How to Measure Flour

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I learned how to measure flour back in 7th grade home ec. class. It was pretty simple really- scoop the flour with your measuring cup, (see above)  and level with the back of a butter knife (see below.) I took that lesson with me throughout most of my young baking years- not knowing there was a “right” way to do it.

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When you weigh a cup of “scooped and leveled” flour, you can expect for it to weigh about 5 oz. In terms of weight, a standard cup of flour should weigh around 4.25 oz, so that’s really quite a big difference! Think of all the times you maybe wondered why your baked goods were a little too dry or tough..I bet the blame lies with the darn flour!

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The “correct” weigh to measure is simple as can be. First- you want to start with light airy flour. You can get this by taking a scoop or small measuring cup and fluffing your flour for a minute or so.

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Then, gently sprinkle the flour into your desired measuring cup. Don’t wiggle or shake your cup- you don’t want the flour to settle down, but rather stay light and fluffy. Keep sprinkling until you reach the top and then gently level the flour.

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Look at that! 4.25 oz! Big difference huh? (At Blog & Bake they told us a properly measured cup of flour should weigh between 4-4.25 oz.)

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Now it’s important to point out that even the “wrong” way of measuring flour is right if you develop your own recipes and are consistent with how you measure flour. Everyone is different, but I would say that 4.25 oz is a general norm and unless a cookbook specifies a heavier cup of flour, I’d stick with that.

These days, I usually don’t even bother measuring my flour and just weigh it. That way I can dump it in directly from the canister and I get to save myself another dish to hand wash! (yay!)

178 Comments

  1. Christine says:

    Wow I heard there was a difference but didn’t think it was that much.

  2. I swear by my scale! It makes cooking and baking so much easier and faster.

  3. How interesting! Though I love to bake, I don’t have a food scale — and have never really thought about the differences between the methods of scooping flour. I’ve definitely had foods not bake the way I planned, though . . . must keep this in mind. Thanks, and thanks for hosting the giveaway! :)

  4. Learned this while I was working at Sur La Table and involved in the cooking classes offered there. Sure makes a lot of sense and I’ve never looked back since I started weighing most of my ingredients!

  5. I always use scales! so much more exact! Thanks for the giveway :)

  6. With a cup, but once I win the scale, I’m going to start doing it the right way! Thank you!

  7. I love my little scale – but I’ve had my eye on the OXO one for about a year. And a cherry pitter would be a straight up godsend. I made cherry jam last week – using a paring knife and my fingers. #notfun

    1. Emily Wells says:

      Drinking straw!! Best (and easiest) cherry pitter ever (save for an actual cherry pitter, that is!) Just pop the straw down through the cherry at the stem opening, and the pits fall right out.

  8. Deborah Montagna says:

    I usually do it what I know know is the old and wrong way! I guess I need a scale, huh? LOL. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Great tip! I often prefer to pour flour into a measuring cup rather than scoop because I know that yields a lighter total amount. Weighing it would be a great way to ensure consistent results, though!

  10. Emily Wells says:

    Depends on the recipe I’m using. If it calls to be weighed, I definitely weigh it! If not, I stir my flour around in the canister to loosen it up, then spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off.

  11. I normally just use a measuring cup.

  12. Beth Gallagher says:

    Well, this is illuminating!!! Now I know why my baked goods are tough at times! I’ve been fluffing before measuring, but I don’t think enough. Wow, would l love to win! Thanks for another fabulous post and giveaway!

  13. Wow that makes a huge difference!

  14. Lori Connors says:

    I go either way with my measuring….just depends on what I am making. If it is a yeast dough, then I always weigh/measure.

  15. I’ve been fluffing and leveling ever since you told me about this. Nice work

  16. I light fluff the flour in the canister and then spoon it into the measuring cup. I have always wanted a scale, however, it’s never been in the budget. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for the info and giveaway!

  17. Ann Marie says:

    I fill the measuring cup using a large spoon, a little at a time. I guess it’s similar to sprinkling it into the measuring cup.

  18. If the recipe uses grams or ounces, then I use a food scale. Otherwise I dip the entire measuring cup into my flour container and level it off with a knife.

  19. Char Pollard says:

    I use a measuring cup. I love to bake but never knew there was a difference. I don’t even have a scale. Guess I need one now!

  20. April Ruppe says:

    I usually just use a measuring cup! I actually had no idea that the weight of the flour was so important, this was an interesting read, thank you!

  21. Elizabeth W says:

    I’ve always just done it the “old” way, but measuring by weight makes so much sense!

  22. Marion Hewitt says:

    I now use the fluff and shake method after it dawned on me that my flour was compacted in the air tight storage container. I have never thought about purchasing a scale for weighing ingredients. A scale sure would be a time saver. Thanks for the tip and thanks to XOX for the giveaway products.

  23. Ah, im the same. I love measuring cups, but with new recipes it is a good idea to weigh, so that you are getting the recipe right (and the correct result!). A bit more/less of an ingredient can make a big difference!

  24. I use a tablespoon to gently fill the measuring cup before leveling with a knife. My mama taught me well, I guess!

  25. I, too, learned as an adult that the scoop method is not the right way. I would love a scale! I keep thinking I should get one.

  26. Denise H. says:

    I’ve always scooped and leveled. Never knew there was another way. Thanks for the heads up!

  27. Plenty of times I scoop and level and even sometimes even wiggle the measuring cup. But I think I was taught to spoon the flour into the measure cup and then level — NO wiggling the cup.

  28. I measure flour using the sprinkle into a measuring cup method. Seems to work pretty well.

  29. I’ve always done the scoop & level method (but then I’m bad and rarely bake from scratch) :(

  30. My scale recently met an ill fate (my husband dropped a mug onto the glass scale plate. *sigh*) :-(
    I miss it desperately. :-/
    Not only does measuring ingredients by weight distinctly help baking, but it is also crucial to my weight loss and maintenance. I see huge discrepancies between volume and weight amounts, and I was unknowingly eating hundreds of extra calories a week when only using a measuring cup!

  31. I measure flower with the measuring cup and the back of a butter knife as well!

  32. I use a measuring cup, but I keep meaning to switch to the scale…

  33. Jennylind says:

    My life has been a lie! I have scooped and leveled since I could reach the top of the counter. I am so thankful for this tip! I really hope I win the giveaway, momma needs a kitchen scale!

  34. I fluff and then spoon into a measuring cup, level with a knife. I like the idea of the weighing method better!

  35. thanks for letting me know

  36. My seventh grade home ec class was where I too learned how to measure flour. Baking gluten free can be a little challenging, so I have been meaning to buy a scale to weigh my flour to make sure my baked goods are consistent. Currently I gently spoon the flour into my measuring cups and level it off with the back of a knife. A scale would definitely come in handy!

  37. zena thomas says:

    I too have measured improperly and will measure by weight from now on. Thanks for the tip! Zena

  38. It is hard to break old habits. While I learned to sift then measure, it is so much easier to scoop. I generally “fluff” the flour with a spoon and spoon into the cup, but that is still not accurate.

  39. I always fluff the flour, then spoon it into a measuring cup and level with a knife.

  40. Nicole Clark says:

    Spoon into a measuring cup so it stays fluffy! I’m sad I haven’t been doing it properly but its nice to know I can turn things around :)

  41. Julie Eicher says:

    I use a cup measure, although I was taught not to level off with flour.

  42. I alway dipped and flattened with a knife

  43. Abby Lyden says:

    I scooped and used a butter knife to measure the flour till reading about weighing it from king Arthur flour!

  44. I learned a lot by reading your post. Love the photos – really helpful. I measure the way you learned too. No more! You showed me a better way to insure a consistent product.

  45. I have always just used a measuring cup. But by the scoop method. After this post I will now be changing my measuring ways.

  46. I spoon it into a measuring cup and then level off.

  47. Elaine Ellen says:

    Very inaccurately! And with a measuring cup.

  48. Vanessa Rivera says:

    I used to scoop it out of the bag until I read an article about the spoon and sweep method. I do that now :)

  49. I’ve only ever done the fill and scrape. How interesting to learn I’ve been doing it wrong for so many years. What a great giveaway!

  50. Natalie G. says:

    It is so bad, but I scoop- all my recipes work out that way. However, if I come across a new one, and it has weights, I do weigh it.

  51. I use a scale if I’m baking. Whipping up Sunday pancakes I just measure in the cup. Since I’ve made them 9000 times I barely need to even do that at this point. I’m glad when recipes are built around weight and not volume.

  52. I measure my flour with my dry measuring cups

  53. Ashley Watkins says:

    Thanks for explaining the correct way to measure flour! I’ve been doing it wrong all of these years. I’ve known I should use a scale, but since I didn’t have one I just scooped and leveled with a knife. Your instructions are so helpful–thanks!

  54. Fluff, put in cup, lightly even off the top. I’ve not yet joined the world of weighing flour, but this post might just convince me to do so!

  55. I measure exactly how you said not to lol. I scoop it and level it with a knife.

  56. I’d love a food scale so I can measure properly. Because I definitely don’t now!

  57. I use my measuring cup.

  58. I usually fluff and scoop, but have sometimes used the scoop and level method for new recipes because I also learned that in home-ec class.

  59. never had at home any measure devices, so I go without any specific measuring – I go with my gut. I know that a cup of flour is about 160grams, so it suits me when I count. I add a bit of love and all of my baking ends up ok :)

  60. LoriAnne in Oregon says:

    I measure flour with a measuring cup and level off with a knife, the way my mother and grandmother taught me.

  61. It looks as if I have been measuring flour incorrectly too. Did we have the same Home Ec teacher? And to be honest, I’m still probably pretty inconsistent all the time. Excited to try your new and improved (correct) method!

  62. Definitely weighing is the way to go! So much easier.

  63. I am terrible about measuring my flour!! This post explains a lot about my dry cookies!!!

  64. This post helps a lot. Thanks for the tip!

  65. phyllis ostrofsky says:

    I measure my flour exactly as you do with my scale set to gram weight (more accurate, I think?).

  66. I’ve never measured – who knew??!!

  67. Yay! I do measure it correctly!

  68. I usually “fluff, scoop and level. Would LOVE a scale!

  69. I either gently push the flour into the measuring cup with my (oh so clean) hand, or use a smaller measure to scoop and pour it into the measure I need. I bake a lot and would almost die for a scale! ;)

  70. i do the ol’ scoop and shimmy. i almost always use too much flour, maybe that’s why yesterday’s cake was so dry…

  71. I would weigh if I owned a scale. Since I dont I put my flour in a large ceramic canister set Iv had for years. In my flour and sugar canisters I have a Tuperware scoop that when pushed down lays flat so it fits. I scoop my flour with it then level off with a butter knife so its not compated down into the measuring cup. Must be a good method, Iv won over a hundred ribbonsfor baking, cooking etc at my county faiir over the years

  72. I fluff up the flour with my measuring cup, then scoop. So it probably falls right in between the 2.

  73. I’ve always used a measuring scoop!

  74. Jayme Job says:

    I’ve never used a scale, but should probably start! I’ve always just leveled it off with a butter knife.

  75. Mary Jane Hillpot says:

    I use a measuring cup!

  76. I follow your 7th grade lead: scoop and level with a knife (or, more often, my finger). I know it’s not the proper way to do it, but it gets the job done.

  77. Usually a measuring cup.

  78. I weigh for bread but fluff and scoop for cakes. My scale is a tiny 1lb affair though so the weighing is kinda annoying.

  79. I do the scoop and scrape with a knife method.

  80. I’ve been doing the scoop and scrape with a knife method, but would like to change to weighing.

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway.

  81. Great tip and giveaway, Audra! I’m a bad girl and scoop right from the bag of flour. Bad, I know! I really should get into better habits. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

  82. I always measured flour by using a small spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup and then leveling. I think it worked sort of the same way, except the spoon did the fluffing. But a scale would be so much more precise!

  83. Nancy Flemming says:

    Fluff and level!

  84. Cynthia T says:

    Whoa! I’ve been measuring flour the wrong way for years now! I scoop right from the bag; maybe that’s why some recipes come out so weird. Thanks for the tips!

  85. lisaelaine says:

    I usually use a spoon to add the flour into the measuring cup then level off with a knife.

  86. I fluff, scoop, and level.

  87. That explains so many recipes (I learned the measuring technique of scoop and level). I am looking forward to the new method of scooping, or perhaps (if I am the fortunate winner) using a scale!

  88. I always practiced the scoop and sweep! It might explain some of my failures… a scale just might solve all my problems!

  89. I scoop my flour into my measuring cup with a spoon and level if off with a knife

  90. Jessie C. says:

    I use measuring cups only

  91. I use a spoon to dish out the flour from it’s container into the measuring cup, but never thought of “fluffing” it. Always wondered about if I should “sift” flour first even when not called for(?)

  92. I’m a scooper! I am GF so I really should be measuring my flours for better accuracy since all GF flours weigh different amounts.

  93. I usually spoon the flour into the measuring cup (loosely), then gently level it off with a butter knife.

  94. I measure by “scooping”, but I am going to start aerating before I scoop.

  95. I actually use your former method i.e i put the measuring cup in my flour container and use a table knife to level it.

  96. Just a measuring cup, but that may change…

  97. I still do it the old way, but I’m willing to change!

  98. When I make bread I weigh but most of the time I just scoop. I fluff a bit but I am sure it is still heavier.

  99. Lisa Langston says:

    I use a spoon and add flour to the measuring cup then use a butter knife to level it off. This sounds much better though.

  100. Most of the time i just scoop it into a measuring cup. Honestly I don’t even usually sift it. It’s a miricle my recipes work out!

  101. Usually scoop and level, unless the recipe is specific about weighing.

  102. measuring cup and butter knife is how i do it!!

  103. I always use the scoop and level method..

  104. I’ve always just used a level measuring cup, and never given much thought to it until now! I would love to see how weighing the flour would change my baking.

  105. This may seem a little ackward but I have tested with my scale and it is VERY acurate. I keep a 1 cup and a 1/2 cup platic measuring cup in my flour bin; which I keep in my refrigerator. If I need a 1/2 cup I use the 1 cup measuring cup to “fluff” the flour and dip and shake into the 1/2 cup measure then level off with the edge of the 1 cup measuring cup. Works great and I have 2 different utinsel at hand and don’t have to wash each time. Have been using this method for a LONG time!

  106. I used to scoop flour out of a bin then level off until a good friend of mine showed me how to fluff and then measure into cup with a spoon. After recently discovering your blog I’ve been looking into buying a scale!

  107. oops–I dip and measure. Guess I change now I now the correct way.

  108. I love recipes that are by weight rather than volume. It’s much faster to make and no need to dirty a measuring cup!

  109. Great site and recipes! I weigh my flour. For the reasons you’ve described, above, I find it MUCH easier and results are MUCH more consistent!

  110. I always spoon my flour into my measuring cup, would be interesting to see how much it weighs!

  111. For recipes which use cups I spoon my flour in a measuring cup, but for normal recipes where the necessary flour amount is in grams I weigh it on my scale.

  112. I used a food scale and measured into grams. I let a friend borrow my xoxo food scale who never gave it back & just moved away. For now I do it the same way you have shown however, I’m not very confident however my pastries come out fine but miss my awesome scale!

  113. I scoop it and run a knife over it

  114. Rebecca Bowen says:

    I use scales to weigh out my ingredients. The classic (one bowl) chocolate cake just caught my eye as I was looking through your blog it looks yummy, will definitely be giving that a go!!

  115. I use the scoop and level method. A scale would be so much more accurate!

  116. Definitely fluff and scoop (I don’t have a scale). I fluff the flour in the canister with a fork or a whisk then scoop up spoonfuls into my cup finally leveling with a knife. It works for me. BTW Love your site!

  117. Absolutely love your blog! :) I used to just scoop my flour, but I’ve noticed a big difference now that i spoon my flour into my measuring cups.

  118. I dip and scoop, but would really love an accurate scale to measure my ingredients!

  119. I scoop into the cup and then level

  120. SE in Oregon says:

    Thanks for the info. Would love to win the scale since I don’t have one. Looks great.

  121. I use measuring cups, might not be the most accurate, but I’ve been successful with them.

  122. Mackenzie says:

    I was taught to scoop into a measuring cup tap it down and level. A scale sounds soooo much easier.

  123. I definitely need a scale! I have always used the scoop, scrape with a knife and add to my recipe as it calls for. I’ve wondered why some recipes work well with that method and some do not. Thank you for the information!

  124. Ashley HM says:

    I learned this tip a few years ago from Ina Garten…it makes such a difference! Love, love, love your blog!

  125. I just recently learned about the “right” way to measure flour- need to try a new recipe soon!

  126. My mom taught my sisters and me the fluff, measure and level technique, which has held us in good stead for a very long time; we are very good bakers! This particular scale would be a very welcome addition to my kitchen…

  127. I measure it the same why I do my cocaine…just kidding I scoop and scrape with an offset spatula!

  128. I’m usually a scoop & scraper. But if I’m making something fussy I usually spoon & level. I swear I just had my eye on this same scale on Groupon 2 days ago!!!

  129. Meghan Finley says:

    My mother will surely be mad if I disclose my new way to measure so let’s keep this between us ;) Thanks for the great giveaway. I love OXO products

  130. When I’m feeling motivated, I spoon and level. But most of the time, i just scoop with my measuring cup. I know it’s bad but sometimes I just can’t bother!

  131. stephanie says:

    I measure with a scale if weight is given, if not, I use the sift/spoon in cup method. Sometime I do fluff and scoop old-school recipes.

    1. stephanie says:

      for* old-school recipes :)

  132. I must admit that I am guilty of measuring it the way that you said that you used to…scoop it in and level it off

  133. I tend to measure by lightly scooping the flour into my measuring cup.

  134. I really prefer to weigh the flour when possible, but if the recipe only gives volume measurements I fluff the flour, then scoop into the cup and level with an offset spatula.

  135. barbara n says:

    I use to use measuring cups, but now weigh my ingredients whenever possible! Would love to win this giveaway to share with my daughter who has become a great pie baker!

  136. I either use the scale (if the recipe has weights) or I use a smaller measuring cup to scoop the flour out and shake it into the larger measuring cup.

  137. I’ve been doing it very lazily… I just scoop it in the cup and do a rough level-off with my fingers. But I think a scale like this one would help :)

  138. I am lame…I a scooper. However tomorrow I will attempt the fluff and sprinkle method!!

  139. I always just leveled too!

  140. I normally spoon and sweep. Occasionally I weigh but I have the old school spring scales which are not always 100% accurate.

  141. I usually just scoop and dump it in! I’m never very exact.

  142. I went to culinary school so I weigh….everything, but before that I did the scoop and level.

  143. rachel garber says:

    I’ve done it wrong for years – I just stick my cup in my flour and eye ball if it looks about right. Probably why I can’t make a good chocolate chip cookie and my husband can (he was raised on the way of properly measuring flour!)

  144. I would love to win this OXO scale. I never realized what a difference it would make in the outcome of anything you bake. I enjoyed and learned a lot from Abby Dodge’s baking demo at BSP4. Hope I win this. Thanks for the chance to win this giveaway :-)

  145. I use regular measuring cups and spoons to measure my flour and dry ingredients. Hope I win this scale so baking results get better.

  146. Becky Kasten says:

    I get lazy sometimes but try to remember to do it the right way:)

  147. I spoon my flour into my measuring cup and then level it with the flat of a knife. Please enter me in your lovely give away!

  148. Barbara C says:

    I use a scale, but I would live to give it to my daughter and have the new fancy-dancy Oxo one ;)

  149. I would LOVE to win this scale. Mine has been broken for a few years and I just haven’t replaced it yet ….

  150. Bethany F says:

    I measure by scooping in the measuring cup and then scraping it off with a knife. I want a kitchen scale SO badly!

  151. Mia Jamal says:

    Gosh!!! This would be amazing:) measuring flour is not fun…this would certainly make it better!!

  152. I use a combination of the methods. I don’t use my scale (I don’t know why) but I use a measuring cup and fluff the flour as I scoop it.

  153. feminazgul says:

    I scoop my flour in to my measuring cups!

  154. Christine says:

    I spoon flour into measuring cups to keep it light and airy!

  155. I use the spoon and level method!

  156. When I’m at work I use a scale, but at home I use the technique you originally outlined….scoop and level. I had no idea it may be more than I actually need!

  157. i’ve been doing it wrong all these years – shaking down and then (usually) leveling with my finger! oops. I will have to try the proper way next time!

  158. I do the fluff and sprinkle method – but I just learned to do it that way fairly recently!

  159. I measure flour with a cup and a straight edge. I don’t weigh it though.

  160. VIckie Palmer says:

    I always weigh ingredients. It’s the only way to ensure the best tasting products.

  161. I have been measuring by volume but I really think that a scale would be better

  162. Kristin H says:

    I have been measuring the same way for years, but have recently come across more and more articles saying that weighing your ingredients is the better way

  163. I think a scale would make a big difference; baking is chemistry after all, but like your trick too!

  164. I use a combination of the methods…I fluff up the flour, then scoop and level. I NEED this scale! : )

  165. I’ve always measured it the way you described–scooping and leveling. This is great to know though, thanks!

  166. I’ve always done it the scooping and leveling way! Great new tip learned :)

  167. I stir and scoop or measure…depending on how accurate I’m feeling :)

  168. Nicole-Lynn says:

    I haven’t measured flour like this before, I’m sure it’d help with accuracy when baking! I’ve always scooped and leveled.

  169. I use one measuring cup to scoop and pour into another.

  170. I usually fluff the flour a little and then scoop, but I know I’m not always very accurate :)

  171. oops…I just use the measuring cup and a spatula.

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