What’s worse than having to measure a thousand different ingredients with one measuring spoon? How about realizing you do not have a measuring spoon to measure them with in the first place!?
Being able to measure a teaspoon without measuring tools can save you a lot of frustration, time, cleaning, and even space in your kitchen.
Granted, it does take a bit of practice, but once you have mastered these tricks you will be measuring your ingredients in a fraction of the time!
So, how do you measure a teaspoon without any measuring tools? The simplest and most accurate method would be using “pinches”. 8 Pinches between your first three fingers equals one teaspoon. Other methods include using your palm as a measuring tool, or even the size of your thumb.
Like we’ve said, it requires some practice with accurate tools, but will be a great skill to have in the future!
In today’s article, we will have a look at the many ways to measure a teaspoon without any measuring tools, as well as with alternative accurate tools.
We will discuss the exact size of a teaspoon, different ways you can mimic the size, and how to calculate it when using larger quantities.
A Teaspoon in Perspective
First of all, when it comes to measuring a teaspoon for cooking and baking, there are different factors to consider.
When you’re cooking, a lot of it is about taste! As long as the food tastes good, you don’t need to use exactly 1 teaspoon of this or that. However, when it comes to baking, there’s a little bit more science behind it.
When it comes to baking, ingredients chemically react with each other to create a certain texture of effect, meaning the ratios of these ingredients have to be precise. The margin for error is much smaller compared to cooking.
If you aren’t confident with your estimated measuring, it’ll probably benefit you to find a more accurate way of measuring your ingredients.
That being said, let’s have a look at the humble teaspoon.
A teaspoon measures 0.10 fluid ounce (one-tenth) or 5 milliliters. This is also about 1/3 tablespoon. When measuring liquids, you always use fluid measuring units, and when measuring dry ingredients, you often use weight measurements.
Different ingredients will have different measurements in dry and liquid measuring units. For example, 1 milliliter of milk will not weigh 1 gram.
It is important to keep this in mind before using any of these alternative methods.
Why It’s Useful to Measure Without Measuring Tools
Believe it or not, but there are actually a ton of reasons to learn how to measure a teaspoon without any measuring tools.
The independence you will gain is one of the biggest benefits and it will give you the freedom to bake and cook whatever you want, wherever you want, and whenever you want!
More often than not, remembering to pack measuring tools when going away is not very high on your priority list. Most people forget theirs or assume that their accommodation will be fully equipped.
When you finally get there, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a spoon in sight!
Not having measuring spoons will also save you space, both in your kitchen and when traveling.
We’ve always found them to be an extremely inconvenient tool to pack, especially when camping. Their awkward shape and size make it impossible to easily fit and be transported.
Measuring without tools will save you a ton of time. Whether you’ve misplaced a spoon, the batteries in your scale don’t work, or you don’t want to constantly wash equipment, measuring without these tools will free you from those hassles!
How to Measure Without Any Tools
Even though it is preferred to measure ingredients with tools, sometimes you don’t need that kind of accuracy.
Even if you are baking and need precise measurements, using these methods and practicing them will help you eventually measure more accurately.
The Pinch Method
The pinch method is an excellent tool-free method you can use, especially for smaller amounts such as teaspoons.
The process is simple: simply pinch your front three fingers together (that is your thumb, index finger, and middle finger). Use these three fingers and take a pinch of spice, powder, or sweetener and add it to a bowl.
One pinch equals about 1/8 teaspoon, so for one teaspoon, you will need 8 pinches.
You can practice this method by adding your pinches to a bowl and measuring it with an accurate teaspoon. This will help you figure out what the size of your pinches are.
The Palm Method
This is another great tool-free method, also sometimes referred to as the coin method. We would only recommend this method when cooking as this measurement is much more inaccurate compared to the pinch method.
Cup your hand and imagine a quarter (coin) size inside. Fill that area with your powder or spice and allow it to be slightly mounded. That equals 1 teaspoon.
A nickel size will equal roughly ½ a teaspoon, and a dime will measure about ¼ of a teaspoon.
If neither of those methods works well for you, alternatively you can look at some of these comparisons. Not all of them equals a teaspoon, but you can make the calculations and measure it out.
- The distance from the ligament of your thumb equals roughly 1 teaspoon in volume. You can take the measurement from the first joint to the tip.
- One tablespoon can be measured in the same way, but starting from your second joint (your palm) to the tip – basically your whole thumb. This means that a third of that amount equals a teaspoon.
Always remember that the size of your thumb will determine the accuracy, so try comparing it to an accurate teaspoon for reference!
- One ping pong ball equals roughly 2 tablespoons. Divide that amount into 6 equal portions to get 6 teaspoons.
- One large egg in volume will measure roughly ¼ cup. One ¼ cup contains 12 teaspoons, so by dividing the amount into 12 equal portions, you will get your teaspoon.
- Most medicine spoons measure 1 teaspoon, so this is an easy and accurate makeshift measuring tool.
Tips and Tricks
It’s all about practice, practice, and even more practice! Once you have figured out how to measure without tools, you will eventually become so confident that you won’t use them at all!
We highly recommend starting off with proper measuring tools.
Accurately measure 1 teaspoon of powder or product, pour it inside your hand and try to remember what it looked like. Pour it out and measure again and again and again.
After a while, pour directly into your hand, then measure to see how accurate you were. The same principle goes for other references like the egg, or the tip of your thumb, etc.
You can also find other odd objects lying around in the house, for example, the lid of a specific plastic soda bottle. Measure how much fits into it and make notes or remember the quantity. This way you can use everyday items to also measure ingredients.
How to Measure with Other Tools
So, if you do not have a teaspoon but still need very accurate measurements, there are a couple of different methods you can use to measure one teaspoon.
If you have any other measuring cups or spoons available, this will be the most accurate method to use, especially for liquids.
- 8 x 1/8 teaspoon (0.620ml) = 1 teaspoon
- 4 x ¼ teaspoons (1.25ml) = 1 teaspoon
- 2 x ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) = 1 teaspoon
- 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
- 1/8 cup = 6 teaspoons
- ¼ cup = 12 teaspoons
- ½ cup = 24 teaspoons
- ¾ cup = 36 teaspoons
- 1 cup = 48 teaspoons
As you can see, it is very easy to do the math and eventually measure out 1 teaspoon. For example, divide ½ cup of contents through 24 to get 1 teaspoon.
Obviously, the larger the cup gets the more difficult it will be to measure, for example, one 48th of a cup, but for smaller spoons like a tablespoon, it is easy to measure a third of it.
You can also use a scale to measure a teaspoon. Remember, as we’ve previously mentioned, one milliliter does not always mean 1 gram.
The different ingredient has different volume to weight ratios. So, 5 milliliters won’t always weigh as 5 grams.
Once you have figured out the differences between a specific ingredient’s weight to its volume, it is an extremely accurate measuring method that is great for baking.
Up Next: How to Keep Bread from Molding