Kitchen measuring tools are essential to get the ideal blend of ingredients for any recipe. Part of the reason why some may fail in their cooking attempts is because they put in an inaccurate amount of ingredients. For some dishes, the concept of a pinch of this and a dash of that may work. But this tactic doesn’t hold true for all types of cooking. Some dishes, especially baked goodies, need measured ingredients. This is why cooks need to gauge ingredients accurately to have the baked good turn out well.
While weighing ingredients is the key to successful cooking, people have not always been so keen on measuring ingredients. In fact, many historic cookbooks do not specify exact quantities. Instead, they simply talk about taking a “cupful” of chili or a slice of butter “the size of a nut” or “sufficient pepper”. But times have changed drastically; today, people prefer metric measurements when cooking.
In order to be a professional cook, you can’t just rely on your instincts, you have to be reasonable. This is why you just can’t put in what you think or feel will work. It is crucial that the right ingredients in the right amount are mixed together. After all, it is all about the right balance!
So, you might be wondering what the cooking measuring tools and gadgets that can help you get a well-balanced recipe are. Fortunately for you, we have compiled all of them in this blog post for your convenience.
Table of Contents
1. Dry Measuring Cups
Dry measuring cups were invented by the director of the “The Boston Cook School” and the author of “The Boston School Cook Book,” Fannie Farmer, in 1896. She developed this measuring tool with the idea that they would prove to be an essential kitchen tool and rightly so. After the invention, the measuring tool turned out to be quite handy among the masses.
The sole purpose of dry measuring cups is to weigh dry ingredients like flour, spices, salt, or sugar. These cups mostly come in either plastic or stainless steel. Dry measuring cups also come in varying sizes such as ¼ cups, 1/3 cups, ½ cups, or 1 cup. Ideally, it is better to invest in different sizes as you never know when and which one you may need.
The best way to measure dry ingredients is to scoop the cup with the ingredient. Then remove the excess with the help of a flat utensil. This method is best known as “dip and sweep.”
Once you have used a measuring cup, like any other kitchen utensil, make sure to wash it off with kitchen soap. While dry measuring cups do not leave behind any stains, you can expect odd smells if the measuring cup is not properly washed with kitchen soap. Therefore, it is advised to first rinse out anything that may be inside the cup and then wash off with soap and water. Dry the cups with a clean towel.
2. Liquid Measuring Cups
Liquids can’t be measured in the same dry measuring cups as there is a difference in the measurement between liquid ingredients and solid ingredients. This is why it’s essential to get cups for measuring liquids when purchase dry measuring cups.
Liquid measuring cups come in clear glass or plastic. This makes it easy to check the quantity of the liquid poured into the cup. Also, these are the kinds of materials that are easy to use. Owing to their transparent outlook, it helps you see the quantity of the ingredient without any trouble whatsoever.
In order to measure an ingredient accurately, experts suggest placing the measuring tool on a flat surface or counter. Bend down so that the cup’s marking is at eye-level, then slowly pour in the liquid until it is filled till your desired marking. If you are not sure about this kind of measurement, you can always use a weighing scale to be 100% accurate.
Wet measuring cups come in three materials – plastic, metal, and glass. Each of these materials comes with some advantages as well as disadvantages. Plastic measuring cups are lightweight and dishwasher-safe. However, they can stain easily and suck up odors over time. The cheaper ones tend to be flimsy and breakable so avoid investing in lower quality ones. On the contrary, metal weighing cups are strong and durable. They are also resistant to odor or scratches. To keep these cups in the best possible condition, it is best to hand-wash them instead of putting them in a dishwasher.
Unlike plastic and metal, glass does not absorb any stain or odor. It is also heat-proof and dishwasher-safe. The continuous use of a dishwasher can make the measurement lines fade. The least likable aspect of glass measuring cups is that they are prone to break easily.
3. Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons are a significant component of the modern kitchen cookware. It helps measure smaller quantities of dry and wet ingredients alike. Most baked recipes (muffins, cakes, bread, etc) require accurate measurement of ingredients and that’s when the application of measuring spoon kicks in.
These spoons come in different size ranges from ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon to ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon. In addition to different sizes, these weighing spoons are available in different colors and materials. Some of the advanced measuring spoons feature both liquids and solids and are dishwasher safe as well.
Following are some of the types of measuring spoons that you can get from the market. You can invest in measuring spoon sets in different colors, sizes, shapes, and materials in order to expand your kitchen tools collection.
This type of measuring spoon is durable, easy to clean, and dishwasher-safe. They also don’t carry the taste or odor of ingredients.
Plastic measuring spoons aren’t heat resistant and thus can’t be placed in a microwave. That being said, plastic measuring spoons are durable if handled with care. They are also easy to use and clean.
More than their practical purpose, wooden spoons are prized for their aesthetic value; while they appear unique, they aren’t as durable as other measuring spoons.
These spoons are magnetic which makes them easy to stick to any metallic surface of the kitchen. They easily cling and come off when required. This is useful for small spoons that may be hard to locate otherwise.
Decorative measuring spoons can be in silver, plastic, wood, porcelain, or stainless steel. Their distinctive quality is that they feature lovely painted, hand-drawn, or printed designs. They are not for daily cooking use but help elevate the overall kitchen décor.
4. Mixing Bowls
Mixing bowls are one of the most common kitchen utensils found in every household. It is important to remember that not all mixing bowls are made alike. Different materials boast different benefits; for example, glass mixing bowls are durable, easy to wash, and aren’t prone to discoloration. Stainless steel ones are rust-resistant and dishwasher-safe. Silicon mixing bowls are oven-safe as well as microwave-safe.
Different materials are not the only striking feature of mixing bowls. These essential kitchen tools also come in a number of sizes. Most companies offer sets of varying mixing bowls which come in handy during baking and cooking. The most recent type of mixing bowl is the one with measurement markings on the inside. This type of mixing bowl boasts a light shade – transparent or white/off-white color – while the measurement marking is of a more prominent shade. Bright markings over the plain surface make the reading easier. Oxo batter bowl is one such example of this type of unique mixing bowl. You can find plenty of them online or at any kitchen and cookware shop.
5. Slotted Spoons
While a slotted spoon is primarily used to retrieve solid ingredients from a cooking pot that may also preserve liquid, it can be used as a measuring kitchen utensil as well. How, you may wonder? Slotted spoons do not function similar to other measuring tools on the list. The slotted spoons that come with a hole in the middle are often served as a weighing tool. They are usually used for serving spaghetti. Most people don’t know but the hole in the spoon determines one serving of spaghetti. To accurately measure the serving size, you will need the slotted spoon.
6. Digital Scales
Digital scales are designed to measure the weight of an ingredient. To use a digital scale, you need to put the ingredient on the electronic surface. The weight can be read on the electronic or analog display then. Weight measurements are more accurate than volume measurements. Therefore, these scales are the best measuring tools. If you are baking a muffin or an ice cream, you will probably need a weight machine for weighing ingredients accurately. And a digital scale is something you can invest in.
There are a number of digital scales out there; but a digital scale that measures grams, kilograms, ounces, or pounds is the best of the lot. Make sure to look for a scale that automatically resets to zero so that you can measure the next ingredient. There are some digital kitchen scales that shut off in a minute. This is why it is better to go for the one that comes with at least a 3-minute auto shut-off. This will give you time to measure the first ingredient before moving onto the next one.
7. Hanging Scales
Hanging measuring scales are an old weight measuring tool that comes with a hook on their bottom. Also known as crane scales, hanging scales are used to weigh heavy food items like fish or meat. The attached hook allows you to hang the item which faces downward. The total weight is measured through the electronic machine that is attached to the other end.
While it is an old weighing tool, you can find a wide variety of hanging scales in the market. For instance, not every hanging scale possesses a bottom hook. Some of them come with varied sizes of a shiny, steel bowl instead.
You can find hanging scales in analog and digital types; the digital hanging scale is always a better option as it is more accurate, reliable, and safer to use. Another stand-out feature of a hanging digital scale is that it works faster, making it an efficient weighing tool.
8. Instant-Read Thermometer
As the name suggests, instant-read thermometers provide a temperature reading in an instant. An instant-read thermometer comes with a stainless steel stem that acts as a temperature sensor. The measuring tool also consists of a dial or digital readout.
People often confuse the instant-read thermometer with a meat thermometer but it is important to note that they both are different in a number of ways. An instant-read thermometer reads out the temperature of an ingredient quickly. On the other hand, a meat thermometer is inserted into the meat before roasting and remains inserted until it is roasted.
An instant-read thermometer is ideal when you have to check the temperature of solids like roasted chicken, or meat, or liquids like soups, stocks, etc. When reading the temperature of chicken/beef, make sure to insert the stem deep inside the thigh, whilst making sure it doesn’t hit any bone.
Before you use the thermometer, sterilize it to avoid contamination. Do the same after using the thermometer. Washing the thermometer’s stem is crucial to avoid the passing of bacteria or germs. The best way to clean the stem is by first filling a glass with water and ice and stir for a few seconds so that they are mixed. Now insert the thermometer stem into the prepared ice-water. The thermometer will start to sensor the temperature. Wait for it to stop. If it reads anything other than 32 degrees F, you will need to calibrate again. For that, you will need to let the stem stay in the ice-water for a long time. Loosen the nut behind the dial via a wrench. Then try rotating the dial face until the needle is beneath the 32 F mark. Once you have done that, tighten the nut again.
You can also get self-sanitizing products like sanitizing wipes if you don’t want to go through intense cleaning procedures.
9. Oven Thermometer
An oven thermometer is a kitchen utensil which is used to check the temperature of the oven. Sometimes, the oven can become too hot or too cold and it is hard to tell that without an oven thermometer. This is why it is necessary to invest in a good quality thermometer. This helps ensure that the temperature remains consistent throughout your roasting or baking.
Keep in mind that oven thermometers are developed for both ovens and grills. Some oven thermometers can be used for a grill as well. However, the thermometers that are specifically for grills are called a grill or grilling thermometer. There are also many other kinds of oven thermometers worth investing in. There are two-in-one oven thermometers called “dual-sensor thermometer”. They are used to read both meat and oven temperature.
There are digital oven thermometers that come with a wireless remote pager. These types of thermometers essentially serve as a timer as well. These thermometers will provide you with more accurate readings and will help you figure out what is really going on in your oven. By adjusting the temperature, you will be able to cook better and make your dishes more flavorsome.
A kitchen timer acts as an alarm so that your food doesn’t burn up or gets overcooked. This kitchen device can be set for any time from minutes to hours and will start to buzz at the set time. For example, if you have placed chicken to roast in the oven and set the timer for an hour, the timer will start to buzz in exactly 60 minutes reminding you to take the chicken out of the oven.
These timers are best for those who tend to forget about the food in the oven or microwave and end up with burned food. This also comes in handy when you are preoccupied with a lot of things at the same time and there’s a chance that you’ll forget about the food in the oven. Some hi-tech timers come with the option of numerous timing setups. This becomes useful especially if you are cooking something complicated and needs more-than-one timing. You can also get these timers with magnets on, making it easier to stick them anywhere in the kitchen.
11. Mason Jars with Measure Marks
While these jars are used for storage, canning, and sprouting, they make for an excellent liquid-measuring cup. These jars often come with measurement on them which allow you to read the quantity of the liquid in the jar. The beauty of mason jars is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs that make them a sight to behold. You can even design and decorate your own mason jar to make it appear appealing. For example, you can paint the mason jar of your choice and cover it with beautiful designs. You can wrap your mason jar with fabric, ribbon, or string. However, make sure that your measurement mark doesn’t fade away due to all the additional decorations.
These are some of the measuring cookware and bakeware that need to be present in every American household. Trust us, having them will make your cooking and baking so much easier. Some other cooking tools that your kitchen must accommodate are spatulas, colanders, peelers, cutting boards, slicers, salad spinners, and a chef’s knife.