3 Best Dry Measuring Cup Sets, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We spooned and swiped, weighed and washed to find the best set for baking and beyond.
Dry measuring cups are a must for anyone who cooks or bakes, so much so that we take them for granted. Until a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of flour, and that cup has gone MIA somewhere in your kitchen drawers. If you're looking for a new set, we found that along with having a way to hold them together, we found that shape, material they’re made from and bells and whistles like a soft grip on the handles make a real difference when choosing the best set of dry measuring cups.
Of course, accuracy is key. It goes without saying that you need to be able to trust that when you’ve measured out that 1/3 cup of flour or 1/2 cup of sugar, that’s exactly what you’re getting. That's why we used a kitchen scale to weigh the amount in each cup for each of the 10 sets we tested. (We were surprised at the range we got; turns out a cup isn’t always a cup.) We also found some that looked great, but had significant design flaws; for example, on some, the spot where the handle is connected to the cup collected sugar or flour, and it wasn’t always easy to wipe it away, leaving open the chance for greater inaccuracy in measuring.
Our favorite sets are the most accurate; and they have the smartest design, are sturdy enough to keep up with all of your cooking endeavors, and are simple to use and to clean. Start to finish, they help make the cooking and baking process easy and efficient.
At first we thought the unusual teardrop shape of these was a gimmick, but we were won over quickly by this set’s ease of use. Spoon sugar into the wider end, and pour it out through the narrower end (or through the tiny spouts on both ends of the cups). Though we don’t recommend scooping into sugar or flour to measure it, the shape works well as a scoop, if you need to quickly grab some flour out of a bag or container. Along with the standard 1 cup, 1.2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup sizes, some of the 5-piece sets we tested include a 2/3 cup or 3/4 cup size. This one includes a 1/8 cup, which actually makes more sense, since it’s not a size you could measure with any of the other cups. The cups are sturdy stainless steel, but relatively light compared to others made from the same material, and the set comes with an easy-to-release ring, so you can hold the cups together or pull one out simply. We didn’t see any cleaning instructions on the packaging, but we ran the set through the dishwasher without incident, and they washed up by hand easily, as you would expect with stainless steel.
This set brings a welcome pop of color, but it has more to offer than just good looks. Plastic measuring cups sometimes feel flimsy, but this 4-cup set is up for the task. Not only is it more robust than the other plastic cups we tested, it also offers nice details like a comfortable silicone grip on the handles and raised numbers indicating size, so they won’t fade or rub off over time. The wide round shape is both attractive and makes measuring without spillage easy — though the size and shape (the 1-cup size reminded us of our favorite coffee cup) could present a problem if you have limited space or shallow kitchen drawers. The thickness of the cups, which makes them so sturdy for plastic, creates a bit of a lip on the edges where sugar and flour can collect as you’re spooning it into the cups, and we found that leveling didn’t always get it off. The set comes with an easy-release ring to hold them together, and it’s BPA free and dishwasher safe.
True to the Good Grips name, these measuring cups have comfortable, non-slip silicone grips on the handles. They’re constructed so that there’s no space between the handle and cup, so no flour or sugar collects there as it did on some other models. A slight lip pointing out on the edges of the cups makes leveling and pouring easy. The round cups are a good balance between sturdy and light, and they’re dishwasher safe. Instead of a ring, the handles have magnets that keep the cups together. We were suspicious that this might not work in the busy, rough jostling that goes on in our kitchen drawers — but we tossed them around a bit in there and they held. This set was edged out for the top spot by Norpro because it has four cups instead of five, but this is a also solid option.
How We Tested
We purchased 10 popular sets of measuring cups, six stainless steel and four plastic, ranging in price from $5 to $50 (yes, $50 measuring cups!). For each set, to test accuracy, we used the spoon-and-swipe method and a common brand of granulated sugar. We weighed the results of each on a kitchen scale to make sure the cup held the amount of sugar it was meant to. (If we got a figure that was way off, we tested it again to make sure it wasn’t user error.) We disqualified any sets where the 1 cup size measured more than 15 grams (.5 oz) off, which eliminated half right off the bat (yep, the $50 set was one of them). We also evaluated them based on size and shape, noting if they were easy to scoop into and how they would fit in a kitchen drawer, as well as any design flaws. (The pricey set showed up here again; we found that bits of excess flour and sugar collected at the spot where the handles met the cups, and we had to carefully swipe it away before weighing.) In several of the sets, we found that the 1/4 cup size didn’t stand upright on its own because the cups are designed to nest, but that can be a hassle, so we took that into account. We tested any special claims made on the packaging, and evaluated the rings (or other mechanisms) that connected the sets to make sure they were both easy to detach and strong enough to hold together. Finally, we ran each set through the dishwasher and hand-washed them.