There are 3 ways to measure chocolate chips, but only one way to always get precise results. Learn how to measure chocolate chips the right way and improve your baking.
It’s baking time! You have your recipe. You have the chocolate chips. But you might wonder how to measure chocolate chips correctly. Recipes seldom give instructions on the best way to measure ingredients.
How should you measure chocolate chips? Chocolate chips are measured by weight, volume, or count. The most accurate way to measure chocolate chips is to weigh them on a kitchen scale. If a kitchen scale is not available, use a measuring cup to estimate the volume of chocolate chips. Count them as a last resort.
In this article, you will learn the three ways to measure chocolate chips and get in-depth instruction on each method. Then you can decide which way is right for you. Finally, you will get handy tips to improve your baking.
3 Ways to Measure Chocolate: Weight, Volume, and Count
There are three ways to measure chocolate chips. Weigh them, measure by volume, or count them. Let’s take a closer look.
Weight is how heavy an ingredient is. A kitchen scale calculates weight. The United States measures in ounces and pounds. Most of the rest of the world uses grams instead of ounces.
Professional bakers prefer to measure in grams because grams are very small. Much smaller than ounces. There are approximately 28 grams in 1 ounce. Because grams are so small, bakers can measure in whole grams.
But ounces? Often you must deal with fractions. Half an ounce or a quarter of an ounce. It can be a pain.
Weighing with grams instead of ounces makes it easier to be more precise. Many home bakers may not be good at quick conversions, so using a kitchen scale can be very helpful.
Another problem with using ounces is the confusion between ounces and fluid ounces. They are not the same. Ounces measures weight and fluid ounces measures volume. That is why 8 ounces of chocolate chips does not equal 1 cup.
Measuring cups and measuring spoons calculate volume. Volume is the amount of space an ingredient takes up. Remember learning the formula for volume in algebra? Volume equals length multiplied by width multiplied by height.
Volume = Length X Width X Height
Food items have different densities, so they do not all weigh the same. Even when they take up the same volume. This means that one cup of one ingredient may not weigh the same as one cup of another ingredient.
For example, fill one measuring cup with cilantro and one measuring cup with grapes. Then weigh each cup. The cup of cilantro will weigh less than the cup of grapes. Even though they fill up the same volume.
This is just one reason calculating volume is less precise than weighing ingredients.
The final way to measure chocolate chips is to count them. This method can be very inaccurate because of chocolate chip size. Not to mention time-consuming.
There is no industry-wide standard for chocolate chip size. Each chocolate chip manufacturer uses an unique mold to make chocolate chips. Because the molds are different, the chocolate chips are different. They are not identical in size or appearance.
Brands may also produce different-sized chocolate chips. For example, Nestle Toll House sells mini morsels, standard morsels, and chocolate chunks. All are different sizes.
Their white chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and milk chocolate chips also differ in size.
I recommend counting chocolate chips as a last resort. Unless counting is your thing. Or you have a bored kid that needs something to do.
How to Measure Chocolate Chips with a Kitchen Scale
The best baking recipes will always include each ingredient by weight. This helps the baker be precise when measuring ingredients. Precise measurements lead to successful baked goods.
The best scale to use is one with a tare feature. The tare feature lets you reset the scale to 0, even with a bowl on top of the scale. Then you can accurately weigh only the ingredients without the weight of the bowl.
A good scale will also weigh in both ounces and grams.
STEP 1: Press the power button to turn on the scale.
STEP 2: Place an empty bowl on the scale. The bowl will hold the chocolate chips. The weight of the bowl will register on the scale.
STEP 3: Push the tare button on the scale. This will reset the scale to 0, cancelling out the weight of the bowl.
STEP 4: Add chocolate chips to the bowl until you reach the weight you need.
Why Should You Use a Kitchen Scale for Chocolate Chips?
- Increase accuracy in baking. Chocolate chips come in lots of sizes. Mini, standard, jumbo, chunks, and wafers. And each size of chocolate chips has a different weight. Use a kitchen scale to get the precise amount needed for the recipe, no matter which size chocolate chips you have.
When you measure 6 ounces of chocolate chips in a dry measuring cup, it does not look like the measuring cup is full. (Six ounces equals 170 grams of chocolate chips.)
This could throw you off if you expect to see a full or even heaping measuring cup of chocolate chips. Because everyone wants tons of chocolate chips in their cookies, right? The visual discrepancy is a good reason to weigh chocolate.
- Consistent results time after time. If you always use the exact amount of chocolate chips when baking, you will get the same results all the time. No more wondering if the recipe will turn out. You already know. Sometimes weighing ingredients is the most important step in consistent recipes.
- Easily scale recipes up or down. Professional bakers always use a kitchen scale. Then they can easily make any size of the recipe they want. It might be simple to double a recipe. But when you weigh ingredients, you can increase or decrease the recipe by any ratio.
- Save time and dishes. No need to pull out measuring cups or spoons. Just use a kitchen scale. Press the tare button after every addition to the mixing bowl. Very easy.
- Substitute chocolate bars. If you prefer to use a chocolate bar over chocolate chips, no problem. Simply break the chocolate into pieces and weigh. Add more pieces to reach the weight quantity you need.
Chocolate bars are scored into squares. Each square of chocolate is ½ or 1 ounce. It will be listed on the package.
How to Measure Chocolate Chips by Volume
If you do not have a kitchen scale, you can still measure chocolate chips with a measuring cup. It may not be as precise, but that is fine for some recipes. Like chocolate chip cookies, for example. A few extra chocolate chips will not affect the cookie.
Measure solids and dry ingredients in a dry measuring cup. Sticky ingredients like maple syrup, corn syrup, or peanut butter are also measured in dry measuring cups. Sour cream too.
Measure wet ingredients like water or vegetable oil in a liquid measuring cup.
Let’s define some terms in relation to a measuring cup or measuring spoon.
- Scant: A scant cup means that the ingredients do not quite go to the top of the dry measuring cup. In other words, it does not look like the volume is quite a cup. It is sparsely filled.
- Level: A level cup refers to the ingredient reaching the top of the measuring cup and being scraped level with the back of a knife.
It is hard to get a level cup if ingredients are not in powder form. It is easy to level white sugar, flour, or unsweetened cocoa powder with a straight edge.
Not so easy to level chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts.
I had a home economics teacher in junior high that drilled into our impressionable minds that every measuring cup had to be exactly level. She wanted precision in our recipes. She checked our measuring cups at eye level before she gave us the go-ahead to mix everything.
She should have given us a kitchen scale. That would have helped us more than anything.
- Rounded: A rounded cup is one that is full, but not leveled off. It will be slightly more than 1 cup in volume. So named because the ingredients are rounded at the top of the measuring cup.
- Heaping: A heaping cup is one that is generously filled. A big scoop of chocolate chips with no leveling off. It is the maximum amount that will stay on top of the measuring cup.
Now, back to measuring chocolate chips. One cup of chocolate chips is a scant cup. This means that when you scoop up the chocolate chips, it will not look like the measuring cup is completely full.
I did not always know this. Once I bought a big bag of chocolate chips to make several batches of chocolate chip cookies. I carefully measured the chocolate chips with a measuring cup for each recipe. But on the last cookie batch, I was woefully short on chocolate chips.
It was frustrating. I thought I had measured so carefully. I had not yet learned how to measure chocolate chips correctly.
Experiences like this one, led me to understand why a kitchen scale is so important in baking.
- Use a dry measuring cup.
- Scoop a scant cup of chocolate chips. Do not pack.
If you know some chocolate conversion factors, you may realize you just need to throw in the whole bag of chocolate chips. No need to measure at all.
For example, 12 ounces of chocolate chips equals 2 cups. Many brands of chocolate chips come in 12-ounce bags. It is a good idea to read the weight unit of each chocolate chip package.
What’s Up with Different Sized Measuring Cups and Spoons?
Just as chocolate chip brands have no industry size standard, international measuring spoons and cups vary too.
To give you an idea of how cups differ around the world …
- 1 US legal cup (used in nutrition labeling) = 240 mL
- 1 US standard cup (used in recipes) = 236.588 mL
- 1 international metric cup = 250 mL
- 1 imperial cup = 284.131 mL
Measuring spoons vary too.
The volume in milliliters for the tablespoon by country are:
- United States standard tablespoon: 14.79 mL
- United States legal tablespoon: 15 mL
- United Kingdom tablespoon: 17.76 mL
- Australia tablespoon: 20 mL
Australia’s tablespoon is quite a bit different. That is because Australia has 4 teaspoons in their tablespoon. Be aware of this if you use a recipe from Australia.
How to Measure Chocolate Chips by Count
The most time-consuming method to measure chocolate chips is to count them. I do not know a single baker who counts chocolate chips. And I cannot imagine any recipe that would list the number of chocolate chips you need.
However, it might be a fun and tasty thing to keep your kids occupied in the kitchen.
- Count the chocolate chips one by one. Line them up in piles of 5 or 10 to easily keep track of the count.
What Recipes Need Precision?
Many chocolate chip recipes do not require precise chocolate chip measurements. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip muffins, and hot chocolate are probably ok being a few grams off on chocolate chips.
For example, extra chocolate chips will not affect the texture of a cookie the way too much flour will.
Handy Tips to Improve Your Baking
In addition to using a kitchen scale, here are a few other tips to improve your baking.
- UNDERSTAND essential food safety rules to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
- KNOW your oven, its true temperature, and hot spots. Learn how to calibrate an oven for more accurate recipe results.
- LEARN the common food substitutions in case you are out of a recipe ingredient.
- READ each recipe all the way through before you start cooking. Avoid surprises.
Now that you know how to measure chocolate chips like a pro, let the fun begin. You are ready to take on any chocolate chip recipe.