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.

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