How Many Grams of Sugar in a Cup?

Overflowing spoon of sugar with a raspberry on top.

In some types of cooking, measurements are as much a matter of taste as they are anything else. The chances are good that if you decide to add a little extra black pepper or oregano to a soup or sauce, it’s not going to ruin your dish. That’s not the case with baking, which is both an art and a science–a chemistry lesson, to be precise.

One of the biggest challenges in baking is metric conversions. In the U.S., most cookbooks use Imperial measurements, while the rest of the world uses the metric system. If you’ve ever read a recipe and asked, how many grams of sugar in a cup?, here’s the necessary information to calculate the conversion and guarantee the success of your baking project.

How Many Grams in an Ounce of Sugar?

It may be useful to start with the most basic conversion of grams of sugar to ounces of sugar. Anybody working with Imperial measuring tools in cups, ounces, and so on needs to be able to quickly and easily convert these measurements to the metric system if the recipe uses grams.

Using a recipe converter, it’s easy to calculate that an ounce of sugar converts to 28.35 grams. It’s important to keep in mind that the ingredient being measured should be specific. Ounces and other measurements of weight can be converted to grams. Liquid measurements should be converted to milliliters.

Why is Weighing Ingredients Important When Baking?

Before looking at some popular conversion amounts and how to calculate them, it’s important to note that professional bakers prefer to weigh their ingredients instead of measuring them using cups or spoons. According to the King Arthur Baking Company, weighing ingredients leads to better results:

  • Weighing makes it easy to halve (or double) a recipe: Anybody who has tried to scale a recipe up or down knows that multiplying or dividing fractions is challenging. Weighing makes it easy. 
  • Weighing is more accurate than measuring: It eliminates potential confusion about whether ingredients should be scooped into a measuring cup or packed into it, and so on.
  • Weighing takes less time than measuring: Simply weigh your mixing bowl, tare your scale, and scoop ingredients in until you get the right weight.
  • Weighing ensures that the finished products will all be the same size: Cookies look better on a platter or in a jar when they’re uniform.

Weighing sugar is especially important because having the wrong ratio of sugar in a recipe may cause a cake to fall flat or cookies to turn into rocks in the oven.

Popular Sugar Conversions

Here are some popular sugar conversions that can be useful in baking:

50 Grams Sugar to Cups

A cup of sugar typically weighs eight ounces, so the formula to convert that cup to grams would look like this.

8 ounces X 28.35 grams per ounce = 226.8 grams

In a recipe that called for 50 grams of sugar, you would take 50 and divide it by 28.35 to arrive at 1.76 ounces. It’s easy to see why using a scale would be preferable since it would be impossible to use a measuring cup to arrive at a precise 1.76 ounces of sugar.

200 Grams Sugar to Cups

Using the same formula as above, you could convert 200 grams of sugar to cups by taking the number of grams required and dividing it by the number of grams in a cup

200 grams / 226.8 grams = .8818 cups

How Many Grams in a Spoon of Sugar?

Two of the most popular measurements in US baking recipes are the teaspoon and the tablespoon. Here’s how to break them down into grams.

  • 1 US tablespoon = 13 grams
  • 1 US teaspoon = 4 grams

The same rule applies with spoons that applies with cups. Weighing is preferable because packing an ingredient like sugar into a tablespoon would result in a higher amount by weight than loosely scooping it. Weighing removes the guesswork and ensures the best possible results.

You can use the same essential idea to determine 400 grams of sugar in cups or how many grams of sugar in a sugar cube.

Man's hand sprinkling confectioner's sugar on slices of cake.

What Happens When Sugar Isn’t Weighed?

Here are some of the potential baking problems that can arise when sugar is measured in cups or spoons instead of being weighed.

  • Sugar, like salt, is a flavor enhancer. Adding too little sugar can result in a bland finished product.
  • Sugar attracts moisture, so baked goods that don’t have enough sugar may be dry or tough.
  • In recipes where butter and sugar are creamed together to add air, a lack of sugar may make cookies and cakes fall flat or leave a greasy feeling behind when eaten.
  • Sugar plays a key role in the Maillard reaction, which is what happens when foods turn brown during cooking. Too little sugar may lead to a pale finished product while too much may cause burning and a bitter taste.

It’s easy to see why getting sugar measurements right is essential to good baking. The science of baking requires accurate measurements, so your best bet is to use a scale to measure grams of sugar.

A Spoonful of Sugar (Can Mess Up Your Recipe if You Don’t Weigh It)

Before undertaking any baking project, it’s important to know the difference that weighing sugar can make. It ensures that the chemical reactions that occur in the oven work in the way they’re intended, with resulting baked goods that are tender, brown, and have exactly the right amount of sweetness.

This entry was posted in Cooking, Education, Mathematics and tagged , . By Aimee Parrott