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Adjustable Measuring Cups

A good adjustable measuring cup can be indispensable when measuring messy, semisolid ingredients such as mayonnaise and honey. We evaluated four cups to find the best one.


Published Oct. 15, 2020. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Bake Sale Favorites

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What You Need To Know

Adjustable measuring cups are an old standby. We often use them in the test kitchen to measure and dispense semisolid ingredients that can be a hassle to manage, such as corn syrup or mayonnaise. Instead of struggling to scrape every last bit of these gloppy foods out of a traditional liquid or dry measuring cup, we simply fill the adjustable cup’s barrel to a specified volume marking, turn the cup over, and press down on the plunger when we're ready to dispense. The plunger scrapes out the ingredient, and one additional swipe of a rubber spatula over the plunger is all that is needed to empty the measuring cup completely.

We’ve recommended the same adjustable measuring cup for years, but we’ve received comments suggesting that our favorite model can crack and that its measurement markings can wear off if users aren’t careful. A few more brands have also introduced models, so it was time to retest. We assembled a lineup of four products, ranging in price from about $11 to about $24, and used them to measure peanut butter, shortening, honey, and molasses. Throughout our testing, we noted how they performed and how easy they were to clean. To gauge their versatility, we also measured water and flour. We tested their durability by washing them, repeatedly pushing their plungers back and forth, and dropping them on the floor from counter height. We were looking for a measuring cup that was not only easy to operate and clean but also accurate, dependable, and durable.

Can You Count on These Cups?

The cups in our lineup were all accurate and operated similarly. Each cup consisted of a clear plastic barrel with measurement markings and a plunger insert. Each plunger insert had a cylindrical base on one end that we gripped to push the plunger through the barrel and a gasket on the other end that squeegeed (and dispensed) ingredients as the plunger made its way through the barrel. The advantage of dispensing sticky ingredients with these cups was easy to see: There was no need to waste time or effort scraping them clean as we would when using a liquid or dry measuring cup, since the rubber gaskets were mostly doing that for us. Even though all the models left faint trails of residue behind after dispensing most ingredients, the amounts were insignificant.

Despite their relatively consistent performance, the cups were designed differently, and that affected how easy they were to use. Three of the models are virtually identical, with small tabs on the insides of the barrels and spiral tracks etched into the plungers’ sides; as we pushed the plungers through the barrels, the tabs slid along the tracks, resulting in a twisting motion. We...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Chase Brightwell

Chase is an associate editor for ATK Reviews. He's an epidemiologist-turned-equipment tester and biscuit enthusiast.