How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (2024)


How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (1)

Today’s post on learning how to cut a recipe in half is from Fearless Fresh writer Laurie Ann Brooks. Laurie has lots of advice to share on baking, and this post addresses a question we get asked a lot! Also be sure to check out her post on cake-baking fails and how to fix them. -SS

Learning how to cut a recipe in half isn’t hard. Have you ever found a recipe that you wanted to make but the servings were for a super large amount? A couple weeks back I found a great cookie recipelike these double chocolate pecan shortbread cookies, but it made 115 cookies. Of course I didn’t even think to split the recipe in half, instead I tried to make the whole batch in my 5-quart KitchenAid mixer. Let’s just say it was NOT the best way to make cookies. I needed to use 2 of my largest stainless steel bowls to make it work, and I had dough flying all over the kitchen. What a nightmare!

I was so flustered at this point, with chocolate chips flying at my head and cookie dough all over the counter, that I started making mistakes. At one point I even used cornstarch instead of baking powder. Why in the world did I not just figure out how to cut a recipe in half and make a much smaller batch? I was only feeding a family of five, not fifty!

Don’t do what I did. Cutting a recipe in half is easy, so you can make less if you need to. Let me show you everything you need to know to reduce your recipes without worry, math… or a face full of cookie dough.

And in case you didn’t know, there’s a cooking cheat sheet dedicated to working with numbers in the kitchen! With the Mega-Measuring Cheat Sheet, you’ll never be stumped by cooking math again. Check out these reviews.

How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (2)

Practice makes perfect!

It’s good to practice when you’re learning how to cut a recipe in half, and I recommend starting with an easy recipe. These simple but delicious sconesare a great recipe for practicing your new recipe-halving skills, and you’ll get to eat at the end of your test. ??

Cutting a recipe in half, the basics

Cutting a recipe in half sounds a lot harder than it actually is. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Use liquid and dry measuring cups for the appropriate ingredients.
  • You will often need to change pan and bowl sizes as well. This goes for saucepans, skillets, mixing bowls, baking pans, etc. See below for more information on baking pan sizes.
  • Cooking and baking time for smaller amounts of food may also be less, so until you get used to the smaller recipe, keep an eye on your food while it bakes or cooks.
  • Not all recipes will easily cut in half. Casseroles and most savory dishes can be reduced, but items containing yeast, such as breads, don’t always work so well when reduced. These types of recipes may take a bit of trial and error to get them just right.
  • Cutting a recipe in half may also affect how you can mix it. Example: putting a very small amount of a recipe into a full-sized stand mixer won’t mix very well at all, because there’s not enough volume for the mixer to do its job. Sometimes it makes more sense to mix smaller recipes by hand.

How to cut a recipe in half — charts!

The handy chart below will help you cut each ingredient within a recipe in half. It helps to write out a new ingredient list with all of the new measurements and cook from that, because it’s really easy to accidentally make a mistake and use the original amount unless you have a written list to work through. Also, keep the below chart nearby when making your recipe. I have it printed out and stuck to the the side of my fridge so it’s always there when I need it. Super handy when cutting a recipe in half.

How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (3)

How to prepare eggs for measuring:

Eggs can be a little tricky to measure, making them a pain to measure by halves. Here’s how to do it easily and accurately:

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until everything is combined. A stick blender will create a perfectly uniform egg mixture that’s easy to measure, and also break up any stringy egg whites that can cause problems.
  2. Then, pour the beaten eggs into a measuring cup. Now you can divide the eggs by volume. One large egg contains approx 3 tablespoons, but you will still want to measure for accuracy.

Baking Pan Sizes

Pan sizes can get a little tricky when it comes to learning how to cut a recipe in half. Here are some thing to keep in mind, and you’ll find some handy charts below that will help you figure out what size baking you’ll need. Check out the charts attached to this post, below!

  • When using a different pan size, try to keep the depth of food the same so that you end up with the intended consistency and texture.
  • If your food will have the same depth as the original pan, cooking time should be roughly the same. I start checking for doneness 5 minutes sooner, just to be safe.
  • If your food will have a shallower depth as the original pan, the baking time will be less.
  • If your food will have a deeper depth as the original pan, the baking time will be longer.
  • Keeping an eye on your oven will help prevent your food from drying out and/or burning.
  • For cakes, test periodically with a toothpick, and look for the edges pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F when substituting a glass pan for a metal pan.

Note: the Fearless Fresh Mega Measuring Cheat Sheet includes a great chart for figuring out what size baking pan you’ll need when reducing recipes! They make learning how to cut a recipe in half super easy.

How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (4)

How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (5) How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (6) How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (7)

How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (8)

About Laurie Ann Brooks

Laurie is a self taught cook, baker, food blogger, and former caterer and restaurant owner. She loves cooking for her family, friends, and two best pals (Cali & Sheila – her dogs). You can find Laurie over at Drizzled with Flavor.

Previous Post: « How to Roast Vegetables, Perfectly

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How to Cut a Recipe in Half, the Easy Way » Fearless Fresh (2024)


How do you adjust baking time when cutting in half? ›

If you're sautéing or searing a halved recipe, keep the heat and cook time the same but size down your pan. If you're cooking a halved recipe in the oven, keep the oven temperature the same but size down your cooking vessel and reduce the cook time by 1/3 — but check on it as you go.

How do you divide a recipe? ›

Breaking everything down into tablespoons and teaspoons makes dividing measurements a little easier and helpful to know what cup measurements are made of.
  1. 1 cup = 16 tablespoons.
  2. 3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons.
  3. 1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons.
  4. 1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon.
  5. 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons.
  6. 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons.
Aug 31, 2020

How do you downsize a recipe? ›

Do the easy part first: The first step in scaling a recipe down is dividing the easy measurements by however much you're reducing the recipe. For example, if a recipe that serves four calls for one cup of chicken broth, simply divide by two; a piece of cake.

What is the cutting method in baking? ›

"Cutting in" means incorporating the butter into the flour in such a way that little lumps of the raw butter remain whole within the flour mixture. When the dough is baked, these little lumps create separation in the structure of the finished product, which is what gives it that flaky consistency.

What stays the same when cutting a recipe in half? ›

Needless to say, baking temperatures will remain the same. I repeat, do not halve the temperature. Baking times, however, might decrease by a little. Start by shaving off about 20 percent of the bake time and start checking for doneness from there.

What is half of 1 ⁄ 2 cup? ›

Download Chart
Original AmountHalf the AmountOne-Third the Amount
2/3 cup1/3 cup3 tbsp+ 1-1/2 tsp
1/2 cup1/4 cup2 tbsp + 2 tsp
1/3 cup2 tbsp + 2 tsp1 tbsp + 1-1/4 tsp
1/4 cup2 tbsp1 tbsp + 1 tsp
6 more rows
Dec 27, 2021

What does it mean to divide something in a recipe? ›

When you see the word "divided" next to an ingredient in a recipe, it means that the ingredient will be added in parts. So, if you see 6 tablespoons of butter, divided,you know not to add all of the butter at once. The instructions will specify how much butter to add at the different steps.

What is the formula to scale a recipe? ›

Determine the required yield of the recipe by multiplying the new number of portions and the new size of each portion. Find the conversion factor by dividing the required yield (Step 2) by the recipe yield (Step 1). That is, conversion factor = (required yield)/(recipe yield).

How do you change the number of servings in a recipe? ›

If you need eight servings and the recipe makes six: 8 ÷ 6 = 1.3. This is your conversion factor which you'll use to find out how much of each ingredient you'll need. Second, multiply each ingredient in your recipe by the conversion factor. Third, round up or down a little bit when conversions are hard to measure.

What is the half of 1 tablespoon? ›

“”I fear that far too many folks don't know that it equals 1 1/2 teaspoons,” she added. “You don't want to force most readers to do math. And they'll hate you for it, or get it wrong, or both. “I guess my bottom line is: Don't write 1/2 tablespoon.”

What is the formula for scaling recipes up or down? ›

Calculate the scaling factor by dividing the number of servings (or grams) you want to make by the recipe yield. Example: This recipe yields five servings. If you are making nine servings, the scaling factor is 9 ÷ 5 = 1.8.

What is the best cutting technique? ›

Always keep the point of the knife on the cutting board when cutting. Lift the central part of the blade above the food with a rocking motion and, moving the knife forward, cut the food into fine slices or strips or dice it as you push it below the blade.

What technique is most used in cutting? ›

Here are some of the most commonly used techniques:
  • Slice: This technique involves cutting ingredients into thin, flat pieces. ...
  • Dice: Dicing involves cutting ingredients into small, uniform cubes. ...
  • Chop: Chopping is a rougher cutting technique used to break ingredients into smaller pieces.
Dec 30, 2020

What is the most common cutting method? ›

To help you make the best choice, here are some of the most commonly used metal cutting techniques and methods.
  • Shearing. Shearing is known as die cutting. ...
  • Laser Cutting. Laser cutting uses a focused high-power density laser beam to cut the workpiece. ...
  • Water Jet Cutting. ...
  • Plasma Cutting. ...
  • Flame Cutting.

Do you reduce baking time for smaller portions? ›

If you're baking a recipe in a smaller vessel — whether you cut the recipe in half or divide the full recipe into smaller baking containers — you'll need to adjust the baking time accordingly. Since there's less batter, these smaller versions will bake faster than the full-size version.

Does half the weight mean half the cooking time? ›

For half of a recipe involving meat or vegetables, the cooking time will usually be a little more than half. When in doubt, weigh it. If there is an ingredient that is difficult to cut in half, use a food scale to weigh it. Measure the ingredient in full and cut the full measurement in half for your recipe.

How do you divide measurements in baking? ›

The trick is to switch your measurements to units that are simpler to split, such as tablespoons and teaspoons. Key Measurement Conversions for Scaling Down Recipes: 1 cup = 16 tablespoons (tbsp) = 48 teaspoons (tsp) Half of 1 cup = 8 tablespoons = 24 teaspoons.

How do you reduce cooking times for smaller cakes? ›

If the depth of batter stays the same but the total amount in the pan changes dramatically — say, going from a 9×13 pan to making cupcakes — use the same temperature but start checking for doneness at half the original time (if going from bigger pan to smaller); if going from the smaller size to larger, it's likely to ...

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