# Quick, how many cups in 5 lbs of flour?

angelaidDecember 12, 2007

I'm trying to find compact storage containers for flour, sugar, corn meal, stuff like that. I need to know how many cups are in the 5 lb bags.

What do you store your dry goods in?

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kayjones
1. Get a clear bucket with a lid, such as what a gallon of ice cream comes in.
December 12, 2007 at 1:08PM
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bestlawn

After Kayjones' answer, I think I need to know also.

1 cup = 8oz
2 cups = 16oz
1 lb = 16ox
2 cups per pound
5 x 2 = 10 cups in a 5lb bag

What am I doing wrong?

December 12, 2007 at 1:14PM
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kayjones

Probably you are right - I just entered her question into google and that's what came up.

December 12, 2007 at 1:15PM
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kayjones

Check out WikiAnswers - it also says 20 cups if I read it correctly.

How many cups of flour is in a 5 lb bag?

Four cups of flour equal 1 lb., so there are 20 cups of flour in a 5 lb. bag.
Also, two cups of sugar equal 1 lb., so there are 10 cups of sugar in a 5 lb. bag.

December 12, 2007 at 1:18PM
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angelaid

Now I'm even more confused... LOL

Four cups of flour equal 1 lb., so there are 20 cups of flour in a 5 lb. bag.
Also, two cups of sugar equal 1 lb., so there are 10 cups of sugar in a 5 lb. bag.

December 12, 2007 at 1:21PM
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bestlawn

Angela, I calculated based on a fluid ounce cup. But dry foods don't weight the same and have a different rate of settling. I just found that on the net. I never did understand why a cup is not a cup is not a cup. LOL

So, sugar settles less than flour and therefore has greater volume. That's the difference in Kayjones' answer, which is 20.

December 12, 2007 at 1:27PM
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lynn_d

Ounces in volume, which is what a measuring cup measures (volume) is not the same as ounces for weight.

December 12, 2007 at 1:27PM
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nodakgal

Fill it as full as you can.
Put the rest of bag in pantry or freezer for flour.

I don't have a clue what it holds! I'd say it must be close to the 20 cups.

You'd laugh if you saw my canisters. They are the old Owens-Illinois Green depression glass close to these.
They don't hold large amounts!

Here is a link that might be useful: Green canisters

December 12, 2007 at 1:28PM
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bearcat_va

3 1/2 cups of Flour equal a pound. So 17 1/2 cups of flour equal 5 pounds.

December 12, 2007 at 1:29PM
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bearcat_va

Here's a good conversion chart link and it tells you the weight conversion for flour and sugar.

Here is a link that might be useful: conversion chart

December 12, 2007 at 1:30PM
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talley_sue_nyc

If you were cooking, I would say: get a scale. W/ that large an amount, and considering that flour can chance a recipe drastically, I wouldn't want to count on the concept that I had sifted the flour the same way the folks who did the chart, did.

But for storage, the chart should work well enough. And you should decide, do you want to hold exactly 5 lb, or do you want it to hold the little bit left over before it runs out, AND the 5 lb?

if you go for exactly 5 lb, you don't have to worry that the flour at the bottom might never get used up. But you'll have to wait until it's all used up to put in the new bag.

December 12, 2007 at 1:34PM
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hayjud_mn

I have a ten pound sack here and the side of the bag says there are 151 servings (1/4 cup servings)

divide 151 by 4 and you get 37 cups.

Divide that in half for a five pound bag and you get (rounded up) 19 cups.

So I say 19 cups in a five pound bag.

December 12, 2007 at 1:49PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Check out WikiAnswers - it also says 20 cups if I read it correctly.
How many cups of flour is in a 5 lb bag?
Four cups of flour equal 1 lb., so there are 20 cups of flour in a 5 lb. bag.
Also, two cups of sugar equal 1 lb., so there are 10 cups of sugar in a 5 lb. bag.

Now I'm really lost...aren't 5 LB bags of flour and sugar both about the same size?

I probably won't rest until I measure them both out for myself. This has me stumped for sure.

Sue

December 12, 2007 at 3:21PM
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angelaid

I'm thinking the same thing Sue! LOL
Post the results if you get them before I do!

December 12, 2007 at 3:25PM
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bestlawn

The size of the bag is insignificant. They are both generally the same size because 5lbs is 5lbs. However, it took about 20 cups of flour to fill that 5lb bag but only 10 cups of sugar to fill it.

I'm saying about 20 cups because every website (5 or 6 that I checked) is slightly different. Just got off the phone with Gold Medal. They say "just over 17 cups." Some of the websites say that, too.

But, please understand the size of the bags would be roughly the same for sugar and flour. They are weighed by volume up to the desired number of pounds. Think of it in terms of sugar being granules, and you can hold just one in your hand. But, can you hold just one granule of flour? Nope, because there are no granules. It's really just a powdery substance and much smaller than a granule of sugar. Therefore, look at like filling a bag with oranges and a bag with walnuts. Wouldn't it take a heck of lot more walnuts to fill that same size bag? And wouldn't it take a heck of lot more walnuts to amount to 5lbs?

December 12, 2007 at 4:00PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Well, I do have an unopened bag of sugar and can measure that, but much to my disappointment, I don't have a full bag of flour handy. I found that out last night when I wanted to make some home made yeast cinnamon rolls.

Maybe someone else here has a full bag of flour and is curious enough to take the time to make a mess of measuring it....hint, hint

Sue

December 12, 2007 at 4:02PM
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lynn_d

The thing with measuring flour by volume, Sue, is that there can still be several different answers depending upon on how well packed the measuring cup is. That is why a 5# bag of flour is roughly the same size as that of sugar, they have it fairly well packed. We add air when we open it and dump that flour into a canister so it takes up more room unless we tap the container to remove the air.

December 12, 2007 at 4:28PM
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Dolly1971

I just looked at the serving size on the bag of flour(1/4 cup), then approx. how many servings per bag(75) and since there are 4- 1/4 cups in a whole cup, I divided 75 by 4. Approx. 18.75 cups in 5 LB of flour :)

December 23, 2011 at 10:01AM
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Larry Eagan

Just some thoughts. I design packaging machines for the food industry for a living. Here is what I can tell you based on the original question.

The problem here is

a) people confuse units of weight and units of volume easily because many of the English Standard units use the same for both. It works when you measure water, because that is the underlying assumption. When you have something else with a different bulk density and you are measuring volume, the same "stuff" doesn't look right any more.

b) different flours even have different bulk densities. Whole wheat is different than oat flour, is different than rice flour, etc.

To answer the question, most US multi-purpose flour is 35 lbs/cu ft. So...

There are 16 cups in a gallon and 7.48052 gallons in a cubic foot. So 119.68832 cups in a cubic foot. Divide this by 35 lbs/cu ft means there are typically ~ 3.42 cups per pound of Multi-purpose flour or 17.1 cups per 5 pound bag.

If you measure it by hand, it's more likely to be ~18 cups because of filling error and the fact that most manufacturer's slightly overfill their bags because they don't want to wind up in trouble for filling short.

So, the best answer is...there are usually 18 cups in a 5 lb. bag of flour, but could be more or less for different flour types.

March 19, 2015 at 8:15AM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Haha, bumping this thread 7 years later isn't the quick answer that was requested.

March 19, 2015 at 8:23AM
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Lindsey_CA

But, Snidely, useful information is always useful. :-)

March 19, 2015 at 4:53PM
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gyr_falcon

none. I don't store my cups in my flour. :P

March 19, 2015 at 8:03PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

"But, Snidely, useful information is always useful."

Yes, but there's no useful information in this thread. Lots of un-useful information.

A search for - cups 5lbs flour - answers the question. Or, measuring or holding up the flour bag and comparing its dimensions to storage containers also answers the question.

Try finding this thread in a month (unlikely) but if you do, I'd still recommend doing a search.

March 19, 2015 at 8:17PM
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jemdandy

8oz to a cup is a fluid measure, basically the weight of one cup of water. That does not necessarily apply to flour. Flour weighs less than water, and the density of flour can vary. it weighs the most when it is settled and compacted. Fluff it up by sifting and it may weigh slightly less. You'll have to do the measurements to find out.

First, place an empty measuring cup on a food scale, note its weight, and then fill with flour and weigh again. The difference in the two weights is the weight of one cup of flour.

If your scale has a zero adjust with enough range to tare the cup, place the empty cup on the scale and zero it, then proceed as before. When you weigh the cup of flour, the weight of the cup has been adjusted for and the reading will the only the flour. This method eliminates the math and is more accurate since on;y one measurement is needed.

If you are lucky, the weight of one cup of flour may be on the label, or the label may give the volume of its contents.

Sometimes, recipes get mixed up and the author may state use 8 fl oz of an ingredient when was was meant was a volume measurement of one cup. Confusing weight with volume is a problem.

March 19, 2015 at 10:28PM
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Lindsey_CA

Some things just fly over your head, Snidely. I wasn't commenting on the usefulness of any info provided in the responses. I was simply saying that it doesn't matter how old a discussion thread is if there is information that a new viewer might find useful and helpful. (Including the suggestion to do a Google search for answers.)

March 19, 2015 at 10:31PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

There's a practical convention followed in most forums that suggests the resurrecting of old threads is rarely if ever a good idea. That's something I agree with. Sorry if my views aren't acceptable to you, knowing that will keep me up tonight.

March 19, 2015 at 10:43PM
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joyfulguy

I don't agree that a 10 lb. bag of flour is equal in size to a 10 lb. bag of sugar - I think that it's larger.

o j

March 20, 2015 at 3:50PM
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sushipup1

But there aren't 5 pound bags anymore! Now flour is sold in 4# bags!

March 20, 2015 at 4:29PM
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joyfulguy

Didn't the person who brought this thread from 2011 to now add some relevant information?

o j

March 21, 2015 at 11:20AM
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Sue_va

Just couldn't resist this. This thread is old, but this catalog isn't.
http://www.starcrest.com/product/kitchen/storage+and+containers/floursugarcontainereach.do
And of course we know about the 5lb/4lb thing. But after you use a couple cups of flour, what difference does that make?
Sue

March 21, 2015 at 4:21PM
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