After putting in more than 30 hours of research and testing, speaking with four expert bakers, and trying 33 models over the past two years, we confidently recommend KitchenMade’s Stainless Steel Measuring Cups for dry ingredients and Pyrex’s 2-Cup Measuring Cup for liquids. They’re more durable than other cups, easier to clean, and the most compact to store of those we tried. They’re also quite accurate (as far as cups go).
*At the time of publishing, the price was $23.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.
Of course, if you’re a diehard baker or food scientist you already know that using a scale is a far more accurate measuring method. With apologies to Fannie Farmer, we should be driving the last nail into the coffin of the dry measuring cup; volume-measuring dry ingredients is inaccurate and faux scientific. But until we can persuade American recipe writers to abandon the archaic, imprecise convention of the cup, these picks will do.
KitchenMade’s Stainless Steel Measuring Cups have more durable handles than other cups, so you can dip into a jar of flour or sugar without bending the metal. Their shorter handles offer better balance than longer, skinnier grips. The wide-mouthed cups are also more convenient than narrower versions for pouring things like lentils and oats directly into them, and they stack better for easier storage. We also like their rare secondary etched markings, which allow you to use one cup for multiple measures. They’re practically indestructible, so you’ll never need to buy another set again.
For measuring liquid ingredients, Pyrex’s 2-Cup Measuring Cup once again comes out on top. Its clear, fade-resistant markings are easier to read than on other cups. The nonporous glass won’t absorb stains or smells like plastic, and its bent handle allows for easier storage than those with a rounded handle. The Pyrex is also a design classic; iterations of it have been around since 1925.
The Lee Valley Lifetime Measuring Cups were our previous top pick and, except for dual pour spouts, they look like a carbon copy of the KitchenMade cups. They’re sturdy and accurate, and feature secondary markings like our winner. But they end up costing a few dollars more after shipping. If the KitchenMade cups sell out, these would make a solid alternative.
This updated guide is the combined result of more than 44 hours of research. We interviewed several professional experts to get their takes, including Joanne Chang, cookbook author and chef-owner of Flour Bakery; Leah Koenig, author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook; Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen director Lynn Blanchard; and Tina Ujlaki, executive food editor of Food & Wine. In addition, we looked to editorial reviews from Cook’s Illustrated and Consumer Reports.
We also pulled from our personal baking, cooking, and reporting experiences. Ganda Suthivarakom, the first half of our measuring team, has been published in Saveur, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and New York (among others) and has reviewed kitchen equipment for The Sweethome since 2013. Ray Aguilera has worked as a restaurant critic in San Francisco, is an avid cook and home brewer, and has written and edited product reviews since 2006.
When you measure something like flour, a cup can mean anywhere between 4 and 6 ounces (a variation of at least 30 percent), depending on how tightly you’ve packed the flour in, whether or not you’ve sifted, and whether you’ve dipped the cup into your canister or spooned the flour in before sweeping off the top. Obviously, this wide variance could really screw with a recipe.
For consistency, most serious bakers use a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients, as a pound of flour is always a pound of flour (assuming you stay on Earth). While many non-American cookbooks and recipes are written with weight measures, American recipes still mostly rely on the dry measuring cup. Those who want to rely on a scale alone will have to be sure to keep the different densities of ingredients in mind when converting cup-based recipes. So cups are still a convenience for anyone who cooks from American recipes.
For an in-depth look at the history of measures, check out the footnote at the end of this guide, and if you’re interested in switching to more accurate weight-based recipes, read our guide to kitchen scales.
If you don’t currently have a glass liquid measuring cup and a set of metal dry cups, you should invest in both. Liquids level themselves, so measuring against a fixed line on a clear container works best. Flour and other dry ingredients mound, and are generally measured using a dip-and-sweep method, so cups with flat rims work best for scooping and leveling .
Joanne Chang, author of Flour and Flour, Too (and chef-owner of Boston’s renowned Flour Bakery) elaborates. “If you try to measure liquids in a dry cup, they will spill over the edge if you fill up correctly. And then you will lose liquid. If you try to measure dry in a liquid cup, it’s very difficult to level the dry ingredient (unless it’s something like sugar, in which case you can tamp the measuring cup so that it levels off). And when you try to level off the dry you will pack in more than you probably want or get an uneven level, leaving you with a mismeasured item.”
If you’re currently using flimsy plastic or metal dry measuring cups, upgrading to a sturdy stainless steel set will make scooping and cleanup easier. You should also replace a liquid cup if its markings have worn off, the plastic interior has scratched, the cup drips when you pour, or it’s too small for recipes you usually cook.
For dry measuring cups, most experts we spoke with prefer stainless steel. Leah Koenig, author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook, told us she likes metal because “they feel sturdier and are less likely to knock over if I’m pouring lentils, rice, or whatever into them.” Based on this, we looked for cups that could stand on their own. Larger cups usually have enough mass to stand upright, but sometimes the smallest cups in a set aren’t balanced properly, toppling over when empty.
Lynn Blanchard, test kitchen director for Better Homes and Gardens told us that she prefers stainless steel with sturdy handles. These will stand up to the abuse of scooping flour, brown sugar, and other heavier ingredients without bending.
Tina Ujlaki, executive food editor of Food & Wine, prefers short handles and lighter materials. She told us, “It’s nice to have them when they’re not so heavy, when they’re easy to hold, and when they have a comfortable handle. Some of them are really cute and have a long, artisanal, artistic handle. They’re not so great when you’re measuring wildly all day long.”
Etched measurements are better than printed, as ink may wear off after many rounds in the dishwasher. Half-measurements etched on the cups are helpful for halving a recipe (or for those who want to wash fewer cups). Milliliter markings are useful for converting European recipes. We also looked for cups wide enough to easily pour ingredients into, as it can get messy scooping from some narrow containers.
In our original guide, we dismissed plastics because most of our experts preferred glass. Several of the pros microwave liquids directly in their measuring cups. Tina Ujlaki told us, “We never put plastic in the microwave.” Lynn Blanchard also expressed a preference for glass measuring cups, which she uses in the microwave “to warm milk, melt butter.” For this update, however, we included some plastic cups to make sure we weren’t missing anything.
This year, we also tested one specialty “sticky” measuring cup, marketed specifically for use with ingredients like honey or peanut butter. Our experts generally rely on standard dry or liquid measuring cups for this purpose. Leah Koenig said, “My basic rule of thumb is, if you can pour it, then use a liquid measure. So, oil, maple syrup, and honey I use a liquid measuring cup. For thicker, scoopable ingredients like peanut butter, yogurt, ricotta, et cetera, I use a dry measure.”
When we wrote our original guide in 2013, there weren’t many in-depth editorial reviews of measuring cups. That still holds true. For this update we built on our previous research and experience, looking to the limited editorial reviews as well as user reviews. We considered dozens of dry and liquid measuring cups, ultimately calling in seven dry and eight liquid cups for testing, including our previous top picks, Pyrex’s 2-cup measuring cup and Lee Valley’s Lifetime measuring cups.
To test the dry cups, we eyeballed a cup of water and weighed the results on a digital scale for accuracy, following Cook’s Illustrated’s lead. We checked the smallest cup to see if it could sit balanced on its own. We scooped oats from a large canister to see how each cup fared in a narrow space. We also swept flour to make sure that no dry ingredients got stuck in crevices that would throw off the measure. We poured viscous honey and peanut butter in and scraped them out to see how well each cup handled thick, sticky ingredients, and how hard each was to clean out. Finally, we tried to bend the handles with a reasonable amount of pressure against a glass container.
For the liquid measuring cups we measured for accuracy using the same eyeball water weight test we used for dry. We poured hot tomato sauce in and let it sit for 10 minutes to check for stains and smells. We heated a pot and set it against the lip of the measuring cups to make sure nothing melted. We poured a tablespoon of oil into each cup, swished it around, and tried to wash them by hand in the sink.
In order to define the weight of 1 cup of water at room temperature, we reached out to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Office of Weights and Measures. They told us, “As far as how much a cup (8 fluid ounces) of water should weigh: According to our metrologist, 1 fluid ounce of water at 20°C (68°F) will weigh approximately 0.065081506 pounds—8 fluid ounces will be about 0.520652 pounds.” Rounding to the nearest gram (the resolution of our test scale), that means 1 cup of water weighs 236 grams, the standard we used for all of our testing.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $23.
After more than 30 hours of research and testing, our new favorite dry cups are KitchenMade’s Stainless Steel Measuring Cups. They’re among the sturdiest cups we tested and didn’t topple over on the counter the way some did. They were easier to clean than cups built with two-piece construction, and they nest well for storage. Etched secondary markings are useful, and they’re among the most accurate cups we tried, within a few grams of our measurement standard. The KitchenMade cups are nearly identical to three other sets we tested, but our winner comes at a slightly better price.
Some of the cups we’ve tested literally buckled under all the stress. KitchenMade’s cups didn’t bend, no matter what we were scooping. Compare that with the very first time we scooped flour with a Thunder Group cup: The thin metal handle bent, immediately knocking out the cheapest cups from consideration. We ran into a similar problem with thin-handled cups from AMCO and King Arthur in our previous tests.
As our experts noted, balanced handles are important, too. Three of our test sets (Culina, AMCO, amd MIU France) contained cups that were off balance, sending the smallest measures toppling over when setting them on our work surface. All six of KitchenMade’s cups were able to stand upright on their own, which comes in handy when you’re working with small containers like spices, where you’re pouring ingredients into the cup, rather than scooping from a larger container.
KitchenMade’s single-piece construction means there aren’t any seams, nooks, or crannies to trap flour or other ingredients. This made cleanup a snap, and since stainless steel is nonporous, we had no trouble with stains or smells lingering. We tested some two-piece cups—Thunder Group, for example—and found that flour tended to work its way into small spaces between the handle and body of the cups, which made cleanup more difficult. The KitchenMade cups also feature convenient etched alternate measure markings, enabling you to minimize cleanup by using a single cup for multiple measurements. For example, the 1-cup measure also has ½- and ¾-cup marks.
Thanks to a small nub on the outside of the rim opposite the handle, the cups nested neatly inside each other. The small footprint makes it easy to store an entire set of cups in even a shallow kitchen drawer. On the other end of the spectrum, the long, heavy handles of the MIU France set cause the cups to tilt upward when stacked, making them impossible to store in shallow drawers due to the increased height.
There’s a small pour spout on one side of the KitchenMade cups, which is probably easier for right-handed users than lefties, but it’s more cosmetic than practical. Smooth edges helped the cups pour just as well from the opposite side without the spout, and in all honesty, all of the cups poured ingredients like white sugar just as easily. The small spouts might make pouring liquids a tiny bit easier, but for accuracy’s sake you should be measuring liquids in liquid measuring cups anyway.
KitchenMade’s measuring cups are nearly identical to our prior top pick, the Lee Valley Lifetime Measuring Cups. In fact, they’re also almost indistinguishable from the Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set and RSVP 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Measuring Cup Set, which we also tested. We reached out to each of the companies to clarify, but have not heard back regarding the similarities between the designs. There are a few slight differences—Bellemain and RSVP lack the secondary measurements, while Lee Valley offers dual pour spouts. But overall, these four cups are more alike than different, and are so close—read: nearly identical—in design and construction that we’d be surprised if they weren’t simply branded takes on the same OEM design. Ultimately, we sided with the KitchenMade cups as our pick because they have those secondary markings, and they come at a slightly better price than the Lifetime cups.
KitchenMade’s 1-cup measure averaged 238 grams, just slightly off our 236-gram standard. This was in line with the other three similar designs, which all averaged within 2 grams of our standard. In comparison, MIU France and Thunder Group were close, too, off by 1 and 3 grams respectively, but Culina’s measure was off by 10 grams.
Although a few stray posts contain favorable reviews, the KitchenMade cups haven’t been editorially reviewed yet by any of the sites we usually trust. They do average a 4.9-star rating (out of five) across nearly 2,000 Amazon user reviews. This looks like a case of astroturfing, because several of the positive Amazon user reviews mention receiving free samples in exchange for reviews. Ultimately, however, the positive reviews matched our experience, and they performed well throughout testing.
As we mentioned earlier, using cups is a flawed way to measure—especially for dry ingredients. For that reason, we’re able to forgive small inaccuracies of a few grams. KitchenMade was only two grams over our 236-gram standard for one cup of water, and the small variability was within the range of most of the other cups in our test, so we can’t really fault them.
KitchenMade offers a “No Hassle Lifetime Guarantee.” We do have some reservations about the company, which never responded to queries sent via its web contact form while we were researching and writing this guide. This would probably be a dealbreaker for a different product, but given the simplicity of a measuring cup and the near indestructibility of these in particular, we can’t imagine them failing under normal kitchen use.
Lee Valley Lifetime Measuring Cups, our previous winner, are still a great option. In almost every way, they’re identical to the KitchenMade. Their main difference comes down to price. After shipping charges, they end up costing a few bucks more than the KitchenMade.
Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn (same parent company) were the source that turned us on to these Lifetime Measuring Cups. Faith Durand said, “They are by far the best measuring cups I’ve ever owned.” They are not sold on Amazon, and the Lee Valley site doesn’t offer user reviews.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.
Pyrex’s 2-Cup Measuring Cup remains our favorite. Compared to others, it features easier-to-read markings and its heavy, heatproof glass makes it one of the most durable liquid cups we’ve found. The glass isn’t porous and it doesn’t retain stains or smells, so it cleans up better than plastic versions. It’s also well-designed, with a good pour spout that minimizes drips, an L-shaped handle that allows it to nest inside other cups, and a wide, short shape that’s more versatile for mixing ingredients. The classic design, which hasn’t changed much since 1941, has earned a place in nearly every kitchen everywhere. You can even find Julia Child’s Pyrex cups in the National Museum of American History.
Pyrex’s bold red markings make reading measurements easy. One side shows US cup and ounce markings, while the reverse has a metric scale in milliliters. Many of the other cups we tested opted for shorter measurement lines centered on the face of the cup, but we found that the staggered arrangement on the Pyrex was easier to read without being too crowded. The markings on the Pyrex were bold and easy to read. It’s a small detail that makes a huge difference. And the marks stand up to repeated washings—in fact, the markings on a well-used six-year-old measuring cup are barely distinguishable from a new version, and are all clearly visible.
Unlike plastic cups, the Pyrex’s nonporous glass surface won’t melt when left in contact with hot cookware. We didn’t have much trouble cleaning any of the cups we tested, but glass models were definitely easier to clean than plastic ones, such as those from OXO and Rubbermaid. In fact, the Pyrex was considerably easier to clean than the OXO Angled cup. Thanks to its top-down markings, the OXO has plenty of nooks and crannies for oily or sticky stuff to cling to.
The Pyrex’s heft, compared to lighter plastic or glass models, actually made it a bit easier to pour from, especially for thin streams of liquids when making emulsions. Drips are minimal, which is particularly nice when measuring multiple ingredients in succession while cooking.
Three of the liquid cups we tested (Rubbermaid, Cambro, and Catamount) featured loop handles, but we prefer the L-shaped handle of the Pyrex because it allows you to nest it inside a larger cup or bowl. It takes up less space in the cupboard, and it’s convenient to store tools like measuring cups and mixing bowls together.
The Pyrex’s wider footprint made this cup more versatile overall. The wider dimensions enabled us to whip and mix ingredients more easily than taller, narrower cups, such as those from Cambro, Rubbermaid, and Catamount.
When it came to accuracy, 1 cup of water in the the Pyrex cup averaged 238 grams, less than 1 percent more than our 236-gram test standard. In fact, almost all of the liquid cups we tested were accurate to within a few grams, so accuracy was surprisingly one of the lesser issues when considering what to recommend. The only outliers were the Catamount, which was under by a full 5 percent, and the OXO Angled Measuring Cup, which was over by 4 percent when read from above (but only off by 1 gram when using the side markings).
Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required) calls the Pyrex “hard to beat—years of use in the test kitchen have demonstrated that it is nearly unbreakable, with minimalistic, red-painted markings that resist fading.” Author and blogger Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt uses a standard Pyrex liquid measuring cup, too. “Love it,” she told us for our original guide. Bee Wilson, British author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, says in her book, “…one of the greatest measuring tools is the modest Pyrex measuring cup.” It is also the best-selling measuring cup on Amazon, with a 4.4-star average rating (out of five) across more than 5,300 reviews, and has wide support from editorial and user reviews.
On our most recent test unit, the printed measurement markings were the tiniest bit crooked. It’s not a huge deal—we’re making muffins, not performing lab experiments in space—but it was slightly annoying. Once we zeroed in on the right spot to measure, everything was fine, and it was probably something we never would have noticed if not for the repeated measurements required when testing more than a dozen different cups at the same time.
Everything we tested was fairly easy to clean, and in the case of our winners, a quick hand-wash with a little soap and warm water is all that’s needed. All of the cups are dishwasher safe, although personal experience has shown that dishwashers have a tendency to fade the printed markings on liquid cups, so you’re better off hand-washing for longevity’s sake (although even hand-washing faded some of the markings a bit).
For measuring sticky ingredients, such as honey or peanut butter, Joanne Chang gave us a pro tip: “I use a liquid cup that I spray with pan spray.” Tina Ujlaki also suggested oiling the cup beforehand. (We tried it—it works!).
Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set, 6 Piece: Another set with design and construction that are nearly identical to our top pick’s. Bellemain omits the secondary markings inside, however, making this set less useful overall.
RSVP 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Measuring Cup Set: Essentially a carbon copy of the Bellemain set, RSVP’s set also lacks the secondary markings.
Culina Stackable 6-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups: This set is sturdy, and we appreciated the deep, clear size markings etched into the handles. But the smallest cup is poorly balanced, barely able to stand on its own, and there are no alternative measurements inside the cup. This was also the least accurate dry cup we tested in 2015, coming in more than 4 percent over our standard weight.
AMCO Advanced Performance Measuring Cup Set: Their accuracy left much to be desired (the one cup measure came in about 5 percent underweight) and the smallest cup doesn’t stay upright on a countertop.
CIA Masters Collection Stainless Steel 4-Piece Measuring Cup Set: These were praised for their indestructible design, but the flared lip could cause over-measuring—a clean sweep of fine particles like flour would throw off measurements. The mL and ounce markings are inconveniently hidden on the underside of the handle.
MIU France 7-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set: The long, slim handles are elegant, but they get in the way when you’re trying to scoop ingredients out of narrow containers. They also leave the two smallest cups off balance and unable to stand on their own. Also, the set we received had two cups in different sizes labeled “1/2 Cup.” Oops!
Thunder Group Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set: With a four-star average rating on Amazon, and currently at about $6, we thought we’d give these cups a shot. Unfortunately in this case, “affordable” means “cheap as hell.” The handles bent the first time we scooped flour, making these cups a no-go from the start.
King Arthur Flour measuring cups: Also sold under the name RSVP on Amazon. We like the sharp lip and the long handles, engraved with cup and milliliter amounts. Unfortunately, the two smallest cups topple over, and the soldered handle bent fairly easily against a glass container.
AMCO Measuring Cups: They were a top pick for Cook’s Illustrated, but we strongly disliked them. The flimsy metal handles bent easily, as many reviewers testified. They were also the least accurate of the cups we tested, with the ¼ cup underweight by almost 10 percent.
Rubbermaid Commercial Products 1 Pint Bouncer Measuring Cup: The durable plastic can easily survive spills, and the printed markings haven’t shown signs of fading after several vigorous scrubbings. Still, it’s not quite as easy to clean as glass, and the looped handles prevent nesting.
OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Angled Measuring Cup: The lightweight plastic is durable and easily survives falling from the countertop onto a tile floor. The biggest problem, though, is the angled read-from-above interior markings. They’re convenient, yes—no more bending over the counter to read quantities. But they’re inconsistent with the scale on the side, reading about 4 percent higher. Plus all those extra edges and corners make cleaning more of a chore.
Catamount 2 Cup Measure: This beaker-style measuring cup is made of borosilicate glass, but for use in kitchens, we prefer the thicker, sturdier feel of Pyrex. This was one of our least-accurate cups, 5 percent below our standard weight. Also, the loop handle makes nesting impossible.
Cambro Camwear 1-Pint Polycarbonate Measuring Cup: This is made of durable plastic, and it cleans up easily—but we still prefer glass measuring cups overall. The molded markings won’t wear off, although the red and blue printing is already showing signs of wear after only a few washings by hand. Loop handles prevent nesting.
OXO Good Grips Measuring Cup for Sticky Stuff: It’s a plunger-style cup intended to push viscous ingredients like honey or peanut butter. It’s a bit clumsy to use and more difficult to clean than a standard measuring cup. It’s tall, narrow, and top-heavy when filled. Peanut butter and honey both slid out easily when the plunger was pushed into the body of the cup. But any time or effort saved scraping out a standard cup was more than overshadowed by the time it takes to clean the two-piece cup.
Camry Digital Kitchen Scale Food Scale 11 Pounds Measuring Cup: The Camry attempts to give you the best of both worlds with a kitchen scale in the form of a measuring cup. It worked fine, but the removable measuring cup is flimsy and lightweight. It has a 6-cup capacity, but with only 2 cups of water in it, we worried that the thin handle would bend and spill the contents. The scale is accurate but a bit temperamental, and the measuring cup form limits what you can weigh in it. If you want to start using a scale, you’re better off with a traditional model.
Other models we looked at but didn’t test:
ChefsGrade Stainless Steel Measuring Cups: Another close relative of our winner, but with a higher price and a relatively short track record of user reviews.
Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set: They’re popular with many food bloggers, but Cook’s Illustrated dismissed these for being unreasonably heavy.
OXO Good Grips Measuring Cup Set: The new design is a major improvement on the bendy handles of the previous design. The set is beautifully simple, but we dismissed it for its lack of half-measurements, odd-sized cups, and lack of mL markings some of our experts wanted.
ChefLand 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set: A top seller on Amazon, but there are frequent complaints about rusting and sharp edges.
Zyliss Perfect Pour 4-Piece Measuring Cup Set: Our experts had a strong preference for stainless steel. These cups are made of translucent red plastic, which could warp after many trips to the dishwasher.
Sur La Table Stainless Steel Measuring Cups: Beautiful and sturdy, but we couldn’t stomach the currently $50ish price tag.
Le Creuset Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4: They’re beautiful, but 45 bucks only gets you four cups rather than the standard six.
Progressive PL8 Stainless Steel Measuring Cups: The slim design is interesting, but these cups were unavailable at the time of testing.
The Container Store Borosilicate Glass Measuring Cup: The beaker-style cup is made of durable, shock-resistant borosilicate. Unfortunately, it was unavailable at test time, but we would like to test it in a future update.
Good Cook Clear Measuring Cup with Measurements, 2-Cup: It was recommended by Cook’s Illustrated, but it can’t be heated and was more expensive than our glass pick when we wrote our original guide.
iSi Basics Flex-it 2-Cup Measuring Cup: It’s made of heat-resistant silicone. However, our experts weren’t fond of silicone, and personal experience with a similar cup has shown that it is hard to clean, particularly when fats are involved.
Taylor Digital Measuring Cup and Scale: This is another model with a built-in scale, but since the cup doesn’t detach from the electronics, it can’t be immersed in water for washing up. It’s a hybrid product that does neither function very well.
I just woke up from a three-hour nap.