How To Use a Kitchen Scale: 5 Steps To Cooking Confidence!

Not a day goes by when someone isn’t pondering the mysteries of the kitchen. For those who love to cook or bake, precision is often the key to a perfect dish or dessert. You might find that using measuring cups isn’t always the most accurate method, especially for certain ingredients like flour, which can compact, or liquids that could spill over.

This is where a kitchen scale becomes your kitchen ally, making sure your ingredients are weighed to perfection for that foolproof recipe. You might be thinking that using a kitchen scale is just for professional chefs or seasoned bakers, but the truth is, it’s an incredibly useful tool for anyone who spends even a smidgen of time in the kitchen.

Whether you’re a cooking newbie or a professional chef, getting your hands on a kitchen scale can level up your kitchen game. In this article, we’ll break down the basics of how to use a kitchen scale, demystifying this often overlooked but indispensable kitchen gadget.

Measuring Cups vs Scales

Measuring Cups vs Scales

Measuring cups and kitchen scales serve the same purpose, measuring ingredients, but they do so in different ways. Measuring cups measure ingredients by volume, which means they capture how much space an ingredient takes up. Kitchen scales, on the other hand, measure by weight, indicating how heavy an ingredient is.

This distinction is crucial when it comes to precision, especially in tasks like baking, where even a minor deviation can alter the end result. Kitchen scales usually provide more accurate measurements than measuring cups.

Moreover, scales can easily switch between units like grams and ounces, offering greater versatility. If you’re aiming for accuracy and consistency in your cooking or baking, a kitchen scale is generally the better option.

Kitchen Scale Advantages

1. Precision is Key

One of the biggest advantages of using a digital kitchen scale is the high level of accuracy it offers. When you’re baking or cooking complex recipes, even a small mistake in measurement can mess things up. Digital scales give you precise measurements down to the gram.

2. Versatility in Units

Digital kitchen scales allow you to easily switch between different units of measurement like grams, ounces, and pounds. This feature is a lifesaver when you’re following international recipes that might not use the units you’re familiar with.

3. Portion Control

For those who are health-conscious, a digital kitchen scale can help in measuring exact portions of food. This is especially beneficial for those looking to lose weight or manage their nutrition better.

4. Reduced Kitchen Clutter

A digital scale enables you to measure multiple ingredients in one bowl by taring (zeroing out) the scale between each item. This not only saves time but also reduces the number of utensils you have to wash.

Step by Step Guide

Step by Step Guide

Step 1 – Set Up Your Kitchen Food Scale Properly

You’ve got your kitchen food scale, and you’re all set to start cooking. But wait, you need to set it up first. Place the scale on a flat, stable surface. No tilted tables or wobbly counters, okay? Now, here’s a term you’ll hear a lot: “tare.” Hitting the tare button zeroes out your scale.

So, if you’re using a mixing bowl, place it on the scale and press tare to ignore its weight. This way, you’re not doing math in your head while cooking. I recommend doing this every single time you add a new ingredient.

Step 2 – Always Use the Scale for Dry Ingredients

The first ingredient we’ll weigh is a cup of flour. Pop that mixing bowl on the scale and press the tare button to zero it out. Now, using a scoop, gently add your first ingredient into the bowl until the scale shows the right weight (let’s suppose flour is 120 grams). There is no guesswork, just accurate, precise measurements. You can thank your scale for baking for this level of precision.

Step 3 – Toggle Between Ounces and Grams

Many recipes will list ingredients in either ounces or grams. Don’t dirty another bowl for conversions, just toggle the unit on your scale. Most kitchen scales have a button that allows you to switch between ounces and grams easily. So, if your recipe calls for 8 ounces of butter, simply press the unit button until you see ‘oz’ on the scale’s display. I recommend sticking to the units listed in your recipe to maintain ingredient ratios.

Step 4 – Weigh Your Food for Perfect Serving Sizes

One of the brilliant things about learning to use a food scale is that it can help you control portions. If you need to divide a recipe into a certain number of servings, you can weigh your food to get it just right. So, if you’re making a dough that needs to be divided into 10 equal parts, first weigh the whole batch and then divide by 10. Now, you have the perfect serving size for each portion.

Step 5 – Minimize Dirty Dishes with Smart Tare Use

The last thing anyone wants is a pile of dirty dishes. Here’s where the tare function comes in handy again. Place your mixing bowl on the scale and hit the tare button. Add your first ingredient, then hit tare again. You can keep doing this for each new ingredient.

Because the scale zeroes out after each tare, you can confidently add multiple ingredients into the same bowl without messing up your ratios. This way, you keep the dirty dishes to a minimum while still getting a perfect blend of all your dry ingredients.

Maintenance Tips

1. Cleaning the Weighing Pan and Drip Tray

The first thing to consider is how to clean the most used parts of your kitchen scale—the weighing pan and the drip tray. I recommend turning off the balance display before getting into the cleaning process to avoid any accidental settings changes. Use a wet tissue to gently wipe down these areas. You should do this daily, if possible, to ensure that no residues affect the scale’s performance over time.

2. No Harsh Chemicals!

We all want a squeaky clean kitchen scale but hold off on the abrasive cleaners. These can scratch the surface of the scale and potentially interfere with its accuracy. I recommend using a damp cloth or wipes with a mild detergent if you have stubborn grime that won’t budge.

3. The Small Balance Brush Trick

Tiny particles or residues can easily stick to the corners and crevices of your kitchen scale. I recommend keeping a small balance brush handy for such situations. Gently brush away any particles that could affect the scale’s performance. This method is especially useful for those who often weigh ingredients like flour or spices that can easily get stuck.

4. Checking Calibration

For those who use their kitchen scale frequently or for tasks that require exact measurements, regular calibration is essential. Most modern digital kitchen scales have a calibration feature. All you need is a known weight. You can find plenty of tutorials online on how to calibrate different types of kitchen scales. I recommend doing this once a month to ensure your scale remains accurate.

5. Store it Right, Store it Tight.

Storage plays a huge role in maintaining the longevity of your kitchen scale. Humidity and temperature changes can affect its performance. I recommend storing it in a dry, cool place, away from other kitchen appliances that produce heat. Don’t stack anything heavy on top of it, as that could affect its calibration.

6. Battery Life Considerations

Don’t let a dead battery surprise you in the middle of a cooking session. If your kitchen scale runs on batteries, keep an eye on the battery level if it has an indicator, or simply make a mental note to replace them every few months. Some high-end scales even come with a rechargeable battery, so keep those charged up!


1. How Do I Turn On a Digital Kitchen Scale?

Turning on a digital kitchen scale usually involves pressing the “power” or “on” button. If you’ve never used a digital kitchen scale before, this will usually be clearly labeled. Once it’s on, the scale registers zero, preparing it for use.

2. What is the “Tare” Feature?

The “tare” feature zeroes out the weight of the container on the scale, so you only measure the weight of what you’re adding. To use it, place the container you’ll use on the weighing platform, then press the “tare” button. This resets the scale to zero, allowing you to add ingredients and get an accurate measurement.

3. How Do I Switch Between Units Like Grams and Ounces?

Most digital kitchen scales have a “unit” or “mode” button that allows you to switch between units like grams or ounces. This is especially useful if you’re new to baking and a recipe calls for measurements in a different unit than you’re used to.

4. Is It More Accurate to Use a Food Scale to Weigh Ingredients than Measuring Cups and Spoons?

Absolutely, using a food scale to weigh ingredients is generally more accurate than using measuring cups and spoons. Baking is a science, and small differences like 4 ounces instead of 1 cup can make a big difference in the final product. Plus, it’s much easier to measure tricky amounts like 8 fluid ounces or 12 ounces.

5. How to Maintain My Scale’s Accuracy?

The best way to maintain your scale’s accuracy is to periodically calibrate it. This can be done through built-in settings on most scales. Most brands have an easy calibration process. Regularly wiping down the scale and keeping it in a dry area also helps in maintaining its accuracy.

Final Thoughts

Learning to use a scale can significantly enhance your cooking and baking precision. If you’ve ever been confused by inconsistent recipe outcomes, a kitchen scale could be the solution. It’s as simple as placing your container on the scale, zeroing it out, and then adding your ingredient until the desired weight is reached.

Each time you add a different amount of a new ingredient, it’s crucial to bring the scale back to zero for the most accurate measurement. A scale isn’t just about replacing measuring cups; it’s about gaining the kind of accuracy that can make or break a recipe.

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2 months ago

Just stumbled upon this gem! As a casual cook, I never grasped the importance of precision until now. The step-by-step guide on kitchen scale use is a game-changer. The tare function? Genius. The versatility in units is a game-changer, making me reconsider my reliance on measuring cups. Excited to elevate my cooking precision!

2 months ago

This article sheds light on the underrated importance of kitchen scales, offering practical insights for both novice and experienced cooks. The comparison between scales and measuring cups is enlightening, emphasizing the precision scales provide. The step-by-step guide simplifies usage while maintenance tips ensure longevity. A pragmatic approach to culinary precision.

2 months ago

This article offers an insightful approach to utilizing a kitchen scale, emphasizing precision in cooking. It demystifies the process, making it accessible to all skill levels. The instructions, though thorough, lack flair, but the emphasis on portion control and reduced clutter is pragmatic. A helpful resource for aspiring cooks.

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