How many ounces of solid food are in a cup?

Knowing how many ounces of solid food fit into a standard measuring cup can be useful information for recipes and portion control. When dealing with solid foods, the number of ounces in a cup depends on several factors including the density and particle size of the ingredients. Many common pantry items like flour, sugar, and oats fit approximately 4-8 ounces per cup depending on how densely they are packed. Measuring by weight with a kitchen scale provides the most accuracy.

Factors Affecting Ounces per Cup

Ingredient Density

The density of a solid food ingredient greatly impacts how many ounces it will contain per cup. Dense, heavy foods like flour and sugar pack more tightly into a cup and contain more ounces than lighter foods like puffed grains or flaked coconut. For example, one cup of white flour weighs approximately 4 to 5 ounces while the same volume of a crisp rice cereal only weighs about 1 ounce.

Particle Size

Larger pieces or particles like chocolate chips, nuts, and oats leave more air gaps when measured in a cup compared to finely ground or powdered ingredients. So a cup of large flake oats may only weigh around 5 ounces while a cup of oat flour can weigh up to 8 ounces.

How Full the Cup Is

There is often confusion around if a measured cup should be lightly spooned in versus packed down tightly. This makes a significant difference in the weighed ounces. For example a cup of brown sugar can range from 7 ounces lightly spooned to over 8 ounces if packed down firmly. Recipes should specify “packed” versus “loose” measurement.

Type of Cup Used

While a standard US measuring cup is defined as 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint, not all measuring cups are equal. The actual capacity can vary slightly between cups, with some being closer to 236 ml (8 oz) while others are 225 ml (7.5 oz). Glass and plastic cups may produce different results than traditional metal cups when measuring the same ingredient.

Ounces per Cup for Common Foods

Here is an approximate ounce per cup guide for some common baking and cooking ingredients:


– All-purpose flour: 4 to 5 ounces (120-140g)

– Whole wheat flour: 4 to 5 ounces (120-140g)

– Bread flour: 5 ounces (140g)

– Cake flour: 4 ounces (115g)


– Granulated white sugar: 7 ounces (200g)

– Light brown sugar: 7 ounces (200g)

– Powdered sugar: 4 ounces (115g)

Oats and Grains

– Old fashioned rolled oats: 5 ounces (140g)

– Quick oats: 4 ounces (115g)

– Steel cut oats: 5 ounces (140g)

– Rice (uncooked): 7 ounces (200g)

– Quinoa (uncooked): 6 ounces (170g)

Beans, Seeds, Nuts

– Chia seeds: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Flaxseeds: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Black beans (dried): 7 ounces (200g)

– Chickpeas (dried): 7 ounces (200g)

– Almonds (whole): 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Peanuts (shelled): 5 to 7 ounces (140-200g)

– Walnuts (halved): 4 to 5 ounces (115-140g)

– Pistachios (shelled): 3 to 4 ounces (85-115g)

Dried Fruits and Coconut

– Raisins: 7 ounces (200g)

– Dried cranberries: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Dried apricots: 7 ounces (200g)

– Dried coconut (unsweetened): 3 ounces (85g)

– Dried coconut (sweetened): 2 ounces (60g)

Chocolate and Candies

– Semi-sweet chocolate chips: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Milk chocolate chips: 5 ounces (140g)

– Peanut butter chips: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Butterscotch chips: 7 ounces (200g)

– M&M’s: 5 ounces (140g)


– Breadcrumbs: 3 to 4 ounces (85-115g)

– Graham cracker crumbs: 4 ounces (115g)

– Cornmeal: 6 ounces (170g)

– Potato starch: 5 to 6 ounces (140-170g)

– Shredded cheeses: 4 ounces (115g)

Measuring Solid Foods by Cup

Here are some tips for accurately measuring solid foods by the cup:

– Use standard dry measuring cups made for dry ingredients rather than liquid cups with pour spouts.

– Spoon ingredients lightly into the cup until heaping full, then level off by sweeping a straight edge across the top.

– For sticky ingredients like brown sugar, pack the cup tightly after spooning it in to eliminate air pockets.

– Give the cup a little shake to allow the contents to settle, then add more if needed to fill to the top line.

– Unless specified, don’t tap or pack the cup to compress ingredients as this causes more to fit.

– Weigh the cup on a kitchen scale after measuring to test accuracy. Adjust technique if the weight is off from expected ounces.

– Use the “scoop and sweep” method for chunky ingredients like chocolate chips, scooping with the cup then leveling off.

Measuring Solid Foods by Weight Instead

While useful in many situations, cup measurements aren’t always the most precise option when baking and cooking. Measuring solid ingredients by weight with a kitchen scale removes the variability of packing, particle size, and cup types.

Here are some benefits to weighing solid foods instead of measuring by cups:

– Weight measurements are more accurate and reliable, improving consistency.

– There is no need to level, pack, or sweep ingredients into a cup.

– Weight isn’t affected by factors like particle size or density.

– Recipes can be more easily halved, doubled, or multiplied when using weight.

– No need to purchase multiple cup sizes (1/4, 1/3, 1/2). A kitchen scale can measure any quantity.

– Portion sizes are easier to compare when weighed in grams versus cup volumes.

– Kitchen scales are inexpensive and widely available in stores or online. Digital scales provide the easiest experience.

While cups are convenient, a kitchen scale is a worthwhile investment for home bakers and cooks who want foolproof measurements. Weighing dry ingredients removes the guesswork while baking and cooking.

Sample Recipes with Cup and Ounce Measurements

Here are some sample recipes that include both cup and ounce measurements for common baking ingredients:

Blueberry Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

– 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour

– 1⁄2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar

– 2 tsp (0.5 oz) baking powder

– 1⁄2 tsp (0.1 oz) salt

Wet Ingredients:

– 1 cup (8 oz) milk

– 1⁄4 cup (2 oz) butter, melted

– 1 large egg

– 1 tsp (0.3 oz) vanilla extract

– 1 1⁄2 cups (6 oz) fresh blueberries

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dry ingredients:

– 2 1⁄4 cups (11 oz) all-purpose flour

– 1 tsp (0.25 oz) baking soda

– 1⁄2 tsp (0.1 oz) salt

Wet ingredients:

– 3⁄4 cup (6 oz) butter, softened

– 3⁄4 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar

– 3⁄4 cup (5 oz) brown sugar

– 1 tsp (0.3 oz) vanilla extract

– 2 large eggs

– 12 oz (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Banana Bread

Dry ingredients:

– 1 3⁄4 cups (8 oz) all-purpose flour

– 1 tsp (0.25 oz) baking soda

– 1⁄4 tsp (0.05 oz) salt

Wet ingredients:

– 1⁄2 cup (4 oz) butter, softened

– 3⁄4 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar

– 2 large eggs

– 1 cup (8 oz) mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

– 1 tsp (0.3 oz) vanilla extract


While the number of ounces of solid food per cup varies based on several factors, common baking ingredients like flour, sugar, oats, and nuts generally measure from 4-8 ounces per cup depending on density. Measuring by weight rather than volume provides the most accuracy and precision for recipes. However, standard cup measurements are still useful for convenience and when cooking. Using the proper technique based on the food characteristics yields the most accuracy when measuring solid foods by cup.

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