How Many Cups Are There in a Quart of Water?

Cup Credit: LoSchmi/Pixabay

There are exactly 4 cups of water in a United States customary quart. A quart can hold 2 U.S. pints or 32 U.S. fluid ounces while 2 cups make a pint, and 1 cup can hold 8 U.S. fluid ounces. A cup also holds 16 tablespoons or 48 teaspoons. This means that a quart can hold 64 tablespoons or 198 teaspoons. As its name implies, a quart makes up a one-quarter of a U.S. gallon. It is important to note that although the U.S. customary units for liquid volume share the same names as with the imperial units, the actual measurements are not the same.

British Imperial Units

Even though the British imperial system of measurement was only standardized in 1824, the units were largely based on the English system. Measurements in the English system date as far back as the Anglo-Saxon period in England around 450 A.D. when Germanic tribes were in control.

During this era, measurements such as the inch (or ynce), which are 3 barleycorns, in length were already being used. The Saxons also had foot units, which are either 12 or 13 inches in length. It was during this time period when the gallon was also used as a unit of volume. Much of these units of measurements are very much in use right down to this day.  

US Customary Units vs. British Imperial Units for Volume

The US customary units of measurements are based on the old English system as opposed to the relatively more recent British imperial system standards. While much of the units of measurements are largely the same between the U.S. customary and imperial systems, volume measurements are slightly different. Using the metric system, the following shows the difference in the volume sizes between the two systems:

  • 1 U.S. fluid ounces = 29.573 milliliters
  • 1 imperial fluid ounces = 28.413 milliliters
  • 1 U.S. cup = 240 milliliters
  • 1 imperial cup = 281.131 milliliters
  • 1 U.S. quart = 946.353 milliliters
  • 1 imperial quart = 1136.52 milliliters

Another major difference between the two systems is that the U.S. liquid quart holds 32 fluid ounces while the imperial quart holds 40 fluid ounces.

Metric System

While the U.S. and the United Kingdom still hold on to their own systems of measurements, most countries have adopted the metric system. Like other metric system units, the volume units are also based on increments of 10. For example, 10 milliliters equal 1 centiliter, 10 centiliters make up a deciliter, and 10 deciliters equal 1 liter.

The metric system cup measures 250 milliliters, which is a quarter of a liter. Therefore, there are 3.785 metric system cups in 1 U.S. fluid quart.

Measuring for Recipes

Understanding the difference between U.S. customary and imperial systems of measurement goes a long way when preparing a dish. While the difference between the measurements may be slight, small variations in the number of ingredients and seasonings may throw off the taste and even the palatability of some dishes.

How to Deal With the Different Measurement Systems

Having a reliable measurement converter app on your mobile device will help you adapt and adjust to the different systems of measurement. A dependable digital kitchen scale, coupled with measuring implements for the different systems, will both go a long way in helping you nail down recipes. Some recipes that you come across may not have any indication whether the measurements called for are in U.S. customary or British imperial units. You may have to test both to figure out which one works best for your recipe.