Your questions answered: Measuring pasta, cheese, etc.

Chicken Pasta Salad recipe

A recent question asked in a comment here:

How could you measure out a certain amount of dry macaroni or a certain ounce size of block cheese from bigger portions? Would you use a measuring cup? I don't know if this is the same type of measurement. Thanks!!

Usually recipes call for a weight of dry pasta. One pound of elbow macaroni is about 4 cups of dry pasta, so if your recipe called for 8 ounces of macaroni, you would need 2 cups. You can either measure two cups from your box, or (what I usually do) take a guess. If it's a 16-ounce box, I just try to estimate how much would be half of the box.

If you buy your pasta in bulk, the dry measurements would be helpful! If you're not buying in bulk, the label of the box of pasta should have the weight and measurements (look under "serving size" and "servings per container").

For measuring cheese, I am usually cutting cheese from a fairly small (8 or 16 ounce) block. Shredded cheese is easier to measure -- 1 cup of shredded cheese (not packed) is supposed to be about 4 ounces. In most of my recipes, I try to give both measurements for the shredded cheese (ounces and cups).

Edited to add: Actually, I think I misunderstood your question!

A cup of water, for example, is 8 fluid ounces. Eight ounces of pasta is a weight measurement, and not a fluid or liquid measurement, so that is why 8 ounces of macaroni is actually more than a measuring cup full.

Does anyone else have tips for measuring these items, particularly if you purchase them in bulk?


I have a book that says;

1 cup dry pasta=2cups cooked pasta,
2 cups dry pasta=4cups cooked pasta.


I invested in a good digital kitchen scale years ago and it is really wonderful. For example, 4 oz cheese = 1 cup shredded, so I put my grating container on the scale, zero it out, grate, and then check the weight until I have 4 oz. It really makes it much easier than trying to measure by the cup. If you use a coupon at a place like Bed Bath & Beyond or Linens N Things you can usually get a good deal on one.

Tammy , thanks for addressing my question. you were real helpful. also thanks to Donna. Ill write that in one of my cookbooks. Sometimes recipies will say "2cups cooked pasta", thats not always easy to know how much dry pasta to cook.

We bought a kitchen scale that measures 1/4 tsp up to 11 lbs in oz, fl oz, and grams. Since I have 7 children and a husband that works at home on the farm, my kitchen sees 21 meals a week for 9. As you can guess, we buy bulk everything! Our scale is used daily to measure everything. It takes the guess work out of it all.

The biggest reason I will give you for buying a scale is to weigh out your flour!! Weigh it out directly into the mixing bowl on the scale and don't scoop it in the measuring cup - especially if you grind your own wheat berries. Flour will pack down like brown sugar and you'll end up with too much. Weighing it will keep the breads from being too heavy and dense (or too wet with freshly ground flour that is very "fluffy".)

4 oz of flour = 1 cup flour in recipes

Use soft (also called pastry) wheat for everything except breads that rise and need the gluten. We use only our own ground flour for everything - your challah bread was wonderful in ww!

I've enjoyed your blog and your recipes!

Debbie in KY

I'll add one related comment about measuring cheese. I like to buy large blocks of cheese, and then immediately cut it into 1 ounce pieces. It should be fairly easy to eyeball it, based on how big the original block is. Then I toss all of those into plastic bags and store them in the freezer. Any time I need cheese, I pull out exactly the number of 1-ounce chunks I need. As a bonus, once frozen, it crumbles easily with just your fingers, so it saves the hassle (and clean-up) of dragging out a grater. I use the assumption that 1 ounce of cheese = 1/4 cup of shredded, and go from there.

I have tried doing pasta by cups instead of ounces, but the different shapes and sizes make different densities in the measuring cups and the measure is not always accurate.

A kitchen scale is the way to go.

I'm wondering if you missed my question. It's under the last chicken recipe you posted. Thanks

Hi, Anonymous!

I actually already have an answer written to your question, and will post it this evening. :) But thanks for asking, since I do sometimes forget about a question I receive! :)

I use my digital scale to measure pasta and noodles (figuring around 2 oz per serving), measuring flour when I make bread, and measuring frozen vegetables (around 80-100 grams for adults, and 30-50 grams for my 5 year-old). I also use it for measuring portions of things like honey, that are hard to clean out of a measuring spoon or cup. (I think 1 Tbsp honey = 50 grams, so 1/4 cup would be 200 grams.) I'm also on Weight Watcher's so I use it for measuring out my portions of rice, cheese, lite ice cream, etc.


if the serving size on the pasta box sayd 2 oz, is taht 2oz dry or 2oz wet? I am counting calories and I want to make sure I'm using the right measurements.
I weighed out 1 oz dry but once cooked, it was 3oz wet. :-|


Amanda, the serving size is the dry weight. :)

Thanks Tammy,
I was so scared I ended up eating 1.5 servings instead of just 1/2 a serving! THANK YOU!!!!

Hi there,

I am on Weight Watchers, and I am trying to figure out the points for cheese. The problem is, I don't know how much 30gms of cheese is (it says a 3 cm cube)...can anyone help me with this?



Measurement instructions were very helpful. Thanks.

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