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Measuring cups are one of the items that are essential in just about every kitchen. Whether you’re measuring flour for a cake or broth for a soup or peanut butter for a batch of cookies, you’ll reach for measuring cups over and over again.
There are two different types of measuring cups: those designed for measuring dry ingredients and those for liquids. Since you need different cups for different dry amounts, dry measuring cups come in sets. Since liquid measuring cups can be used for a variety of amounts, you might only need one, but it can be handy to have several, especially when you are making a recipe with more than one liquid to be measured.
Here we've collected the best measuring cups for all of your cooking needs.
Best Dry Measures: Bellemain 6-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set
Great variety of measurements
Sturdy stainless steel design
Seamless cup and handle
Small handles may be difficult to grip
This six-piece measuring cup set features two sizes that aren’t always included in basic sets—a 2/3 cup measure and a 3/4 cup measure. While it’s certainly possible to measure those amounts using other cups multiple times, it’s not convenient. The set also includes the more common 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup measures, so you’ll always have the one you need.
These are made from 18/8 stainless steel and are designed to sit upright without tipping, so you can set them on the counter to pour ingredients into them or fill them ahead of time and set them aside until you need them. For storage, they nest easily, so they won’t take extra space in your cabinet or drawer.
These have both U.S. and metric sizes etched on the wide, easy-to hold-handles, so you can see at a glance which cup you have. There are no welds, and all the edges are smooth so you won’t run into anything sharp. When cooking is done, simply toss them in the dishwasher.
Best Wet Measuring Cups: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cup Set
Easily read from above the cup
Microwave and dishwasher safe
Plastic may wear with use
When you’re using a standard measuring cup, you should place the cup on a flat surface and read the measurement at eye level. That means a lot of stooping and squatting—unless you have this angled measuring cup set. If you like reading the measures from the side, you can certainly do that, but these are designed so you can also read the measurements from the top. No more need to fill, bend down to check the amount, fill some more, and check again.
This set of three means you’ll always have the cup you need for large, medium, and small amounts, and they neatly nest for storage. Since these are microwave safe, you can measure and then heat water, juice, or milk for your recipe, but they shouldn’t be used for microwaving fats or oils.
With both standard and metric measures, you can use these liquid measuring cups for any recipe. The set includes 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup measuring cups and they all have non-slip handles that are easy to hold onto, even when your hands are messy. For easy cleaning, just toss them in the dishwasher on the top rack.
Best Collapsible: Squish 4-Piece Collapsible Measuring Cup Set
Great for minimal storage space
Collapsible cup may wear out with use
Not microwave safe
This set of measuring cups collapses for easy storage in a drawer or other small spaces. An included loop can connect them so they can be hung on a single hook, or keep them separate to grab them one at a time. The set includes 1-cup, 1/2-cup, 1/3-cup, and 1/4-cup measuring cups. The handle and rim are sturdy black plastic, while the cup portions are cheerfully colored in green, red, blue, and orange.
The capacity is marked on each cup so it’s easy to grab the right one for your recipe. When cooking is done, these are dishwasher safe for super-simple cleanup every time. This set is also available with matching collapsible measuring spoons in 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon sizes.
Best Budget Cup: Rubbermaid Commercial Products 1 Cup Bouncer Measuring Cup
Easy to read measurements
Dishwasher and microwave safe
Wide temperature range
Not designed for nesting
This budget-friendly measuring cup won’t win a beauty contest, but it does its job with style. Measurements are easy to read, with substantial lines and clear print. Ounces and cups are in red, while metric measures are in blue.
Made from sturdy polycarbonate, this doesn’t need gentle care and won’t chip, crack, or break in normal use. It’s NSF certified for commercial use and can withstand boiling liquids and freezing temperatures. It is dishwasher safe.
Best Adjustable: OXO Good Grips 2 Cup Adjustable Measuring Cup
One cup for every measurement
Dry or liquid ingredient compatible
Takes up more space than average cups
This one cup does it all. It holds 2 cups and is adjustable with a simple twist to align the body with the cup’s measurements. There are separate measurement marks for liquid or dry ingredients in U.S. and metric measures. For dry ingredients, you fill to the top, then level it off. For liquids, the fill mark is at a lower level so you won’t spill the ingredients on the way to your bowl or pot.
For thin liquids, just pour from the cup—the rim is designed to make pouring easy and mess-free. For sticky liquids like honey or thick ingredients like peanut butter, turn the cup over and twist to push the ingredients out. A silicone disk on the pusher scrapes the sides clean as it pushes the food out so you won’t waste a drop.
And there's no need to grab another cup for a new amount—you simply twist to set a new measurement and fill the cup again. For cleaning, just slide the two pieces apart and wash them on the top rack of your dishwasher. When washing is done, it’s easy to slip the pieces together again for storage.
Best Measuring Scoop: RSVP International Endurance Oval 1/2 Cup Measuring Scoop
Great for dry goods bins
Sturdy stainless steel construction
Different measurements sold separately
Measuring scoops are great for leaving in canisters of frequently used items, whether it’s sugar, rice, or flour. No need to wash the scoop each time—since there’s no cross-contamination—just leave the scoop in the canister for the next use. If a smaller quantity is needed, the scoop makes it easy to fill a traditional measuring cup. The handle is 5 3/4 inches long, so it’s simple to dip deep into a canister, and the 18/8 stainless steel is non-reactive, corrosion-free, and completely food safe. When it needs to be cleaned or it’s time to move it to another canister, the scoop is dishwasher safe. RSVP also makes this scoop in other sizes if 1/2 cup isn’t just right.
Best Measuring Beakers: OXO Good Grips 7-Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set
Wide range of measurements
Colorful non-slip bases
Not appropriate for most dry ingredients
This set of seven beakers can measure any quantity you need from 1 cup all the way down to 1/4 teaspoon. The beakers are handle-free and they nest neatly together, so the entire set stores in the same space as a drinking glass. Shaped like beakers, these have a pouring spout that makes neat, precise pouring easy, even if you’ve over-poured the vanilla and you want to return some to the bottle.
The set includes 1-cup, 2/3-cup, 1/2-cup, 2-ounce (1/4-cup), 1-ounce, 1-tablespoon, and 1-teaspoon beakers. Each beaker is marked with both American and metric measures. Since each beaker has incremental measurements, larger beakers can also be used for smaller measures, making this set great for mise en place when you need a 1/2 cup of oil and a 1/2 cup of juice that need to be added separately. When cooking is done, these are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Most Colorful: Farberware Set of 4 Stainless Steel Iridescent Measuring Cups
Fun rainbow iridescent finish
Dishwasher safe stainless steel
Handles may come loose with wear
You want a sturdy set of stainless steel measuring cups from a reputable manufacturer, but think it would be great if they were also...shiny rainbow? If that sounds amazing to you, check out this set of Farberware stainless steel iridescent measuring cups. Designed with the same sturdy construction you’d expect from other models, with measurements clearly stamped into the handle. This 4-piece set includes the usual measurements: ¼-cup, ⅓-cup, ½-cup, and 1-cup. The set is dishwasher safe. Cups nest for easy drawer storage or can be hung by the ring or holes in the handles.
What to Look for When Buying Measuring Cups
Measures & Markings
For dry measuring cups, a basic set includes a ¼-, ⅓-, ½-, and 1-cup measure. Larger sets may include additional increments such as ⅛-, ⅔-, and ¾-cup measures, and even the elusive 2-cup measuring cup, which are all very helpful, even if they aren’t necessary. Smaller measurements or metric units may be stamped onto the side of the measuring cup. While not the most accurate way to measure, these additional increments can still come in handy.
The cup measurement should be engraved or stamped onto the handle. Measurements that are written on the inside or side of the cup can be difficult or impossible to read when the cup is full. Labels are likely to peel off after several washes, leaving you second-guessing yourself every time you go to measure an ingredient. Printed-on measurements may also rub off over time.
Liquid measuring cups typically come in 1-cup, 2-cup, or 4-cup sizes, but can also be found in smaller and larger increments depending on what you’re looking for. Most liquid measuring cups are made of either plastic or glass and tend to have the measurements painted onto the side in both standard and metric units. Some plastic cups have the measurements stamped on and then painted so they can stay useful when the paint eventually wears off.
The exception to this is the OXO Good Grips Angled measuring cup, which has the liquid measurements painted on the side of the cup, but also inside the cup so that it can be read from above. The advantage of being able to read the liquid measurements from above seems like a small win but it is actually a huge advantage: classic measuring cups are best read at eye level sitting on a flat countertop, which means you have to bend over and struggle to read their measurements accurately. While inside measurements may also wear off with extended use, they seem to last much longer than classically painted measuring cups.
Stainless steel: Ideal for dry measuring, stainless steel cups are the most sturdy and well-balanced measuring cups on the market. Your best choice is a set of stainless steel measuring cups formed out of a solid sheet of metal, such as the Bellemain six-piece stainless steel measuring cup set. Stainless steel is also non-porous and will not pick up odors or colors.
A single-body cup and handle allow for smoother leveling and less debris build-up in the little crannies of the cup. Cups with handles that have been attached separately tend to break off after prolonged use. A measuring cup without a handle is more difficult to scoop with and can even leave holes in the side of the cup if the welding detaches from the side.
Plastic: Both dry and liquid measuring cups come in plastic options. Plastic cups meant for dry measurements are typically lighter-weight than stainless steel cups, and they are usually a little less expensive. Unfortunately, they may not be as stable when being filled with lightweight ingredients and may topple over more easily.
When using plastic measuring cups for liquids, avoid using heated oils or color-saturated ingredients that may stain your measuring cup or leave it permanently scented and dyed. Plastic cups may crack if exposed to heat and cold for a prolonged period of time or if it's dropped.
Silicone: Silicone is typically used either in collapsible cups or in conjunction with plastic measuring cups as a comfortable slip-resistant handle or non-slip base. Silicone can be used in all of the same applications as plastic—and also has the drawback of holding on to aggressive odors and colors. When using a silicone measuring cup, make sure not to apply any outer pressure to the cup itself to avoid pinching it and throwing off the measurement (i.e., don’t hold the cup between your thumb and forefinger while scooping or leveling; use the handle instead).
Glass: Glass is most often used for liquid measuring cups and is a traditional favorite. Pyrex has been making the gold standard of liquid measuring cups for generations. Look for an easy-to-read, screen-printed measurement on the side of the glass, and an L-shaped handle (instead of a C-shaped handle that’s attached to the cup at both ends) to make stacking multiple cups easy. Glass measuring cups are usually heavier than plastic cups, but they are non-porous and resistant to odors and stains. Most glass measuring cups are tempered or fortified, but can still crack or shatter if dropped.
Most measuring cups, both dry and liquid, are designed to nest into the next-largest measuring cup in the set. When nested, the cups only take up as much space in your cabinets or drawers as the largest cup in the set. If space is limited, a collapsible set of measuring cups like the Squish four-piece set come in handy—reducing how much space is taken up in full drawers. Many dry measuring cups come with holes in the handle to hang, whether on a ring or individually on a hook. Hanging your cups makes them easier to grab quickly when you’re ready to bake, as well as quick to find (as opposed to you having to rifle through a packed kitchen drawer) and easy to air-dry if they were washed by hand.
One of the smaller hand tools in the kitchen, measuring cups are typically very affordable. $10 or less will buy you a perfectly functional set of dry measuring cups or an economical liquid measuring cup. $20 will get you a high-quality set of either style of cups. Since this equipment is relatively inexpensive and used so frequently, it’s worth it to spend a little extra on the dependable stainless steel dry measuring cups and the Pyrex or OXO liquid measuring cups if you can.
Measuring cups and spoons typically do not come with a warranty. If you’re concerned about any manufacturing flaws, it’s best to find out the return policy of the store you’re planning on buying your measuring cups from before purchasing.
Types of Measuring Cups
Dry Measuring Cups
Dry measuring cups are designed to be used exclusively with dry or solid ingredients that can be dipped into a bag of flour, for example, filled to the top, and leveled off with ease for the most accurate volumetric measurement. Trying to measure a dry ingredient in a liquid measuring cup will very likely provide you with a less accurate measurement because the measurement line is a little more ambiguous, and filling the cup to the appropriate level smoothly is often difficult.
Dry measuring cups are typically made of stainless steel, plastic, silicone, or aluminum. Stainless steel cups are the most reliable and resilient, but plastic and silicone cups can also be dependable. Aluminum cups should be avoided because they tend to bend or dent, making your measuring inaccurate.
Liquid Measuring Cups
Liquid measuring cups are designed specifically for liquid ingredients, making it easy to measure them into a stable cup. The liquid measuring cup allows enough space to carry the ingredient to the pot or bowl it’s ultimately going to without spilling (which it almost certainly would do if measured into a dry measuring cup). You’re also provided with a clear view of your ingredients, which is useful if you’re mixing several ingredients in your measuring cup in advance.
Liquid measuring cups are typically made of glass or plastic. Both glass and plastic cups are usually microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Glass measuring cups tend to have a longer lifespan than plastic cups.
Measuring spoons are almost a category of their own, but for the sake of measuring, all of the above rules apply. A basic set includes ¼, ½, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon measures. Larger sets might include ⅛, ⅓, and 1 ½ teaspoon (also called ½ tablespoon) increments as well. Measuring spoons can be used for either liquid or dry measuring.
Spoons typically come in stainless steel or plastic, although stainless steel is going to last you longer than plastic. Ideally, the measurements should be engraved into the handle of the spoon for easy reading. A set attached together on a ring is great for keeping the spoons together—so your 1 teaspoon measure doesn’t disappear into the ether of your junk drawer. As with measuring cups, avoid aluminum spoons that bend easily and make your measurements inaccurate.
Measuring scoops are like a cross between a dry measuring cup and a very large measuring spoon. Reminiscent of the scoops found in the bulk grains or candy sections at the grocery store, these scoops are portioned like measuring cups, with an oval or pointed shape, to make scooping dry ingredients in large quantities easier.
Primarily an online kitchen equipment retailer, Bellemain offers an eclectic assortment of kitchen small wares, from measuring cups to silverware drawer organizers and mixing bowl sets. Without the overhead of a classic brick-and-mortar retailer, the brand is able to sell highly rated kitchen products online at easily accessible prices.
OXO Good Grips
Professional chefs love OXO measuring equipment for its durability and intuitive designs. From the brand's easy-to-read angled measuring cups to its high-quality digital scales, OXO's measuring equipment is some of the best on the market. Also known for its kitchen storage solutions and handy tools, OXO can be found at most home good retailers, and some grocery stores at reasonable prices.
A brand with a reputation that speaks for itself, Rubbermaid has been known for its durable plastic products for decades. A brand that's found in commercial as well as home kitchens (and nearly everywhere else), Rubbermaid makes everything from sandwich containers and veggie savers to outdoor storage sheds and portable coolers. Reliability at an accessible price is assured with almost all Rubbermaid products in the kitchen and around the house.
Pyrex has been a staple in American kitchens for generations. The brand's casserole dishes and liquid measuring cups can be found in most grocery and drug stores, as well as any kitchen goods store. The ubiquity of Pyrex products is based on the longevity and merit of the products they make. A well-maintained glass Pyrex measuring cup (or casserole dish or pie plate) is likely to last you a decade or longer.
Squish makes exactly what its name suggests: squishy, collapsible, silicone, and plastic kitchen equipment. Its colanders, mixing bowls, and measuring spoons are popular additions to kitchens with limited storage space, or for cooks who just like colorful and neat kitchen gadgets. The silicone products Squish produces are flexible, durable, and come highly rated by online users.
RSVP International makes a massive line of kitchen and serving equipment. Most of its products are geared towards restaurants and wholesale customers, but many of the tools are also available to the public on large-market consumer-friendly websites such as Amazon and Home Depot. Most of the everyday equipment the brand makes is reasonably priced, although its specialty equipment can come at more premium prices.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie specializes in testing kitchen tools for The Spruce Eats. Her interest in cooking and baking was encouraged by her parents from a young age and led her to pursue cooking and recipe development. She is a freelance food writer, maintains a personal blog, and published the cookbook, Make Ahead Bread.
Jenny Kellerhals is a professional pastry chef and food writer, currently living in Queens, New York City. With over a decade of experience in professional pastry kitchens and bakeries, Jenny has a wide range of experience with professional and home tools. Only the best equipment makes the cut in her tiny apartment, often overflowing with baked goods.