91 view

How do you make cakes without scales?

Is there anything more enjoyable than baking season? I don’t think so. Freshly baked cookies, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, a good old fashioned muffin for breakfast — these make a long winter *somewhat* bearable.

Because we’re in the thick of baking season I wanted to go wayyy back to basics and share a little kitchen tutorial that you may already know, or that may change your baking game for good. Today we are discovering how to measure flour without a weighing scale! I know, I know, using a kitchen scale is truly the most accurate way to measure flour (so absolutely feel free to use one if you have it) but I have a method for you that’s even easier and more accessible in case you don’t have a scale.

This scoop-and-level measuring technique will be one you can use for almost all of your baking projects. Avoid the mess and always obtain an exact measurement! I guarantee it will be a game changer.

We’ll lead you through a new kitchen instruction or culinary technique in this FREE series to help you acquire confidence in the kitchen. Every Sunday morning, we’ll publish a fresh Return to Basics piece to start off your week. Check out our most recent ones right here!

different types of flour in bowls

Common mistakes when measuring flour

If you’ve used any of these flour measurement techniques, you’re not alone! Many, many people use these methods, but in reality, they’re not the most accurate.

  • Scooping from the bag. We’ve all been there: you’re baking in a hurry, attempting to follow a recipe, and your measuring cup falls straight into the bag. This method is not only messy (flour…everywhere…) but it also can provide an inaccurate measurement because it will naturally pack the flour into the cup.
  • The shake method. When you “shake” your cup to level it, you’ll usually end up with too much or too little flour since the flour settles to the bottom of the measuring cup.
  • The press method. If you press your freshly scooped flour into the measuring cup you’ll end up with a lot more flour than the recipe calls for (unless it calls for “packed” flour). Since flour is so light and fluffy, it’s quite simple to overpack it, resulting in more flour than you want.

baking tools on a board

Tools you’ll need to measure flour

We’re making this guide basic and accessible by omitting the scale and instead relying on items you’re likely to already have in your kitchen:

  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon or flour scoop
  • Knife

That’s all there is to it! I promise the results will be as close to perfect as possible even without using a scale.

How to measure flour without a scale

Are we prepared to get started? Good. Here is the best method for measuring flour without a scale.

scooping flour into a measuring cup with a spoon

Step 1: Fluff the flour in your bag or container using a spoon or scoop. As flour sits in a bag or jar it settles, naturally “packs” a bit, and can even create clumps, so fluffing it up helps it redistribute so that you can get an accurate measurement.

Step 2: use a spoon to scoop the flour into your measuring cup until it’s completely full. While pouring the flour into the measuring cup, take care not to push it down.

leveling flour in a measuring cup

Step 3: Level the flour on the top of the measuring cup using the flat end of a knife.

That’s all! With the scoop-and-level method, your flour measurement will be accurate and your baked goods will turn out even better.

Should I sift the flour?

Sifting flour results in lighter, airier baked items. I rarely sift my flour unless I’m making a super light cake as I find that fluffing up the flour in my jar before measuring does the trick! If you are making something like an angel food cake, feel free to use a sifter to sift the flour before doing the scoop-and-level technique.

What types of flour does this method work for?

The scoop-and-level approach will work with almost any sort of flour you have on hand! But, check the ingredient list to verify whether the flour should be packed. Several of my gluten-free recipes that utilize almond flour, for example, need packaging the almond flour (just like you would with brown sugar).

cinnamon rolls in a baking pan

Use perfectly measured flour in these recipes

  • The Best Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Eat
  • Tony’s Very Favorite Dutch Apple Pie
  • The Most Delicious Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies You’ll Ever Have
  • Outrageously Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
  • Fluffy Peanut Butter Filling in Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies
  • Healthy Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Snickerdoodles
  • Muffins with Chai-Spiced Butternut Squash and Salted Honey Glaze

Get all of our baking recipes here!

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a pan

More how-to guides

  • Browning Butter (and the Greatest Ways to Use It!)
  • How to Make Brown Sugar
  • How to Make the Perfect All Butter Pie Crust
  • How to Make Oat Flour
  • How to Make a Flax Egg (plus recipes using it!)

Gain access to all of our lessons and how-to guides right here! Do you want to learn additional baking techniques? Get our Ultimate Guide to Cookie Baking e-book here with all of my best tips and tricks for baking perfect cookies every time.

I hope you like this simple flour measurement instruction! If you attempt it, please leave a comment to let me know how it went. Have fun, xo!

How to Measure Flour (without a scale!)

measuring flour with a measuring cup and knife

Discover how to precisely measure flour without a scale! Measuring flour can become messy and even inaccurate when done incorrectly, so use this step-by-step tutorial on how to measure any type of flour for all of your baking projects.


  1. Fluff the flour in your bag or container using a spoon or scoop.
  2. With a spoon, scoop the flour into the measuring cup.
  3. Level the flour on the top of the measuring cup using the flat end of a knife.

Related Questions

  • What can I use if I don’t have scales?


    1. 1/4 cup is roughly the same size as an egg.
    2. A tennis ball is about 1/2 cup.
    3. A softball is around 2 cups.
    4. A three-ounce steak is about the size of a deck of cards.
    5. One ounce of cheese is three dice.
    6. A baseball is around the size of half a cup of pasta or rice.
  • How can I measure my baking without scales?

    Calculate grams with a cup
    Cups are another option for measuring without a scale. A big glass holds 250 mL of any liquid component. A flour cup is equivalent to 140 grams and a starch cup to 120 grams. In the case of short dough – no matter what type of dough – a cup is about 80grams.

  • How can I weigh flour without scales?


    1. To begin, fluff up the flour in the bag or canister.
    2. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup. …
    3. To level the flour, run a knife over the top of the measuring cup.
    4. DO NOT Scoop the flour straight from the container.
    5. 1 cup of all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, should weigh between 120 and 125 grams.
  • How can I weigh butter without scales?

    Water-displacement method
    This approach is ideal for measuring cold butter in the absence of a scale. Fill a larger liquid measuring cup halfway with water equal to the quantity of butter required for the recipe. Add butter pieces until the water doubles in volume.