Measuring cups are handy for just about any kitchen task, whether you’re baking a cake or whipping up a hot soup. But why do we need them? Measuring cups help us get exact measurements for our recipes, and save us from having to eyeball it (although sometimes we still do!).
Photo by Elizabeth Laseter
What’s the Difference Between Dry and Liquid Measuring Cups?
There are two types of measuring cups that every home cook should own: dry and liquid. But how are they different? And do we really need both? After all, dry and liquid measuring cups measure the same amount in terms of volume. The short answer is yes, you absolutely need both.
The reason we have dry and liquid measuring cups is because different ingredients require different techniques to accurately measure them. Dry ingredients require the ability to scoop the ingredients into the cup until it’s overflowing, and then level it off for an accurate measurement. This can’t be done in a liquid measuring cup. Conversely, liquid ingredients are inherently messy, and filling a dry measuring cup to the brim with liquid will likely lead to a good portion of that liquid on your countertops or floor. Not only would your kitchen be a mess, but your measurements would not be accurate.
How We Tested Each Measuring Cup
We asked expert Allrecipes product tester, Rachel Johnson, to put the best dry and liquid measuring cups on the market to the test. Keep reading for our top measuring cup picks for all your cooking and baking needs. See one you like? Simply click the link below each description to snag one for your own kitchen.
We started by gathering 12 top-rated measuring cups from popular brands like OXO, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart. From dry measuring cups to liquid, we tested cups of all different kinds including stainless steel, plastic, silicone, and glass.
For this test, Rachel prepared two different recipes. To test the dry measuring cups, Rachel made this Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies recipe to gauge their scooping, leveling, and packing abilities. For the liquid measuring cups, Rachel made this Grand Margarita recipe. For each test she considered the following metrics:
- Overall feel (What are the measuring cups made of? How functional is the design?)
- Durability (Are the measuring cups made to last? Will they show wear over time?)
- Cleanup/storage (How are the cups meant to be stored and maintained?)
- Efficiency (How accurately are you able to measure ingredients with the cups?)
- Overall value (Is it worth the investment?)
Not only did our testing result in copious amounts of cookies and margs, but it also showed us which measuring cups to buy (and which to skip). Read on for our picks for the best measuring cups of 2019.
The Best Measuring Cups to Buy in 2019
Best Measuring Cups at a Glance
Best Dry Measuring Cups: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Strips, Set of 4, $20; Amazon.com
Runner Up: Cuisinart Stainless Steal Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $13; Amazon.com
Best Plastic Measuring Cups: KitchenAid Plastic Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $7; Amazon.com
Best Silicone Measuring Cups: Squish Collapsible Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $10; Amazon.com
Best Liquid Measuring Cups (Glass): Pyrex 3 Piece Glass Measuring Cups, $15; Amazon.com
Best Liquid Measuring Cups (Plastic): OXO 3 Piece Angled Measuring Cups, $20; Amazon.com
Best Dry Measuring Cups: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Strips
These stainless steel measuring cups by OXO are the top pick from America’s Test Kitchen, and for good reason. The durable cups are outfitted with rubber handles for easy gripping and magnets that keep the cups neatly stacked. This set includes four different sizes: 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, and ¼ cup.
Rachel tested the cups by packing them with brown sugar, leveling flour, and measuring a variety of dry ingredients such as walnuts and chocolate chips. She appreciated the corresponding measurements etched into the cups handle (nothing is getting rubbed off here!) and that the edge of the cups allow for even leveling and accurate measuring. They’re also dishwasher safe, making for easy cleanup. These cups are on the more expensive end of the cups we tested, but they are well worth the investment due to their lasting power and useful magnet function.
Buy It: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Strips, Set of 4, $20; Amazon.com
Runner Up: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
In second place for stainless steel measuring cups is Cuisinart. Rachel found these measuring cups to have a classic, sleek design with sturdy, straight sided-cups for accurate measurements. This set includes four different sizes: 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, and ¼ cup. The measurements are printed on the top of the handle, which could result in them wearing off over time.
Rachel found that the blunt edges of the cups’ interior made it difficult to work with sticky ingredients like syrup, but using cooking spray or a small rubber spatula can help to easily coax out any stubborn ingredients. The top of the cup allows for easy leveling and accurate measuring. She also noted that the wide, flat bottom of these cups keeps them from tipping over during use. The cups are dishwasher safe and easily stackable—but if you prefer to hang them, there are holes in each handle. Overall, this set makes for a cost-effective alternative to the OXO measuring cup if you’re looking to save some money.
Buy It: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $13; Amazon.com
Best Plastic Measuring Cups: KitchenAid Plastic Measuring Cups
Whether it’s immersion blenders or stand mixers, KitchenAid does a lot of things well. Their budget-friendly plastic measuring cups are no different and are certainly uphold the brand’s quality reputation. These cups are made out of smooth, rounded, BPA-free plastic. This set only comes in the signature Kitchenaid red, and in four sizes: 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, and ¼ cup.
The handles on this set have rubberized non-slip padding for security, with the measurements printed on each handle. The cups are dishwasher safe, but it is recommended that you only wash them in the top-rack of the dishwasher. Rachel found them to stack within one another easily, but they were a bit unstable when it came to staying upright. She also found that ingredients such as flour and sugar didn’t slide out of the cup as easily, making it more difficult to get an accurate measurement. For those in the market for plastic measuring cups, this set is an affordable and high-quality option. (Although, having more color options would be nice!)
Buy It: KitchenAid Plastic Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $7; Amazon.com
Best Silicone Measuring Cups: Squish Collapsible Measuring Cups
Squish is known for its collapsible kitchen products that keep your kitchen organized and your cabinets spacious. These measuring cups are made from colorful BPA-free plastic and pop out to create the full extended cup volume. This set includes four different sizes: 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, and ¼ cup. Each cup’s measurement is engraved on the handle (including metric equivalents!) making it easy to read and long lasting. The plastic material may be susceptible to attracting dust and kitchen grime over time, and will require the occasional rinse before use.
The big draw to these measuring cups is their ability to collapse and lay flat. However, Rachel found that they do not stack as well as other measuring cups, making it harder to keep them organized. She also found that it was difficult to level flour or sugar with these cups due to the uneven edges of the cup. The flexible plastic gave way to the weight of brown sugar as it was being packed, rather than hold up resistance.
Overall, these cups are a solid and ultra-affordable option for anyone looking to save some space. However, they’re not the most reliable in terms of function, and are best fit for the beginner’s kitchen in a dorm room or small apartment.
Buy It: Squish Collapsible Measuring Cups, Set of 4, $10; Amazon.com
Best Liquid Measuring Cups (Glass): Pyrex 3 Piece Glass Measuring Cups
Pyrex has a reputation for durable and high quality products—and these classic glass liquid measuring cups are no exception. The non-porous glass is proven and tested with changing temperatures. These cups can be used in the oven or microwave, and can also be transferred easily from fridge to freezer. They’re perfect for melting butter directly in the measuring cup or quickly bringing water to a boil in the microwave. This liquid measuring cup set comes in a set of three, which includes 4 cups, 2 cups, and 1 cup.
The printed red measurements show cups and ounce equivalents on one side and metric milliliters on the other, but they may have the potential to fade over time. To make them last, wash these cups on the top rack of your dishwasher. While you do have to read these cups at eye level to get an accurate reading, the thick and durable glass does not distort the accuracy of the measurement. These measuring cups deliver on size, volume, and their ability to withstand high temperatures. On top of all that, they’re less expensive than the other guys. It’s a win-win.
Buy It: Pyrex 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cups, $15; Amazon.com
Best Liquid Measuring Cups (Plastic): OXO 3 Piece Angled Measuring Cups
OXO makes its second appearance on the list of best measuring cups with its plastic liquid measuring cup set. This set comes with three pieces: 4 cups, 2 cups, and 1 cup. Each cup is made with BPA-free plastic and has a non-slip handle making it easy to grip as you pour.
The best part of these cups is the angled measuring surface, which prevents you from having to bend down to get an accurate measurement. But if you prefer the old-fashioned way, there are also traditional measurements on the side. Rachel found that ingredients could get trapped in the sharp angled corners of the cups, but these can be easily removed with a spatula. Cup, milliliter, and ounce measurements are included on each cup for simple conversions.
While the cups stack inside themselves, the handles stick out and use more space than necessary. They are both dishwasher- and microwave-safe, but they should be washed in the top rack of your dishwasher only. Out of all the cups tested, this set has the highest price tag. However, the unique vertical measurement capability of this set makes it well worth the cost for us.
Buy It: OXO 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cups, $20; Amazon.com
Recipes to Try
Test your measuring cups with these popular recipes: