Liquid vs Dry Measures – what’s the differences?

Liquid vs Dry Measures – what’s the differences?


Liquid and Dry Conversions

Technically, liquid and dry measures hold the same volume, but they are each designed to measure their respective ingredients accurately.

For instance, as you could easily spill any liquid that you measure in a dry measuring cup, it is always a good idea to use a liquid measuring cup. They have lines that measure well below the rims so there is room for the liquid to slosh without spilling.

There are two types of liquid measurings cups that you can purchase, the beaker
and the angled measuring cups. The angled measuring cups are best as you don’t need to be at eye level when you are pouring in your ingredient to read the measurement, as the measurements are written on the top and on the side.

Using liquid measuring cups for dry ingredients is also a bad idea as dry measuring cups are designed to be filled to the brim so the excess can be swept off which is difficult to do in a liquid measuring cup. Patting or shaking the cup would cause your ingredients to compact and you will be adding more than is necessary for your recipe. Ideally, the best weigh to measure your ingredients is by weight with a digital kitchen scale.

Liquid ingredients are poured in and filled to the appropriate lines.  Dry ingredients are scooped in then leveled off.

The best way to measure…

Dry ingredients would be by using the “dip and sweep” method whereby you use
your dry measuring cup to scoop your ingredients and then using a flat edge sweep
off the excess.

Liquid ingredients are best measured using a liquid measuring cup and placing

it on a flat surface. Then pour the liquid in until you have reached your desired marking.

For accuracy, however,  you can’t beat using a scale that is almost foolproof.

Two systems of measuring …

There are two systems used for measuring quantities – metric and imperial. In
cooking the metric system uses kilograms (kg) and grams (g) for dry ingredients and litres (l) and millilitres (ml).  The imperial system uses pounds (lb) and ounces (oz) for dry ingredients and fluid ounces (fl oz), quarts (qt), and gallons (gal). While a gill in the imperial system is the equivalent of 5 fl oz (150 ml) is now mainly used to measure alcoholic spirits. 

Liquid and Dry Measures Chart

As a guide, I have included a conversion chart below. For an online calculator, however, I like to use the one from Donna Hay as it includes Australian, UK and US cups.

dry measures

liquid measures


15 g

1/2 ounce30 ml1 fluid oz

30 g

1 ounce100 ml3 fluid oz

60 g

2 ounces

125 ml

4 fluid oz

100 g

3 ½ ounces150 ml5 fluid oz¼ pint

124 g

4 ounces150 ml1 gill

155 g

5 ounces

185 ml

6 fluid oz

220 g

7 ounces250 ml8 fluid oz

250 g½ pound300 ml10 fluid oz

280 g

9 ounces300 ml

½ pint

315 g

10 ounces500 ml16 fluid oz

345 g

11 ounces600 mlOne pint

375 g

12 ounces750 ml

24 fluid oz

440 g

14 ounces1,000 ml32 fluid oz

500 g

16 ounces1 pound1 litre

1 ¾ pint

1 kg

32 ounces2 pounds1,200 mlOne quart


Click here for details on Measuring Cups and Spoons Worldwide.

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