How to Measure Leafy Greens

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Have you ever wondered how to measure leafy greens? Let these tips show you the best way to measure these amazing leafy vegetables.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to measure leafy greens. Leafy greens are typically sold by the pound or in bags of pre-packaged leaves. The question that arises is how do you know how much you’re getting? This article will teach you how to measure leafy greens!

The Best Ways to Measure Leafy Greens

So you may see a recipe that calls for “1 cup of spinach”, but how much is that really? Do you pack it in? Loosely scoop leaves?

You might also see something like “a large handful of kale” – and of course there is a lot of variation there because my large handful might not be as large as the next persons. So how much should you use?

Let’s look at the best ways to measure leafy greens and when to use each method.

How to Measure Leafy Greens by Weight

Use a food scale or kitchen measuring cups to measure how many leaves are needed. The best way is by weight and using the appropriate container such as a mixing bowl, large cup, or baking sheet with parchment paper on it. Zero out your weight of any containers before starting! To measure how much you have, simply weigh how many leaves are in the container.

Most recipes, however, do not call for a certain weight of leaves. They usually use volume, so let’s check that out next.

How to Measure Leafy Greens by Volume

Use a measuring cup like one from your kitchen drawer that has both liters and milliliters on it (if using metric) or customary measurements for the US. The best way is to measure volume rather than weight because if you’re not using a food scale, you have no idea how many grams of leaves are in one cup.

When you are measuring your leafy greens in a measuring cup, do NOT pack them down super closely. You want to loosely pack them in, so that you are getting a good amount of greens without getting too many.

If you don’t pack them at all you will have a very small amount, as the greens tend to spread out and there will not be many in the container. So the general rule is to loosely pack them.

Another rule is to use a measuring cup twice to measure the proper amount since the greens have so much air space in between them. So, for this rule you would use your one cup measure twice to accurately measure one cup of leafy greens. I tend to pack mine tighter and just use it once, but if you are concerned about your measurement you might want to try this.

How to Measure Leafy Greens by Look

If all else fails and there’s nothing handy, how about the old eyeball test? Measure out how much leaves you have in your hand and estimate how that will translate to cups or other measurements.

This will become easier as you practice measuring leafy greens. The more times you see what a cup of spinach looks like after you dump it out of the measuring cup the more likely you’ll be to get near that measurement by “eyeballing it”.


The recipes here on I Live for Greens use both weight and volume measurements to help those who are starting out. So if you don’t have a food scale, don’t worry – you can still get an accurate measurement with volume, and eventually you might even just “eyeball it”! This is a new site and recipes are coming soon so check back often!

Commonly Asked Questions about Measuring Leafy Greens

What is a serving size of leafy greens?

According to the American Heart Association, one serving of leafy greens is one cup of raw leafy greens. This is typically the amount you will see in a recipe, although sometimes it will call for half a cup.

However, according to, one serving of raw dark leafy greens is actually 2 cups – so it can be confusing! Go with the serving size recommended in your recipe.

If you are concerned about measuring due to calories or carb counts, just know that these raw vegetables will not add many calories or carbs to your diet, so if you are not exact in your measurement it should not hurt your diet.

What types of leaves count as “leafy greens”?

There are a lot of leafy green vegetables that fall into this category. The most common include spinach, swiss chard, arugula, kale, bok choy, some salad greens and lettuce, mustard greens and collard greens. All of these leaves are typically eaten raw, in recipes, stir fries and green smoothies.

One way I love to eat my greens is by growing my own microgreens – even more nutritious and you can easily grow them at home!

Why shouldn’t you pack leafy greens in a measuring cup?

Packing greens down hard in a measuring cup will damage the greens, which wouldn’t matter for a green smoothie, but it wouldn’t make for a very appealing salad. You want to preserve the integrity of the greens so pack them lightly.

What is the best way to lightly pack leafy greens?

To pack raw greens lightly in a measure cup, drop the greens into the cup and gently press down with your fingers, then fill again if needed in the same manner until the cup is filled to the brim (or, for me, usually a bit over).

Do you measure frozen greens the same as raw?

No, you cannot measure frozen greens the same way. Frozen greens are packed way closer together, so when I measure greens that have been frozen I will usually just pour the greens into a measuring cup without packing at all.

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How to Measure Leafy Greens

Learn how to easily measure leafy greens in this guide!
Active Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: How To Guides
Keyword: how to measure leafy greens
Yield: 1 Measurement
Author: Amanda Saladin
Cost: Cost of Greens


  • Measuring Cup, usually 1 cup or 1/2 cup


  • Greens of choice


  • Grab a handful of greens.Reach into the bag or container of greens and grab some gently with your hand.
  • Gently drop them into the measuring container.Using a one cup measuring cup, gently drop the greens into the measuring cup.
  • Press down gently with your fingers.Use your fingertips, not your hand to press down on the greens, making room to add more greens. You want to gently fill the cup but not squish the greens down hard, which could damage them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our article on How to Measure Leafy Greens. I know a lot of people have questions about this and I hope this sheds some light on this topic!

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