How much is a pinch? And how do you use a pinch in cooking? Here’s everything you need to know about measuring a pinch (and perhaps a dash more)!
What is a pinch?
A pinch is approximately 1/16 of a teaspoon, or what will fit between your thumb and forefinger.
Obviously, this isn’t meant as an exact measurement (whereas tablespoons and teaspoons are more exact). That’s because typically when a pinch is called for in a recipe, it is meant to be imprecise similar to saying “to taste”. If a recipe calls for a pinch, you can assume that precision is not critical, so add a pinch of seasoning, taste it and if you think the recipe should call for two pinches have at it.
Some older sources list a pinch as 1/8 of a teaspoon, so if you are cooking from a very old text perhaps make your pinch slightly larger.
How do you measure a pinch?
To measure a “pinch” of something, like salt, simply grab a pinch of salt between your thumb and forefinger. A pinch is whatever fits in between those two fingers!
If, however, you just can’t stand the thought of imprecise cooking, you can buy measuring spoons that go as low as 1/16th of a teaspoon!
What is a Dash? And a Smidgen?
A pinch is normally used in dry measurements, thus the amount you can pinch between fingers. A dash typically refers to a wet ingredient. The dash is an often used measurement in cocktails. A dash is typically considered 1/8th of a teaspoon, so there are two pinches in a dash.
The smidgen is another imprecise measurement generally accepted to be 1/32nd of a teaspoon, so there are two smidgens in a pinch. Some sources use the terms shake and smidgen interchangeably.
Again, all of these are pretty hard to measure precisely and can simply be considered “to taste”. Keep in mind that when the author of the recipe you are following wrote in a pinch, dash, or smidgen, she probably wasn’t using a precise measuring device but instead cooking to taste.