How much does a cup of flour weigh? It’s an important question if you want to be able to convert American recipes over to the metric system or if you want to break down a recipe to see the ratios of different ingredients. Knowing the answer can also help you more easily scale recipes up or down.

If you do a Google search, you may find yourself on the Instructables page that says that a cup of all-purpose flour weighs 120 grams. Allrecipes says one cup of flour is 128 grams. Joy of Baking weighs in, calling one cup of flour 130 grams. Why is there a discrepancy, what number should you be using, and does it matter at all? **I weighed 192 cups of flour to figure out how much a cup of flour weighs!**

I decided to look at three different factors that could cause weight variation: the method of getting the flour into the measuring cup, the brand of flour, and the type of measuring cup.

This is a long post, so grab a drink and get ready. First, I share my findings. Then, I tackle the important issue of whether the difference in weight matters. At the end, I summarize all of my conclusions (skip to that section if you are short on time).

**The Dip Versus The Scoop**

There are two main ways that people fill their measuring cups.

I’m calling the first method “The Dip”. This is where you dip your measuring cup right into the bag or jar of flour.

The second method is “The Scoop”. In this method, you use a scoop to pour flour from the bag or jar into your measuring cup.

In both methods, it’s important to level off the top of the measuring cup after it is full.

I ran 72 tests on each method using different brands of flours and measuring cups. Here are the averaged results:

The Dip | 139 grams |

The Scoop | 128 grams |

Difference | The Dip yields 8.5% more flour than The Scoop |

Perhaps more telling is the difference in standard deviation between The Dip and The Scoop. I know, I’m getting all mathy on you now. As a quick math refresher, the standard deviation is a measure that is used to quantify the amount of variation in set of data values. A standard deviation of 0 would mean that I got the exact same answer when I did things the same way. What I found was that the standard deviation for The Dip was 2.43** **grams and the standard deviation for The Scoop was 1.93 grams. **Using The Scoop yields more consistent results**.

## The Flour Brand

For this project, I looked at four different brands of flour: King Arthur Flour, 365 Everyday Value Organic (Whole Foods’ house brand), Gold Medal, and Pillsbury.

When calculating the brand results, I used an average of measures taken using The Dip and the Scoop Method with a variety of measuring cups for each flour brand. The results are as follows:

King Arthur Flour | 138 grams |

365 Everyday Value | 136 grams |

Gold Medal | 130 grams |

Pillsbury | 129 grams |

That’s a 7.3% difference between Pillsbury and King Arthur Flour!

## The Measuring Cups

Will you get the same result using any measuring cup? It looks like the answer is “no”.

Yellow Cup | 133 grams |

Blue Cup | 132 grams |

Pink Striped Cup | 135 grams |

The difference in standard deviation is also striking here. The yellow cup’s standard deviation was 2.80 grams, the blue cup’s was 2.05 grams, and the pink striped cup’s was 1.68 grams. I attribute this to the round shape of the striped cup and the fact that it has less of a rim. This makes it easier to level the cup.

## Liquid Measuring Cups

I am including a liquid measuring cup in this post because I know that some of you use a liquid measure to measure dry ingredients. The standard deviation when I used a liquid measure was 8.76 grams! Because you can’t level a liquid measure, it is nearly impossible to get an accurate result using one.

## Does a 20 Gram Difference in the Weight of a Cup of Flour Matter?

The highest weight that I measured for a cup of all-purpose flour was 144 grams (King Arthur Flour using The Dip) and the lowest weight was 124 grams (Pillsbury flour using The Scoop). That’s a 20 gram difference. It sounded like a lot, but would it really matter? I wanted to know. So, I baked two loaves of bread.

I used a scale to measure all of the ingredients. I treated a cup of flour as 124 grams for one loaf and 144 grams for the other. I kept everything else exactly the same.

As the loaves were going through their second rise, I already had my answer.

The loaf on the left used the higher measurement and the loaf on the right used the lower measurement. Everything else was the same. Wow!

Here’s how the two loaves looked after the bake. (For more on this, King Arthur Flour has a fabulous post about how small differences in ingredients can significantly affect bread baking.)

In bread baking, flour is the main ingredient and interacts with the yeast and the liquid. I wondered if the difference would be as prominent in cupcakes where flour is just one of many ingredients.

The chocolate cupcake on the left used the higher weight number and the one on the right used the lower weight number. If you see a difference, let me know. To me, they are basically identical and they were also identical in taste.

## Conclusions

1. If a bread recipe includes weights, use them. This can make or break your end result.

2. Measuring using weights may not matter as much for cakes and cookies. If you like using cups, stick with it and don’t worry. However, if it’s something delicate (like macarons or pastry) or if getting a specific rise is important to you, I would still consider using weights.

3. Never use a liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients.

4. When possible, use a measuring cup that has a very clean, defined top (ideally with no lip) as it is easier to level and will yield more consistent results.

5. The Scoop produces more consistent results and a lighter weight than The Dip. Most cookbook authors will tell you to measure that way. Listen to them if you want to get the same results they do.

6. If you successfully make a recipe using cups and want to make it again using a different brand of flour, you may need to adjust the recipe slightly to take the different weights into account.

## How Much Does a Cup of Flour Weigh?

If you want to use weights and the author of a recipe doesn’t give you a weight or tell you which brand of flour they used or how they scooped their flour, I would use **128 grams** for a cup of all-purpose flour. That’s the average across all four brands of flour that I weighed using The Scoop.

*Note: I know many of you have asked for weights on my recipes for years. I am working on a blog redesign and one of the features that I am adding will be a tool that converts my recipes to weight. It will be a while. But, it will come. *

Oh, my God! I live in Europe and whenever I want to use an American recipe, the cup measuring kills me! And I am not speaking only about the flour, but also about butter etc. Let alone the tablespoons and teaspoons…

Liliana (are you Romanian?)

Spending my time on both sides of the pond, I found that 130 g/cup works well for flour (000) in Europe.

Butter: 1 stick = 1/2 cup = 113 g = 8 tablespoons (1 tablespoon = roughly 15 g)

1 cup = 2 sticks = 226 g

Thank you. I do live in the US but to get consistent results I always convert to grams and use my scale. Again, thanks.

We like it over here. I guess it’s what you are used to. :)

I do live in America and I don’t like this cup business as well. It is much better to use a scale and get consistent results.

This is absolutely fascinating and interesting. I’m so glad you did this test! I’ll probably try to stick to weight measurements, though, as I have a tendency to not measure perfect cups out when I bake…Anyways, this was really useful, so thanks a lot :)

My pleasure and keep doing what works best for you!

I’m an US of A resident who does most of his baking using digital scales to measure. One is a standard kitchen scale with a 5kg limit and the other is a jewelry scale that weighs to a tenth of a gram. If a recipe doesn’t give weight and I intend to make it again then I’ll record the weights I used.

One thing I noticed a long time ago is many recipes apparently started life with metric weight measurements and were converted to Imperial volume and/or weight. The ingredients cluster near round metric numbers; i.e., 346gr, 502 gr, etc. Also, the flour and liquid ingredients have a weight ratio and can often be scaled up or down successfully as long as the ratio is maintained.

Thank you so very much for going to all this trouble to define cup = 128 grams for flour. I really appreciate it very much. I have been using scales for a long time, so it is very useful. Thanks again.

Glad to help!

This is exactly why I prefer weighing all ingredients; I’ve managed to slowly convert my baking friends to the beauty of using a scale and I specifically seek out recipes that call for weights and not volume. But on a side note, my researcher husband informed me that disposable plastic is used exclusively in the lab because plastic is much more accurate than glass.

Interesting.

Thank you for the very good information on flour using cup measurement which is very informative and helpful. One thing I do not understand is most recipes found in European countries use cup or tablespoon to measure butter. Why is that so? Don’t they feel it’s very messy after using cup and spoon which need washing after.

I like recipes that measured ingredients in gram, oz, ml.

Blessings

Priscilla Poh

I think it’s a personal preference thing.

Can I substitute the unbleached flour and use the same recipes and quantity from the regular all purpose flour? And also how much vinegar is need to change milk to buttermilk? thanks in advance.

The simple answer is to use weight, not volume, to measure out ingredients. More and more recipes in the US are being written with mass units and it is easy to convert older ones. I now use metric weights almost exclusively because, once you get used to them, they are much easier.

Thanks for this, it’s very helpful! I’m from Scotland but have been living in the USA since 2008, I’ve always baked by weight so that’s what I’m used to.

I found that it’s even more crucial to use weight in gluten free baking as the weight of a cup of flour is at least 20grams more than wheat flour and varies widely depending on the types of flour in the blend. The average weight of my gluten free flour blend is 160g

I was surprised by the weight of cocoa powder. It is really light when I weighed it. I have a recipe that is supposed to be by weight and the cocoa powder was definately off when I weighed it – too much.

FINALLY –do you think the bakers on TV will finally show the proper technique for measuring flour? That scoop and liquid measure gets me so irritated. Thank you for confirming “I am not nuts” carefully measuring/weighing flour.

Fantastic experiment with such valuable conclusion. I got so many different answers between manufacturer websites/labels, cookbooks, website, etc. Everyone says how weights are so much more accurate, but if there is no standardization between a common ingredient it really doesn’t matter. Thank you!

Bless you. Seriously, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Didn’t read all comments, so maybe somebody else mentioned this… but for gluten-free baking, it’s the mass that matters, not the volume. If I want to replace some all-purpose flour with buckwheat or with tapioca (a very heavy vs a very lightweight flour) the difference is astounding. I figured out through trial and error that measuring volume is the main thing. So, as long as my flour adds up to about 128-g, it’s a cup! Good to know. :D

-Jaime

Thank you for this research. Mostly everything else is standard (sugar, etc) for weights, but flour ALWAYS weighs different. It drives me nuts! I stick with 120 grams (mostly because it is easy to calculate in my head). Very interesting that “over weight” flour does not rise like “lower weight”!

This is great. I just sifted a cup of Swans Down cake flour 3 different times and came up with 95.5, 96, and 97 grams. So I came to the internet to see if someone came up with a weight for sifted cake flour. This is close. I have an old sifter that has 2 screens in it. I sifted one time directly into the cup, topping it off by lifting from the flour that fell on the parchment paper with my leveling spatula. Wouldn’t happen to have experimented with this and have an average, would you? I’m about to make a sour cream pound cake.

I haven’t done tests with sifted flour. Sorry! I’d just go with the average of your tests. Good luck!

Loved this article! I admit it, I’m a science nerd, I like to know why things work or don’t.

Brilliant. You are a cook after my own heart. In baking, precision and repeatability are key, and your research and article exemplify the best of what it means to be a serious baker. Thank you so much.

My granddaughter’s name is Liliana, Lily for short (we are Israeli but that was the Argentine component from the in-laws) :)

This was EXTREMELY helpful. I kept wondering why my hamburger and other bun baking was not coming out quite right.

Thank you so much!

It is very difficult for me to convert the American recipes-quantity of ingredients into grams but thanks to google which has been able to help me

I live in France, and your article just saved me (or the carrot cake recipe i’m translating from a U.S. blog ^^)! It’s really difficult to convert U.S. or U.K. measurements to european measurements (and vice versa)! Thank you soooo much!

I’ve been experimenting with my sugar cookie recipe (re: amount of flour). I find that when I use less flour, I get fluffier cookies that dome and don’t keep their cutout shape well when baking… even when refrigerated after being cut out but before being baked.

When I need my cookies to hold their shape, specifically for decorating with my glace icing, I know I need to add at least 1/2 cup of flour to my recipe. It also makes the dough not “sticky” when I roll it out.

I’m French, living in the US and cup measuring used to drive me crazy. I did my own experiment, weighting ten cups of flour, with the scoop method, and end up with the magic number of 132 gr = 1 cup of flour. I particularly like this number because it’s divisible by 2, 3 and 4.

It also allows me quite accurately to measure 1oo g = 3/4 cup flour. Since most of the recipes for my bread machine were calling for 3 cups of flour, this translated to 400 gr which is easy to remember. All my baking turns out fine with this measurement.

Stef!:

Thanks for this project. I stumbled upon your site whilst mentally calculating the carbs in 1 piece of soda bread I just made ( and ate!).

I like your approach to solving the ‘cups’ dilemma by actually measuring a lot of them.

People have chimed in about European metric and grams measurement vs American volume measurement. Imagine then that you are a Canadian, as am I, left with the legacy of IMPERIAL measure after politicians unsuccessfully tried to switch the populace all over to metric.

Cups, tablespoons, gallons are all different from the American versions and match those used in the UK. HOW confusing is that? ( just as confusing as American vs UK vs Metric shoe sizes!).

I take solice in the fact that my grandmother used a teacup for measuring her soda bread flour and buttermilk as any recipe was just a starting point for her experienced fine tuning.

Anyhow, I like that you uncovered the effect that measurement technique and tool design can have on the actual result. There is one more thing that you might consider is contributing to the differences between different flour brands and that is moisture content of the bagged flour. Just like wood, exposed flour will exchange moisture with the surrounding air plus there is a variable amount of moisture in each batch as it it comes from the mill.

Just my 2 bits and thanks again for your website.

Do you know if sifting the flour first would have an impact on the weight of a cup of flour?

Rose L. Beranbaum prefers pastry flour for her pie dough recipe. It calls for: 2-1/2 cups + 1 T. or 2⅓ cups + 1 T. pastry flour (or bleached all-p. flour), lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off (10.2 ounces or 290 grams). YIKES!!! To make matters more complicated, her recipe in Epicurious calls for 2 cups + 3 T. pastry flour.

King Arthur gives a weight measurement of 106g per cup for pastry flour, which only adds up to about 272 g for the larger of the 2 amounts in the first recipe..

I don’t have pastry flour yet to try to measure it myself. Would pastry flour when lightly spooned and levelled add up,to 290g? That’s a significant from 272g in weight.

I’ve ordered her book and hope there is more info. Hope you can help figure this out.

Oh man.. I haven’t tested with pastry flour. Sorry! But, I think I would stick to Rose’s weight when using her recipes and King Arthur’s when using theirs.

Ha! If you only knew how much I have struggled with this (especially since I live over 5000 ft so additionally have to factor in extra flour bc of the altitude). Whenever I have a technical question, the first place I look for guidance is America’s Test Kitchen. But you know what? They say 142 g per cup! What?? This bothered me so much that I have sent them this email

“Hello-

I’m an aspiring professional baker and use ATK recipes as the base for almost everything I make. I’m also incredibly particular about weighing ingredients whenever it makes sense. As you can image, I’m especially loving the newly published “Baker’s Apppendix” that is a wealth of information, especially about ingredient weights.

This is my question…ATK/Cook’s Country says a cup of AP flour is 142 grams, but almost every other source (including nutritional labels) says 1 cup AP flour is ~125 grams. A few grams discrepancy in either direction would be understandable and easy to manage, but a 17 gram difference is quite significant…in a recipe that calls for 4 cups AP flour, that would be 68 grams!

Can someone help me understand the differences so I can finally pick a number and stick to it?”

The answer I received was disappointing to say the least (basically copy and paste from the original article they posted). In the end, I settled on using 140g per cup (higher than avg to compensates for altitude) and then have started trusting my baking intuition:-)

So frustrating! I would stick with their weights when using their recipes, but maybe use the lower number in other recipes.

I think they base their figure on the dip method with King Arthur flour, which is pretty close to what was found here. From the numbers we can see here, the King Arthur dip/scoop average is 138. Since the dip is ~8.5% more than the scoop, if we increase the 138 by just over 4% (since we’re already about half way between), we end up with 143~144, close to the 142 that Cooks Illustrated quotes.

I Like this content, thank you :)

This doesn’t quite get the itch scratched. I bake bread– the older the recipe the better. So, I consistently fluff the flour then scoop it into the measuring cup and scrape to flat. That method produces various weights. PLUS even folks like KAF and BRM use different weights. Results are not always as I’d wish and I blame it on the amount of flour. If I use 128 grams/cup regardless of brand for APF, are you saying that my resuls will be more consistent?

I love this kind of info … because it is based on actual trial and agrees exactly with the weight of a cup of Gold Medal fl – when I weighed it . I actually used a spoon to fill a Tuperware cup. I have an array of scales and balances so it is easy for me to weigh. I bake quite a bit – have not bought a loaf of bread since 1994 – bake my own as well as pies etc. I am a guy so I don’t get to discuss stuff like this with my male friends ..Ha I like the looks of those cup cakes.

very nice article… Thanks for sharing this recipe.

very nice article… Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will definitely try it…

I have always used the King Arthur flolour chartwhich says 120 gems per cup and was recently shocked to see America’s test kitchen cook book say 142 gems per cup

ROUghly eighteen percent different

I have a kitchen scale that will weigh items in ounces or grams, but I’m not sure if it is calibrated correctly. I was hoping that a level cup of flour came very close to the ~128g that you found. I “dipped” an unsifted level cup of flour right out of the bag and put it on the scale and it read 146g. That seems way off. I then sifted four and filled and leveled a cup of flour and got 110g. again these seem way off. With that said I’ll try sticking to 128g by weight as you suggest.