If you have a recipe that calls for several cups of powdered sugar, you may be questioning what size package you need to buy. It can be helpful to know how many cups are in one pound of powdered sugar before heading to the store.

By Sheena Chihak
Updated July 23, 2020
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Anyone who's ever baked anything knows baking involves a bit of art and a lot of science. And should you be making a recipe that lists ingredients by weight (grams and pounds) instead of volume (cups and tablespoons), as many baking recipes do for more precise measurements, math comes into the equation too. To further complicate things, there is no simple conversion of 1 pound to cups for all ingredients because each ingredient takes up a different amount of space (volume) per pound of weight. If you’re trying to determine how many cups are in a pound of powdered sugar (or flour, for that matter), there is one more variable to consider: Is your powdered sugar sifted or unsifted? Here’s what to know.

Credit: Blaine Moats

How Many Cups in a Pound of Powdered Sugar

Let your cake recipe, Powdered Sugar Icing recipe, or whatever baking recipe you're using determine if you need to sift the powdered sugar. Sifting powdered sugar makes it lighter and fluffier, so you'll need more of it by volume to reach 1 pound. With these guidelines, you'll know the answer to "how many cups is 1 pound of powdered sugar?"

  • 1 pound = 3½ to 4 cups unsifted powdered sugar
  • 1 pound = 4½ cups sifted powdered sugar

The usual 32-ounce package (2 pounds) of powdered sugar ($2, Target) has about 7½ cups of powdered sugar.

Weighing ingredients eliminates measuring errors and the possibility of working with inaccurate measuring cups, which can ruin a baked recipe. To avoid having to remember (or look up) the cups-to-pounds information, a simple kitchen scale ($50, OXO) eliminates that task and could make baking feel more like therapy (or at least make it more enjoyable). Either way, you're now equipped to more accurately measure powdered sugar in any recipe.

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