The best flour sifter
Home bakers know how important it is to follow recipes to a tee, so if a cookie or cake recipe calls for sifted flour, it's not something you should ignore. That's because flour has a habit of developing clumps, which can be a problem when you try to mix it in with wet ingredients. Using a flour sifter rids your flour of any lumps or particles that might ruin your cookie dough or cake batter. It has a mesh screen that the flour passes through and gives the flour a lighter overall consistency, which usually means tastier baked goods.
Our buying guide can arm you with all the information you need to find the best flour sifter for your next baking endeavor. We also include some specific recommendations, such as our top choice from Astra Gourmet, which holds up to three cups of flour and offers a simple squeeze design for easy operation.
Considerations when choosing flour sifters
Type of sifter
Flour sifters are available in manual and electric models. A manual sifter requires you to use your hand to squeeze or crank the sifter to get the flour to pass through the mesh. An electric flour sifter runs on batteries, which means you only have to turn a switch or press a button to sift your flour.
Electric flour sifters are easier to use and are an especially good option for bakers with arthritis or other hand issues, but they are more expensive than manual models.
Squeeze vs. crank
If you're opting for a manual flour sifter, you have to decide between a squeeze sifter or a crank sifter. With a squeeze sifter, you squeeze the handle to release the flour through the mesh screen. A crank sifter requires turning a crank to push the flour through.
In most cases, bakers with arthritis or hand injuries prefer a crank model because it doesn't require as much hand strength to operate as a squeeze sifter. The benefit of a squeeze sifter is that it allows for one-handed operation.
Plastic is typically the most affordable material but doesn't last as long as other sifters because it has a tendency to crack.
Aluminum doesn't crack like plastic, but it is prone to denting.
Stainless steel is the best material for a flour sifter because it's lightweight, durable, and doesn't rust. Stainless steel sifters are a little pricier.
The amount of flour a sifter can hold is especially important if you bake in large batches. Most models can hold anywhere from three to eight cups. For single batches of cookies or brownies, a three-cup sifter can work well. If you often make multiple batches of cookies at a time or bake large sheet cakes, opt for a larger capacity model so you can sift more efficiently.
Even if you know the capacity of your flour sifter, it's a good idea to opt for a model with measurement markings so you're always aware of how much you're sifting. Look for a sifter with the marks stamped on the inside and outside in case you forget to measure before you sift. Stamped markings hold up better to repeated washings, too.
If you want to make sure your flour is finely sifted, pay attention to its mesh screen. Screens are usually available in fine, medium, and large mesh, which determines how finely the flour is sifted and how much air is introduced to it.
When you're buying a manual flour sifter, its handle is a key feature to consider. It should be comfortable in your hand and allow you to get a good grip. Opt for a model with an ergonomically-designed handle to prevent hand discomfort and fatigue.
Flour isn't a particularly difficult ingredient to remove from surfaces, but it can leave a powdery film behind. You can usually just rinse it, though cleanup is even easier with a dishwasher-safe model.
Flour sifters cost between $5 and $42. Plastic or aluminum manual crank sifters typically go for $5 to $23, while manual squeeze sifters made of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel can range from $6 to $34. Electric sifters are the priciest option, costing between $13 and $42.
Q. Do all baking recipes require a flour sifter?
A. No, not every baked good necessarily benefits from sifting. Follow the recipe's guidelines -- if it calls for sifted flour, you may like your finished product better if you break out your sifter.
Q. What else can I use a flour sifter to sift?
A. Plenty of dry ingredients used in baking can benefit from sifting. You can run baking powder, baking soda, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and even salt through your sifter to get rid of clumps.
Flour sifters we recommend
Best of the best: Astra Gourmet's Stainless Steel Flour Sifter Sieve
Our take: An excellent sifter with an effective design that includes lids to limit the mess.
What we like: Features a durable, user-friendly design. Holds up to three cups of flour. Has top and bottom lids to prevent flour from seeping out and to make storage easier. Only need to pump the handle to sift. Offers an ergonomic handle.
What we dislike: Costs nearly double other sifters on the market.
Best bang for your buck: Norpro's Battery-Operated Sifter
Our take: An extremely efficient sifter that's ideal for anyone who bakes regularly and has trouble with crank sifters.
What we like: Electric model that sifts quickly and easily. Holds up to five cups of flour. Constructed with BPA-free plastic. Mesh sifting screen is made of durable stainless steel and is removable for cleaning.
What we dislike: Gap around the screen can allow some flour to fall through without being sifted.
Choice 3: ChefGiant's Eight-Cup Flour Sifter
Our take: For anyone who bakes in large quantities, this extra-large sifter can help you sift in a hurry.
What we like: Well-made and durable design that features stainless steel. Holds up to eight cups of flour, a much larger capacity than other sifters. Hand crank is easy to use. Has a fine mesh screen for fine sifting. Can also be used to sift sugar and other dry ingredients.
What we dislike: Doesn't include a lid. Larger capacity can make it more difficult to store.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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