It seems like it would throw off recipe since you can fit more in once they are chopped?

4 Answers 4


"1 cup of chopped nuts" is measured after chopping.

"1 cup of nuts, chopped" is measured before chopping.

  • 2
    I like this answer, but I don't believe that recipe writers are that picky. It would be nice, though.
    – Sam Hoice
    Aug 8, 2010 at 21:10
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    On the contrary, that is precisely how it should be specified in a recipe. Any cookbook, blog, etc. that doesn't know that fundamental should be looked at with a squinty eye... I wouldn't trust a recipe writer that didn't know that. Aug 8, 2010 at 22:46
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    While this may be technically accurate, I would wager that many people eg John Q Public contributing a recipe to a website would not use the latter version. I only ever see this reversal of "noun, adjective" with things like "2 oz of butter, melted" or "1 lb potatoes, boiled" on the basis that you don't buy or store them like this so there is an implied step to prep them this way.
    – AdamV
    Aug 8, 2010 at 23:22
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    Following recipes from John Q. Public, especially if you can't taste or see a picture of the finished dish first, may be very hazardous to your dining pleasure :). Aug 9, 2010 at 5:32
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    Another cue for me to an unreliable recipe is if the ingredients aren't listed in the order you will need them in the recipe. Aug 9, 2010 at 5:34

I'd say it depends on the recipe. "1 cup chopped pecans" I would chop and then measure. If it calls for 1 cup of pecans and then chops them as a step in the recipe, measure first and chop second.

In most cases, I would assume it means after chopping.


1 cup of chopped nuts is 1 cup after chopping.


The writer is unlikely to have thought about it. They'll just write down what they did as they did it, in what they (sometimes erroneously) think is clear language. If it bothers you - and it's unlikely to really matter unless the ingredient is essential to the chemistry involved in the recipe - then consider how they're likely to have made the recipe themselves. It would be silly to chop some unknown quantity of nuts then measure a cup of them. You'd start with a known quantity, then chop them. That is, unless you buy a packet of them ready-chopped. So I suppose the answer is, use your noggin.

  • 2
    If noggin use were involved, the recipe would specify the nuts by weight, since that doesn't change when the nuts are chopped. In any case, your reasoning is wrong: "a cup of chopped nuts" refers to the quantity of chopped nuts required. One way to produce that would be to take a cup of nuts, chop them and estimate how much more you'll need to chop to give a cup of product. Aug 10, 2014 at 13:21

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