How to measure a cup of spinach?

In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how to measure a cup of spinach?’ and discuss how cooking affects the amount of spinach in a cup, as well as other methods to measure spinach.

How to measure a cup of spinach?

To measure a cup of raw spinach, you should first of all remove the leaves of the spinach from the stems and rinse the leaves under running clean water, removing dirt, insects and foul parts (5).

Sanitize, chop or cook the spinach leaves, depending on the way they will be consumed and fill a measuring cup with the whole, chopped or cooked leaves.

If you do not have a measuring cup, use the following conversion table (4):

Measuring cupEquivalent to 
1 cup16 tablespoons
1 cup8 fluid ounces
1 cup236.59 mL

Does one cup of raw spinach equal one cup of cooked spinach?

No, one cup of raw spinach does not equal one cup of cooked spinach. This is because by cooking, there is a considerable loss of water, as well as other nutrients, and the shrinkage of the plant tissue (9).

As a consequence, one cup of cooked spinach weighs more than one cup of raw spinach and the nutritional profile of raw and cooked spinach changes significantly.

The effect of cooking on the vegetables is highly dependent on the cooking time and method, as well as the cooking temperature. Studies showed that steaming of leafy vegetables results in lower shrinkage than boiling, in addition to a softer tissue.

The table below brings the comparison between the nutritional profile of 1 cup of raw spinach and 1 cup of cooked spinach (7,8):

Nutrientraw spinachcooked spinachunit
Total lipid0.1170.468g
Vitamin C8.4317.6mg

What is in one cup of spinach?

Spinach is low in carbs and high in insoluble fiber. This fiber can help your health by aiding proper digestion. Spinach is also an excellent source with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. 

Spinach also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin E, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium and many bioactive metabolites, such as carotenoids, β-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin and phenolic compounds, which have been shown to have positive effects on health (2).

What are the benefits of one cup of spinach?

Some of the health benefits of spinach are following:

Reduce the oxidative stress

Spinach contains many antioxidants that help fight off the cellular damage that is caused by the free radicals. The main compounds related to this property are carotenoids, which give the yellow pigments to the vegetables and fruits. Carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A in the body and possess improved antioxidant properties. In leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, carotenoids are masked by the green chlorophyll (2).  

Phenolic compounds also reduce the reactive oxygen species in the body. The main phenolics from spinach are flavonoids, lignans, stilbenes, coumarins and tannins (2). Oxidative stress can lead to a number of health diseases including risks of cancer, strokes and diabetes.

Cancer prevention

Spinach contains monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), digalactosyl diacylglycerol (DGDG), and sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol (SQDG), glycolipids   that is linked to slowing down cancer growth. These compounds are able to inhibit enzymes responsible for the spreading of cancer cells. Consequently, they are effective against many types of cancer, including cervix, prostate cancer and breast cancer (3). 

What are other ways to measure spinach?

There are many ways you can measure out the spinach needed as per the recipe or your need calls for (4,6).

Recipes call for a specific amount like a cup or pound of spinach, while some call for cooked or uncooked spinach. Use the appropriate measurement tool as per the recipe.

A cup using a measuring cup – simply trim the stems or leave them intact as the recipe calls for. Pack the spinach leaves tightly in your measuring cup.

Pack purchased by weight – while purchasing spinach, you can either ask the seller or purchase the pack according to your need.

Cooked spinach – you can measure cooked or thawed spinach by squeezing or drying any excess water out then packing it tightly into a measuring cup.

Using scales – according to the US measurement system, a cup of spinach is equal to 30 gm of spinach in a cup. You can simply put spinach on your kitchen scale till it displays 30 gm in weight.

Fist measurement – fastest way of measuring when you are in a rush is using your fist. Your fist is equal to a cup of any uncooked or cooked, frozen or thawed vegetable. But for longer vegetables cut them into pieces first.

Other FAQs about Spinach that you may be interested in.

How much spinach should I eat a day?

How much spinach should you eat?

 How to Drain Spinach


In this brief guide, we answered ‘how to measure a cup of spinach?’ and discussed how cooking affects the amount of spinach in a cup, as well as other methods to measure spinach.


  1. Rubatzky V.E., Yamaguchi M. Spinach, Table Beets, and Other Vegetable Chenopods. 2017, In: World Vegetables. Springer, Boston, MA.   
  2. Hedges, L. J., and C. E. Lister. Nutritional attributes of spinach, silverbeet and eggplant. Crop Food Res Confidential Rep, 2007, 1928.
  3. Maeda, Naoki, et al. Anti-tumor effects of the glycolipids fraction from spinach which inhibited DNA polymerase activity. Nutr cancer, 2007, 57, 216-223.
  4. Basics at a glance. Institute of Child Nutrition, The University of Mississippi.
  5. Jewkes, M. Fruit and Vegetable Guide Series: Spinach. Utah State University.
  6. Garden-Robinson, J. Now You’re Cookin’: Well-measured Recipes! North Dakota State University.
  7. USDA Food Central Data. Spinach, raw.
  8. USDA Food Central Data. Spinach, cooked.
  9. Andersson, Johanna, et al. Comparison of steaming and boiling of root vegetables for enhancing carbohydrate content and sensory profile. J Food Eng, 2022, 312, 110754.

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