How many cups are in a 5lb bag of sugar?

A 5 pound bag of sugar contains a lot of sugar! But how much exactly? Let’s break it down into a more understandable measurement – cups. Knowing how many cups are in a 5 pound bag of sugar is useful for baking and cooking recipes that call for specific amounts of sugar by volume instead of weight. This article will provide a quick answer upfront, then go into more detail on calculating and converting pounds of sugar into cups. We’ll also look at some examples of when you might need to make this conversion in everyday cooking and baking.

Quick Answer

There are approximately 16 cups of sugar in a 5 pound bag. This is based on there being 200 grams of sugar in 1 cup, and 2,267 grams (or 5 pounds) in the entire bag.

Calculating Cups per Pound of Sugar

To determine how many cups are in 5 pounds of sugar, we first need to know how many grams of sugar are in 1 cup. The conversion is:

– 1 cup of granulated white sugar = 200 grams

So if 1 cup equals 200 grams, we can calculate how many cups are in a 5 pound bag:

– There are 453.59 grams in 1 pound of sugar
– There are 5 pounds in a 5 pound bag
– So 5 pounds x 453.59 grams per pound = 2,267.95 grams total
– 2,267.95 grams divided by 200 grams per cup = 11.34 cups
– Rounding up, there are approximately 16 cups in a 5 pound bag of sugar

Therefore, a quick way to estimate is that a 5 pound bag contains about 16 cups of sugar. However, this may vary slightly between brands based on how finely ground the sugar is or how the sugar was packed into the bag. But 16 cups is a reasonable average.

When to Calculate Cups of Sugar

Knowing that there are about 16 cups in 5 pounds of sugar is useful when a recipe calls for a volume amount like 2 cups of sugar, but you only have a 5 pound bag on hand. You can easily measure out the needed amount rather than having to first weigh the sugar on a kitchen scale.

Here are some examples of when converting pounds of sugar to cups comes in handy:

Baking Recipes

Many baking recipes will list ingredient amounts by volume like cups, teaspoons, etc rather than weights. This includes common baking ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, and liquids like milk. So if you are baking cookies from a recipe that calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can scoop that measured amount right from a 5 pound bag. No need to weigh out 453.59 grams on a scale.

Sweetening Beverages

If you are sweetening pitchers of iced tea, lemonade, or fruit punch for a large gathering, a recipe may tell you to add X cups of sugar. You can add the number of needed cups directly from a big bag of sugar rather than measuring out smaller amounts from a 1 pound box.

Canning & Preserving

When making large batches of jams, jellies, and other canned fruits or sweets, the recipes may call for 4 cups or 8 cups of sugar for a whole batch. Having a big multi-pound bag makes it easy to measure out the required volume quickly.

Sweetening Yogurt

Plain unsweetened yogurt can be sweetened at home before eating. If a recipe calls for adding 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup of yogurt, you can easily add spoonfuls from a 5 pound bag rather than using up many smaller packets of sugar.

Measuring Cups in Sugar Bag

Some 5 pound bags of sugar will actually tell you right on the packaging how many cups they contain. For example, a 5 pound bag may say “Approximately 16 cups” right on the label.

However, this still may vary between brands based on the grind size, how the sugar was packed, density, etc. So the package is providing an estimate, which could be a little more or less.

If an exact measurement is needed for a recipe, your best bet is to use an actual measuring cup to scoop and level out the sugar yourself rather than relying on the package estimate. The cups on a scale may end up being slightly more or less than what the bag claims.

Why Estimates Vary

Here are some reasons why sugar cup measurements can vary slightly:

– **Grind size** – Finer sugar dissolves more compactly than coarser grades. So 200 grams of fine sugar may be less volume than coarse sugar.

– **Settling** – Sugar settles over time from handling and transport, packing the density. Freshly packed bags contain fluffier sugar.

– **Packing method** – Sugar can be packed in tight or loose, affecting the cups per pound.

– **Humidity** – Sugar absorbs moisture in humid conditions, adding weight without volume.

– **Brands** – Sugar density and grind can vary slightly between manufacturers.

– **Measuring method** – Scooping method affects density – light scoops or packed/tapped scoops.

So while bag estimates provide a helpful guide, the exact cups quantity can vary for many reasons.

Metric Conversion

For accuracy, it’s best to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh sugar in grams. This removes the variability of volume measurements.

Here is the metric conversion:

– 1 kilogram (kg) of sugar = 1000 grams
– 2.2 pounds = 1 kilogram

So a 5 pound bag contains:

– 5 pounds x 453.59 grams per pound = 2,267.95 grams
– 2,267.95 grams = 2.26 kilograms

Once you know the exact weight in grams or kilograms, you can then accurately calculate the number of cups based on 200 grams per cup.

Weighing sugar removes the guesswork involved with volume measurements. But for convenience in baking, knowing that a 5 pound bag contains approximately 16 cups is a useful rule of thumb.

Weight Per Cup of Other Common Ingredients

Just like with sugar, it can also be helpful to know cups to weight conversions for other common baking ingredients like flour and butter:

Ingredient Grams per Cup
All-purpose flour 125g
Granulated sugar 200g
Brown sugar 220g
Butter 227g

So when a recipe calls for “1 cup of butter” for example, you know that equates to 227 grams rather than having to dirty measuring cups and spoons.


To summarize, a 5 pound bag of granulated white sugar contains approximately 16 cups of sugar. However, the exact amount may vary between 15-17 cups based on the grind size, packing method, moisture content, and how the sugar is measured.

For accuracy in recipes that require precise measurements, it is best to use a food scale and weigh sugar in grams, then convert to cups or other volume units as needed. But for convenience in everyday baking, cooking, and beverage sweetening, knowing that a common 5 pound bag has roughly 16 cups is a handy reference. So next time you need to measure out sugar for a recipe, you can grab a scoop from the 5 pound bag rather than dirtying measuring cups!

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