The kitchen can be a bewildering jungle of foreign measurements, unheard of ingredients, and chaotic cooking techniques. But through the thickets of culinary confusion, there are wonders of invention, creativity, and expression. While some may be perplexed at how to attain the perfect al dente pasta, or the finest chiffonade, to others, the first step is figuring out which tool is the best to accurately measure out ingredients. So if you've ever second guessed your kitchen tool selection, or simply wondered why the heck there where two separate appliances, here's a quick run down of liquid vs dry measuring cups.

Liquid vs Dry Measuring Cups

While both dry and liquid measuring cups have the exact same volume, the physical nature of the two tools is what makes a difference. Most people are probably more familiar with the dry measuring cup. It's a kitchen staple, and you can probably find some set that has been passed down from your great-great-great-grandparents.

With the liquid measuring cup, the indicating line is well below the rim. This aspect leaves room for the inevitable sloshing around of liquids without spilling all over the floor. Additionally, if your recipe calls for more than one cup of a wet ingredient, the chance of finding a dry measuring cup large enough to do the trick is extremely rare. Trying to purchase even a 2 cup dry measuring tool on the internet took some time and research. 

Measure Like a Pro

Measuring out liquid ingredients is pretty straightforward. However, one of the most common mistakes is just grabbing any measuring tool in hopes that it will accurately scale out liquids. When trying to find the ounces, cups, or volume be sure to use a liquid measuring cup. The most common is the classic all glass design that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, my all time favorite liquid measuring tool is the OXO Angled Measuring Cups. When filling a liquid measuring cup, to receive the most accurate calculation, place the cup on a flat surface at eye level and pour until the liquid's meniscus is equal to the desired marking. 

When it comes to dry ingredients, getting the most accurate measurement is a bit more difficult to master. The dry measuring cup is designed so that you can fill it to the brim and shake, pat down, or swipe off the remaining excess. This method isn't a problem for larger objects like chopped vegetables or nuts, however, when measuring finer things like flour or sugar, patting or shaking the cup could result in causing the ingredients to settle down and compact. Getting the precise amount of flour has been a struggle for years, and many still hotly debate on which method is most accurate.

However, to keep it simple, when measuring a smaller-grained ingredient follow these simple steps: fluff up the flour, spoon it into the cup, and remove the excess with a straight edge. My personal favorite measuring cup is the Pampered Chef "Measure All" Cup. It is one of the most precise tools out there, and really gives you a wide range of measurements and other helpful guides.

Does It Matter Which You Use?

Liquid and dry measuring cups are built differently to measure their ingredients in the most efficient and accurate manner. So in all honesty, yes, it does matter which one you use. However if you only have one or the other, the kitchen won't go up in flames if you use them interchangeably. All in all, to get the most accurate measurements, whether liquid or dry, use a digital cooking scale. While a scale displays the weight instead of the volume, converting cups or fluid ounces to weight measurements is easier than it may seem. 

So whether you're baking your favorite homemade cake recipe, cooking the night away to impress all your friends at your dinner party, or making the creamiest macaroni and cheese dish, using accurate and precise measurements is a never ending endeavor in the kitchen. So take a deep breath, and start searching through your cabinets for that perfect tool to make every cooking experience unforgettable.