How to measure flour using the “spoon and sweep” method for the most success while baking!

measuring cup full of flour

Is there a proper way to measure flour? Yes, definitely! And if you’re just dipping your measuring cup into a bag flour and scooping it out, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Baking is a science, as we all know. If you change the proportions of ingredients, sometimes even just a little, things don’t turn out as well. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in baking is measuring flour incorrectly, which can result in dry, dense or tough baked goods.

Let me show you the best way to measure flour and you’ll never make that mistake again!

flour on a scale - measured correctly and measured incorrectly

Right vs. Wrong Way to Measure Flour

Take a look at the photos above. Both images are of 1 cup of flour, the only difference is how it was measured. And look at how different the weight is!

The standard weight measurement for 1 cup of flour is 120 grams (I’ve gotten this number from King Arthur Flour, a baking source I trust a lot, though I have seen 125-130 grams listed on other sources). The most effective way to measure out 120 grams every time is to use a digital kitchen scale, but don’t worry if you don’t have one, a baking scale isn’t necessary.

The Wrong Way: In the photo above on the left, the flour was measured by dipping the measuring cup directly into my flour jar and leveling off the top. It came out to 155 grams, which is almost 1/3 cup additional flour! Imagine adding that to a cake or cookie recipe— it would not turn out the way it should.

The Right Way: In the photo above on the right, the flour was measured by the “spoon and sweep” method and it came out to 123 grams, which is pretty dang close! And it’s close enough that I’ll call it a success.

Let me show you how the “spoon and sweep” method works!

fluffing flour, scooping flour into measuring cup

How to Measure Flour with the Spoon and Sweep Method

  1. Fluff the flour. Flour settles and compacts while it sits, so before you measure it, use a spoon or scoop to fluff and loosen it up a bit.
  2. Spoon flour into measuring cup. Add flour to your measuring cup one spoonful at a time.
  3. Fill until measuring cup is overflowing. Continue to add spoonfuls of flour until measuring cup is mounded on top.
  4. Sweep the top. Use a flat edge like a knife or your finger to sweep across the top of the measuring cup, letting the excess flour fall back into your flour bag or jar.

And there you have it, a nearly perfect cup of measured flour, ready to be turned into something delicious!

heaping measuring cup full of flour, leveling flour with a knife

All of the recipes on this site are tested using the “spoon and sweep” method to measure flour. If a recipe from my site (and even from elsewhere) doesn’t turn out when you try it, it could be because you’re not measuring flour correctly. Give this method a try and see if it makes a difference!

bowl of flour on a scale

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