Should You Sift Flour for Cookies? Here's What Our Test Kitchen Says

If you've been sifting flour for cookies and it seems like a chore, we have good news for you: it's not a necessary step. Learn what is necessary for combining those dry ingredients for your favorite cookie recipes.

When it comes to successfully baking delicate, delicious sweet treats at home, you might come across a recipe calling for sifted flour. But is sifting flour absolutely necessary? That depends. For some desserts where the goal is to be light, delicate, and fluffy (think angel food cake, sponge cakes, and chiffon cakes), sifting flour is recommended. For desserts that are chewy or crisp like cookies, sifting flour isn't a must. The purpose of sifting flour through a sieve or sifter helps break up clumps and aerates the ingredients. In the past, sifted flour also allowed for more accurate measuring results. Read on to learn about sifting flour for cookies and what baking steps you should actually follow to produce the perfect results you want.

measuring cup filled with flour next to flour bowl
Karla Conrad

Should You Sift Flour for Cookies?

Fortunately, our Test Kitchen says you can skip the extra step of sifting flour when making cookies. Thanks to advances in the commercial production of flour, most bags are labeled as "presifted," and therefore won't be clumped or in different granule sizes. This applies to pretty much all flours (i.e. all-purpose, whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc.).

The most important thing our Test Kitchen wants you to note, however, is that measuring flour accurately is critical to the success of your cookies. Always measure flour with your trusty nested dry measuring cups ($15, Target). Glass or plastic cups with graduated measurements on the sides and spouts are meant for liquids. If you use a liquid measuring cup for flour, you could end up with an extra tablespoon or more per cup. Too much flour in your cookie recipe could yield a dense cookie. Get our best tips for measuring ingredients the correct way so your chocolate chip cookies (or whatever delicious cookie recipe you're making) turns out the same every time.

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