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How To Measure Flour

Learn how to measure flour the right way and avoid common baking mistakes! An easy-to-follow simple guide for bakers of all skill levels yielding amazing results every time!

spoon in the flour container

Measuring Flour

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “baking is a science”. It’s not at all flexible and leaves very little wiggle room like cooking does. No one knows this better than someone who has decided to “eyeball it” and hopes for the best. When our chocolate chip cookies, pie crust, or homemade bread don’t turn out as we expected, we quickly realize how important it is to learn how to properly measure flour!

This all too common problem of having dense, heavy, or dry results to what should have been a perfect recipe, can become a nonissue once and for all with my simple, easy-to-follow guide on measuring flour the right way!

Equipment Needed

  • Kitchen Scale: Doesn’t need to be fancy. Having a digital scale comes in handy for measuring many things so it’s definitely worth the investment. It’s also the most accurate way to measure the weight and volume of any dry or liquid ingredient.
  • Measuring Cups: A complete set. This should include 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and a 1/4 cup.
  • Measuring Spoons: A full set of measuring spoons will include 1 Tbsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1/4 tsp, and 1/8 tsp. If you’re lucky you may find a set that includes 1/2 Tbsp.

DID YOU KNOW?

Measuring cups are different for wet and dry ingredients? Generally, measuring wet ingredients is done in glass measuring cups with a spout for easing pouring. Dry ingredients have no spout which makes it easier to level and spoon. Using the right one can make all the difference!

spooning flour into the cup

How to Measure Flour for Baking

  1. Fluff the flour: Make sure to stir the jar of flour before beginning to measure. The reason for this if the flour isn’t meant to be packed down when it’s measured. Fluffing allows any settled flour to look alive again so that it can be light and airy when it’s measured properly.
  2. Spoon and level: Spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Again, this is so that you’re not measuring packed flour. When you scoop it right out of the container with a measuring cup, you’re packing in more than is required. Spooning the flour means leaving the measuring cup out of the container, and using a spoon to place the flour in the measuring cup bit by bit. Then, you use the back of a knife to level it off, getting rid of any excess.

Shortcut: If you do not have a spoon and knife or are in a rush, you can scoop the flour but make sure to shake off about 1/8″ of the flour from the top back into the jar. This is not as accurate but this way works well in a pinch.

How to Measure Flour Using a Scale

If there’s one hot tip to take away from this guide, it’s to get a scale! It’ll make life so much easier not having to use measuring cups at all!

  1. Turn on the scale, place your empty mixing bowl on the scale, and set it to “0” (zero). This tells the scale to no longer account for the weight of the bowl.
  2. Add flour directly into the mixing bowl until the scale reads the amount you need! Easy peasy.
pressing the flour off the cup with the knife

FAQ’s

Do You Sift Flour Before Measuring?

This can get a bit tricky, and it’s actually dependant on the wording in the recipe. 1 Cup of sifted flour is not the same as 1 Cup of flour, sifted. The first means you should sift the flour before measuring and the second means you sift it after. Just be mindful of that!

Outside of that, you don’t need to sift unless the recipe specifically says to.

Can I measure packed flour?

No. And here’s why. Many recipes call for measuring packed sugar. What that means is it’s packed tightly into the measuring cup, removing any excess air, to make enough room for as much as possible. Then it is leveled off and used. This is because that amount of sugar is used in that particular recipe.

Generally, bakers have an understanding that the flour measurements are never meant to be packed, so if you try and pack it down to make as much fit in the cup as possible, you’ll be using much more flour than you need, therefore altering the results of your baking.

shaking flour off the measuring cup

Measurement Conversions

Keep this free printable kitchen conversion chart in your cupboard or on your fridge for quick easy access to measurement conversions, for both wet and dry ingredients. These are some of the most useful kitchen tips because even the most experienced bakers need a reminder sometimes!

flour jar on counter with measuring spoons

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