The Best Flour Sifters, According to the Pros

As a former bakery owner, you’d think I’d be tired of baking, but that’s not the case at all. I bake multiple times each week for various reasons. And for me, that means I spend a lot of time sifting flour. Sifting flour is an easy and important step that improves your baked goods on nearly every level. Francoise Vielot, OXO’s Senior Global Category Director, agrees, saying, “As flour sits in your pantry, it clumps together. Sifting and aerating your flour ensures that the flour is light and fluffy, which helps it mix more evenly with both wet and dry ingredients.”

So how do you know which flour sifter is right for your needs? If you bake in large batches, you’ll want to use a sifter with greater capacity. If you prefer a more ergonomic approach, you might opt ​​for a squeeze handle instead of a crank. As with most things to do with baking, it can be a personal preference. Ahead, you can find the best flour sifters on the market, including our top pick: the Bellemain Stainless Steel Flour Sifter.


Our Top Picks


Best Overall: Bellemain Stainless Steel Flour Sifter

Courtesy of Amazon


Pros: It has a hand crank operation, holds up to three cups of flour, and features measurement markings.

Cons: Some report having to fiddle with the screen to ensure it’s attached to the unit.

This flour sifter stands out from the rest because it has measurement markings, a three-cup capacity (perfect for a batch of chocolate chip cookies), and is built to last decades. If you baked with your mother or grandmother when you were a kid, chances are good they used a sifter similar to this one. Something is comforting about the old-school design and classic crank-style operation. This unit also works well when topping desserts with confectioners’ sugar. In all, this is what you want your flour sifter to be — solid, comfortable to use, and reliable.

  • Material: stainless steel
  • Capacity: 3 cups
  • Dishwasher-Safe: No


Best Squeeze Handle: Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Squeeze Flour Sifter

Courtesy of Amazon


Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Pros: All the sifting takes place using one hand only, so you can use the other to mix.

Cons: Squeezing the handle might be difficult for some users.

This squeeze-handled flour sifter only requires one hand to operate smoothly, so you can use the other to stir the batter. It’s made from stainless steel and features a mesh screen that removes clumps and slowly releases the flour into the bowl. It holds up to three cups of flour, like our favorite pick above, and is suitable with all types of flour, including coconut and gluten-free. This style of sifter isn’t the best choice for those with limited hand strength, but it’s an excellent option if you want to multitask.

  • Material: stainless steel
  • Capacity: 3 cups
  • Dishwasher-Safe: No


Best Mini: OXO Good Grips Baker’s Dusting Wand

Courtesy of Amazon


Also available at Sur La Table.

Pros: It’s ideal for small tasks and is easy to store.

Cons: Even for small tasks, you might have to refill a few times.

This dusting wand will make your life easier, whether you’re garnishing a cake, adding flour to your countertop to roll out sticky dough, or sprinkling cinnamon sugar or cocoa to the tops of donuts, lattes, pancakes, and rugelach. If you’re a serious baker who enjoys making intricate designs on desserts, this tool enables you to zero in on small areas. Its compact size fits nicely into small canisters of flour and sugar, so you scoop the right amount, and it stores neatly in your utensil drawer.

The wand features soft non-slip handles, a comfy thumb rest, and a flat side so you can rest your dusting wand on the counter without it rolling around. Although it’s not a full-sized flour sifter for large quantities, it does come in handy in many other ways.

  • Material: stainless steel
  • Capacity: 1–2 tablespoons
  • Dishwasher-Safe: No


Best Large Capacity: Norpro Hand Crank Sifter

Courtesy of Amazon


Pros: It’s ideal for large-batch baking and is very easy to use and clean.

Cons: Flour might get stuck when sifting large quantities at once.

A big sifter is needed to tackle big loaves of bread and countless batches of holiday cookies, and this one from Norpro can handle all the large tasks thanks to its eight-cup capacity. It’s a crank-style sifter, so it’s very easy to operate, and it stays in good condition as long as you handwash and dry it after each use. It’s important to note that when sifting larger batches, the flour can get stuck. If that happens, simply tap the gadget against the side of the bowl to get things moving again.

  • Material: stainless steel
  • Capacity: 8 cups
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes


Best Electric: Norpro Battery Operated Sifter

Courtesy of Amazon


Also available at Walmart.

Pros: It sifts flour at the press of a button, requiring zero effort on your part.

Cons: The batteries aren’t included.

If you prefer battery-operated gadgets instead of manual ones, this is the sifter for you. Unlike some electric kitchen tools, this sifter’s design is very straightforward, so you can start using it right away. Simply add one C battery, and then start sifting with the press of a button. There is a quirk in this sifter that might complicate your ability to process several cups of flour at a time. The basket is a bit small, so we suggest adding just a few cups at a time rather than the maximum capacity of five.

  • Material: plastic
  • Capacity: 5 cups
  • Dishwasher-Safe: No


Our Favorite

We named the Bellemain Stainless Steel Flour Sifter as our winner because of its simple operation thanks to its crank-style design and helpful measurement markings (up to three cups), so you don’t even have to use your measuring cups. It’s well-constructed and designed to last for years.


Factors to Consider

Design

There are four different types of flour sifters: crank-style, squeeze-handled, handheld, and battery-operated. The traditional option is a crank-style sifter, where all you have to do is rotate the knob. The only downfall to this model is that it requires both hands, while squeeze-handled designs only need one. However, the squeezing motion can be hard on some people’s joints. For small tasks, a handheld wand is a great choice, and for extreme ease of operation, you can reach for a sifter that works at the press of a button.

Capacity

The right capacity for you depends on what you tend to bake. If you’re whipping up large batches of cookies or baking bread often, opt for a sifter with a five- to eight-cup capacity. For typical cookie and cake recipes, a three-cup capacity is ideal. And if you simply need a dusting of flour or sugar, go for a handheld wand that holds a couple of tablespoons at a time.

Maintenance

Always look at the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, but the best way to clean sifters is by handwashing because it helps prevent the tool from getting rusty. Some people simply tap their sifters firmly on a rag to loosen any flour that’s sticking to the edges or only give it a quick rinse. Since these aren’t units with many moving parts, they’re generally easy to care for and store.


Pro Panel Q+A

What is the purpose of sifting flour?

When you sift flour, you use a device with a screen to filter through your flour before you bake. On the most basic level, you flatten any clumps that could cause your baked goods to come out lumpy and uneven. So f you start sifting your flour, you’ll start to notice that your sponge cakes are spongier and your loaves of bread have more defined textures. Francoise Vielot, OXO’s Senior Global Category Director notes, “it’s important to sift flours that are prone to clumping like wheat or gluten-free flour.” But don’t worry if you don’t sift. “For most recipes, not sifting your flour won’t end in baking tragedy, but it could impact the texture of your baked good,” Vielot says.

Do you measure flour before or after sifting?

It’s best to sift first and measure after, according to Vielot. “Without sifting first, you’re more prone to over-measuring flour, which can thicken the texture of the final product,” she says. But don’t panic if you don’t have the exact amount every single time. Most recipes come with at least a small amount of wiggle room for ingredients like flour and sugar.

What can I use instead of a flour sifter?

In a pinch, a small strainer can help with sifting. Try weighing your flour first and then add bit by bit to the strainer. Use a butter knife to level out the flour and gently nudge it through the holes in the strainer.


Our Expertise

Former bakery owner Rachel Weingarten determined the best flour sifters based on her hands-on experience with a variety of models and her expert knowledge of bakeware. After consulting with another expert chef and bakery owner, she selected her favorite flour sifters on the market.

Leave a Comment