What Does Scant Mean in Baking

So your recipe calls for a scant measurement. Sure, great. But you can’t seem to find your “scant” measuring tools. What is this recipe talking about? Scant is essentially a quick baking term for “barely there”. For example, a scant teaspoon means almost a full teaspoon. 

Hello! My name is Michelle, and I love baking. I guess that’s why I’ve been doing it for years. With so much experience in baking, I have come across a whole lot of terms and phrases, one of them being “scant”. It’s important to know your baking terms to get the recipe right!

If you’re curious about “scant” measurements, you’ve come to the right place. This article will share what scant means in baking and how you can properly measure out using “scant” requirements. Don’t worry – it’s easy.

Who’s ready to use scant measurements?

What Does Scant Mean in Baking?

Sometimes, a recipe will call for a “scant” amount. This is not an exact measurement. So what does it mean? We all know the importance of following a recipe, so knowing what scant means in baking is imperative. Let’s take a closer look.

According to the dictionary, scant literally means: barely sufficient in amount or quantity; not abundant; or almost inadequate. The same meaning is true when you’re using the term in baking. 

Scant in baking simply means that you’re not using the full amount – but almost. For example, this apple pie recipe calls for one scant teaspoon of salt. So, instead of using a full teaspoon of salt, you will use almost a full teaspoon of salt. 

Think of scant as another term for “barely there”. You’re not looking to have a full measurement, but you’re getting awfully close. 

When it comes to using scant measurement, you will not need to level it out. Remember – your goal is to have a bit less than the recipe calls for. If you need to level the scoop, it’s too much. Level and release a bit more of the ingredient to reach the proper amount.

Is Scant a Good Way to Describe Measurement?

No, no, and more no. A recipe should always have clear and concise measurements. However, this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of recipes out there that still use the term “scant,” especially older recipes.

Don’t think that your baked treat is destined for disaster just because someone has used the term “scant” in the ingredients. Just remember that you’re going to use almost the correct measurement.

Sometimes, you may have to mess around and tweak the recipe ever-so-slightly when using “scant” measurements. For example, if you added only a “scant teaspoon of salt” to your apple pie and it didn’t have enough salt, use a bit more next time.


Curious to learn more about what “scant” means in baking? You’re not alone. This word, amongst other baking terms, can be confusing. That’s why you need to check out these frequently asked questions below.

What is a scant 1 cup?

A scant one cup is basically almost a full cup of an ingredient. It’s not low enough to be ¾ of a cup, but it’s not enough to be a full cup. You have to find that golden spot of being almost a full cup, but not quite. 

What is scant cooking?

Scant cooking can be referred to as a recipe that uses the term “scant” in it. While a recipe typically won’t call for more than one or two ingredients to be “scant,” it’s still good to know how to do it properly, so your recipe turns out correctly. Scant can be used in baking and cooking alike.

What is scant tablespoon of salt?

If your recipe is calling for a scant tablespoon of salt, bust out your tablespoon measurement. Then, fill it with salt until it almost reaches the top. You want to leave a little wiggle room at the top, considering how scant means “almost” filled to the top.

What does heaping mean in cooking?

Unlike scant, heaping means that you should scoop your ingredients and not level it out. You want the ingredients to be towering above the “actual” measurement. So, instead of having slightly less than called for, you should have slightly more. 

Final Thoughts

“Scant” isn’t the best term for baking, but it’s still used in many recipes. If your recipe calls for scant ingredients, remember that you’re going to use slightly less than what is called for. For example, a scant teaspoon of salt will be slightly less than a full teaspoon but more than half.

Have you ever used a recipe that called for scant measurements? Did you know what this meant, and how did you find the perfect scoop? Share your scant baking adventures with us below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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