Measuring Cups

What are Measuring Cups?

Measuring cups are basically a cup-like tool to measure ingredients in different forms that are used in cooking and baking. Measuring cups are used to measure the volume of liquids such as milk, water, oil, or solid powders like sugar, flour or washing powder. A measuring cup generally consists of scale markings at varying heights and the material being measured is added to the cup till it reaches the desired level. Measuring cups are usually measured in fluid ounces and pint.

Example of a Measuring Cup

A measuring cup can hold more than "1 Cup" of liquid. Below is a measuring cup that can hold up to 4 cups of liquid. If the liquid goes all the way to the 2, then there are 2 cups of liquid. Between the numbers, we also find fractions of a cup.

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As we fill up the measuring cup, we are required to see at which number it is filled to. 2 cups of a liquid is similar to 1 pint. Thus, the above measuring cup can also hold 2 pints (4 cups equals 2 pints).

Uses of Measuring Cups

Measuring cups as the name says is used for measuring. That said, there are various uses of measuring cups given as below:

  • Also referred to as a measuring cup jug or a measuring spoon is a kitchen utensil used primarily to measure the volume of liquid or amount of solid substances that are used as cooking ingredients.

  • The measuring cup is particularly used to measure cooking ingredients weighing volumes from about 50 mL (2 fl oz) and upwards.

Types of Measuring Cups

Usually, there are two kinds of measuring cups i.e:

  1. Dry measuring cups (used for weighing powder ingredients).

  2. Liquid measuring cups (used for weighing liquids substances).

What Can You Use to Measure a Cup?

A measuring cup generally consists of scale markings at varying heights. Thus, measuring cups are usually measured in pint and fluid ounces. However, we can also measure the cups with respect to tablespoons and teaspoons in the U.S.

The table shown below depicts all the measurements:






















How Can You Measure a Cup of Water Without Using a Measuring Cup?

For measuring water without a measure, we can instead use an object as a reference point.

It can be helpful to have some visual illustrations in your mind as a reference for the exact amount, therefore check below for the visual aid of the alternate object.

Here are a few examples that are given in the table for measurements:

Measuring Cup Measurements


A teaspoon is approximately the size of the tip of your finger from the joint.

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A tablespoon is approx the size of an ice cube.

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¼ cup is approximately the size of a big egg

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¼ cup is approximately the size of a tennis ball

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A full cup is approximately the size of an apple, a baseball, etc.

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Solved Examples


Rohini was reading a baking recipe from a book.

She observed some abbreviated terms like 1 T and 2Tbsp in the list of ingredients. Can you help Rohini understand what these terms mean?


As per the measuring standards, T or Tbsp stands for tablespoon.


Can ordinary drinking glasses, coffee mugs, or silverware be used for measuring substances in form of powders or liquids?


Ordinary drinking glasses, coffee mugs, or silverware are not used for measuring since their sizes differ, and thus, the measurements will be conflicting.


What are the two materials from the given list which you would measure with a measuring cup?

  • Milk and water

  • Milk and stone

  • Water and wood

  • Flour and brick


Measuring cups are used to quantify the volume of liquid or powder materials. Thus, milk and water will be easily measured using a measuring cup.

Conclusion: As per the need, the quantity of a measuring cup can also be changed. Note that humidity can play a role when measuring dry ingredients; they may weigh variably.

Did You Know

Few interesting facts and examples are given below:

  • If you measure all ingredients using a cup, you can see that every cup weighs differently as per the density of the substance.

  • The abbreviation for a cup used is "c" or "C".

  • Occasionally the measurements are provided on the surface of the transparent measuring cup.

  • As we fill up the measuring cup, we require checking at the numbers on the cup to ensure that we fill up to the needed quantity.

  • For example, 8 fluid ounces, 5 fluid ounces, ½ pint, etc.

  • While cooking and baking, different sizes of measuring cups and measuring spoons are required. However, there is no standard size needed throughout the culinary industry.

  • There are differences in liquid measures when converting recipes from the U.S to British or vice versa.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Measurement is a Cup in Grams (gms)?

Answer: Dry ingredients such as sugar, spices' powder, flour, semolina, etc. are measured in grams.

We can simply convert 1 cup into grams.

Below are a few ingredients along with their corresponding measurement in measuring cup and weight in grams. You can see that the weight in grams varies depending upon the density (thickness) of the dry ingredients.

Ingredients (Dry in Powder Form)

One Cup Weight (Grams)

All-purpose flour

120 gms

Powdered sugar

120 gms

Whole wheat flour

120 gms

Gram flour

150 gms

Raw rice

200 gms

Granulated sugar

200 gms

Q2. How Many Tablespoons of Sugar are Needed to Fill One Measuring Cup?

Answer: As per the measurement standards, there are in total 16 tablespoons in one measuring cup. Therefore, 16 tablespoons of sugar are needed to fill one measuring cup. In the same manner, there are 8 fluid ounces in 1 measuring cup according to measuring standards. Therefore, 2 measuring cups will contain (8 + 8) fluid ounces which equal to 16 fluid ounces.

Q3. How Many Teaspoons are Needed for 2 Measuring Cups?

Answer: As per the measurement standards, 48 teaspoons are needed for filling a measuring cup. Therefore, for filling 2 measuring cups we require (48 + 48) teaspoons which equals 96 teaspoons.