Does 8 oz flour equal 1 cup?

This is a common question for bakers, cooks, and anyone who frequently measures flour. The short answer is: Not exactly. While 8 oz of flour is close to 1 cup, it is not an exact equivalent due to the variability in density and compactness of different types of flour.

The Connection Between Weight and Volume

In baking, flour can be measured either by weight (in ounces or grams) or by volume (in cups or milliliters). The reason weight and volume are not perfectly interchangeable is that flour is a powder, which can settle and become compacted over time. So 1 cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 4-5 ounces depending on factors like:

  • Type of flour (all-purpose, bread, cake, etc.)
  • Brand of flour
  • How sifted or aerated the flour is
  • Altitude and humidity of where the flour is stored
  • How the flour was stored and handled prior to measuring

The density of flour can vary up to 20% or more between brands and types. So while 1 cup is defined as 8 fluid ounces by volume, the weight of that cup can range quite a bit in grams or ounces depending on the density of the specific flour.

The Official Weight of a Cup of Flour

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the official weight of a cup of all-purpose flour that has been sifted is:

  • 4.25 ounces
  • 120 grams

However, flour weights can deviate from this baseline up to 20% or more, which shows the limitation of using volume measurements like cups for dry powder ingredients.

Why Weight Matters in Baking

When precision and consistency matter, weighing ingredients is better than measuring by volume. Here’s why weight is preferred for baking:

  • More accurate: Weight measurements remove the guesswork and inconsistencies inherent to flour’s settling in a cup.
  • Better recipe outcomes: The right flour weights mean your baked goods rise, bind, and turn out as intended.
  • Easy to modify: Weighing ingredients makes it easier to scale recipes up or down.
  • More reliable: Different brands of measuring cups can vary in size, but a gram or ounce is always the same.

When following a recipe, you can use the USDA’s standard of 4.25 ounces per cup of flour as a blueprint. But for the most precise results, it’s best to use a kitchen scale and weigh out flour by grams.

The Effect of Sifting

Sifting is the process of passing flour through a fine mesh sieve to aerate it. Sifting incorporates more air pockets and decreases density. So sifted flour will be lighter and fluffier compared to the same volume of unsifted flour.

Most recipes call for sifted flour or assume you are using sifted flour in the ingredient weights and volumes specified. If you do not sift your flour first, you may need up to 20% more flour by volume to get the right weight.

Tips for Measuring Flour

When you don’t have a kitchen scale, here are some tips for getting accurate flour measurements by volume:

  • Use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from the container, then sweep off excess.
  • Do not pack, dip, or tap the measuring cup.
  • Fluff up the flour first before scooping to incorporate more air.
  • Make sure your measuring cups are level, not heaping.
  • Sift first, then spoon flour into cups and level off.

Does 8 oz Equal 1 Cup of Flour?

So does 8 oz of flour equal 1 cup? The answer is: Almost, but not quite. Eight oz is approximately 20% heavier than the standard USDA weight for 1 cup of sifted all-purpose flour, which is 4.25 oz. So 8 oz of flour is nearly 2 cups’ worth by official weight. However, due to the natural variability of flour densities, it is possible for a generously scooped cup of flour to weigh 8 oz on some occasions.

The Bottom Line:

While similar and close estimates, 8 oz and 1 cup of flour are not equal measures. For accuracy in recipes, it is best to weigh flour directly in grams or ounces using a kitchen scale.

Measuring Other Dry Ingredients by Weight

Beyond flour, there are other baking staples like sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar that can benefit from weight measurements for optimal precision and consistency.

Granulated White Sugar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar = 7 oz = 200 g

Light and Dark Brown Sugars

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar = 7 oz = 200 g

Powdered Sugar

  • 1 cup powdered sugar = 4 oz = 113 g

As with flour, sifting can impact the density and therefore volume-to-weight ratio. So for complete accuracy, weigh these ingredients instead of using cup measurements.

Weight Conversions

For convenience, here are some common weight conversions:

1 ounce = 28 grams
1 pound = 16 ounces = 454 grams
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds = 35.2 ounces

Substituting Volumes and Weights in Recipes

If you only have volume measurements available, you can use the following general substitutions:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = Approximately 4-5 ounces by weight
  • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar = Approximately 7 ounces
  • 1 cup powdered sugar = Approximately 4 ounces

However, these replacements are approximations at best. For the most accurate recipe results, invest in a kitchen scale and weigh your dry ingredients whenever possible.

Practical Example: Baking a Cake

Here is a scenario that demonstrates the importance of weighing flour for baking success:

A cake recipe calls for:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

If you measure the dry ingredients by volume using cups, you’ll get an approximate weight of:

  • 2 cups flour = Approximately 8-10 ounces
  • 1 cup sugar = Approximately 7 ounces

However, these volume measurements could be off by 20% or more from the recipe creator’s intended weights. If the flour weight is too far off, it can result in a dense cake that doesn’t rise properly when baked.

For best results, you should weigh out the ingredients on a kitchen scale:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour = 250 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar = 200 grams

Using precise weights helps ensure your cake has the right structure and texture the recipe developer intended. While cups can be convenient, weight measurements give reliable, consistent outcomes every time you bake.


So in summary, 8 oz and 1 cup of flour are close but not equal measures by weight versus volume. Due to the natural settling and compaction of flour over time, volumes are not perfectly consistent. For precision baking, you should weigh out flour and other dry ingredients instead of relying on cup measurements. Investing in a kitchen scale removes the guesswork and helps you achieve the most accurate and reliable results every time.

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