Cooking measurements are probably more confusing than they need to be, most likely because they didn't all grow out of a single, coherent system. You can get away with some imprecision with recipes for dishes such as soups and stews, but baking is a more precise science. It's best to be as accurate as possible when you're making cake, bread or cookies. You can learn the nuances and details of making dry measurement conversions, or you can consult a cooking conversion chart, which does most of the work for you.

Tip

Dry ounces are usually a measurement of weight, and cups are always a measurement of volume, so you'll need different measuring tools to convert ounces to cups.

Converting Cups to Ounces Dry

Ounces can be a measuring unit for either weight or volume, although recipes usually specify "fluid" or "fl" ounces when referring to ounces as measurements of volume. Cups are strictly measurements of volume. When converting cups to ounces dry, it's best to consult a dry measurement conversion chart because different dry substances weigh different amounts relative to their volume. A cup of salt will weigh out to a greater ounce measurement than a cup of oats.

Here are some cups to ounces dry measurements for common baking ingredients:

  • Flour (plain or self rising): 1 cup = 4.41 ounces
  • Oats: 1 cup = 3.6 ounces
  • Granulated sugar: 1 cup = 7.09 ounces

Why Convert Cups to Dry Ounces?

Dry ounces are a more accurate measurement than cups. When measuring a dry substance using a volume measurement such as a cup, you may come up with different measurements, depending on whether the contents of the cup have settled. Try filling a measuring cup with oats, tapping the cup on the counter, and then checking the measurement again. Most likely, the oats will settle when you tap the cup, and you'll get a smaller measurement reading the second time.

You might convert cups to dry ounces if you're using a recipe that calls for cups, but you probably prefer a greater degree of accuracy. This could increase your likelihood of success if you're baking a cake or making a batch of cookies, because these processes rely on precision for effective chemical reactions. This degree of precision isn't really necessary for recipes such as soups and salads, which allow for considerably greater flexibility.

When converting cups to dry ounces, you'll increase your odds for success by using a digital scale. Most digital scales have adjustable settings, so you can measure in grams, ounces or pounds. For whatever you're measuring, your measurements will be more accurate if you use a digital scale, which provides precise numbers. Mechanical scales are usually calibrated using lines for ounces or fractions of ounces, but these lines can be hard to read accurately, especially if the smallest unit of measurement isn't particularly small, like 1/4 or 1/2 pound.

Liquid and Dry Measurements

When measuring by volume, liquid and dry measuring cups don't actually provide different measurements; they're just shaped differently, so the liquid measuring cup allows the liquid space to slosh without spilling over the edge of the cup. A liquid-to-dry measuring cup conversion is essentially meaningless because you're either measuring something liquid or something dry. Liquid and dry measuring cups measure the same volume anyway, albeit using different-shaped cups.

Even if you're measuring a liquid by volume rather than by weight, a liquid ingredient measurement obtained using a liquid measuring cup is likely to be more accurate than a dry ingredient measurement obtained using a dry measuring cup. Unlike dry ingredients, liquids don't settle, so _what you see is what you ge_t.

About the Author

Devra Gartenstein

Devra Gartenstein is a self-taught professional cook who has authored two cookbooks: "The Accidental Vegan", and "Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes". She founded Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle's oldest farmers market concession, and teaches regular cooking classes.