Tuesday’s Tip: Wet vs. Dry Measuring Cups
Welcome to a new mini-series called Tuesday’s Tips! Every Tuesday
or until I run out of ideas I plan on sharing a fun tip, trick or how-to. I want to share what I have learned over the years and I figured there is no better people to share it with than y’all!
The down and dirty:
Is there a difference between a Wet/Dry Measuring Cup? Yes!
Do I actually need to use the right measuring cup for the ingredient? Yes, especially when baking a sensitive recipe. It doesn’t always matter when cooking…but with baking being such a science, it can mean the difference between a successful cake and a flat cake.
Which one is a dry measuring cup? The green one. They are flat on top so the dry ingredient can be leveled off with something like a butter knife. They also usually come in multiples like 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3rd cup, 1/4 cup & 1/8 cup.
Which one is a wet measuring cup? The pink one. They are usually clear for a more accurate reading and are often made of glass with a spout for pouring. They also have numbering on the sides, in both cups and ounces.
The more extended answers:
Above I have 1 cup of flour, in a DRY measuring cup, that I scooped out of a flour bag and leveled off with a butter knife. I then poured it into the WET measuring cup (on the right). You can see in the photo that the reading on the WET measuring cup shows 1 1/4 cup flour.
Why does it read differently? Because when you use a DRY measuring cup, you are scooping and leveling the top off for the most accurate reading. But when I poured the flour into the WET measuring cup, the flour became less compacted. I was also unable to level off the top…which lead to a much less accurate reading. You could tap the bottom of the WET measuring cup to settle the ingredients…but then you are running a risk of compacting the flour too much. Also, it is very hard to level the top of the flour in a WET measuring cup since you can not scrape across the top.
So is the DRY measuring cup accurate? Not exactly. It is definitely more accurate over the WET measuring cup. But the only true way to get an accurate reading on dry ingredients is by weight (using a kitchen scale). Americans are one of the few to actually still be using cups as a measurement in baking…the rest of the world is using grams or ounces to measure out their dry ingredients.
Above I have measured out 1 cup of milk in a DRY measuring cup and then poured it into a WET measuring cup. Both measuring cups show exactly 1 cup of milk.
Why is it the same for the milk and not for the flour? Because the milk is by volume. The only true reason to use a WET measuring cup for liquids…it’s easier. Filling a DRY measuring cup to the very top can make a giant mess…which is why on WET measuring cups you will see space between the top line and the actual top of the glass.
Long story short:
Can you use a DRY measuring cup for WET ingredients? Yes, but it can be a pain.
Can you use a WET measuring cup for DRY ingredients? No, not if you want an accurate reading.