How To

American and British Ingredient Names Translated for Australian Cooks

The differences between strong flour and soft flour, and double cream and single cream.

US and UK recipe terms explained – in plain Australian!

Half and half

Half and half milk is a mixture of half milk and half cream. It has 10-12% milk fat and cannot be whipped.

Double cream and single cream

In Australia, the labels “single” and “double” cream are mostly irrelevant. You need to read the fat content on the label to see which is which. Single cream (often labelled “pouring cream”) contains 33-35% fat, double cream has 60-66% fat, and thickened cream is single cream with a thickening agent added.

A stick of butter

1 stick (4oz) butter is equivalent to 125g.

A gill

A gill is a liquid measure sometimes seen in old recipes. In the U.S. Customary system it’s equal to 4 fluid ounces – which roughly equals 125ml in our (metric) measures. However, in the British Imperial system, 1 gill equals 5 fluid ounces (about 150ml). So check which country your recipe is from!

A pint

The British Imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces (or 600ml in the metric system) and the U.S. Customary pint is 16 fluid ounces (or 500ml in the metric system).

A dessert spoon

A dessertspoon measuring is roughly equivalent to 2 level metric teaspoons.


Shortening is a generic term for a solid fat, and the American shortening used for most baking is a type of cooking margarine. Either butter or cooking margarine can be used, and one can be substituted for the other.

All-purpose flour

American recipes often call for “all-purpose” flour. This is the same as plain flour.

Baking soda

Baking soda is the American term for bicarbonate of soda, also known as bi-carb soda or carb soda.


This is the American term for cornflour. Corn will also sometimes be referred to as maize.

Strong flour

Strong flour, or bread flour, is produced from a variety of wheat that has a high gluten (protein) content and is best suited for pizza and bread making. Look for it – sold as strong, gluten-enriched baker’s flour or bread-mix flour – at your supermarket or in health-food stores.

Soft flour

Soft, or plain (all-purpose), flour is made from wheat varieties that have a lower protein content, and is used mainly for making cakes and biscuits of a lighter texture.

Golden caster sugar

Golden caster sugar is the UK term for raw caster sugar. It’s a fine raw sugar that gives desserts a golden colour and is ideal for cooking as it dissolves more quickly. Australian raw caster sugar is available in larger supermarkets and imported golden caster sugar is available from specialist food stores.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar is simply icing sugar.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is common in the US, but not so common in Australia. A good substitute is glucose syrup (also known as liquid glucose). It’s available in most supermarkets, delicatessens, health-food stores and cake decorating suppliers.


Allspice is a common ingredient in American recipes. It isn’t a combination of spices (liked ‘mixed spice’), but rather a single spice taken from a small berry, also known as Jamaican pepper, that tastes like cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and cloves combined.


British recipes often call for mace. It’s the fine, bright red membrane that covers the nutmeg seed. It is very similar in flavour, though is slightly more pungent. Ground nutmeg can be substituted for ground mace.

American cup and spoon measurements

The difference between an American and an Australian measuring cup is so small (less than a tablespoon) it’s irrelevant.

It’s important to note that Australia is the only country in the world that has a 20ml tablespoon measure, the rest are 15ml.

1 American cup = 237ml (Australia = 250ml)

1 American tablespoon = 15ml (Australia = 20ml)

1 American teaspoon = 5ml (same as Australia)

Imperial to metric

Liquid measures

30ml = 1 fluid oz

60ml = 2 fluid oz

100ml = 3 fluid oz

125ml = 4 fluid oz

150ml = 5 fluid oz (¼ pint/1 gill)

190ml = 6 fluid oz

250ml = 8 fluid oz

300ml = 10 fluid oz (½ pint)

500ml = 16 fluid oz

600ml = 20 fluid oz (1 pint)

1000ml (1 litre) = 1¾ pints

Dry measures

15g = ½oz

30g = 1oz

60g = 2oz

90g = 3oz

125g = 4oz (¼lb)

155g = 5oz

185g = 6oz

220g = 7oz

250g = 8oz (½lb)

280g = 9oz

315g = 10oz

345g = 11oz

375g = 12oz (¾lb)

410g = 13oz

440g = 14oz

470g = 15oz

500g = 16oz (1lb)

750g = 24oz (1½lb)

1kg = 32oz (2lb)

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