How do you measure wet vs. dry ingredients? (Volume Method)

A dear friend recently left a question in the comments. Here it is:

Is there a difference between measuring tools for dry and wet ingredients ? Are they all the same ?


This is a great question and something I have thought of myself.  If one cup is one cup why do I need something just for wet and something just for dry?

The simplest answer to this question is, no you don’t need something just for wet and just for dry.  When we use the cup/spoon method of measurement you are actually measuring by volume.  So technically 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour can be measured with the same 1 cup measurement tool.  However, there is a proper way to measure using the cup method.  

When you try to do a research online, many places say you need both.  Not to call anyone in particular out, but one site said that you MUST have both because the measuring for just liquid is more precise.  The reason they give is that using a cup measurement means you need to fill it to the brim and when you use it for liquid there is a chance you won’t be able to keep the liquid to the brim.  I find that flimsy at best. 

I do have both, but more for convenience. It is much easier to pour liquids out of the wet measurement as it has a spout.  It is also great for pouring pancake batter and other such things.  Also if you have a recipe that calls for lots of measurements of both wet and dry it is helpful.  But if you don’t have the money to have both then get the dry cups and learn to use them properly. 

How to Measure Wet Ingredients

Pouring the liquid into the cup or spoon is easy!  Just remember to keep it level.  So if it is a cup or glass, place it on the counter and make sure your eyes are level with the cup.  This is also true with the spoon, make sure that you raise the spoon to your eye level when carefully pouring ingredients.  Don’t look from above with a cup or spoon, the perspective might cause you to read the wrong amount.  Also make sure the cup or spoon is filled to the brim.  (Tip: If using a sticky ingredient like honey or corn syrup, spray the cup or spoon with cooking spray or sprayable light oil to make sure you get all the product out.)

How to Measure Dry Ingredients

Start by filling the cup or spoon generously to the top with say flour for example.  You want to think light and airy here, do not pack the flour into the cup or dip the whole cup into the container compressing the flour into the cup.  You can use another cup, large spoon or scoop to place the flour into the measuring device and then you want to level it off with the back of a knife or bench scraper by sweeping it against the lip of the cup or spoon over the top of the ingredient. 

Why Can’t We Change To The Weight Method Already?

I really really want to move away from the volume method myself and change to the by weight method.  Not just because I love baking and the precision of it but it just makes everything so much easier.  All you need is a simple digital kitchen scale that is relatively cheap these days.  No cups, no spoons, no proper technique.  Just a scale. 

Sometimes I get turned off from the perspective of having to convert recipes.  Just so you know… One cup of flour is not one cup of water when using the by weight method.   Instead one cup flour is approximately 130 grams and one cup of water is approximately 236.59 grams…

Anyway, I will stop now.  I hope that you enjoyed this article and found it useful.  If there is a specific topic you would like me to tackle for you let me know in the comments or send me a message!  I would love to hear your thoughts.  And thanks again AK for your inspiration.     


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