Measurements Matter

Families, Food and Fitness January 06, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Annrose M. Guarino, Ph.D., Human Nutrition and Food, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Cooperative Extension


A little of this, a little of that, some dishes can be made without exact measurement of ingredients. For some foods, cakes and breads for example, using exact measurements is critical. A good rule of thumb is to follow the recipe when making a dish for the first time. After that you can alter ingredients to suit your taste.

Use standard measuring cups and spoons. There are measuring cups for dry ingredients and others for liquid ingredients. If the measuring device has a spout, it is for liquid ingredients.

Measuring Dry Ingredients

picture of measuring cups

Fill the measuring cup lightly with the dry ingredients until the cup is heaping full. Take the straight edge of a knife or spatula and slide or level across the cup. Use a similar technique when measuring dry ingredients in a measuring soon.

Fat and brown sugar are measured differently. To measure fat or brown sugar, press or pack firmly into the dry measuring cup. Level off with the straight edge of knife. Brown sugar and fat will hold the shape of the cup when turned out.

Measuring Liquid Ingredients

The measuring cup for liquids has a lip for pouring. There is a rim or extra space above the last measuring mark. This space lets you pick up the cup and not spill anything.

To measure liquids, always place the measuring cup on a flat surface and read the measurement at eye level. Fill the cup to the line you need. Look at the measuring cup with your eye even with the line. You will see a curve. The correct measure is at the bottom of the curve.




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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.