Module 8

Culinary Math


A chef’s routine includes simple to complex math calculations. Examples include counting portions, increasing a recipe yield, determining a ratio for preparing a stock, calculating a plate cost, or establishing a food and labor budget. Culinary math begins with the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division along with ratios, yields and percentages.

Goals & Objectives

In this module, students will know/learn the following:

  • Students will be able to identify different types of measuring tools, and spring and balance scales.          

  • Students will know how to properly perform recipe conversions.

8.03: Measuring Tools

8.04: Scales

A kitchen scale is an essential tool in every kitchen. Most American kitchens have a set of measuring cups, but do not have a kitchen scale. Is this a gadget that only perfectionist chefs and constant bakers need? No, give a good scale a try and you will find that it is a better and faster way to cook.

Why Use a Kitchen Scale?
The first and foremost reason is of course precision. Precision is how repeatable a measurement is. For example, if we measured a cup of all-purpose flour in a 1 cup (8 ounces) dry measuring cup, we expect the mass of the flour to be 125 grams. Assuming that the dry measuring cup is constructed to strict standards, the cup is accurate but not precise. Every time flour is measured, it is a bit more or a bit less than 125 g. How tightly packed the flour is, whether it has been recently sifted, if we scooped the flour or spooned it, all make an impact to the repeatability or precision of using a cup as a measuring device. On the other hand, a scale is precise (and accurate if calibrated). When a cup of flour is weighed on a scale, it is possible to add or take away flour until the scale registers 125 g. The precision of the scale is dependent on how easy it is to read the scale. In baking, using a scale to measure all the ingredients will ensure that you are following the recipe correctly (at least in terms of the proportions of ingredients). Using measuring cups could result in having a little more flour than leavening, etc.


Repeatability is a big reason to use a scale. When you have figured out how much sugar to put into a recipe or how much butter is needed, using a scale means that next time you make the recipe it will have a greater chance of ending up exactly the same as you made it last time.

If precision and repeatability aren't motivating factors for getting a scale, here's a good one: faster measuring. No more scooping with a measuring cup and then leveling the top with a straight edge. Simply pour into a bowl set on the scale and stop at the desired point. With fast response digital scales, the weight display is updated fast enough that you can pour until you hit the desired value. Then you can zero out the scale and measure your next ingredient in the same bowl. Less mess to clean up, faster measuring, and more precision.


Types of Scales


8.07: Recipe Conversions

Recipes often need to be adjusted to meet the needs of different situations. The most common reason to adjust recipes is to change the number of individual portions that the recipe produces. For example, a standard recipe might be written to prepare 25 portions. If a situation arises where 60 portions of the item are needed, the recipe must be properly adjusted.

Other reasons to adjust recipes include changing portion sizes (which may mean changing the batch size of the recipe) and better utilizing available preparation equipment (for example, you need to divide a recipe to make two half batches due to a lack of oven space).

*Don't forget to scan/click to view PDF!

Food blog

8.07: Review/Critical Thinking

Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.


Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.


The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.

8.08: Non-Cooking Assignment #8

You are to download and complete the following worksheet:


For this assignment, you will fill out/complete the PDF. You will then save to your computer. Once complete, please Submit the attachment in the Assessments area.

Foodie Fractions

8.09: Module 8 Quiz

Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.

When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 8 Quiz, Culinary Math, click HERE.

Culinary Math