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What is the Best Way to Measure Dry Ingredients?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

In order to measure dry ingredients, there are a few steps the successful chef must always follow. Without taking care to properly measure dry ingredients, too much or too little of one or more ingredients will be added to the recipe. As a result, the recipe can be completely ruined.

If a small amount of dry ingredients needs to be measured, a measuring spoon should be used. Measuring spoons typically come in sets containing ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, ¼ tablespoon, ½ tablespoon, and 1 tablespoon measurements. In order to measure dry ingredients that do not fall into one of these categories, it is necessary to combine two measuring spoons. For example, a recipe calling for ¾ tablespoon of baking soda would require combining ½ tablespoon baking soda with ¼ tablespoon baking soda in order to achieve the proper amount.

A measuring spoon being used to measure sugar.
A measuring spoon being used to measure sugar.

In order to measure dry ingredients, one should never use teaspoons or tablespoons that are used for eating. These spoons are not created for specific measurement. In addition, they do not lend themselves to being leveled off as do measuring spoons. This is an important step that is required to measure dry ingredients accurately. It is also best to use measuring spoons that are all from the same set, as manufacturer measurements of spoons can vary slightly and can throw off the recipe.

A measuring cup can be used to measure dry ingredients.
A measuring cup can be used to measure dry ingredients.

To level off a measuring spoon in order to measure dry ingredients, one must first dip the spoon into the dry ingredient. The ingredient should overflow from the measuring spoon. Then, using a knife, the cook should scrape off the excess at the top of the measuring spoon. This ensures the dry ingredients fill in all of the spaces in the measuring spoon, yet gets rid of the extra ingredients that result from scooping them out in the first place.

In order to measure dry ingredients in larger quantities, it is necessary to use a measuring cup. A measuring cup used to measure dry ingredients should have an even rim rather than a spout, as measuring cups with spouts are meant for measuring liquids. The same procedure should be followed when measuring with measuring cups as with measuring spoons. The excess ingredients should be scraped off with a knife, and measuring cups from the same manufacturer should be used to complete a recipe.

Discussion Comments


This article reminds me of a funny story that happened a few years ago. At my high school, I was taking a culinary arts class, and we were making pumpkin pie. Instead of putting too little of an ingredient in it, I had put way too much in it. Let's just say that it turned out way spicier than expected. I had overdosed on the nutmeg and cinnamon, which caused the pie to have an overly strong taste. Always remember to measure your ingredients well, as it can make or break your dessert.


I've learned the hard way, but surprisingly, salt is one of the most important ingredients you can ever put in a dessert. Without it...let's just say that it won't taste the same. Around the holidays, I was making a cake in a hurry, and forgot to add salt to it. About an hour later, when I tasted some of the dessert, it lacked much of a taste, and was generally horrible. Believe it or not, salt adds a lot to desserts, even more than flour, eggs, and even vanilla.


Dry ingredients are the most important part of making a dish, especially a dessert. If you end up measuring something wrong, it can ruin what would have been a great dish. I also like how the article mentions to "level" any excess amounts you have.

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    • A measuring spoon being used to measure sugar.
      By: jrtb
      A measuring spoon being used to measure sugar.
    • A measuring cup can be used to measure dry ingredients.
      By: GraphicHead
      A measuring cup can be used to measure dry ingredients.