Glass vs. Metal – Which Measuring Cup is Best?

If you want to perfect your recipes, getting your hands on the best measuring cups is a must. You might be searching for a replacement for your old set of measuring cups, or you could be in the market for your first set ever. It’s also recommended that a busy cook or chef have two sets of measuring tools in stock, just so they can get their work done without any pausing to wash and dry.

Whatever the reason is for getting a new set of measuring cups, the fact remains that it’s a somewhat intimidating task. There are so many choices out there, especially if you’re checking out options online. You have the expensive sets from high-end brands, angled versus straight designs, and all sorts of materials to choose from.

Once you have your budget and design in mind, though, the most difficult decision is probably about which material is best for your measuring cups. Glass and metal are the most food-safe options, so let’s discuss the pros and cons of both:

Two Types of Measuring Cups


Before we delve into the matter of which material is best for measuring cups, we should be aware of the two main types. When we’re baking or cooking, we’re mostly working with two kinds of ingredients; wet and dry. For example, baking a cake requires dry ingredients such as flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sugar. Its wet ingredients might include the eggs, milk, buttermilk, etc.

In order to get an accurate measurement of each ingredient, we need to have measuring cups for each type. Dry measuring cups are the kind that comes in sets; you have four or six cups ranging from a quarter-cup to a full cup. The measurement for each cup is usually printed or etched on its handle. These are the sort of cups that you can find in plastic, steel, copper, ceramic, and even glass versions.

Wet measuring cups are more like jugs; they have measurement markings on their side. Most designs also have a handle and spout to facilitate pouring. Their material is usually clear, with Glass, acrylic, and plastic being the most common options.

Where to Buy
13 Piece Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons Set, Stainless Steel 7 Measuring Cups and 6 Measuring Spoons, Stackable, By Laxinis World
OXO Good Grips Measuring Cups with Magnetic Snaps, Stainless Steel
Stackable Measuring Cups (Jade)
Kolder Mini Measure Heavy Glass, 20-Incremental Measurements Multi-Purpose Liquid and Dry Measuring Shot Glass, Green
Pyrex Prepware 2-Quart Glass Measuring Cup


Reasons to Get Metal Measuring Cups


If you’re on the lookout for measuring cups made of some form of metal, you’d usually find stainless steel and copper versions. The latter usually have a stainless steel interior with copper plating or a copper finish giving them that warm, shiny appearance.

Both steel and copper have similar benefits that make them superior to most other materials for dry measuring cups. First of all, the metal makes for a very durable option. If you buy high-quality metal cups and maintain them well, they might even last a lifetime and be passed down to the next generation.

Second, metal is generally considered a food-safe option. We don’t have to worry about the material being BPA-free or avoid using it with hot food. Plastic might give us some worries in this regard, but not metal.

Third, plastic and other similar materials tend to absorb odor of the ingredients they’re measuring. They could also stain easily and lose their original appearance even with regular washing. With steel or copper measuring cups, you don’t run these risks.

Fourth, the measurements for metal measuring cups are usually etched into the material on their handles. This means that they won’t rub off like the printed ones. This increases the longevity of the item and increases its value.

Downsides of Using Metal Measuring Cups


Even with all the advantages of using metal for measuring cups, it’s still essential to consider the potential downsides.

The biggest disadvantage of these cups is the maintenance issue. If you don’t feel up to hand washing your measuring cups every time you use them, they might not be the best option for you. Not every stainless steel or copper measuring cup set is dishwasher-safe. Even if the manufacturer or vendor says that you can throw the cups in the dishwasher, it’s best not to take any chances.

Furthermore, metal measuring cups are very prone to scratches if you’re not very careful with them. Scratches are not just unsightly, but they also lead to rusting and provide a place to harbor bacteria. This could be a health risk, so it’s important to replace these cups when they get scratched.

If we do end up choosing metal measuring cups, it’s probably best to look for options that are made from a single piece. Rivets, soldered parts, and welded designs will have several places for unhealthy bacteria to grow, so you don’t want to take such a chance.

Another factor to look out for is the heaviness and heft of the cups themselves. You want cups that can sit by themselves on the counter without falling to the side. This feature will make it much easier to pour ingredients inside if required.  Getting a known brand like OXO Good Grips might help you avoid quality issues.

Reasons to Get Glass Measuring Cups


Glass measuring cups usually mean the liquid measuring cups. However, you might be able to get the dry measuring cups in a material known as Jadeite glass. These are not too common, though, so it’s more logical to just consider the liquid measuring cup as the glass option.

In either case, the advantages of using glass measuring cups are quite evident. Like metal, Glass couldn’t absorb either odors or colors from the ingredients they’re measuring.

What’s even better is that unlike metal, glass measuring cups are not prone to rusting or scratching. They’re also much easier to clean than either metal or plastic, so you won’t get that bothersome cloudiness after a few uses.

The markings on glass measuring cups are usually bold and clear. If you get a quality cup or set, its markings are also unlikely to fade even after multiple washings.

There are now several different versions of liquid measuring cups made from Glass. You can even get a kind of shot glass measuring tool for accurate teaspoon and tablespoon amounts.

Downsides of Using Glass Measuring Cups


There are some obvious downsides of using glass measuring cups. The most worrisome one is that they can easily break when handled roughly. We can’t take a chance on dropping them, so one has to stay alert and extremely careful when using them. Glass might also shatter when its temperature changes quickly, so this choice may not be the best for hot ingredients.

Another major downside of using glass measuring cups is that the high-quality models are usually quite heavy. Their weight might make it difficult to lift and pour the ingredients, especially if someone is already suffering from issues like arthritis or rheumatism.

The highest standard of liquid measuring cups is the Pyrex brand, though there are several other great options available too. Pyrex glass is sturdy and can withstand extreme temperatures as well, so you can use it for any kind of ingredient.


While the discussion for the best measuring cups material might go on, it’s evident that the different types of cups call for different materials. If you want the top tools for measuring wet ingredients, a glass or Pyrex measuring cup is probably the best choice. For measuring dry ingredients, a steel or copper measuring cup set will be the safest and healthiest tool.

Some seasoned bakers and chefs might disagree with the materials we’ve chosen, but it all comes down to personal preference. If a certain material works for you, go for it. As long as your recipes turn out as they should, no one’s complaining.