substance we don’t have on the list, you can manually enter the density in the advanced mode version of the calculator. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has a density database with the density of most foods you can think of, with everything from chopped onions to eggplant parmesan!

How do I convert 1 cup to a pound?

Well, as we said above, it depends on what you are converting cups to pounds for - it depends on the density of the substance. That being said, we created a handy table for you here that tells you the 1 cup to pounds and 1 pound to cups conversions of some of the most commonly measured ingredients in recipes.

ProductDensity (kg/m3)Cups in one pound (US) Pounds in one cup
Water 1000 1.9 0.52
Flour 530 3.6 0.28
Milk 1030 1.9 0.54
Sugar 845 2.3 0.44
Salt 1217 1.6 0.63
Honey 1420 1.4 0.74
Butter 959 2.0 0.50
Oil 946 2.0 0.49
Rice (raw) 760 2.5 0.40
Oats 338 5.7 0.18


Butter is one of the ingredients most commonly measured in pounds, partly because the cups to pounds conversion is a very smooth one.

  • Convert cups to pounds by dividing by two:
  • 1/2 cup of butter = 0.25 lb of butter = one stick of butter
  • 1 cup of butter = 0.5 lb of butter = two sticks of butter
  • 2 cups of butter = 1 lb of butter = four sticks of butter (usually how you buy one package of butter at the store).

So which should I use for baking: cups or pounds?

Because the volume of something can vary based on how tightly it is packed, weight is a more consistent measurement, especially for substances that can be compressed, such as flour. Weight measurements used to be challenging to obtain, but now that digital scales are inexpensive and easily accessible, it is much easier to measure out ingredients in pounds.

It really depends on you and the recipe you are using. If you are making pancakes at home with your family, you can probably stick to cups. However, if you are working with a large-scale operation or want to take your baking to the next level and be more precise, you will benefit from using a weight measurement, such as pounds (or even better - grams!). Either way, keep our cups to pounds calculator handy to help you with your recipes and cooking for the future!

Carolyn Kovacs