Distinguishing Between Tablespoons & Teaspoons

Tablespoon vs Teaspoon

Teaspoon and tablespoon are two of the many types of spoons used in cutlery. Those familiar with cutlery know the size difference between them, but many people remain confused about these two spoons. In cookbooks and cooking shows, recipes often use these spoons as measurements for ingredients. In addition to size differences, there are also differences in their usage, which will be discussed in this article.


A teaspoon’s name originates from its early use in the 17th century when tea in Europe was highly popular but very expensive, leading to small tea cup sizes. This required a small spoon to stir sugar inside the cup. As tea became cheaper, the size of tea cups and teaspoons increased. A teaspoon, made of silver or stainless steel, is mainly used for adding sugar to tea and stirring ingredients in tea cups.

A teaspoon, abbreviated as tsp, is also a unit of measurement when adding ingredients in various recipes. It is a small spoon that roughly measures 1/8 of an ounce of fluid (1/6 fl. oz or 1/48 cup in the US). In culinary measurements, in the US, it is considered equivalent to 1/3rd tablespoon or approximately 5ml, but in some countries like Australia, it is considered equivalent to 1/4th tablespoon.


In cutlery, a tablespoon is a large spoon, much larger in size than a teaspoon. In fact, in the US and Canada, a tablespoon is the largest spoon used for eating or drinking from a plate or a bowl. In the UK, a tablespoon is also known as a serving spoon.

Tablespoon, abbreviated as tbs or tbsp, also serves as a measure of quantity or volume and is used extensively to add ingredients into recipes. A tablespoon, in the US, is approximately 15ml (1/2 fl oz) and is assumed to contain roughly three times more solid material than a teaspoon. In some countries like Australia, it holds approximately 20ml fluid and four times the capacity of a teaspoon.

Key Takeaways

  • Both spoons are items of cutlery, but a teaspoon is much smaller than a tablespoon.
  • In many countries, a standard tablespoon contains three times the material than a teaspoon.
  • Teaspoons are used to add sugar to tea or coffee and to stir ingredients in a cup of tea, while tablespoons are used to eat or drink from a bowl.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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