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Slave to the Scale

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A lot of people have been emailing lately, asking if I can list recipe measurements in cup amounts instead of grams. 


Why do I prefer grams to cups? 

Measuring in grams gives a much more precise amount.  For example, a cup of dates is a very vague measurement: there’s a big difference between a loosely-packed cup of dates and one that is jam-packed.  And in many recipes, things like this wouldn’t matter… but sometimes such discrepancies can throw off an entire recipe.  Conversely, 80 grams of dates is 80 grams of dates, no matter how you look at it.

Also, measuring with a food scale means fewer cups and spoons to have to clean up.  I don’t know about you, but doing dishes is one of my least favorite parts of cooking, so fewer dirty cups and spoons = happier CCK. 


Do I always measure foods?

Oh goodness, no!  I rarely ever measure ingredients when I’m cooking (especially where things like stir fries are concerned).  In fact, I often have to make a recipe over again because I forget that I want to post it and don’t know the measurements.  But for things like my oatmeal recipes, baked goods, or fudge babies, the scale is a lifesaver for the reasons I listed above.  

I know that not everyone has a food scale, though.  Therefore, I’m going to try and remember to list future recipes using both measuring methods. 

Question of the Day:

Do you like to measure foods?  Or do you just wing it?  As I said above, I’m usually a wing-it kinda gal.  But I know that some of you like to measure everything from veggies to peanut butter.  What’s your proclivity? (Ooh SAT word ;))


Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Ava says:

    Gah! No way! I need a food scale so badly! But my parents won’t let me buy one.

    P.S. First time commenter here but long time reader. Love your blog!

    – Ava

  2. Jenny R. says:

    Thanks Katie! I always wanted to try out some of these recipes but I can’t convert for the life of me. For me, I always start off measuring b/c I’m scared the recipe or whatever I’m eating won’t be the same as it was before…but then if it looks off I add a little more or take some away. It’s all about how it looks I guess. YAY FOOD SCALE !
    p.s. i’m so proud of you/us/everyone for chocolate covered kindness!! (i’m a little late commenting about that 😉

  3. Kimberly says:

    I just got that same scale! I love it. I mainly got it for measuring when I bake.

  4. Evey says:

    Hi Miss Katie!

    Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

    As for your question, I don’t usually measure food either, unless it is for baking. Life’s too short to measure everything else, haha.

  5. Demelza says:

    Katie, you’re so sweet to do both measurements for your readers. ^^

    I suppose I’m sort of a mix of liking and not liking measuring. It’s great to have guidelines, but more often than not I still add some personal tweaks to ensure a recipe turns out to my tastes. Usually I need to add in more spices like cinnamon, etc. and that sort of thing I don’t really measure. What do you mean the measurements for a “shake, shake, shake” of cinnamon aren’t universal!? 😡

  6. Angela says:

    Love your blog :)

    I try to measure things but i have a pretty crappy scale so most of the time i wing it :)

    I hear ya on the cleaning up part 😉 the less mess the better! But no matter how much i try to stay neat…the messier my kitchen gets..LOL!

  7. lz says:

    hi Katie, thanks for posting the cup conversions! When I cook, I usually wing it… but when I bake, I measure using cups and tablespoons. :)

  8. Pam says:

    I usually measure recipes. I like that part about less clean-up! I always tell my husband that the maid didn’t show or will be here later or I am going to fire her….now mind you I am both…!!! Good joke though!

    Bee Happy!

    Can’t wait till the giveaway…very nice!

  9. I always measure when I’m doing a baking recipe, or else I could never replicate it again and then it would be a catastrophe.

    But for savory dishes I never measure unless I’m trying to keep track of stuff so I can post the recipe on my blog and give people at least a fighting chance of understanding my madness!

  10. LK Sisters says:

    For recipes we find in books or on the internet, we measure everything, yet usually add our own personal flair and change it up slightly. When we feel inspired or know a recipe in-&-out, we don’t measure at all, but just throw in a little stuff here and there. Sometimes not measuring makes the best food!

    We’ve measured in cups for so long, but we use scales like crazy at work, that we have been wanting a scale for our personal use. It seems it is the most accurate way to go! That scale looks great, and of course your recipes look delicious!

  11. lexi. says:

    I measure for recipes, but not in my daily life. Especially not for veggies and fruits. I’m always having more than a serving of those goodies!

  12. Jessica says:

    Goodmorning Katie! Well, when I’m baking I totally measure everything out so I can replicate it again if the family likes it! :) Otherwise I really do wing it…and if I’ve discovered the family likes something I will take on the liberty (hehehe) of experimenting with it to make it even better….but that my dear friend is my downfall….any additions are tossed in without a note as to what they were… :( so sad when we find a winner! :)

    I’ve honestly never used a food scale. That truly is a compelling argument that makes a lot of sense. So if you don’t use spoons or bowls, do you just take the weight of a bowl and add ingredients in accordingly when making a recipe to eliminate extra dishes? Can’t wait for tomorrows post!

  13. Marina says:

    I hate measurements in cups. I’m european chick, we do well with grams, not cups:D
    I do measure stuff, but just because I want to be careful with calories. and that I have to stop doing. but I would love a digital scale though :)

  14. JW says:

    I would LOVE to win a food scale. I measure foods, but I am using my old-school measuring cups!

  15. Rebecca says:

    Katie, thank you so much for posting the cup equivalents! I can’t wait to start baking :)

  16. chrysta says:

    I actually use my food scale for certain foods still. I still measure out high calorie foods with it, nut butters and things like that. Old habit I guess from when I was trying to lose weight. But it did really teach me that when you pour say one cup of flour….measuring out one cup of flour of the scale is way different! I was suprised. So I still use it for some things. Thanks for the conversions Katie!!

  17. Jocelyn says:

    I like to measure… :)

  18. Vanilla says:

    Depends on the recipe, of course!

    I think it’s crucial in recipes like fudge babies, bc the texture will change if the date/nuts ratio is not the same.

    Yeah, I can’t wait for the next post! <3 giveaways :)


  19. Sünne says:

    Living in Germany, I grew up with scales and had to get used to cup measurements when reading American food blogs for the first time.
    Now I know what the basics (like 1 cup of flour/sugar/…) are in gram so I usually weigh ingredients even for American recipes.

    I think it’s very nice you’re giving away a scale. Oh, and I also find it great you’re listing metric amounts – no converting effort for lazy me, haha.
    I’m a bit dependent on my (digital) scale for a certain reason …

  20. justine says:

    great points about the scale there babe and you are a doll face for updating those recipes for your readers. just made a version of your brownie batter pancakes :)


  21. randomlymikey says:

    i def. like to wing it! i get way to obsessive when i measure everything. but i would like to get a food scale for cetain things. thanks for the recipe revisions!

  22. Carbzilla says:

    I know I only teased you about the grams thing so it wasn’t me who made you do it! :)

    But I’m super happy you did!

  23. I got two set of cute pink measuring cups/spoons, Yet i only use it when I eat nuts (so 1/4 cup each time, not that much calorie huh :-D)

    but for other cake recipes….I seldom use it!! i know without those precise measures/scales I could never be a super chef…but I am pretty satisfied with my instinct of ingredients scales so far….lol

  24. Stephanie says:

    Hi Katie!

    I measure (loosely) with measuring cups or spoons for things like flour and baking powder/soda in baking, but the rest of the ingredients, I just wing it. Recipes always came out really good anyways, but the more I do it, the better I get. I now wing ingredients and change entire recipes… just did it yesterday and invented green tea mini cakes and it turned out amazing! Yay for winging it!

  25. Ayla says:

    I’m a measurer… if that’s even a word. I do have a scale that my sister and friend bought me last Christmas but to be honest, it’s a bit pathetic. It’s about the size of my hand and measures about 1 peanut.. or at least that’s how it seems to me. 😛

    How big is the scale that you use, Katie?

  26. Jenny says:

    I am super anal when it comes to measuring food (ED issues, meh!) Lets just say I spend more time washing my measuring spoons than I do eating food. Something to work on, I think!

    happy day pretty mama!! xo

  27. Nicky says:

    I am a pretty big food measure-er! I have always wanted one of these… I needa get around to it!

  28. taleoftwovegans says:

    I too dislike washing a bunch of dishes, however usually (particularly with baking) I go for ‘eyeballing’ it. Definitely not the most accurate at all, but I figure if thats how my grandma cooked all the time, then I should be able to do it too! 😉
    I did go through a bit of a phase of measuring my foods, but then my little scale bit the dust, so no more of that. :(

  29. Naomi says:

    i measure foods if I am 1)cooking or 2) want just about 3 oz of meat in a sandwich, other than that I dont touch my scale! I eat what I want and I am pretty good with portion control!
    thanks for letting us know the measurement stuff! I cant wait to make your 24 carrot cake cupcakes!

  30. i have a scale but im def a wing it kinda girl! sometimes it makes this more fun but can also be a huge disaster 😛

  31. As we discussed, dates are like the most random shaped food AND they are essential in raw baking and so yes, not sure why I havent bought a food scale yes, but I need to get on that :)

    Going to keep it short today :)


  32. Kristie Lynn says:

    I like to weigh stuff like dates and cashews for your fudge babies, but with flour and sugar and such I use measuring cups. I think I just kind of guesstimated measured amounts when I made the carrot cupcakes/muffins :)

  33. Sarah A says:

    I’m the worst when it comes to accurately measuring recipes, especially baking. With my favorite recipes, I accurately measure them enough times to know the right consistency for that recipe. And then…I eyeball like there’s no tomorrow 😀

  34. preventionrd says:

    I pretty much hate measuring foods. But, yet, I do wish I had a food scale…

  35. Devan G N says:

    I measure foods in grams and cups.

  36. I’m pretty good about measuring for baking, but for cooking, I just wing it!

    Your fudge babies look amazing!

  37. Clay says:

    Im having a problem writing anything now that you threw the SAT word at me (proclivity… wow). I have been meaning to reproduce for a while now so i must say a big thank you for putting up the fudge baby link… time to whip out the processor.

    I no longer weigh anything when im cooking, but i do measure things like oats when proportions are involved. I used to measture things like Ketchup and mustard though, to the point of being a slave to two kinds of scales. So, i try not to measure anything.

  38. molly says:

    i think either way is totally fine.
    i don’t have a food scale, but if that’s the way you do it, that’s how you should post it!
    don’t do TOO much work! maybe you could just estimate cups, or use food ratios?

  39. Katie says:

    I got a cookbook from London as a gift last year and the measurements were in grams. So I bought a scale, and I am SO GLAD I did! It was the best $20 I’ve spent on a kitchen appliance in a while. I use it when I make up my own recipes, but definitely not for small things. I actually just made a cookbook for a Christmas gift, and had to convert all the recipes to cups, and it was a ton of work. It is really too sweet of you to do that for your readers.

    Do you make your fudge babies in the Magic Bullet? I almost killed mine making peanut butter and am scared that the dates will end its life for good.

  40. Natalie says:

    When it comes to measuring, i wing it most of the time. The only thing i really measure is oatmeal. Mmm, i can’t stand for the consistency of it to be off.

  41. Chutney says:

    Hi Katie! I’m usually a measurer for baking, but for cooking I tend to wing it — especially when I’m making recipes I’ve cooked before. It’s fun to feel like I’m “experimenting” in the kitchen. :)

  42. Jenna says:

    You’re such a sweetheart! Really, I think we should all “convert” to scales (excuse the bad pun…it’s the end of the semester and the whole *thinking* thing is slow-going). And there’s no excuse when it comes to baking, since it’s all about chemistry! But thank you for being so accommodating/enabling, lol.

  43. Scott in Ohio says:

    That is an EXCELLENT explanation on why to use grams instead of cups when measuring. As an engineer, I appreciate that!

    There are two times when I definitely measure things out. First, when we’re making a recipe for the first time. Second, when I’m following a particular nutrition program.

    Other than that, I totally wing it (much to my wife’s dismay when she tries to re-create a dish I made).

    Looking forward to the scale giveaway!

  44. kate says:

    Similar to you, I always measure when baking and making oatmeal. Other than that, my meals are usually just thrown together, unless I’m trying out a new recipe for the first time. I would love to have a scale!!

  45. Katie says:

    I LOVE my digital scale…I also don’t measure things like stir fries (or any dinner type foods, really) but dessert recipes are so much more precise with a scale.

  46. I don’t measure much, but I do own that food scale, and I love it. You’re right. It is so great for cooking/baking!

    I almost made your 24 Carrot Cupcakes this weekend…need to make them soon. My New Year’s Resolution – make every Chocolate Covered Katie recipe I haven’t tried. 😉

  47. Ashlei says:

    Haha, I definitely usually just “wing it” unless it’s a new recipe or one I’m not familiar. Usually all turns out well though! Those heart fudge babies with the pb in the middle look so delish!

  48. jqlee says:

    I use the scale a LOT. It keeps my recipes very consistent. I don’t like to play “trial and error” every time I make something.

    When I post my recipes, I just to see how many calories the “grams” I used would be, then I play around with the amount in cups to get the same amount of calories. In theory that makes sense to me.

    But I totally agree with you about things being “packed” and “not packed” or even the way things are cut up. A cup of small DICED tomatoes is not the same as a cup of large CHOPPED tomatoes.

    I love my scale!

  49. BroccoliHut says:

    I use a food scale when I am baking mostly, and I also use it occasionally for nuts and nut butters because, well, I have a few problems with portion control when it comes to those foods:)

  50. CaSaundra says:

    Oh wow–I would so love to win this scale!! I just have a cheap one, but am looking to get a digital because I try to measure for baking and things that requirement more precise things like you said. But for some things I’ll do the cup measurements–thanks for changing a few recipes for those of us who don’t have a dig scale yet!! :-)

  51. JCD says:

    I’m a fan of the grams too. The kitchen scale is one of my favourite gadgets.

    I usually measure things when I am baking or making something new for the first time. Otherwise, I add things based on how my tastebuds are feeling at the time. A little of this, a little of that…

  52. Greenling says:

    I’m a chemistry student at heart – if I have a recipe which calls for exactly 250 mL or whatever, I will measure with an eyedropper. If it’s something like thickener in a sauce or liquid in a scone recipe, though… I tend to just add sloooowly until the desired ‘reaction’ is complete. Likewise, I don’t tend to use a thermometer when I steam soymilk, because I can see and feel when it’s the right temperature and texture, but I absolutely need to know to the exact degree how hot my oven is. 😛