Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Top 10 Best Flour Sifters for Aerating, Sifting, and Mixing

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When we think about the best flour sifters out there, most of us wax nostalgic about our grandparents using a cup-style sifter, often with a crank, sifting flour finely for sponge cakes, angel food, and other heavenly delights. With that in mind, today we’re going to share 10 of the best flour sifters on the market so that you can find your perfect quality sifter on your own and maybe even pass a little of that nostalgia on to your grandkids someday.

These sifters are perfect for aerating dry ingredients like flour and cocoa powder, ensuring your cake batter is light and fluffy

For each one, we’ll tell you a little about the dimensions, the pros and cons, and other useful info so that you can see what each model has to offer – or might be lacking. We’ll also cover some frequently asked questions about sifters and before we conclude, we’ll give you a detailed explanation of our favorites and what we liked about them.

Let’s talk about the best flour sifters and what you need to know about each of them to find the right one for YOU!

Our Top 3 picks at a glance

Before we get this show rolling in high gear, we know that some of our readers are skimming this with a cup of coffee and don’t have the time to check out everything that they might like. For those readers, we’ve got a sneak peek at our favorites and a quick synopsis of what we liked. That way, you can get the favs now and read the rest of the list (and a more detailed explanation of what we liked about these 3) at your leisure. Here were our favorite 3 flour sifters:

  • Best overall valueHULISEN 4 in 1 Baking set with 3 cup flour sifter – If you like to purchase your kitchen tools in sets, then this Hulisen 4 in 1 baking set is an excellent value. You’ll get a 3-cup stainless steel flour sifter marked with measurements and good at its job, but you’ll also get a pastry scraper, a dough blender, and a 5 piece biscuit cutter set. The ergonomic handle of the sifter ensures a comfortable grip, making it a good choice for home bakers. They’re nice quality and best of all, you get the set for around the price of a large pizza and that’s really hard to beat!
  • Most robust sifter – Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 5-Cup – Whether you like squeeze or crank style sifters, Mrs. Anderson has got you covered! These robust sifters are as sturdy as they come, so if you’ve got a lot of sifting to do then this is a nice flour sifter that you’re going to get a lot of happy mileage out of.
  • Easiest sifter for sensitive hands – Norpro Battery-Operated 5-cup Sifter – Arthritis and fibromyalgia can take all the fun out of baking. Even with a crank sometimes, you’ll end up paying for that work later, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With this Norpro battery operated 5-cup sifter you’ve got a powerful tool that puts all the focus on the sifting. It does the job nicely and you don’t need to charge it or worry about a leaky lithium battery, just pop in a standard AA battery and you are good to go for quite some time. It’s not fancy or particularly heavy on aesthetics, just a plain, white sifter that sifts like a workhorse.

How do flour sifters work?

One of the really cool things about those flour sifters that our grandparents liked to use is that they haven’t changed much, if at all. As they say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and so this time-tested design has been around for quite some time now. 

The original ‘crank style’ flour sifter which looks like a steel cup with a wooden-handled crank on the side was originally developed in 1819 by a man named Jacob Bromwell, although it wouldn’t actually be patented until 1930. His design worked by utilizing a single mesh screen and a set of 4 wire agitators that would scrape the flour into the mesh to sift it fine.

Fast-forward to today and we use EXACTLY the same thing – it’s practical, but it’s also really quite charming. 

The most common variant of this design are the ‘squeeze style’ sifters that you will sometimes see. Like the crank style, it looks like a sturdy, stainless steel cup, but with the squeeze models when you squeeze the handle, mechanical blades are employed to help break up clumps and to push the flour through the mesh.

Quite often with these sifters you’ll have 3 mesh layers, rather than one, but you should always check in the descriptions to make sure that you know what you are getting. While these squeeze sifters do great work, the squeezing can be a little stressful on your hands over time, so they aren’t always as popular as the crank variety.

Now that you know the basics of how these sifters work, let’s take a look at the sifters themselves and you can see which ones catch your eye!

The best flour sifters and what they bring to the table

In the sections below, we’ll tell you about 10 of the best flour sifters on the market today. For each entry, we’ll give you the exact dimensions, the associated features, and also a quick synopsis of what we liked and what we didn’t like. At the end of the article, we’ll give you a little more explanation on our favorites, as well, and you can see if you agree with our assessment.

If you’re ready, let’s take a look at those sifters!

1. ChefGiant 2.5 Cup Flour Sifter, Semi Automatic Small Baking Sieve

ChefGiant 2.5 Cup Flour Sifter, Semi Automatic Small Baking Sieve, Stainless Steel, Fine Mesh Sieve Flour Duster

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Our first sifter is this 2.5 cup ChefGiant Flour sifter which operates one-handed by squeezing and it’s a cute little sifter for small sifting jobs. Its fine mesh sieves are ideal for sifting small amounts of flour or cocoa powder, perfect for those special chocolate cakes.

The ChefGiant measures in at 6.06″L x 4.49″W x 4.13″H. and features measurements in grams stamped into the metal, as well as a Fine 16 mesh so that you’ll get satisfactory sifting. If you’d like a tiny, personal sifter for casual use, then it’s a nice little tool to have waiting in the kitchen.  

Pros:

Built solid and good at its job, the ChefGiant is a great fit for small sifting tasks and for whipping up small batches of your favorite baked treats. Some folks prefer the grams measurement, as well.

Cons:

While rated for 2.5 cups, you’ll want to put a bit less in there for the most efficient operation (a little over a cup is ideal). For volume sifting, you’ll definitely want a bigger cup, but it’s nice for small jobs.

2. Bellemain Stainless Steel 3-Cup Flour Sifter

Bellemain Stainless Steel 3 Cup Flour Sifter

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Our second sifter is this Bellemain Stainless Steel 3-cup which features a hand crank, so that you don’t tire your hands the way you might with a squeeze-sifter.  This stainless-steel sifter features a solid, well-made grip and a double-loop agitator that’s designed to scrape the mesh for more efficient sifting. 

The dimensions of this cup are 6.06″L x 5.63″W x 5.2″H and those measurements for the 3 cup capacity are stamped into the stainless steel. Since there are not multiple mesh layers, cleanup is also a breeze, and don’t let that hand-crank fool you into thinking it’s not heavy duty, either. Aside from sugars and light flours, you can also sift coarser bran or almond flours with ease!

Pros:

The Bellemain sifter is well-made and even comes with a lifetime warranty! As a stainless steel sifter, it’s a durable kitchen tool for both professional and first-time bakers, ensuring the best results every time.

We liked the look of it and the useful stamping of measurements, and for folks with sensitive hands or conditions like arthritis, the hand crank really is a fantastic alternative.   

Cons:

While it has a 3 cup capacity, filling it up completely and sifting can be a little messy, as the double loop agitates the flour and some can come out of the top. You can get around this by doing 1.5 or 1 cup at a time, but anything more can get a little messy.

3. Norpro 3-Cup Stainless Steel Rotary Hand Crank Flour Sifter With 2 Wire Agitator

Norpro 3-Cup Stainless Steel Rotary Hand Crank Flour Sifter With 2 Wire Agitator

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Next up we have this 3-cup size Norpro Stainless-steel rotary hand crank flour sifter and like the Bellemain, this has a 3-cup capacity and a hand crank for easy, efficient use. With a 2-wire agitator, you’ll be able to do some efficient sifting without worry of wasting flour, and useful measurements are also stamped into the stainless steel. It provides efficient sifting, especially for large batches of dry ingredients, making it a top pick for serious bakers.

If you like the retro look and being able to sift without squeezing, then this might just be your new favorite sifter!

Pros:

This sifter is easy to use, less stressful on your hands, and does a fine job sifting. It also feels solid and with the retro look to it, there’s a little added nostalgia for some of us when we use it.

Cons:

Like the Bellemain, the 3 cup capacity doesn’t mean that sifting 3 cups at a time is practical – doing so will ensure some flour leaving the cup, but if you don’t mind halving that amount then it’s quite a nice little sifter.

4. Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 3-Cup

Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 3-Cup

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this Mrs. Anderson hand-crank sifter is a high-quality flour sifter that’s a best choice for bakers who need to sift a large amount of flour regularly.

With a 3-cup capacity, this sifter measures in at 6″L x 5.88″W x 5.5″H, and if you prefer a squeeze-sift style to the hand crank, you can simply pick a squeeze model – Mrs. Anderson’s has got you covered.

As with the previous crank models, this sifter works by raking the ingredients across a single mesh so that you’ll get the job done with very little waste. For added ease of use, you’ll also get stamped measurements so that you’ll know exactly how much you are sifting for your purposes.  

Pros:

This is a robust sifter that does its job well and which is also quite cost-effective. The retro look is also charming, and charming never hurts!

Cons:

Like the other 3 cup sifters, if you want to actually sift 3 cups at the same time, you’re going to want to go with a slightly larger model. Crank sifters are fantastically easy on the hands and efficient, but if completely filled before sifting, you’ll make a mess.

5. HULISEN 4 in 1 Baking set with 3 cup flour sifter

HULISEN Pastry Cutter, Dough Blender, 3 Cup Flour Sifter and Biscuit Cutter, Stainless Steel Dough Cutter, Professional Baking Dough Tools for Cooking Cookies and Donuts(4 Pcs/Set)

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Hulisen ups the ante with this 4 component set which includes a 3 cup flour sifter, a pastry scraper, and a dough blender, and a 5-piece biscuit cutting set. The flour sifter has a 3-cup capacity and utilizes a crank and mesh system for stress-free sifting and you’ve got rubberized handles on your pastry scraper and dough blender for easy use. If you fancy a little baking, it’s a great set to have in your kitchen!

The crank-style sifter in this set is a convenient tool for sifting flour and cocoa powder, and its measurement markings help you get the right amount every time.

Pros:

All of the components of this set are good looking and the metal has a solid built-to-last feel to it. They perform well for their assigned tasks and since it’s a matching set, that can save you a little headache trying to match up your kitchen tools if you bought each item separately.

Cons:

If you just need a sifter then this might not be a good fit, and like the other 3 cup sifters, a cup and a half is a more realistic target due to the tendency of crank-sifted flour getting a bit too much motion when it’s overfilled.

6. Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 5-Cup

Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 5-Cup

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Mrs. Anderson’s makes our list again with their robust 5-cup sifter which we’re including for those folks who liked the 3-cup but need a little more capacity.

This sifter, with its large capacity and wire reinforcement, is ideal for handling large quantities of flour and dry ingredients with ease.

Measuring in at 6.5″L x 6.5″W x 6.25″H and weighing in at close to half a pound, it’s solidly built, and the fine mesh is perfect for sifting, aerating, or mixing to your heart’s content. Finally, measurements are stamped into the sides, so you’ll never have to worry about the amounts – you’ve got an instant visual confirmation. 

Pros:

This is a well-built sifter and we liked the size and heft of it – it feels solid and we don’t think it will need replacing anytime soon. The crank mechanism also is more pleasant to work with than a squeeze-style (at least for us, opinions vary on this subject!).

Cons:

As with the other crank-sifters, you need to reduce the volume – it’s not going to work efficiently if you load 5 full cups worth of flour into it. The mesh is also great for general needs, but may not produce a fine enough sift for something delicate like pastries. For something like that, you may want a finer sieve mesh in your sifter.

7. ChefGiant 5 Cup Flour Sifter Rotary Hand Crank Stainless Steel 16 Fine Mesh Screen

ChefGiant 5 Cup Flour Sifter Rotary Hand Crank Stainless Steel 16 Fine Mesh Screen, Corrosion Resistant Baking Sieve Cup

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ChefGiant is back with a larger sifter for your volume-sifting needs. This stainless-steel ChefGiant Sifter measures a compact 4.5″L x 4.5W” x 6″H and uses a rotary hand crank so that you won’t end up with stiff hands after sifting your flour.

Its super fine mesh is perfect for achieving a fine powder consistency, essential for the final product in delicate baking recipes.

As you turn the crank, the dual wire assembly inside will press against the fine 16 mesh and we think you’re going to love the results!

Pros:

This is a stout and shiny sifter that does a great job sifting your flour, breaking down sugar, and mixing up ingredients. The mesh is a small enough weave for finer sifting and that’s certainly appreciated.

Cons:

We would have liked to see measurement stamps and while it’s rated for 5 cups, you’ll get better performance with 3 to 4.

8. RSVP International Endurance® Stainless Steel Triple Mesh Flour Sifter, 5 Cup

RSVP International Endurance® Stainless Steel Triple Mesh Flour Sifter, 5 Cup | Sift Flour & Dry Ingredients for Baking | Manual Squeeze | Dishwasher Safe,Silver

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If you prefer squeeze-sifting, then you’re going to love this RSVP International Endurance Stainless-steel triple-mesh flour sifter. Measuring 7″L x 4.75″W x 5″H and weighing .55 pounds, it’s a compact and strong little sifter, and that 5 cup capacity means that you’ll be able to sift as much as you need with relative ease. Aside from looking-good and sifting and mixing even fine ingredients with its 3-mesh system, this sifter is also easy to clean – it’s completely dishwasher-safe!

Pros:

This sifter feels quite durable and you can do some quality sifting with those extra layers of mesh. It’s also quite compact and easy to store, which is important if you’re packing a lot of tools in your kitchen panoply.

Cons:

Not everyone will be overly fond of squeezing to sift, although we should mention that RSVP offers a crank-style version on the same page so they seem to have that covered!

9. QQJ 5-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Squeeze Sifter for Baking

QQJ 5-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter,Squeeze Sifter for Baking with Compatable Silicone Handle (Red-5 Cup)

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Our next sifter adds a little colorful charm to the traditional ‘silver cup sifter’ look. The QQJ 5-cup flour squeeze sifter for baking measures 7.52″L x 5.79″W x 5.28″H and you’ll note the lovely silicon fitting handle, which provides superior grip and adds a simple, but striking aesthetic to your kitchen.

As far as the actual sifting, the QQJ uses 2 layers of mesh and you can sift or mix flours, icings, sugars, or even almond flour if you’re working a ketogenic diet at home! All in all, it’s a fine sifter that brings a good work ethic and a fresh, colorful look to the table.

Pros:

This sifter is sturdy, comfy to grip, and gets the job done nicely. It also looks pretty good stored right out in the open and that certainly doesn’t hurt.

Cons:

While the red handle looks sharp, we’re not overly confident how resilient it’s going to be a year down the line – consistent squeezing will eventually take its toll and this is why most companies stick with an ‘all-stainless-steel’ schema. It also has only 2 mesh layers to the RSVP’s 3, so we were a little disappointed there.

10. Norpro Battery-Operated 5-cup Sifter

Norpro Battery Operated Sifter, White

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Sifting is time-consuming and if you are dealing with fibromyalgia, arthritis, or even just sensitive hands or time constraints, then hand-sifting is simply not practical. For that reason, we wanted to include this Norpro battery-operated 5-cup sifter as an inexpensive alternative to hand-cranked or squeezed sifting.

Measuring 5″L x 5″W x 5.75″H and weighing only 2.5 pounds, this electric workhouse can quickly sift up to 5 cups of flour, sugar, and more. Made of food-grade plastic, the operation only requires a flick of the switch and a single AA battery – which is kind of a relief, really, if you’ve ever had to special order a lithium battery that’s died on you. 

Pros:

Lightweight, efficient, and about as easy on your hands as it gets, this Norpro makes short work of sifting with minimal stress.

Cons:

Not everyone will want to use AA batteries, although we should mention that you’ll get a lot of mileage per battery and can simply use rechargeables if you like.

FAQs

Now that you’ve seen all the sifters it’s almost time for us to share our favorites, but before we do, here are a few frequently asked questions to fill in any gaps that we may have missed on this subject along the way. Let’s take a peek!

Are flour sifters worth it?

Yes, flour sifters are definitely worth it and they pay dividends, especially when working with whole grain flours or when a recipe requires a specific mesh size. You will see the results in your finished baked goods.

Flour can get a bit lumpy, even just sitting there inside of your pantry, and if you’re in a hurry and miss it then those clumps have a way of getting themselves noticed in your cookies, bread, and other treats.

They are also vital for creating certain types of treats – sponge cakes and angel food cakes are good examples – where you want a light and fluffy dessert consistency.

For crunchier fare, unsifted flour is generally fine, but as a general rule, for more delicate work you’re going to need that sifter.

Does flour measure more after sifting?

When sifted, flour becomes finer and aerated, and it even seems a little ‘fluffy’. It is also noteworthy that a cup of unsifted flour is going to weigh 20 -30% less than a cup of sifted flour – keep this in mind and avoid sifting unless the recipe calls for it, as this difference will have an impact on the finished texture of your treat.

What is the difference between a strainer and a sifter?

While they both have a sort of mesh to them, there are some important differences between a strainer and a sifter. A sifter is designed to aerate and to break down clumps in your dry goods, like a manual flour sifter that can ensure even mixing of wet and dry ingredients.

A strainer, by contrast, is a sieve that is used to separate liquids and solids. So, strainers and sifting bowls look quite similar, they are definitely very different in their functions!

The Verdict

It’s that time in the article when we’ve got to buckle down and make our recommendations and to tell you a little about the reasoning behind them to see if you agree with our assessments. Just keep in mind, all of the models we’ve showcased today are top-notch, so we’re just delivering our opinion here – you gotta go with the one that’s right for YOU.

Below we’ll list our favorites and tell you how they got this coveted spot on the list!

Best overall valueHULISEN 4 in 1 Baking set with 3 cup flour sifter

The Hulisen 4 in 1 baking set really delivers the goods. For an extremely competitive price, you get a crank-driven 3 cup flour sifter, but they also throw in a pasty scraper, a dough blender, and a 5 piece biscuit cutter set – all stainless steel and plain black handles on your dough blender and pastry scraper.

They aren’t flimsy, either – so if you are like to buy your kitchen tools in sets then this is a great and inexpensive way to add 4 new and useful tools to your kitchen panoply!

Most robust sifter – Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand Crank Flour Icing Sugar Sifter, Stainless Steel, 5-Cup

Mrs. Anderson’s is a brand that comes from HIC – The Howard Import Company – and this New Jersey based company has been providing folks with crockery, cookware, and kitchen tools since 1957. Their flour sifters have a great reputation for being sturdy, long lasting, and you can also get the style and size that you like – these sifters are popular enough that you can get crank or squeeze styles in whatever size you need. Measurements are stamped into the cups for ease of use and when you get to sift with it, this is a flour sifter that we think you’ll be quite happy with. 

Easiest sifter for sensitive hands – Norpro Battery-Operated 5-cup Sifter

Our final favorite is an option that we’ve included for folks with sensitive hands or conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. This Norpro battery-operated 5-cup sifter may not look like much, but as an electric flour sifter, it’s a game changer, especially with the push of a button operation, making it an ideal choice for those who spend a lot of time in their baking game. You won’t have to worry about charging it, either – it runs for a long time on a single AA battery like most of us keep in the drawers for emergencies. 

It’s not the fanciest grinder, but it’s good at what it does, and best of all, when the work is done, you won’t be spending the evening hours rubbing your hands and that’s what’s important!

We’d like to thank you folks for visiting us today and remember, whether you’re a professional baker or just starting out, choosing the right sifter, like the best sifter with a crank handle design or a battery-operated flour sifter, can make all the difference in your baking experience.

Don’t forget to leave a little feedback about your own favorite sifters and sifting tips – that’s the best part of these articles, really, and the stellar tips we find there are much appreciated! Until next time, we wish you happy baking!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: David McLemore

David learned to cook at an early age after his mother told him that he couldn't live on pizza forever, Dave uses his modest kitchen skills to recreate sorely-missed recipes from home and to occasionally make new favorite ones from places he is visiting.

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