If cooking is an art, then baking is a science and if you want your baked goods to come out correctly, the key is knowing how to measure baking ingredients properly. Too much flour, too little yeast, a quarter cup extra sugar—having an imprecise measurement can mean the difference between a perfect cake or crisp and something which you’ll probably feel tempted to post under a self-deprecating #bakingfail hashtag.
Knowing how to measure baking ingredients is key to getting your baking measurements perfectly right every time. The following guide will help you learn how to measure baking ingredients, including how to measure flour for baking.
Note: Need help converting measurements? Check out our downloadable helpful baking cheat sheet which features over 100 popular baking ingredients pre-converted for easy use!
How to Measure Flour for Baking
First, let’s cover how to measure one of the most common ingredients you’ll use when baking: flour. It is crucial that you take steps to measure flour as precisely as possible due to how too much or too little flour can impact your final baking outcome.
To measure flour by the cup, you should transfer flour using a spoon into a measuring cup placed on a flat surface. Continue scooping until the flour is heaping. Then, use a knife or other flat tool to level the flour in the cup; this will give you a more precise cup of flour.
You can also measure flour by weight, which will give you an even more exact measurement.
How to Measure Baking Ingredients Beyond Flour
The following are some general guidelines you will want to follow when learning how to measure baking ingredients beyond flour.
As a general rule of thumb, you will want to measure dry ingredients (such as sugar, yeast, cornmeal, etc.) using the same method described above for flour. You can use a spoon or a spatula to level out the cup and you’ll get a more precise dry cup measurement. You can also weigh out the ingredients if you want to be extremely precise and the recipe provides the proper weighted amounts.
To measure any liquid ingredients, such as milk, water, and even thicker liquids like honey, you must use a liquid measuring cup! Do not use a liquid and dry measuring cup interchangeably as you will get different volumes.
First, you should place your liquid measuring cup on a flat, even surface. Place yourself so that you are looking at the measurements eye level when you pour; viewing the lines from above will give you a distorted view.
Tips for Using Measuring Spoons
Finally, measuring spoons! If you only need a small amount of a baking ingredient, you may be called upon to add a tablespoon, teaspoon, etc., rather than cups. Measuring spoons can be handled almost in the same way as measuring cups. To get a precise measurement, add the dry ingredients into the spoon until heaping, and then level it off using a spatula or knife.
Remember to keep the above information in mind when you want to know how to measure baking ingredients.