While the answer to “how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon” is an easy one, there is so much more to learn! Here’s everything you need to know about spoon measurements.
How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? 3! Many of us know that the answer is quick and simple, but there is so much more to learn! We’ve covered quarts and pints and even pinches, but today we’re going a bit smaller and looking at tablespoon and teaspoon measurements.
Because after all, the success of a good chef or baker lies within making quick measurement conversions! (Okay, it takes a lot more skill than just measurements, but they don’t hurt to learn!)
What is a tablespoon?
The history of the tablespoon goes way back. In medieval Europe, it was common for people to carry a spoon with them. Cutlery wasn’t a given, so you took around your own utensils! Around the 18th century, flatware place settings increased in popularity. Among the affluent, different spoons for different purposes became the norm and started to include a teaspoon (literally used for tea), dessert spoon, and tablespoon (for soup!).
Like other measurements, tablespoons vary throughout the world. In the United States, a tablespoon is approximately ½ of a fluid ounce (or 14.8ml). In the United Kingdom and Canada, however, a tablespoon is exactly 15 ml, making it just slightly larger than that in the US. In Australia, a tablespoon is larger (20 ml). These nations use rounded amounts as their measurements based on metric figures (where the US uses imperial).
What is a teaspoon?
The origin of the teaspoon goes back a bit further. In fact, the unit of measure began as an apothecary measurement! It was equal to 1 fluid dram, ¼ tablespoon, or 1/8 fluid ounce. This was useful in measuring out medicines.
Later, in the 17th century, the teaspoon’s use expanded into homes for use during the English’s beloved tea time. Tea, however, was then very expensive as it came from abroad through the East India Company. Over time, the cost began to fall and its popularity increased. With this increase came a larger “teaspoon,” which wound up measuring to the equivalent of 1/3 of a tablespoon – the same measurement as today.
Converting teaspoons to tablespoons
Though the standard teaspoon to tablespoon measurement is easy (1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons), it gets tricky when we get into larger amounts. Here is a quick chart to break down the two:
|⅓ tablespoon||1 teaspoon|
|½ tablespoon||1½ teaspoons|
|⅔ tablespoon||2 teaspoons|
|1 tablespoon||3 teaspoons|
|2 tablespoons||6 teaspoons|
|3 tablespoons||9 teaspoons|
|4 tablespoons||12 teaspoons|
|5 tablespoons||15 teaspoons|
|6 tablespoons||18 teaspoons|
Solid vs wet
Teaspoon and tablespoon measurements are used for both solid and wet ingredients. Though wet ingredients are denser, the volume compared to dry is the same. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of milk, that volume is going to be the same as 1 tablespoon of flour. The density and weight may be different, but the volume is the same.
However, to accurately measure out ingredients, it is recommended to use liquid measuring cups for liquids, and dry measuring cups for dry ingredients. These measuring devices take into account the difference in densities and can help you achieve measurements that are as accurate as possible.
For liquids, use glass measuring cups (like the Pyrex in the image above). Dry measuring cups are typically plastic or metal and come in sets (like the white measuring cups you see below).
Other quick conversions
Knowing tablespoon to cup measurements can be just as useful in the kitchen! Here is a quick breakdown of how the two measurements compare:
|4 tablespoons||¼ cup|
|8 tablespoons||½ cup|
|10 (plus a dash extra) tablespoons||⅔ cup|
|16 tablespoons||1 cup|
|32 tablespoons||2 cups|