How Many Cups of Powdered Sugar in a Pound – Conversion GUIDE

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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.

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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.

Table of Contents

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

Quick Conversion 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:

Type of SugarPoundsCupsMilliliters
GranulatedOne2 1/4540
BrownOne2 2/3640

Things to Consider When Measuring Powdered Sugar for Cooking and Baking

When you measure powdered sugar for cooking and baking, it’s crucial to ensure that your sugar has no clumps. While 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 fewer 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 the sugar being crushed together.

how many cups of powdered sugar in a pound

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.

Other Types of Sugar

So, while powdered sugar is largely the object of our investigations today, it is also worth taking a look at some other varieties too, for you are more than likely going to come across them in the field.

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar has much in common with powdered sugar. It is indeed the same substance, albeit in a different form. Where powdered sugar has beaten down to the smallest it can go before disappearing entirely, granulated sugar is still crystalline and akin to very tiny jewels. These granules have less surface area, meaning they take ever so slightly longer to dissolve.

Domino Granulated Sugar, 4 Lb

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar can come in powdered or granulated form. Therefore, the brown in the title doesn’t necessarily refer to its form or size as much as the content of the sugar itself, in this instance hinting at the presence of molasses.

It is traditionally an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content. However, it is now often produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar.

Woodstock Sugar Brown Org

Raw Sugar

Raw sugar is essentially an unprocessed version of the sugar that is available commercially in shops. It is alleged that this sugar is largely better for you overall as it contains little or no additives.

Iberia Pure Cane Turbinado Raw Sugar, 32 Oz.

Superfine Sugar

This form of sugar is a variety of white sugar that consists of lots of very small grains. It is often used in cooking and baking where the small particles provide a larger surface area, ultimately ensuring that the sugar dissolves quicker than it might otherwise.

Domino White Sugar Pure Cane Sugar Quick Dissolve Superfine, 12 Ounce Flip Top (2 Pack)

Sanding Sugar

Intended for more aesthetic purposes, sanding sugar is a type of sugar whose larger and more coarse granules are perfect for decorating a dish, providing a shiny and polished appearance that looks sparkly even once baked under tremendous heat.

Sanding Sugar White 16 Oz

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 or even a sugar cube these articles 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.

Norpro 3-Cup Stainless Steel Rotary Hand Crank Flour Sifter With 2 Wire Agitator
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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.

SUNWUKIN 304 Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainers for Kitchen, Colander-Skimmer with Handle, Sieve Sifters for Food, Tea, Rice, Oil, Noodles, Fruits, Vegetable
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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 for cookie dough, 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 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/baker 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 two-thirds 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.

FAQs How Many Cups of Powdered Sugar in a Pound

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

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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