How Big is a Tablespoon?

Tablespoon on a Table
Tablespoon on a Table

When it comes to cooking and baking, precise measurements are key to achieving the perfect flavor and consistency. One common measurement that you’ll often encounter in recipes is the tablespoon. But how big is a tablespoon, exactly? And how can you measure it accurately without a set of measuring spoons?

In the United States, a tablespoon is typically defined as 3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce. However, it’s worth noting that the exact measurement of a tablespoon can vary depending on where you are in the world. For example, in the United Kingdom and Canada, a tablespoon is exactly 15 milliliters, while in Australia, it’s 20 milliliters.

If you’re cooking or baking and don’t have a set of measuring spoons on hand, there are a few common household items that you can use to measure out a tablespoon. For example, a standard dining spoon is roughly equivalent to a tablespoon, and a teaspoon can be used if you don’t need an exact measurement. However, keep in mind that these methods may not be as precise as using a proper measuring spoon, so use your best judgement and adjust your recipe as needed.

Understanding Measurements

Definition of a Tablespoon

A tablespoon is a unit of measurement used in cooking and baking. It is generally used to measure ingredients that are in larger quantities than teaspoons, but smaller than cups. In the United States, a tablespoon is equivalent to three teaspoons, or approximately 15 milliliters.

Tablespoon in Different Countries

It is important to note that the size of a tablespoon can vary depending on the country. For example, in Australia, a tablespoon is equivalent to four teaspoons, or approximately 20 milliliters. In the United Kingdom, a tablespoon is equivalent to 17.758 milliliters.

Here is a table showing the different measurements of a tablespoon in various countries:

CountryTablespoon Measurement
US15 mL
Australia20 mL
UK17.758 mL

It is important to keep in mind the country’s measurement system when following a recipe or converting measurements. Using the wrong measurement can result in inaccurate results and affect the taste and texture of the final product.

In conclusion, understanding the measurement of a tablespoon is essential in cooking and baking. Be sure to double-check the measurement system when following a recipe or converting measurements to ensure accurate results.

Use in Cooking and Baking

Role of Tablespoon in Recipes

Tablespoons are an essential tool in cooking and baking. They are used to measure both dry and liquid ingredients, and they play a crucial role in ensuring that recipes turn out correctly. A tablespoon is a standardized unit of measurement, which means that when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of an ingredient, it is referring to a specific amount. Using the correct amount of each ingredient is key to achieving the desired taste and texture of the final product.

In cooking, tablespoons are often used to measure spices, herbs, and oils. For example, a recipe may call for one tablespoon of olive oil to be added to a pan before sautéing vegetables. In baking, tablespoons are used to measure ingredients like sugar, flour, and baking powder. For instance, a cookie recipe may require two tablespoons of sugar to be mixed with butter and eggs.

Impact of Inaccurate Measurements

It is important to use the correct amount of each ingredient in a recipe, as even a small variation in measurement can have a significant impact on the final result. Using too much or too little of an ingredient can affect the taste, texture, and appearance of the dish.

Inaccurate measurements can also affect the nutritional content of a recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of olive oil, but you use two tablespoons instead, you will be consuming twice as many calories and fat as the recipe intended.

To ensure that your recipes turn out as intended, it is essential to measure ingredients accurately. Using a tablespoon to measure dry ingredients like flour and sugar is recommended, as it provides a consistent measurement. However, when measuring liquids, it is best to use a liquid measuring cup, as the volume of liquids can vary depending on their density.

Conversion to Other Measurements

When cooking or baking, it’s important to have accurate measurements to ensure the recipe turns out just right. Tablespoons are a common unit of measurement, but they can be converted to other measurements as well. Here are some common conversions you may need to make:

Tablespoons to Teaspoons

One tablespoon is equal to three teaspoons. This is a simple conversion that can come in handy if you don’t have a tablespoon on hand. If your recipe calls for two tablespoons, simply use six teaspoons instead.

Tablespoons to Cups

There are 16 tablespoons in one cup. If your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of a certain ingredient and you only have tablespoons, you’ll need to use eight tablespoons to get the right measurement.


Tablespoons to Milliliters

One tablespoon is equal to 14.8 milliliters (ml). This conversion is useful if you’re working with a recipe that uses metric measurements.


Remember, accurate measurements are key to a successful recipe. By knowing how to convert tablespoons to other measurements, you can ensure your dish turns out just right.


In conclusion, a tablespoon is a common unit of measurement in cooking and baking. The size of a tablespoon can vary depending on the country and the definition used. In the United States, a tablespoon is defined as 15 ml (0.51 US fl oz), while in Australia, it is defined as 20 ml (0.70 imp fl oz).

When measuring ingredients, it is important to use the correct measurement to ensure the recipe turns out as intended. If you don’t have a tablespoon, you can use three level teaspoons as a substitute.

It’s worth noting that the size of a tablespoon can also vary depending on the spoon itself. For accurate measurements, it is recommended to use a standard measuring spoon.

Overall, understanding tablespoon measurements can be helpful when cooking and baking. By using the correct measurement, you can ensure consistent and accurate results in your recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you measure a tablespoon with a spoon?

To measure a tablespoon with a spoon, use a regular eating spoon and fill it until it is level. You can also use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon for more accurate measurements.

What is the difference between a tablespoon and a dessert spoon?

A tablespoon is larger than a dessert spoon. A tablespoon is approximately 15 milliliters, while a dessert spoon is around 10 milliliters.

What is the abbreviation for teaspoon?

The abbreviation for teaspoon is “tsp.”

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