Why are there Dry and Liquid Measuring Cups? What’s the difference?

I am going out on a limp here and guestimating that at least 4 out of every 10 homes now only has 1 set of measuring cups.  And this one set is used to measure both dry and liquid ingredients… right?  C’mon admit it.  You’re probably sitting there right now thinking if you’re one of those 4 people.

Or if you’re one of those 6 homes that have both dry and liquid measuring cups, why do you have them?  Well wait…. do you know why you should measure the dry ingredients in the dry measuring cup and the liquid in the liquid ones?

No?  Maybe?  Don’t care?  LOL Hey, you better care there buckaroo! 🙂

What’s the difference between dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups?

Dry measuring cups are meant to be filled right up to the top and then leveled off with a straight edge.

Liquid measuring cups generally have a pour spout and are made to be filled to the gradations on the side of the cup (1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 6 oz, etc.) rather than being filled right up to the top.

Pretty basic, right?


Use these for dry ingredients

Use for liquid ingredients


So then really, why do you need both types? 

Well, lemme ‘splain.  If you’re measuring a liquid by pouring right to the tippy top of  a dry measuring cup you’re just asking for a spill or mess (trust me, I’ve done this). Now, imagine trying to level out flour or rice in a liquid measuring cup. You really can’t get it level due to the spout.

Let me get my engineer’s cap on for a minute.  One dry cup is equal to 1.1636 liquid cup, or a little more than 2 (liquid) ounces more. Now this may not be that much of a difference in cooking but in baking it can make a world of difference?  It can mean the difference between a “meh” cake and an “AMAZING” cake.

Now if you’re a visual person think of this this way:

When measuring, the line for the liquid cup is under the the top of the cup (right before the spout). For the dry measuring cup the line is the top of the cup. It’s like this for dry ingredients so you can take a knife or spatula and ‘level’ it off to give an even cup or whatever you’re measurement is.

Liquid ingredients are poured in and filled to the appropriate lines.  Dry ingredients are scooped in then leveled off.

One Response to “Why are there Dry and Liquid Measuring Cups? What’s the difference?”

  • Tamara says:

    Hi there, scrolling through all of the wonderful women who go to the trouble to post these life savers and thought I should do you the same favor. Above in your post you wrote “I’m going out on a limp here”. That is incorrectly written. The saying is this, I’m going out on a limb for you so don’t let me down. She really went out on a limb for you. This translates to someone in a tree at the very end of the branch called a limb. The limbs bow and bend unable to carry any real weight and can break easily. This is meaning someone has put themselves in a very precarious position to help another person, ex./ a job opening is coming up and has not publicly posted but you found out about it and told your friend to apply for the job before it posted. You could be fired for nepotism, or perhaps you went above your bosses head to get your friend a job. That person went out on a limb for her friend. You are wicked funny girl I really dig your sense of humor here. Yes it does make a huge difference in measuring correctly..yikes. I once added 1 Pack of dry yeast and 1 cake of yeast ask me how bubbley and holey and yeasty my bread came out?! So gross lol..I read pack and cake instead of 1 Pack or 1 cake lol..have a great day I gotta go pick up kiddos..buckaroo…lol

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