The world of cooking is an industry like any other, meaning it has its own terms that are not used much outside of the kitchen.
There’s another term that is gaining popularity and confusing many home chefs, which is a scant cup. So what is it?
A scant cup is a cup of dry ingredients that doesn’t exactly reach a cup. For example, a scant cup could be a full cup minus a teaspoon or so, although it’s generally not that specific.
If you have ever used a measuring cup to measure out some flour and realize that you still need to put one or two spoonfuls of flour into the cup to make it an exact cup, then that would be a scant cup.
What is a Scant Cup?
A scant cup is a term used for an unspecified amount of a dry ingredient that equals less than a full cup. It is not a precise measurement.
So, if a recipe calls for a scant cup, then you know that exact measurements aren’t important to the recipe and you can usually freestyle how much or how little a seasoning or ingredient goes into the recipe.
However, baking often requires the exact measurements. A brownie recipe will not use the term scant cup. Instead, the person writing the brownie recipe would use the exact measurements, like 3/4 cup plus three tablespoons.
How to Know if You Have A Scant Cup
When you measure out a full cup of anything, like rice or flour or sugar, fill it up to the top until it piles up. Then take a knife and scrape off the excess to have a level cup.
But when you have a scant cup, this is usually when the cup is not overflowing the first place and doesn’t quite reach the top of the cup.
Where Does the Word “Scant” Come From?
The word “scant” in general means barely sufficient or adequate.
The word scant is used in a variety of phrases, and those phrases do not have to be related to cooking or measuring.
Here is an example sentence: He pays scant attention to his dogs, meaning that the owner doesn’t pay enough attention to his animals.
When it is used in a non-cooking sentence, it is used with a negative connotation.
The word “scant” has been in use in the English vernacular for over 550 years. The first recorded use of scant is the 14th century. It was used as an adjective just like it can be used today.
Along with the word scant, there is also the word scanty. Scanty is an adjective, meaning limited or less efficient.
Don’t forget that you can attach the word scant to other types of cooking utensils. You can use the words scant tablespoon, scant liter, or a scant ½ cup.
When Should You Not Use the Word Scant?
As we stated above, scant is a general word that should not be used or will not be used with precise measurements. There’s also no need to use the word scant when measuring things in weight.
You cannot have a serving of chicken that is 302 scant grams. There’s no way to have an exact measurement and barely enough of that measurement.
Conclusion to a Scant Cup
A scant cup is a general word that means barely enough of a cup. You can also use the word scant tablespoon or scant teaspoon.
Recipes that use the word scant do not require exact ingredients. You will see the word scant in cooking recipes more than baking recipes. Baking recipes requires exact ingredients.