You need to stop using measuring cups and buy a good scale

Anyone who’s spent enough time in the kitchen might think you don’t need to measure most ingredients when cooking. Sure, a best-guess tablespoon, a pinch of this, or an empty soup can of that might usually get you by, but proper measurements can make or break a dish.

If you’re a seasoned baker, you are no doubt already aware of the necessity of precise measurements and may already be using a scale instead of measuring cups. For the rest of us who aren’t top-notch bakers, a kitchen scale may seem like a tool that just isn’t necessary and is more work than it’s probably worth. We know the truth: It’s time to ditch the measuring cups no matter what the reason and start using a scale instead. Here’s why.

flour being measured using kitchen scale

Accuracy

Using a scale in the kitchen is the most precise way to measure ingredients. A scoop of flour in a measuring cup can vary drastically simply based on how you scoop it and place it in the cup. Filling a measuring cup with brown sugar packed tightly will yield far more brown sugar than a cup filled loosely. Even humidity can affect the volume of the flour you need for those cupcakes. As we know from our bathroom scales, the numbers don’t lie. Only, in this case, that’s a good thing.

Efficiency

It may seem that using a scale in the kitchen is complicated, but ultimately it will make your life easier. No more searching the cupboards and drawers for that ¼ cup measure or rinsing out the ½ tablespoon measure because it has chocolate on it and now you need it for vinegar. Putting your mixing bowl on the scale, pressing zero, and adding your ingredients one at a time (zeroing it out after each ingredient) is a simple process that requires way less dishwashing.

Consistency

Believe it or not, the quantities you get using measuring cups and spoons can vary depending on brand or style. It is generally expected that these items are standardized, and for the most part, they are, but a teaspoon in one part of the world may be slightly different than in other regions. Also, a cup (8 ounces) of whole almonds weighs more than a cup of sliced almonds since there is less air between whole nuts than small pieces of almond. If you need to substitute one ingredient for another, it is easier to measure any ingredient in grams than in cups. Measuring by weight rather than volume eliminates all of these inconsistencies. Ideally, measuring ingredients in grams is the best way to go about it. Unfortunately, many American recipes are written in cups, but don’t let that deter you. You can easily convert cups or ounces to grams with help from the internet or a smart speaker.

When it comes time to pick out a scale, remember that digital scales are super easy to read and zero out. Digital scales require batteries, which some people don’t like, but you won’t have to replace them often. Mechanical scales tend to be less accurate than digital unless you get a pricey one. Look for a reasonably sized scale that has a conversion button, and you’ll forget you even have measuring cups in no time.

Consistency is critical when measuring ingredients, and a scale is the only way to achieve this. Make the investment in your recipes and in yourself. Your stomach – and your family – will thank you.

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