Person sifting flour in a stand mixer sifting attachment

How to Sift Flour for All Your Baking Needs

A sifter is the easiest way to sift flour, but a strainer or colander will work too. Pour the flour into the strainer, tap gently and watch the flour slowly sift through the strainer and into your mixing bowl. This process lightens the flour after it has been packed down in a bag, removing clumps and getting it ready for baking. 

Sifting flour makes batter smoother and more consistent, eliminating large bits of debris that could make baked goods dense or uneven in both taste and texture.

 Flour in a measuring cup on a scale

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, (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

How to Sift 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

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.

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, (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 four.

Step 3: Remove any visible clumps 

  • Take your spoon and gently break up visible clumps.

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.

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 too dense, hence why sifting flour is important.

KitchenAid® Stand Mixer with a sifting attachment

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.

 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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