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What do the portion scoop sizes mean?

Portion Scoop
To get uniform cookie dough balls, you can either eyeball the dough and try to create mounds of equal size that will hopefully bake into cookies of equal size, or you can use a portion scoop to ensure that they are all measured out exactly the same. While it is possible to be extremely accurate when “eyeballing it,” it is more reliable to use a portion scoop to measure your cookie dough out. Evenly sized cookies not only look good, but they bake more evenly and give you a more consistent result.

Portion scoops are standard-sized scoops used to measure out food, both cooked and uncooked.They look like ice cream scoops and have a spring release that scrapes your food/ice cream/cookie dough out of the scoop once it has been measured. The odd thing about them is that they come in strange sizes, like #16 and #24, rather than in sizes that you might ordinarily associate with cookie baking, such as “a 1-inch ball” or “a rounded tablespoon”. The numbers on portion scoops refer fractions of a quart (32-ounces), or the number of scoops of a particular size it takes to make 32-oz. With this system, you know that a #16 scoop is 2-oz and a #24 is 1.5-oz. The general rule is the larger the number, the smaller the scoop, and when you are picking out a scoop you can simply choose one based on the size of the cookie you’d like to make (or whatever else you might be portioning out).

Portion scoops are designed for kitchen professionals to standardize their products and to keep a handle on costs. These scoop sizes ensure that they get exactly the same number of servings (or balls of dough) per batch or per recipe without wasting any product – and that the customers always get the same amount of product for their money. And it is how they keep the cookies in a bakery display window looking so perfect, too.

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  • Erin Ward
    January 18, 2011

    I love my scoops and I use them all the time! Sometimes for bigger cookies, I use two scoops per cookie. So you don’t always have to have a bigger scoop to get a bigger cookie!

  • Nicole
    January 18, 2011

    Thanks for the information, I have always wondered what they meant. Over time I have just figured out which one to use for what purpose.

  • Pattyann
    January 18, 2011

    I love them too. I need to find some larger scoops though as the two I have are too small for some of my cookies!

  • Tessa
    January 18, 2011

    I love mine too!! I use them for all sorts of things. I have small, medium, and large from Pampered Chef. They are awesome. It would be nice if they were labeled in more standard units of measure, especially since most recipes say “rounded tablespoon” or something.

  • Linda
    January 18, 2011

    I have used portion scoops for years. LOVE THEM. I did find most of the brands I found at local stores to wear out and “strip” the gears with really stiff dough. I bought a set from King Arthur Flour Co. that I love best. Made by an English company Zeroll. They are tough and I haven’t seen one struggle with the coldest and stiffest dough. And wash up easily in the dishwasher. I find I use the two smaller sizes the most–love the smallest one to make smaller cookies. People like having 2-3 bite cookies instead of a big one to feel obliged to eat more than they might want. I pick the size I want regardless of what the recipe says and adjust the time as needed. One of my top 10 favorite items in the kitchen.

  • Ally
    November 10, 2014

    I just use a tablespoon…whoops

  • […] The size, however, is important and it’s 1.5 oz.  That size is also known as #20, and thanks to this article I now know they call it a #20 because it will take 20 scoops to equal a quart (32 […]

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