Weights

The recipes on this site use weight measurements for dry ingredients. Below, a helpful chart in converting common ingredients.

King Arthur, the flour company, has its own chart that’s a little different, but has a lot more ingredients and is probably more correct, so its values are printed here as well.

For the philosophy behind using weights, see below the conversion table.

ItemVolumeWeightKing Arthur Weight
butter1 cup/
2 stick/
8 fl oz/
16 tbsp
8 oz8 oz
flour1 cup6 oz4.25 oz
granulated sugar1 cup8 oz7 oz
brown sugar1 cup6 oz7.5 oz (packed)
confectioner’s/powder sugar1 cup4 oz4 oz
cocoa powder1 cup4 oz3 oz
chocolate chips1 cup8 oz6 oz
Graham cracker crumbs1 cup4 oz3.5 oz
mini-marshmallows1 cup2 oz1.5 oz

Most recipes, in the USA at least, specify both wet and dry measures using volumes. So, for example, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sugar. For liquids, like milk, that works perfectly well. But for dry ingredients, like brown and confectioner’s sugar in particular, or cherries, or flour or other things that don’t “flow” well — things that can get clumped or packed or not — using volumes can be misleading, because your cup of flour and my cup of flour might not be packed quite the same way.

So what do we do instead? Use weights: 6oz of flour instead of 1 cup. Because no matter how it’s packed, it will weigh the same since the weight of the air is negligible.

How much does this matter? It matters more for baking, which is a more precise chemistry than stovetop cooking, and even then, probably not too much. But it’s just a small thing that will make your outcomes more consistent from time to time, so you don’t have to reminisce about that one time your pie came out perfectly.

You do need a kitchen scale for this, but an accurate digital one is only about 10$ and definitely worth it.

One more thing to clarify: in the US customary units, both cups and pounds are made up of “ounces”, which can be confusing because they’re not the same kind of ounces: cups contain fluid ounces and pounds contain dry ounces. So 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces, which measure the amount of space something like a cup of milk takes up, and 1 lb = 16 dry ounces, which measure how heavy something is — could be milk, or a mango.

One last benefit is when shopping: dry goods are sold by weight, so it doesn’t help when the recipe asks for 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar that it’s sold in 16 (dry) oz packages. But if the recipe used weights, as it should, it would request 12 (dry) oz and so you’d immediately know a package is enough.