Is a Spoon a Tablespoon?

Spoon on a Table
Spoon on a Table

Are you confused about the difference between a spoon and a tablespoon? Well, you’re not alone. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

A tablespoon is a larger type of spoon that is commonly used for serving food. It is also a unit of measurement used in cooking, equal to 1/2 fluid ounce or 15 milliliters. On the other hand, a regular spoon, also known as a teaspoon, is a smaller type of spoon used for stirring and adding sugar to tea or coffee. While they may look similar, they serve different purposes in the kitchen.

If you’re new to cooking or just want to brush up on your kitchen knowledge, it’s important to understand the difference between a spoon and a tablespoon. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of spoons and their uses, as well as the proper way to measure ingredients using a tablespoon. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, keep reading to learn more about this essential kitchen tool.

The Definition of a Spoon

When you think of a spoon, you probably imagine a small, handheld utensil used for eating. However, there are actually many different types of spoons with varying sizes and purposes. In general, a spoon is a utensil with a small bowl-shaped end and a handle used for scooping, stirring, and serving food.

Spoons can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. They can also come in different shapes and sizes, depending on their intended use. For example, a teaspoon is a small spoon typically used for stirring coffee or tea, while a tablespoon is a larger spoon used for measuring ingredients or serving food.

What is a Tablespoon?

You may have heard the term “tablespoon” used in recipes or when measuring ingredients for cooking. A tablespoon is a unit of measure used in cooking to measure both dry and liquid ingredients. It is a larger spoon than a teaspoon and is typically used for serving food as well.

Traditionally, a tablespoon is defined as 15 milliliters or 0.51 US fluid ounces in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, in Australia, a tablespoon is defined as 20 milliliters or 0.70 imperial fluid ounces. It is important to note that other countries may define their tablespoons differently.

When measuring with a tablespoon, it is important to use the correct amount specified in the recipe. Using too much or too little can affect the outcome of the dish. For example, adding too much salt or sugar can make the dish too salty or sweet, while adding too little can make it bland.

In addition to measuring ingredients, tablespoons can also be used for serving food, such as soups, stews, and casseroles. They are also commonly used for measuring condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.

Overall, a tablespoon is a versatile tool in the kitchen that is used for both measuring and serving food. By using the correct amount specified in the recipe, you can ensure that your dishes turn out delicious every time.

Comparing Spoons and Tablespoons

When it comes to cooking and baking, measuring ingredients accurately is essential. Two common types of measuring spoons are spoons and tablespoons. While they may look similar, there are some key differences between the two.

Size Differences

The most obvious difference between spoons and tablespoons is their size. A spoon is typically smaller than a tablespoon, with a capacity of about 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon. In contrast, a tablespoon is larger, with a capacity of about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.

To put it in perspective, three teaspoons equal one tablespoon. This means that if you need to measure out a tablespoon of an ingredient, you would need to use three spoons.

Usage Differences

Spoons and tablespoons are used for different purposes in the kitchen. Spoons are typically used for measuring small amounts of dry ingredients, such as spices or baking powder. They can also be used for measuring liquid ingredients, such as vanilla extract or lemon juice.

Tablespoons, on the other hand, are used for measuring larger amounts of ingredients. They are commonly used for measuring liquids, such as oil or milk, or for measuring dry ingredients, such as flour or sugar.

When measuring ingredients, it’s important to use the correct type of spoon to ensure accuracy. Using a spoon instead of a tablespoon, or vice versa, can result in incorrect measurements and negatively impact the outcome of your recipe.

In summary, spoons and tablespoons may look similar, but they serve different purposes in the kitchen. Understanding the size and usage differences between the two can help you measure ingredients accurately and achieve the best results in your cooking and baking endeavors.

Common Misconceptions

When it comes to measuring spoons, there are common misconceptions about what a spoon is and how it can be used. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about spoons:

  • All spoons are tablespoons: This is not true. While tablespoons are a type of spoon, not all spoons are tablespoons. There are teaspoons, dessert spoons, soup spoons, and more. Each type of spoon has a different size and purpose.
  • A spoonful is a universal measurement: This is not true. A spoonful can vary in size depending on the type of spoon being used. A teaspoon is smaller than a tablespoon, so a spoonful of sugar measured with a teaspoon will be less than a spoonful of sugar measured with a tablespoon.
  • You can eyeball a tablespoon: This is not recommended. While some people may be able to estimate a tablespoon accurately, it is not a precise method of measurement. It is always best to use a measuring spoon to ensure accuracy.
  • All measuring spoons are created equal: This is not true. While all measuring spoons are designed to measure a specific amount of an ingredient, the accuracy of the measurement can vary between brands and types of spoons. It is important to use a high-quality measuring spoon to ensure accuracy.

It is important to understand the differences between spoons and the importance of using a measuring spoon for accuracy. Don’t fall for these common misconceptions and always measure your ingredients properly to ensure the best results in your cooking and baking.


You now know the difference between a spoon and a tablespoon. By definition, a tablespoon is a large spoon used for serving or measuring, while a spoon is a general term for any scooped utensil used for eating or serving.

It is important to note that not all spoons are tablespoons, and not all tablespoons are spoons. While a tablespoon can be considered a type of spoon, it is specifically designed for measuring or serving larger quantities of food.

When cooking or baking, it is crucial to use the correct measuring utensils to ensure accuracy and consistency in your recipes. Using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, for example, can significantly alter the taste and texture of your dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many normal spoons is equivalent to 1 tablespoon?

One tablespoon is equivalent to three normal spoons.

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

A tablespoon is larger than a dessert spoon. A tablespoon measures 15 ml, while a dessert spoon measures 10 ml.

How do you measure 1 tablespoon?

To measure 1 tablespoon, use a measuring spoon that is labeled as such. Fill the spoon to the top, without allowing it to spill over.

How many tablespoons are in a cup?

There are 16 tablespoons in a cup.

What is the abbreviation for tablespoon?

The abbreviation for tablespoon is “tbsp.”

How much is a spoonful of liquid?

One spoonful of liquid is equivalent to 15 ml or 0.51 US fluid ounces.

Remember to use the correct measuring utensils when cooking or baking to ensure accurate measurements.

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