How Many Cups of Powdered Sugar in a Pound Are There?

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If you’ve been following an online recipe as a non-American, you may be confused by the term “cup” as a unit of measurement. As such you may be wondering what a cup means in this context. Rather than a mug for your tea, these are actually measuring cups to be used during cooking. Equally, if you’re American and following a non-American recipe, you may be wondering how many cups you should use. The answer will fundamentally change with various ingredients. However, here you’ll find how many cups are in a pound of powdered sugar.

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How Many Cups Of Powdered Sugar In A Pound Are There?

Table of Contents

What Is Powdered Sugar?

Powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar as it is also known is simply finely ground granulated sugar mixed with a small amount of cornstarch. This cornstarch, roughly three percent of the mix, is added in order to prevent the powdered sugar from clumping when in contact with moisture.

Powdered sugar is often dusted on baked goods such as cakes and sweet pastries to provide an extra layer of subtle sweetness.

Quick Guide – How Many Cups In A Pound Of Sugar

As a quick guide here is a comparison of how many cups of sugar in a pound, brown sugar and powdered sugar are in a pound of each.

  • One pound of powdered sugar is equivalent to roughly four cups or nine hundred and sixty milliliters.
  • A pound of granulated sugar is equivalent to approximately two and a quarter cups, or five hundred and forty milliliters.
  • One pound of brown sugar roughly equals roughly two and two thirds of a cup, or six hundred and forty milliliters.

So roughly speaking each cup of granulated sugar is equivalent to approximately a quarter pound of powdered sugar.

Things to Consider When Measuring Powdered Sugar for Cooking and Baking

When you measure powdered sugar for cooking and baking, it’s important to ensure that your sugar doesn’t have any clumps in it. Whilst powdered sugar is less likely to clump due to the small amount of cornstarch, clumping is still possible.

Powdered sugar may contain hardened lumps if it is exposed to moisture or compacted heavily. Fortunately, most clumping can be reversed by using a hand cranked sifter to break up these clumps. This sifted powdered sugar will often be finer and contain less clumps than unsifted powdered sugar. For this reason, most recipes will specify sifted powdered sugar.

The reason that you don’t want these clumps in your powdered sugar is that they will make icing somewhat gritty in texture which is unpleasant to most. In order to avoid this eventuality, it is recommended that you ensure your cooking area is dry. Additionally, you should pour your powdered sugar into the measuring cup rather than scoop it up. The reason for this is that clumps can form from both absorbed moisture along with the sugar being crushed together.

how many cups of powdered sugar in a pound

How To Measure Powdered Sugar?

When measuring, the process is rather simple. However, it is important to be careful in order to avoid making a mess or creating clumps in your powdered sugar.

Instead of scooping it is best to slowly pour the powdered sugar into measuring cups. This is because scooping may crush the sugar left in the bag. However, if you need to measure how many grams of sugar are in a tablespoon this article can help you.

Following this, skim a knife across the top in order to level the cup. It is best not to tap to level the cup as this can potentially cause clumping. Additionally, this tapping can cause more sugar to settle in the cup than the recipe would actually call for.

Once you’ve measured out the sugar transfer it to a dry, empty bowl.

How to Sift Powdered Sugar

When stored for long periods of time or exposed to moisture, powdered sugar is likely to clump up. When this happens, sifting powdered sugar helps the finer granules to separate. This will allow you to dust your baked goods with an even covering, which can’t really be done with unsifted sugar.

To sift your powdered sugar take a bowl and use a hand cranked sifter or a wire whisk to stir the sugar. When doing so add the powdered sugar to ensure that it is all sifted and you don’t accidentally spill any out the sides.

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Alternatively you can use a fine mesh strainer or sieve to remove the lumps. Slowly add the sugar to the fine mesh strainer whilst holding it over an empty, dry bowl.

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How Many Cups In A Pound Of Powdered Or Confectioners Sugar?

As mentioned above there are roughly four cups in a pound of powdered sugar. As such each cup will contain a quarter pound of powdered sugar.

When measuring this out, you should not press the sugar into the cup. Doing this will greatly increase the amount of sugar present to a point far past what a recipe calls for.

Powdered Sugar Conversions

We know now that four cups of sugar is equivalent to a pound of powdered sugar. However, this conversion rate isn’t universal for every ingredient, with even different variations of sugar having different ratios.

That said however, below are some conversions for commonly used ingredients when cooking:

  • One pound of all-purpose flour/bakers flour is equal to four cups.
  • A pound of cake flour equals roughly four and one third cups.
  • One pound of whole wheat flour equals three and three quarter cups.
  • A pound of semolina flour equals two and a half cups.
  • A pound of butter equals two cups.
  • One pound of granulated sugar equals two and a quarter cups.
  • One pound of brown sugar equals two and a two third cups.
  • A pound of cornstarch equals three and a quarter cups.
  • A pound of cornmeal equals three cups.
  • One pound of rolled oat equals five and a third cups.
  • A pound of cocoa powder equals four and a three quarter cups.
  • One pound of honey equals one and a third cups.
  • A pound of peanuts or almonds equals three cups.
  • One pound of pistachios/hazelnuts equals three and third cups.
  • A pound of pecans or walnuts equals four and a quarter cups.
  • One pound of raisins or dried currants equals two and three quarter cups.
How Many Cups Of Powdered Sugar In A Pound Are There?


When measuring powdered sugar, four cups will be roughly equivalent to one pound. However, this is only a somewhat accurate measurement when the sugar isn’t crushed into the cup and is instead gently poured.

Once you’ve measured the appropriate amount of powdered sugar you should always make sure to whisk it in order to break up clumps.


How Much Cups Are In A Pound?

How many pounds there are in a cup or vice versa is not something that can be accurately stated since the amount will vary from ingredient to ingredient.

How Much Does 1 Cup Powdered Sugar Weigh?

One cup of powdered sugar weighs roughly one-quarter of a pound.

How do you convert lbs to cups? 

Pounds (lbs) cannot be universally converted into cups since different ingredients will weigh different amounts.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating! Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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