Sift Flour Without a Sifter

From My wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Many recipes call for sifted flour, but what if you don't have a flour sifter around? Sifting serves multiple purposes (aerating the flour particles so they absorb liquid more evenly, standardizing the density of the flour so it can be measured accurately, and distributing dry ingredients throughout the flour) so it's something you don't want to skimp on. Fortunately, sifting flour without a sifter is something that is actually pretty easy to do. Just follow one of the methods below.


  1. Measure out the amount of flour you need and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add the other dry ingredients to the top of the flour pile, as sifting combines the ingredients very well, and catches any clumps that have stuck together (e.g. baking soda, cocoa, salt, etc.).

    • Skip this step if the recipe says "X cups of sifted flour". That means you need to measure the flour after it's sifted, so adding the dry ingredients at this point will throw off the measurement. If it says "X cups of flour, sifted" then you can add the dry ingredients now (because it's essentially saying to measure first, then sift).[1]
  3. Sift the flour using one or more of the following methods:

    • Shaking - Gently shake the bowl to introduce air into the flour.
    • Soup spoons - Lightly lift the flour mixture up into the air and let it drop back into the bowl, as if you were tossing a salad. This is an effective way to bring some air to the flour when you do not have a sifter.
    • Fork and strainer - Stir your flour with a fork, then use a mesh strainer or a pasta colander to sift the flour.
    • Whisk - Whisk the flour using a wire whisk or a fork. As a result, the flour gets fluffy and aerated.
  4. Measure out the flour again if the recipe calls for it (if it says "X amount of sifted flour" not "X amount of flour, sifted"). Now that the density of the flour is consistent, you will get a more accurate measurement. Add the dry ingredients after measuring and sift again to distribute.
  5. Put a measure cup in a large bowl to help catch the flour that misses the cup. Scoop flour from the sack. Shake the scoop to slowly let the flour "snow" down into the measure from about a foot above. Use the top edge of a table knife to scrape off the flour piled over the edge of the measure cup.


  • If you keep flour in a plastic bin or any other air-tight container, you may just need to give it a quick shake before opening to unsettle the flour. Just a couple of shakes will make the flour lighter and easier to work with.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Colander or mesh strainer
  • Spoons
  • Wire whisk or a fork
  • Bowl

Related Tips and Steps