Difference Between Teaspoon and Tablespoon

While following a recipe, we often come across measurements requiring a teaspoon or a tablespoon, and sometimes both for many recipes. They are also commonly used cutlery items, so that you may find it slightly confusing at times.

And no one wants to mix up one with the other while measuring ingredients because putting one tablespoon of salt instead of one teaspoon is certainly a recipe for disasters.

Hence, to help you tell apart from one another, here is our take on the difference between teaspoon and tablespoon.

Let us get right into it!


Teaspoon vs. Tablespoon: A Brief

The difference between teaspoons and tablespoons is that a teaspoon is slightly smaller than a tablespoon despite both items being part of cutlery sets.

To be precise, the average tablespoon is almost 10 milliliters larger in volume than a standard teaspoon.

Teaspoons are designed to be smaller so that you can easily stir or mix beverages with them.

You can easily eat desserts with this small spoon; measuring ingredients while cooking using a teaspoon helps you divide food into small yet precise proportions.

Tablespoons, on the other hand, are commonly used as cutlery to eat the majority of foods.

It has a larger and wider bowl than a teaspoon, as a tablespoon has a volume three times larger than a teaspoon. You can also use it to measure ingredients.


What Is a Teaspoon?


A teaspoon is a small spoon that is most commonly used to stir sugar in cups or small bowls. As the name suggests, it is always used to measure out ingredients and stir them into teacups, so you will always find one nearby at high tea or afternoon tea parties.

It is not usually included in the traditional cutlery sets as the spoon is not used to serve or eat food. However, you might occasionally find teaspoons offered alongside desserts.

You can use this spoon to measure out ingredients in smaller portions. When using a teaspoon as a unit of measurement to follow a recipe, you might find the abbreviation tsp written in cookbooks instead of the word teaspoon.


What Is a Tablespoon?


A tablespoon is a comparatively larger spoon with a volume of approximately 15ml. This spoon is commonly used to serve food, be it a formal dinner or a homely breakfast.

You can find this spoon in every cutlery set. It is not used to stir or mix drinks typically. And just like a teaspoon, you can also use a tablespoon to measure ingredients.

In cookbooks and recipes, you are more likely to find the abbreviation of tbsp instead of the word tablespoon. A tablespoon is roughly equal to 1/16th of a cup, though the measurement may differ across countries.


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Main Differences Between Teaspoon and Tablespoon

  • Teaspoons have 1/3 of a tablespoon’s capacity of volume.
  • Teaspoons’ heads tend to be oval-shaped, while tablespoon heads are more on the rounder side.
  • Teaspoons are mainly used to stir drinks, while tablespoons are often used to serve food as part of the cutlery set.
  • The abbreviation of a teaspoon is tsp, while it is tbsp for tablespoon.


The Comparison Table to Summarize

Below is a comparison table of teaspoons vs. tablespoons to help you learn the differences at a glance.

Parameters of Comparison




Holds up to 5ml

Holds up to 15ml


Stirring beverages and measuring ingredients

Cutlery and measuring ingredients




Spoon Shape

Oval head Rounded Oval



Now that you have read through our detailed guide on the differences between teaspoons and tablespoons, you will be easily able to tell them apart.

And when you are in doubt, rest assured the larger of two spoons is always the tablespoon as it can hold three times more ingredients than a teaspoon.