How to Measure Flour

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One of the fundamental aspects of successful baking is the accurate measurement of ingredients, and precision is key when it comes to flour. In this guide, you’ll learn the best ways to measure all-purpose flour and how it can significantly affect the outcome of your cakes and cookies.

A container of flour with a measuring cup of flour leveled with a butter knife.


Why It Matters…

When it comes to baking, precision matters more than you might think. Many novice bakers (and even seasoned ones, too, for that matter) rely on measuring flour by volume, using cups.

However, this method can often lead to inconsistent results because it’s easy to pack too much flour into a cup. The density of flour can vary based on factors like humidity, storage conditions, and how you scoop the flour into the cup.

For example, if I scoop the flour with a 1-cup measuring cup and level the top, as shown in the picture below, I get about 140g of flour, about 15g more than I need.

All of my recipes go by 1 cup all-purpose flour = 125g.

Side by side images of measuring flour by scooping flour with measuring cup.

If you use more flour than your recipe calls for, you’ll get different results than you may expect. If you’re making crispy chocolate chip cookies and add a little more flour than called for, you’ll end up with thick and chewy cookies instead.

Cookies will still taste delicious, but some recipes are not as forgiving. You don’t want to make this mistake with cakes, or you’ll end up with dry and dense cake!

Spoon and Level Method:

While I’m a big believer in using a kitchen scale for weighing dry ingredients (more on that below), there is a proper way to measure flour by volume.

  1. Fluff the flour in the bin with a whisk, fork or spoon.
  2. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup all the way to the top. Do NOT pack the flour down!
  3. Then, level off the top of the measuring cup with a flat edge (like the back of a knife).
A four-image collage of measuring flour by scooping flour into a 1 cup measuring cup and leveling the top with a nutter knife.

sugar vs flour

Unlike granulated sugar, flour tends to compress and settle more, leading to variations in density. This “spoon and level” method is essential when measuring flour but not necessary for granulated sugar.

Benefits of Weighing Flour

Weighing flour on a kitchen scale provides a level of accuracy that volumetric measurements can’t match. It eliminates the guesswork and ensures that you use the exact amount of flour required for your recipe. This precision is crucial in achieving the desired texture and flavor in your baked goods.

  1. Consistent results: Weighing flour guarantees consistent results every time you bake. This is particularly important for delicate recipes, like my no-spread sugar cookies or light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, where precise measurements impact the final texture.
  2. No more guesswork: Forget about the uncertainty of whether you’ve packed too much flour into your cup. Weighing eliminates the guesswork and allows you to follow recipes with confidence.
  3. Elevated baking experience: As you embrace weighing flour, you’ll notice an improvement in the texture, flavor, and overall quality of your baked goods. Your cakes and cookies will become more reliable and delicious.
  4. Less dirty dishes: Since you don’t need to use multiple measuring cups, you won’t have extra dishes to clean!! And I’m all about that.

How to use a kitchen scale:

Before adding flour or any ingredient you’re weighing, place your mixing bowl on the scale and zero it out by clicking on “TARE” button. This ensures that only the weight of the flour is measured, not the bowl.

Do the same before adding and measuring the next ingredient.

Measure the flour properly by spoon and level method, or better yet, use a kitchen scale to accurately measure the flour and other dry ingredients. And never bake another dry and dense cake, or run into crumly dry cookie dough!

Happy Baking!

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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