Generally, when following recipes or cookbooks or cooking shows, we tend to get confused about this ounce, pint, gallon liquid measurement format and wonder why can’t they simply use a single unit for measurement? How many ounces in a pint? How many ounces in a cup? Cups to pints, pints to quarts, quarts to gallons, you almost need to have a calculator pinned to your cooktop!
Well, maybe not. Use this article as a guide and you should have a quick cheat sheet for all US-based liquid measurements.
Having an English origin, its value lies between 1/5th to 1/4th of a Liter. By cups, we don’t mean regular coffee or tea mugs. Those can vary in size and measurement. We’re talking about standard measuring cups which are usually accompanied by a measuring scale marked on them.
It’s the base of this type of measurement system. A regular U.S. measuring cup equals ~240 ml or 8 ounces whereas a British measuring cup can hold 250ml. Followed by a cup is a pint.
You might be fairly familiar with the word pint because usually, the most commonly heard phrase in which it’s used is a “pint of beer”. Its symbol is pt. A pint equals 2 cups or 16 ounces or ~480 ml. The word “pint” comes from a French word “pinte” which means painted.
This indicated the marks painted on both sides of the container to assist the measurement of capacity and to show the maximum capacity it can hold. The famous American saying “The pint’s a pound, the world around” comes from the fact that n American pint is also equal to a pound. After the pint, comes a quart.
2 pints or 4 cups make a quart which is also roughly equal to one liter or 32 ounces. In ancient times, the size of a quart wasn’t fixed. It varied in accordance with the different values of a gallon that changed time and again and in ligancy with various commodities to which it referred. The word quart traces its origin from a Latin word “quartus” which means one quarter via the French “quart”.
Interesting fact: An archaic form of measurement but one that is widely used even today is the Winchester quart. It roughly equals 2.25 litres.
4 quarts, 8 pints or 16 cups make a quart which is also roughly equal to 3.8 liters or 128 ounces. The IEEE standard symbol for the gallon is gal. The definite measurement of a gallon has evolved many times in the past. Its origins have roots from a French word “Galun.” During the early times, it was the base system of measurement for wine and beer in England.
Interesting fact: The U.S. and the British pints aren’t of the same volume. The British pint is about 20% larger than the American pint since the two systems are not compatible. The imperial gallon, quart, pint, and cup are not interchangeable given the fact that they are approximately 20% larger than their US counterparts.
To make your life easier and to get you out of the constant confusion of how much each of them measures, we’ll present you with a simple trick.
Remember the magic formula 2 X 2 = 4.
2 Cups = 1 Pint = 16 ounces
2 Pints = 1 Quart = 32 ounces
4 Quarts = 1 Gallon = 128 ounces
There’s the mystery of cups, pints, quarts, and gallons solved for you in the easiest manner possible so that next time when you hear any of these units of measurement, you can do the math on your fingertips.
And if you’re still having trouble remembering it, here’s a catchy kid’s song that might help you memorize.