Instructables

How to Measure Flour

Picture of How to Measure Flour
It's long been said that ingredients for baking should be weighed for best results. That's all well and good, but I have measuring cups, not a scale. So what's the big deal?

The big deal is a major difference in the texture, density and overall success of your baked goods!

But relax! You don't need a scale for perfect brownies! You just need to follow these simple steps.


If you do enough baking that you finally decide you want to get a scale, I highly recommend this one. (not pictured). It's affordable, and nearly indestructible.  Believe me, I bought it to replace the one in the picture, and have put mine through the paces!






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Step 1: How much does it weigh?

A cup of all-purpose flour, properly measured, should weigh 120 grams. The flour measured incorrectly by dipping the measuring cup into the flour can weigh anywhere from 150-160 grams. Try it out!

That's like 30% more flour than the recipe needs!

A cookie or cake made with flour measured this way will be tough and dry. Sauces will be too thick, and pie crusts crumbly and dry.

Step 2: What should I do?

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To measure the flour correctly, lightly spoon flour into a one-cup measuring cup. Don't shake the cup or pack down the flour.





Step 3: Fill 'er up!

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Keep spooning in the flour until it mounds over the cup.

Step 4: Level it off

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leveled.jpg
Use the flat side of a table knife to level the flour and remove the excess.
shazni2 years ago
okay...now i have a scale...and when the ingredients say 1 cup i assume it's 8oz...and i weigh bread flour, cake flour , white flour the same...meaning when it asks for one cup...i check if it's 8 oz...so am i right or wrong?

1 cup=8oz is fluid oz. that's a liquid measurement, and it's only accurate for pure water. For example, pure alcohol would weigh 6oz per cup, honey would weigh 12oz per cup. Something with a LOT of air in it, flour, for example, a cup isn't a measure of weight, it's sort of an arbitraty measure of volume, so everything will weigh something different if you use a cup as a weight. It's not a weight, it's a measure. What you have to do to convert if you want to do recipes by weight is you have to look up the actual weight per cup of whatever substance you are using, or buy recipe books that use weights instead of measures. Conversion is complicated. *everything* weighs something different. Personally I love my calibrated digital kitchen scale. It's something no kitchen should be without.

scoochmaroo (author)  shazni2 years ago
What that means is 8oz in volume. Because each type of flour has a different weight because of how it's made, the final weights should be different. A little derivation is fine - you'll see websites all over giving different weights for the same volume. Try it out yourself and see what works best!

For weight in ounces (our system is so confusing!)

1 cup white flour weighs 4.2 oz
1 cup whole wheat flour weighs 4.9 oz
1 cup bread flour weighs 4.5 oz
1 cup cake flour weighs 4.0 oz
What if I don't have a scale? How am i going to check really, i can't get one ):
pmn93939 months ago

I usually just put my hand on the outside of the bag use that to level it off as i'm pulling the cup out of the bag.

SeaLion4 years ago
Incredible! I never knew that there would be such a massive difference...(I guess now we all know why I never suceeded in baking :P)
ELF4 years ago
I usually just dig in the flour with the cup, and then scoop up the flour I dig loose, since that will be more fluffy. Same result :)
Buskieboy4 years ago
this will help my Yorkshire Puddings which have been rather heavy lately and not rising as high as previously.  I am now sure it was this 120gm vs. 150gm difference!
Thanks for the excellent visual evidence!
junits155 years ago
only thing is, does it really matter? I mean ten to twenty grams diffrence in flour when the whole mix can be in the kilogram range, isnt that much.
its a percentage. Flour is the primary ingredient in many recipes...seconded usually only by sugar. 160/120 isn't just a few grams... its a full THIRD too much. That can make a huge difference.
scoochmaroo (author)  frollard5 years ago
Thanks for all of your great support and insight!!
But don't most cookbooks use the scoop?
They use the scoop - the gentle scoop described in this instructable. When you lightly spoon it into the measure, it loosens the particles. Scooping compacts them in.
Yes, but all the recipes i use, say "2 cups of flour" etc.
2 properly measured cups. flour compacts...
jeff-o5 years ago
Good info! I shall remember this - fluffy flour, not packed. Check.
theRIAA5 years ago
my highschool cooking teacher said to scoop the flour, then "cut" it up in the measuring cup with a butter knife to fluff it up, then level it off. Always worked for me. Though, most always, you can just look at the dough and see if it needs more or less flour..
cool my cus awaly messed up on mesureing things