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Person sifting flour in a stand mixer sifting attachment

How to Sift Flour

Sifting flour is a crucial step in baking by breaking up clumps and aerating the flour. There are many ways to sift flour, including with a sifter or strainer, that allow your flour to sift smoothly into your mixing bowl. Read more to learn how to sift flour to make your batter smoother and more consistent.

 Flour in a measuring cup on a scale

When Should You Sift Flour?

The wording of the recipe will help you determine when to sift the flour. If the recipe doesn’t specifically call for sifting flour, don’t sift it. Language like “1 cup sifted flour” means to sift the flour first, then measure it. “1 cup flour, sifted” means to measure the flour, then sift it once measured.

How to Sift Flour with a Sifter

Follow these steps to learn how to sift flour with a sifter.

Tools
  • Mixing bowl

  • Hand crank sifter 

  • Kitchen scale

  • Spoon

  • Measuring cups

Ingredients
  • Flour

Step 1: Get Your Supplies Ready

Set out a scale, mixing bowl, sifter and all of your dry ingredients.

Step 2: Measure Out the Desired Amount of Flour and Add Flour to Sifter

If you have a kitchen scale, choose your weight unit (usually grams, though the recipe will specify). 

Using a spoon, scoop the desired amount of flour into the sifter until you reach the target weight.

Note: If your recipe calls for X cups of sifted flour, sift a large batch of flour and measure out your amount from that batch of sifted flour. If your recipe calls for X cups of flour, sifted, measure out only that amount and then sift that same amount.

Step 3: Remove any Visible Clumps

Take your spoon and gently break up visible clumps.

Step 4: Sift Flour

Hold your sifter over your mixing bowl.

Crank or gently tap the side of your sifter to gradually break up your ingredients. 

Continue until all flour has fallen into the bowl.

Step 5: Incorporate Flour into Batter

Add flour to other dry ingredients.

 Hand pouring flour into a sifting attachment on a stand mixer

Sifting Flour with a KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment

The best flour sifter is one that sifts and incorporates flour gradually into your mixing bowl. Follow these steps to learn how to sift flour with a sifter.

Tools
Ingredients
  • Flour

The KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment

Step 1: Attach the Sifter + Scale Attachment to Your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer

Make sure your mixer is turned off.

 

Remove your power hub cap and slide your attachment into place.

 

Make sure to tighten the hub screw to secure your attachment.

Flour being scooped into a bowl on the scale attachment

Step 2: Measure out the Desired Amount of Flour and Add Flour to Sifter

Turn on the digital scale and choose the weight unit, usually grams (usually grams, though the recipe will specify).

 

Using a spoon, scoop the desired amount of flour into the ingredient hopper until you reach the target weight.

 

Make sure the ingredient valve is closed before adding flour.

Spatula breaking clumps of flour

Step 3: Remove any Visible Clumps

Take your spoon and gently break up visible clumps.

Flour being scooped into a bowl on the scale attachment

Step 4: Sift Flour

Turn on the stand mixer to the desired speed, and open the ingredient valve. 

 

Ingredients will be sifted and flow into the bowl at your desired speed. 

 

Once sifting is complete, gently tap the housing and then the chute to release all residual ingredients.

A close up of a mixer bowl

Step 5: Incorporate Flour into Batter

The Sifter + Scale Attachment and mixer will incorporate the flour for you.

Two bowls of flour on two scales

How to sift flour without a sifter

Find out how to sift flour without a sifter using common kitchen tools.

Tools
  • Fine mesh strainer 

  • Whisk 

  • Sieve 

  • Colander 

  • Fork

Ingredients
  • Flour

Step 1: Measure out your desired amount of flour 

Use a kitchen scale to weigh out flour.

Step 2: Pour flour into mixing bowl and whisk 

Aerate flour by gently whisking the flour with short, quick movements. A fork will also work. 

If using a sieve, colander or strainer, pour the flour into the strainer and tap gently over your bowl.

Step 3: Incorporate flour into batter

Add sifted flour to other ingredients per your recipe.

Knowing how and when to sift flour will help you achieve your desired results in baking. Read the recipe carefully and measure flour per recipe instructions.

Rows of cupcakes in front of a KitchenAid® stand mixer

Why Sift Flour Before Use?

If a recipe requires sifted flour, it means a more aerated flour is required with no lumps. Sifting reduces lumps and makes mixing ingredients easier. The result is smoother, more uniform batter. Flour that hasn’t been sifted can make delicate baked goods like angel food cake or a Mother's Day cake too dense, hence why sifting flour is important.

 Two measuring cups filled with flour

How Do You Measure Flour for Sifting?

It’s best to measure dry ingredients by weight. Learn how to measure sifted flour with a few kitchen tools.

Tools
  • Mixing bowl 

  • Parchment paper

  • Measuring cups 

  • Spoon 

  • Kitchen knife 

  • Kitchen scale

Ingredients
  • Flour

Step 1: Sift flour onto parchment paper or into a bowl 

For sifted flour, sift a batch of flour over a large piece of parchment paper or into a bowl. 

For flour, sifted, skip this step, and sift after measuring.

Step 2: Spoon the flour onto kitchen scale 

Spoon flour from parchment paper or bowl onto scale.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, spoon flour directly into measuring cups and scrape a knife across the top to remove excess flour.

Step 3: Weigh your flour 

Add flour to scale until desired amount has been reached.

Step 4: Add sifted flour to recipe

If you’re sifting after measuring, sift flour and then add to other ingredients per recipe.

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