Accuracy in baking is important. It’s one of those things that you just can’t be iffy with. The difference in baking and cooking other dishes is that in baking, you can’t taste your dish halfway and you can’t just make adjustments while you’re baking.
You’ll be stuck with whatever you cooked and you’ll only be able to tell if you did anything wrong in the end. That’s why it’s very important to measure your ingredients accurately, and sometimes that includes converting from unit to unit. That brings us to the following question and its answer.
How Many Cups in a Pound of Powdered Sugar?
If you love your sweets, chances are you know powdered sugar and probably consume it every day. But what is powdered sugar and how is it different from granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar?
- Powdered sugar is actually granulated sugar ground so fine that it turns into powder- that’s the end of the sugar part. What you might not know is that it contains cornstarch! The cornstarch is actually added just to prevent the sugar from clumping. Now you know!
- How about the confectioners’ sugar? Don’t worry if you find yourself with a recipe that needs a confectioners’ sugar when you only have powdered sugar- that is because they are just the same!
Powdered sugar may also be referred to as 10X sugar (that means it’s processed ten times, not that it has ten times sugar). And if ever you find yourself short of powdered sugar, you can make your own! I’m sure you have all two of the ingredients needed to make some and a food processor.
Things to Consider
It can’t be helped that there are times when you need to convert the measurements of ingredients needed in a recipe. Maybe you lack the needed measuring tool or it is just convenient to convert. But as I have said, accuracy is very important, and not all measuring tools are precise and there are units of measurement that are quite confusing.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about pound because there is only one ‘pound’ in terms of measuring weight. Don’t get it confused thought with pound-force. The confusion comes with the cup because there are three measuring cups available, though only two are commonly use: the imperial cup and US customary cup. Know what standard of measurement the cup you are using is in. But if you ever happen to use the other one when another is needed, it will be helpful to know that 1 imperial cup is equal to 1.20095 US customary cups- remember, you can’t afford to omit the decimals because accuracy is the goal.
Another thing to consider, and the most important, is what kind of powdered sugar you are converting. In using powdered sugar, whether you are using the sifted or unsifted kind plays a big role in measurement.
Sifting or Not
There are times when it is important to know whether to sift the powdered sugar or not but of course, if you are going to convert a pound of powdered sugar to cup, the recipe won’t tell you whether it’s sifted or unsifted. This is simply because if the recipe tells the weight of the powdered sugar, whether it is sifted or unsifted does not matter.
Sifting the powdered sugar, or any other ingredient dry ingredient, does not affect the weight. It will only have an effect to the exact volume of the ingredient. It does not add anything- it just removes the clumps on the ingredient, making the ingredient looser and therefore adds to the volume.
Let’s just put it this way: clumped up powdered sugar is like a compressed stress ball, once it is sifted it becomes the uncompressed stress ball! You know it’s the same ball, it weighs the same, but it becomes smaller when compressed. That is why it is also important to know the conversion when the powdered sugar you are going to use is sifted or unsifted.
Sifted Powdered Sugar
If you are looking for a very accurate conversion, sifted powdered sugar is more likely to give you that. If a recipes calls for a certain number of cups of sifted powdered sugar, you can be sure that you will not have to guess or approximate when you convert it into pound and vice versa. Basically, a pound of powdered sugar is equivalent to 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar and that’s it, exact measurement!
Unsifted Powdered Sugar
There are recipes that will tell you “x cups of this ingredient, sifted”, basically that means you have to measure the said ingredient and then sift it. That may result to varying end products, because how can you be sure just how clumpy your ingredient is?
Unfortunately we can’t do anything about it (though, maybe you can avoid such recipes? Or maybe it doesn’t have any drastic effect on the recipe!) and we are forced to play a guessing game. So if you are using unsifted powdered sugar, you will just have to pick from 3 ½ cups to 4 cups to a pound of powdered sugar. Don’t worry, it’s just ½ cup margin of error!
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of having more conversions to keep in mind and having to guess and approximate, but at the same time you also don’t have a sifter on hand, you can sift powdered sugar without a sifter!
In answering the question ‘how many cups in a pound of powdered sugar’, there are a few things to consider: is the powdered sugar sifted or unsifted? Are you converting it into imperial cup or us customary cup?
If you are converting a pound of powdered sugar into US customary cup, it is 4 cups for sifted and 3 1/2- 4 for unsifted powdered sugar. If you need the figures converted into imperial cup, just divide it by 1.20095!
I hope you found this article helpful and please don’t forget to leave you thoughts and ideas in the comments section!