I'm making a simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water in a glass measuring cup and want to avoid dirtying two measuring cups.

I want to measure one (say standard table sugar,) then add the water. What should the resulting volume of both be?

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    Not that this isn't an interesting question, but the syrup's going to end up somewhere else, right (like in a pot to heat it up)? Just use the same measuring cup for both. Measure sugar, pour out, measure water. – Josh Caswell Sep 24 '12 at 4:44
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    This question as stated in the title is confusing, because the answer of "what ratio" is 1 to 1. – lemontwist Sep 24 '12 at 10:57
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    Why not use scales? – Peter Taylor Sep 24 '12 at 12:26
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    It's not really about accuracy but reproducibility. The density of water is fairly constant, but the density of loosely packed anything isn't. And you don't need to worry about rate of dissolution affecting the measurement. – Peter Taylor Sep 24 '12 at 15:12
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    @PeterTaylor while I agree that a scale is preferrable (along with recipes by-weight), this case is probably an exception. Sugar syrup is mostly heated until a supersaturated solution is reached, so that the ratio of water to sugar in the final product is determined by the temperature to which the syrup was heated, not by the initial ratio. If the syrup will be heated, then the only concern is to have enough water to dissolve all sugar at room temperature, without using so much that the time needed for evaporating it to supersaturation gets too long. – rumtscho Sep 24 '12 at 15:54

My experiment with table sugar, pouring 1/2 cup of table sugar into a glass container then pouring in 1/2 cup of water on top without stirring resulted in the water line reaching the 3/4 cup mark after a few seconds of absorption.

So the ratio of the volume of separated sugar and water to the mixture is 3:4.


I've been making hummingbird sugar water for years. Dissolving 2 Cups (16 dry oz) granulated sugar into 2 cups water makes about 25 oz (3-1/8 cups) of sugar-water. The sugar adds about 9/16 of it's dry volume to the liquid solute. Once I have this mix I add more water to make 48oz of sugar-water for the hummers. Sugar content is then a bit less than 19% sugar by volume.

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