Filed Under: Baking Science | How To | Videos

How to Measure Flour

Recipe By Tessa Arias
March 26th, 2018

How to Measure Flour correctly for baking so you end up with perfect results every time! This will help prevent dense, tough, or rubbery cakes, cookies, brownies and more. Click here to receive my free weight measuring chart.

How you measure your baking ingredients can make or break your success in the kitchen. It’s actually kind of crazy just how critical this one step can be!

I see SO many frustrated comments and messages from you guys asking what could have went wrong when a recipe doesn’t turn out. I would venture to say at least 50% of the time (probably more) it’s due to measurement issues.

The easiest ingredient to mis-measure is flour. That’s because it can be so easily compacted into a container or measuring cup without you even realizing.

Basically, it’s all too easy to accidentally add more flour than the recipe actually calls for. You can also mis-measure other ingredients, but flour is the most common and most damaging if measured wrong. This can yield baking results that are:

  • Dry (instead of moist)
  • Dense (instead of light and fluffy)
  • Crumbly (instead of moist, chewy, or fudgy)
  • Tough (instead of tender)
  • Rubbery (instead of delicate)

AKA… results that no one wants! Here’s a visual example. The cookie on the left was made by measuring flour with a scale, the one on the right was made with a compacted cup of flour. Those cookies ended up being dry and tough, and hardly spread out:

How to measure flour so you don't end up with hard round cookies

Luckily with a few simple tricks it’s easy to improve your baking by learning how to measure your flour accurately. I’ve laid it all out in the video and instructions below. It you follow these guidelines EACH time you bake a recipe, you’ll see much more consistent results.

Measuring with a Scale

This is by far the BEST and simplest way to improve your baking instantly. This is the my favorite scale, and the one I use in the video. This one is a cheaper alternative I also like.

Measuring with a scale gives you 100% accuracy. It also dirties less dishes because you aren’t using a bunch of measuring cups. Simply press the zero / tare button to return the weight to zero before adding each new ingredient. The video above demonstrates this fully.

Use my free measuring chart so you know how much 1 cup each basic baking ingredient weighs. Click here to download the chart.

Important note!

1 cup of every ingredient will NOT weigh 8 ounces. That’s because different ingredients have different densities.

If that’s confusing, think of it like this: 1 cup of rocks would not weigh the same as 1 cup of feathers. That might be an extreme example, but as you’ll see once you download the chart, every ingredient has a sightly different density.

The majority of my baking recipes here on Handle the Heat include weight measurements in grams. I find grams to be the easiest unit to work with. Use the chart if you’re unsure of how much an ingredient weighs, or if you’re following a recipe that doesn’t offer weight measurements.

This chart is actually an abbreviated version to get you started. There’s a larger one with more ingredient measurements within the Magic of Baking online class. There’s actually a TON more info about measuring and flour specifically in the class!

Spoon & Level Method

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, this is the second best way to measure flour. This method helps to ensure you don’t accidentally compact too much flour into your measuring cup. Here are the steps:

  1. Fluff up your bag of flour or flour canister. Flour easily settles and compacts into its container, which can make it easy to add too much to your recipe.
  2. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup until you have a tall mound.
  3. Use a flat sided object, like a knife, to scrape the excess flour back into the container.

How to measure flour correctly for baking

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Leave a Reply to Ted Fichtenholtz

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  1. #
    Sabrina — March 29, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    a guide, thank you, some of these I’ve forgotten and some I never knew, and I’m sure both forgotten and unknown factors have contributed to my baking “issues”

  2. #
    Nichole — April 3, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I used to wonder why I would ever want to weight my flour when I could quickly scoop some out. lol. Because of your site I always weigh my ingredients now! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  3. #
    gmail login — May 2, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    This dish I tried. Very delicious and nutritious. I like it.

  4. #
    Michele — November 20, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Hi, I’m super excited to have found this blog post. It’s so helpful and I have signed up for the free ingredients chart. I haven’t gotten it yet but I look forward to seeing it in my inbox 🙂

  5. #
    Linda — March 16, 2019 at 7:34 am

    I have found that pre-sifting flour is a good idea before measuring for a recipe. It works great for my chocolate chip

  6. #
    Tilly — June 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Great info Tessa and it is always a pleasure listening to you explaining things. Question I have: I made cinnamon buns and froze the unbaked dough. When I wanted to transport them into a box there was liquid sugar on the bottom of the baking tray. How do I prevent that from happening as that is all the good stuff that should stay in between the layers!!
    Hope you can help,

  7. #
    Jessica — April 22, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    The cookie on the left looks a bit too spread out and flat, IMO. And maybe like the butter was too soft. Is that the cookie you’re saying is best, or just different because the flour has been weighed? I prefer something more like the one on the right.

  8. #
    Donna D Lewis — April 27, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Do you ever use a sifter to measure the flour?


  9. #
    Ted Fichtenholtz — June 3, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Get video on how to measure flour.

    I learned that at king Arthur when I took my first course.


  10. #
    Andreina Arrieta — June 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Hello Tessa!! Thanks for your tips! I don’t received the guide of measures in my mail 🙁

  11. #
    bb — July 20, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    I find it so irritating when so called professionals, (Martha, Ina) dig their measuring cup in the flour. Such poor technique to exhibit and getting paid to do so.

  12. #
    Deborah Rowcroft — August 25, 2020 at 12:03 am

    Hi Tessa,

    Being a baker in the UK, I find recipes that use the cups measuring system hard to convert into grams successfully. My baking always fails one way or another.

    There are some amazing American recipes that I’d like to try, but with previous fails, I’m unwilling to waste ingredients and money.

    Is there a foolproof conversation chart anywhere that I can download?

    I always use a scale in my kitchen.

    Thank you for your emails, I find them really informative

    Kindest regards
    Lancashire UK

    • #
      Jessica — August 26, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Good question. I’ve found that when I look up conversion charts, some differ, even if only by a few grams. For example, I saw one that said flour was 128 grams, and another said it was 125 grams.

  13. #
    Diana Hebsen — August 27, 2020 at 6:48 am

    You say to keep butter at 67 degrees for cookies but some recipes call for soft butter. That’s hard to get soft butter at 67 degrees. What do you suggest?

    • #
      Jessica — August 27, 2020 at 11:02 am

      I definetly feel like I have issues with 67 degrees still being to hard to mix in. It doesn’t get creamy…instead I get hard chunks that don’t incorporate into dough very well. I don’t know if using a stand mixer vs a hand mixer would make a difference. I use a hand mixer.

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