Are you scooping or spooning? Properly measuring flour requires special attention, but it can mean the difference between fluffy baked goods and dense, chewy ones.

By Melanie Fincher

Chances are, like most of us, you're a self-taught cook. And sometimes that means we miss out on some of the cooking fundamentals that help you get your culinary creations just right.

Measuring flour seems obvious enough, but doing it the wrong way can actually dramatically change your recipe. If your cupcakes or cookies are turning out dry and crumbly, it probably means you're packing in too much flour. Fortunately for us, the professionals are here to share their wisdom about measuring flour properly. Watch the video and read on for Chef John's best tips on how to measure flour correctly. There's a right way, a wrong way, and a best way.

The Wrong Way to Measure Flour

While your natural inclination may be to take your measuring cup and scoop flour straight out of the bag, this could be causing you to use way too much flour. Don't make these mistakes when measuring flour:

  1. You use a measuring cup to scoop flour into the cup.
  2. You pack flour down into the cup.

Both of these methods will result in flour that is too densely packed into your measuring cup, giving you too much flour.

The Right Way (And the Best Way) to Measure Flour

Instead of using the cup to scoop flour, give the spooning method a try. Follow Chef John's steps to get a more accurate flour measurement:

  1. Use a spoon or scoop to fluff up the flour in the canister or bag.
  2. Gently spoon the flour into the cup. Don't pack it in!
  3. Fill the cup to the top, and very gently level it off.

While this method should give you approximately the correct amount, the only way to know for sure is by using a food scale. We narrowed down the options to these test-kitchen approved food scales. Use the method above to spoon flour into a measuring cup, before using a food scale to determine whether it's actually the correct amount. But what is the correct amount? How much flour is in one cup?

1 cup flour = 4.25 oz

One cup could easily weigh upwards of six ounces depending on how much you pack in. Chef John says this is why bakers go nuts when people measure flour in cups. "When you're baking you really shouldn't measure flour by volume," says Chef John. "You should weigh it using one of these digital scales."

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