Many home cooks take a devil-may-care approach to recipes, swapping similar spices on a whim and treating proportions as vague suggestions to be mostly ignored. But that approach stops when it comes to baking, where something as granular as how you mix ingredients can be the difference between a cake that would enjoy a star-making turn on Great British Bake-Off and one that would elicit barely stifled laughter from the panel on Nailed It. That’s why measuring cups are an essential addition to any kitchen.
Even if you don’t really bake, measuring cups come in handy for meal recipes where precision is important. Plus, a measuring cup can be handy as a scoop for situations where a regular spoon won’t suffice. It’s important to note that there actually two different kinds of measuring cups: wet and dry. You’ll want to invest in both.
A wet measuring cup has a curved handle and a spout and is typically made from either glass or plastic. Dry measuring cups almost invariably come in a set, with each cup being for a specific measurement — 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc. Dry measuring cups can be leveled off, allowing you to ensure you have the exact right amount, which is crucially important when it comes to baking.
A wet measuring cup isn’t as precise, but it has the advantage of stability. The greater capacity, convenient handle and pouring spout help prevent spillage, which is why it’s great for any liquid ingredients such as water or stock. Of course, you can use a wet measuring cup for your flour or a dry cup for your vegetable stock, but using the right tools will always yield better results.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite measuring cups that you can buy right now, including wet and dry cups. For smaller measurements, you’ll also want measuring spoons, and some of the sets on this list also include spoons as an added bonus.
1. KitchenAid Classic Measuring Cups, Set of 4
If you’re looking for a no-frills option that you can depend on for a long time, these cups from KitchenAid are the ones to get. Four cups are included, comprising all of the basic measurements you could need: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup. The cups have a ring that holds them together for easy storage, while the handles have a small rubber grip for easier handling. The cups are available in a range of different colors, too.
Pros: Available in a range of stylish colors. Nesting design and ring holder keep the cups organized.
Cons: Rounded shape can make it easier to spill.
2. Pyrex Prepware 1-Cup Glass Measuring Cup
Pyrex is one of the most trusted makers of durable glass baking dishes, and this measuring cup is a simple and sturdy option for measuring wet ingredients. It has a traditional design with stark red lines that make it easier to measure your ingredients. There are metric measurements on one side and standard on the other. This is the smaller size, which is designed to hold up to 1 cup, but you can also choose from other larger sizes.
Pros: Classic design and easy to use. Made in the US.
Cons: Some options are easier to store.
3. Smithcraft Stainless Steel Measuring Cups Set
These cups from Smithcraft are made from stainless steel and have extended handles for easier scooping. Eight pieces in total are included. The measurements include 1 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup 1/8 cup and even a 1/16 cup. The cups have a flat base, making it easier to measure and place them down without worrying about spilling. The cups are held together with a ring, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing them.
Pros: Sturdy stainless steel design. Has eight different sizes for quicker and easier measurements. Flat base stands up more easily.
Cons: Some options may be less expensive.
4. OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Squeeze & Pour Silicone Measuring Cup
Never one to stop innovating, OXO has taken the classic glass measuring cup and reimagined it in silicone. The silicone material is heat-resistant and microwave-safe, and it has easy-to-read metric and imperial measurements on the outside. The great thing about the silicone material is that it’s squeezable, making it easier to pour viscous liquids such as pancake batter. The honeycomb texture on the outer is designed to make it easier to grip while also dissipating heat.
Pros: Innovative design that’s ideal for viscous liquids. Dishwasher and microwave safe.
Cons: Can get hot to the touch if pouring boiling liquids, and there’s no handle.
5. Farberware Professional Plastic Measuring Cups with Coffee Spoon,
These measuring cups from Faberware come in assorted colors, adding vibrant cheer to your kitchen cabinet. Five cups are included, so you can quickly measure cups, half cups, quarter cups and third cups. The last cup is a two tablespoon coffee measuring cup. These are printed with labels, rather than etched like some cups, making them easier to read at a glance.
Pros: Easy to read. Square shape means they stand up on their own more easily. Includes a two tablespoon coffee scoop.
Cons: Plastic cups are not as stylish or durable as metal.
6. Joseph Joseph Nest Measure Measuring Cups
These measuring cups from Joseph Joseph have an appealing gradient design that makes them a great gift. They also have a wide variety of sizes, making them a practical option, too. The eight-piece set includes measurements as small as 1/4 teaspoon and as large as 1 cup. Instead of a ring that holds them together, these cups nest in each other and snap into place, making it easier to separate the one you want without lugging around the whole set. Each cup features both imperial and metric measurements.
Pros: Stylish design. Cups snap into place for easy storage. Includes measuring spoon and cup sizes in one convenient set.
Cons: Numbers are hard to read.
7. Anchor Hocking Graduated Measuring Glass, Set of 2
If you need to measure smaller amounts, these measuring cups from Anchor Hocking are a great option. They’re similar in size and shape to a shot glass, but they have tablespoon and teaspoon measurements on the sides. These can be a good alternative to traditional measuring spoons, which can be easy to spill with. Plus, they come in a set of two, so if one breaks, you’ll have a backup. Of course, since they’re made by Anchor Hocking, they’re not likely to.
Pros: Easy to use without spilling. Good for tablespoons and teaspoons.
Cons: Not ideal for larger measurements.