Difference Between Teaspoon vs Tablespoon

Difference Between Teaspoon vs Tablespoon

It’s incredible how many people get these two kitchen utensils mixed up, but the confusion over the difference between teaspoon and tablespoon can come from people’s misunderstanding of which one is which, leading to them labelling them incorrectly.

Today we’re going to put this confusion to rest by providing you with a comprehensive rundown of the exact definition of each spoon type and where it is appropriately used. We’ll also throw in a quick reference table to make life easier when it comes to making comparisons at a glance. If you’re ready to settle this comparison once and for all, simply read on.

Definition of Teaspoon

The definition of teaspoon is: “A small kitchen utensil with a long stem and a hollowed out circular scoop on one end designed to stir hot beverages.”

Admittedly, the above description could serve either variety of spoon, but it’s when you see them side by side that you can form an effective summary of which one is which. They were also designed for completely different purposes in the first place.

A teaspoon gets its name because, as you may have guessed, it was originally designed to stir hot beverages at a time when the main hot beverage variety being consumed was tea. This is how it got its name.

What creates the difference between tablespoon and teaspoon is that it’s very rare to see each type of spoon being used for the same purpose as the other as they simply wouldn’t be suitable when used in this fashion.

One is significantly larger than the other, therefore it functions far more effectively when utilized as an eating utensil as opposed to a stirring utensil. Sometimes an individual may use the smaller variety of spoon when consuming desserts, but this too is unlikely because there are unique spoon varieties for this purpose. All will finally become clearer when we observe the next definition.

Definition of Tablespoon

The definition of tablespoon is: “A kitchen utensil with a long metal stem and a hollowed out scoop on one end designed for assistance with the consumption of food.”

When reading the above description, we already largely have our summarizing factor in the tablespoon vs teaspoon debate due to the mention of food. Tablespoons (as the name implies) are designed for use at the dining table when eating food.

The reason why they were designed (and all other varieties of spoon) was as a safe means of consuming food without passing any bacteria into the mouth from the hands in the process. Tea spoons serve the same purpose with beverages as the hands do not have to perform the stirring process.

What makes a table spoon effective for food consumption is the fact that it is much bigger than a teaspoon. You would simply not be able to get an effective amount of food onto a tea spoon when consuming main meals.

Equally, a table spoon would be too large to fit into the cavity of many mugs or cups to perform effective stirring meaning that it too would be largely in effective for performing the opposite purpose. This is why we have separate utensils to perform a variety of functions. Their size and shape simply means that they are the best tool for fulfilling the demands of a particular action.

Main Differences Between Teaspoon vs Tablespoon

We’ll now highlight the contrasting areas between teaspoon vs tablespoon in a quick reference table.

Basis of ComparisonTeaspoonTablespoon
When was it invented?During the British colonial periodThe Middle Ages
Volume capacity5ml15ml
Predominantly used forThe stirring of beveragesConsuming food
Typical lengthA maximum of 4.5 inchesAround 6 inches maximum
Sometimes abbreviated asTsp.Tbsp.
Used at the dining tableUsually notTypically yes

Difference Between Teaspoon and Tablespoon: Conclusion

In summary, you should now finally have a robust understanding of the variations between these two variety of spoon. They often get confused with one another but when you’re summarizing them just remember that one is significantly bigger than the other. You’ll also regularly see one at the table whereas with the other this is unlikely.