White sugar, also known as table sugar or sucrose, is a commonly used sweetener. When measuring sugar, it is important to understand the difference between volume measurements like cups and weight measurements like grams. In cooking and baking, grams provide a more accurate measurement than cups. So how many grams are in a cup of white sugar?
1 cup of white sugar equals approximately 200 grams.
Measuring by Cup
In the United States, a standard measuring cup holds 8 fluid ounces or 240 ml. However, ingredients like sugar are dry and do not settle in a uniform way in a cup. So the weight can vary depending on factors like humidity, how finely granulated the sugar is, and how tightly it is packed.
For example, if you lightly spoon sugar into a measuring cup, you may end up with around 190 grams. But if you pack the sugar tightly, you can fit closer to 220 grams into the same 1 cup volume. That’s why when measuring sugar and other dry ingredients, it’s best to follow any directions provided in the recipe.
Guidelines for Measuring White Sugar by Cup
Here are some general guidelines when measuring granulated white sugar by volume:
- Lightly spooned – 190 grams
- Gently packed – 200 to 210 grams
- Firmly packed – 210 to 220 grams
As you can see, the gram weight of 1 cup of sugar can vary by over 30 grams depending on how the sugar is filled into the cup! So relying on cup measurements alone can lead to problems with getting consistent results in recipes.
Measuring by Weight
To get an accurate, consistent measurement for sugar, it’s best to use a food scale and measure in grams. Gram weights also allow you to more easily double or halve a recipe.
There are about 454 grams in 1 pound of white sugar. So if you buy a 5 pound bag like those commonly found in supermarkets, it contains about 2,270 grams of sugar.
When weighing sugar directly, the typical density used for conversion is 200 grams per cup. So you can generally substitute 200 grams of sugar for every 1 cup specified.
Measuring by weight takes the guesswork out of working with dry ingredients like sugar. You eliminate the natural variability that occurs when measuring by volume. So you’re able to follow and reproduce recipes much more accurately.
Metric and US Customary Volume Equivalents
Here are some common US customary and metric volume equivalents for sugar:
|1 1/2 cups
|1000 grams or 1 kilogram
This table can help you quickly convert a volume measurement for sugar in a recipe to a weight in grams. The conversions are based on the commonly used 200g per 1 cup density for white sugar.
Metric Volume Conversions
Here are some approximate metric volume conversions:
- 5 ml sugar = 4 grams
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) = 12 grams
- 30 ml (1 fluid ounce) = 25 grams
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) = 50 grams
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) = 66 grams
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) = 100 grams
- 160 ml (2/3 cup) = 133 grams
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) = 150 grams
- 250 ml (1 cup) = 200 grams
- 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) = 300 grams
- 500 ml (2 cups) = 400 grams
- 1 liter (4 cups) = 800 grams
Substituting Measuring Methods in Recipes
When following a recipe, you should use the form of measurement specified in the ingredients list and directions. Converting between volumes like cups and weights like grams on your own may result in issues with how a recipe turns out.
However, if you want to substitute the stated form of measurement with another, you can use the gram conversions above for reference. Just keep the following tips in mind:
- Always re-check any conversions to ensure accuracy
- Make note of any changes directly on the recipe
- Start by only converting the sugar when trying a new recipe
- Convert all dry ingredients by weight for best results
- Consider the volume-to-weight ratios provided above as starting estimates
Baking recipes in particular require high accuracy in following stated measurements. So weight measurements in grams may be preferred for more consistency. Just take care with any substitutions you make and adjust accordingly if needed.
Factors Affecting Sugar Measurements
There are a few factors that can affect volume-to-weight conversions and make measuring sugar tricky:
Granulated vs Powdered Sugar
Granulated sugar has a larger crystal size than powdered sugar. So generally, 1 cup of powdered sugar weighs around 120 to 140 grams while granulated is around 190 to 220 grams. Always check labels and recipes for specific weights.
Humid vs Dry Climate
The moisture content of sugar can impact measurements. In a humid climate, sugar may clump together more tightly resulting in more grams per cup. Dry environments may have lighter, fluffier sugar per cup.
As mentioned earlier, how tightly sugar is packed into a cup measure makes a big difference. Packing method can account for a 30+ gram swing per cup.
Finely granulated sugar settles into cups differently than coarse sugar crystals. So crystal or grind size can also impact the weight per volume.
Being aware of these aspects can help explain any discrepancies you may encounter between stated cup measurements and weights in grams.
When Accuracy Matters Most
While slight measurement variations may not make a noticeable difference for some cooking and baking tasks, accuracy is critical for others. Here are examples of when precision with sugar measurements really matters:
Candy recipes rely on precise sugar concentrations and temperatures to reach the desired final texture. So accurate gram measurements are key.
Sweetening beverages like coffee, tea, lemonade requires the right sugar ratio to achieve a pleasing flavor. Using scales helps nail the perfect proportion.
Baked goods depend on balanced ingredients to rise properly and develop the right structure. Too much or too little sugar can ruin results.
When canning fruit or making jam, sugar acts as a preservative. So the right amount is critical for food safety.
For these and other sensitive applications, take the time to weigh out sugars rather than relying on cup measurements. It will make a big difference in getting the sugar content just right.
Tips for Measuring Sugar
Here are some handy tips for successfully measuring sugar:
- Use recipes specifying weights rather than volumes for better accuracy.
- Invest in a digital kitchen scale for weighing sugar and other ingredients.
- Check your measured sugar weight against the recipe a few times to verify accuracy.
- Use appropriate cups made for dry ingredients rather than liquid measures.
- Level off the top surface of sugar before measuring cup volumes.
- Gently spoon sugar into cups then level for a moderate pack.
- Run a knife across top of cup to level sugar before use.
- When packing down, press sugar into cup without excessive force.
- Measure over a plate or parchment to catch excess granules while leveling.
- Clean and calibrate scale periodically for greatest accuracy.
With some practice, you’ll get a feel for how much sugar by weight corresponds to certain cup measurements. But don’t be afraid to pull out the scale any time precision matters!
Common Sugar Measurement Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about measuring sugar:
How should I measure brown sugar?
Brown sugar packs more densely than white sugar due to its molasses content. So 1 cup typically weighs around 215 to 225 grams. For best accuracy, always weigh out brown sugar.
What’s the conversion for powdered sugar?
Due to its fine texture, 1 cup of powdered sugar weighs about 120 to 140 grams. Be sure to sift it before measuring for best results.
How can I measure sugar when a recipe calls for it in pounds?
Use a kitchen scale to weigh out the corresponding amount of sugar in grams. For example, 2 pounds equals about 907 grams. Refer to the gram weight of common US volumes for guidance.
Should I level off sugar before or after measuring?
It’s best to first spoon sugar lightly into your measuring cup. Then level off the top using a knife or other straight edge before adding to the recipe.
Can I use liquid measuring cups for sugar?
It’s best to use dry measuring cups which are typically smaller than liquid cups. But in a pinch, you can use a liquid cup measure. Just spoon in sugar and level for an accurate volume.
Knowing the weight of sugar measurements is useful for accuracy in the kitchen. While 1 cup of white sugar is approximately 200 grams, the exact amount can vary based on climate, crystal size, and packing method. For reliability in recipes, it’s best to use a kitchen scale and measure sugar by grams rather than cups.