What is 1 cup in grams for baking?

When baking recipes, dry ingredients like flour, sugar, oats, etc. are often measured in volumetric cups rather than by weight in grams. This can cause inconsistencies in baking results as packing density and how ingredients are scooped and leveled can vary. For more accurate and consistent outcomes when baking, it is best to weigh dry ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale. But many recipes provide cup measurements, so it’s important to know how to convert cups to grams.

How many grams are in 1 cup?

The number of grams in 1 cup depends on the ingredient:

  • All-purpose flour: 120 grams
  • Granulated white sugar: 200 grams
  • Brown sugar: 220 grams
  • Confectioners’ sugar: 120 grams
  • Cocoa powder: 110 grams
  • Cornstarch: 128 grams
  • Rolled oats: 80 grams
  • Chopped nuts: 120 grams

As you can see, there is quite a range based on the density and texture of each ingredient.

Why weight matters more than volume when baking

Baking relies heavily on chemical reactions that require the right proportions of ingredients. Measuring by volume can throw these important ratios off for several reasons:

  • How ingredients are scooped and leveled makes a difference in volume.
  • Settling and compaction of dry ingredients varies.
  • Humidity affects volume measurements of dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients have different densities so 1 cup does not always equal the same weight.

Weighing ingredients removes this variability and uncertainty that can affect baked good texture, rise, flavor, and more.

Tips for weighing dry ingredients

Investing in a digital kitchen scale for baking is recommended. Look for one that measures in 1 gram increments for the most precision. Here are some tips for getting the most accurate measurements:

  • Always use the same scale when following a recipe.
  • Check that the scale is properly calibrated and on a flat surface.
  • Use a container or bowl to hold the ingredient on the scale.
  • Tare/zero out the scale before adding the ingredient.
  • Add ingredients slowly and allow the number to stabilize before recording.
  • Measure in grams, not ounces for conversions.

Following these steps helps eliminate errors and inconsistencies when weighing dry ingredients.

Converting volumetric measurements to grams

When only volume measurements are provided, use the following reliable conversions for common baking ingredients:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = 120 grams
  • 1 cup bread flour = 140 grams
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour = 120 grams
  • 1 cup cake flour = 115 grams


  • 1 cup white sugar = 200 grams
  • 1 cup brown sugar = 220 grams
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar = 120 grams

Other dry ingredients

  • 1 cup cocoa powder = 110 grams
  • 1 cup cornstarch = 128 grams
  • 1 cup rolled oats = 80 grams
  • 1 cup chopped nuts = 120 grams

Always use a scale to confirm since densities can vary between brands. And be sure to make note of the conversions that worked best for your needs.

Tips for adapting baking recipes

When a recipe only provides volume measurements, use these tips to adapt it for weighing:

  • Look up conversions and weigh key ingredients like flour and sugar.
  • For smaller amounts of ingredients like baking soda, spices, etc. you can measure those by spoons/cups as the small quantities won’t impact the recipe as much.
  • For convenience, make note of the conversions you use directly on the recipe so you have it for next time.
  • Consider creating your own handwritten recipes converting volume to weights to have on hand.
  • If you make adjustments or substitutions, keep notes on how it impacted the recipe.
  • Weighing some ingredients but not others is okay. Do the best you can.

With some simple tweaks, you can start incorporating more precise ingredient weights into recipes that call for volume measurements.

Why grams are used for baking

Professional bakers and serious home bakers weigh dry ingredients in grams instead of cups for several reasons:

  • Accuracy: Grams give a precise measurement vs. the uncertainty of scooping and leveling dry ingredients.
  • Consistency: Results are more consistent batch to batch when using the same weights.
  • Ratios: Weighing maintains the important ratio balance between dry and wet ingredients.
  • Adaptability: Grams make it easier to adjust recipes up or down.
  • Standardization: Grams are the professional standard around the world.

For best baking success and fewer disappointments, invest in a kitchen scale and measure dry ingredients by weight in grams.

Common baking conversions

Use this handy cheat sheet for quick reference of common baking ingredient conversions:

Ingredient Volume Grams
All-purpose flour 1 cup 120g
Bread flour 1 cup 140g
Whole wheat flour 1 cup 120g
Granulated sugar 1 cup 200g
Confectioners’ sugar 1 cup 120g
Brown sugar 1 cup (packed) 220g
Cocoa powder 1 cup 110g
Rolled oats 1 cup 80g

Keep this handy when working with volume-based recipes to get the grams for more accurate baking.

How to substitute grams for cups in any recipe

Follow these steps to easily substitute grams for cup measurements in any baking recipe:

  1. Find a recipe that uses cup measurements for dry ingredients like flour, sugar, cocoa, etc.
  2. For each ingredient, reference the conversion charts above to identify how many grams are in 1 cup.
  3. Multiply the number of cups in the recipe by the per-cup gram conversion.
  4. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups flour (120g per cup), use 240g flour instead.
  5. Weigh out the gram amounts for each dry ingredient using a kitchen scale.
  6. Proceed with the recipe as directed, substituting your pre-weighed dry ingredients as needed.
  7. Make notes on the recipe about the conversions for future reference.

With a digital kitchen scale and the easy cup-to-gram conversions provided above, you can start using weight measurements in place of ingredient volumes for better baking accuracy.

Tips for measuring dry ingredients

These tips will help ensure accurate measurement of dry ingredients for baking whether you use volume (cups) or weight (grams):

By volume

  • Use proper measuring cups made for dry ingredients.
  • Spoon ingredients into cups and level off excess.
  • Don’t scoop directly from the ingredient bag or pack down.
  • Use various sized cups as needed – don’t cram bigger amounts into smaller cups.

By weight

  • Invest in a digital kitchen scale for best precision.
  • Place bowl or dish on scale, then tare/zero out before adding ingredients.
  • Slowly pour in or sprinkle in ingredients until desired gram weight is reached.
  • Gently shake dish to evenly settle contents before weighing.

Following these tips minimizes user error and ensures you get the most accurate ingredient amounts whether working in cups or grams.

Does sifting affect gram weight?

Yes, sifting can decrease the weight of dry ingredients like flour and powdered sugar. Here’s why:

  • Sifting breaks up clumps and aerates the ingredient.
  • An aerated, less dense ingredient has less mass per volume.
  • So 1 cup of sifted flour weighs less than 1 cup of flour packed into a cup.

The way to combat this:

  • First sift the ingredient you’ll be measuring.
  • Next, spoon the sifted ingredient into your measuring cup without packing down.
  • Or for grams, slowly spoon the sifted ingredient onto the scale until hitting target weight.

Sifting before measuring helps give an accurate measurement since the ingredient density remains light and aerated. Be sure to sift first, then measure to account for the decrease in density from sifting.

How to adjust baking recipes for gram measurements

To convert an existing baking recipe to gram measurements, follow these steps:

  1. Look up the gram weight for 1 cup of each dry ingredient used (flour, sugar, etc.)
  2. Multiply that per-cup gram weight by the number of cups called for in the original recipe.
  3. For example, if the recipe uses 2 cups flour:
    • 1 cup flour = 120g
    • 2 cups flour x 120g per cup = 240g flour
  4. Write the gram weights for each ingredient next to the original volume measurements.
  5. Make copies of the adjusted recipe for future baking sessions.
  6. Weigh out the ingredients by grams instead of measuring by cups.
  7. Follow the rest of the instructions as written.
  8. Note any necessary tweaks to improve results when using gram weights.

With a kitchen scale and basic math, you can easily shift any baking from cup measurements to the more precise gram scale.

Potential inaccuracies when measuring cups vs. grams

When baking, measuring ingredients by cups rather than weight can introduce several possible inaccuracies:

  • Packing density: How tightly an ingredient is packed into a cup changes the volume amount.
  • Humidity: Flour and sugar absorb ambient moisture in the air differently affecting density.
  • Scooping methods: How a cup is filled – scooping vs. spooning – impacts the volume.
  • Ingredient properties: Fine vs. coarse grains give different volumes though weights are equal.
  • Settling: Dry ingredients compact over time so volumes change on the shelf.
  • Ratios: Relative volumes of wet and dry ingredients may not align with ideal ratios.

Because of these uncontrolled variables, measuring by weight removes ambiguity and provides precision.


Baking depends on proportions and chemical reactions, so consistent and accurate ingredient amounts are vital for delicious and reliable results. While many recipes specify volumes, there are many benefits to weighing dry ingredients directly in grams instead. Investing in an inexpensive digital kitchen scale can improve your baking by eliminating the uncertainties of measuring cups. Referencing the common baking conversions above makes it easy to substitute gram weights in any recipe for consistently better baked goods. Weighing dry ingredients like flour, sugar, and baking powder guarantees precision, adaptability, and café-quality results right at home.

Leave a Comment