# Does 2 tablespoons equal 20 mL?

When it comes to measuring ingredients for cooking and baking, being able to convert between tablespoons and milliliters is very useful. But does 2 tablespoons actually equal 20 mL? Let’s take a closer look.

## The Definition of a Tablespoon

First, we need to understand exactly what a tablespoon is. A tablespoon is a standardized unit of volume used in cooking. One tablespoon is defined as exactly 15 mL. So a single tablespoon contains 15 mL of liquid or other ingredient.

This standard volume was set so that measurements could be consistent across recipes and cookbooks. So no matter who writes the recipe or where you find it, one tablespoon should always equal 15 mL.

## The Definition of Milliliters

Milliliters are a metric unit of volume. There are 1000 milliliters in one liter. So a milliliter is a very small unit of measure. But it allows for precision when measuring small amounts of liquid or other ingredients.

Metric units like milliliters are standard across the scientific community. So milliliters will measure the same amount regardless of where you are in the world. Metric units are based on a decimal system which makes converting between units very easy.

## Comparing Tablespoons and Milliliters

Since one tablespoon is defined as 15 mL, it’s easy to convert between these units. Two tablespoons would be:

2 Tbsp = 2 x 15 mL = 30 mL

So two tablespoons does NOT equal exactly 20 mL. Two tablespoons equals 30 mL.

To summarize:

• 1 tablespoon = 15 mL
• 2 tablespoons = 30 mL

20 mL is equal to:

• 1 1/3 tablespoons

## Converting Between Tablespoons and Milliliters

Since tablespoons and milliliters are both units of volume, converting between them is straightforward:

• To convert tablespoons to milliliters, multiply by 15
• To convert milliliters to tablespoons, divide by 15

So to convert 2 tablespoons to milliliters:

2 Tbsp x 15 mL/Tbsp = 30 mL

And to convert 20 milliliters to tablespoons:

20 mL / 15 mL/Tbsp = 1 1/3 Tbsp

### Tablespoon/Milliliter Conversion Table

Tablespoons Milliliters
1 Tbsp 15 mL
2 Tbsp 30 mL
3 Tbsp 45 mL
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) 60 mL
5 Tbsp 75 mL
6 Tbsp 90 mL
7 Tbsp 105 mL
8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) 120 mL
9 Tbsp 135 mL
10 Tbsp 150 mL
11 Tbsp 165 mL
12 Tbsp (3/4 cup) 180 mL
13 Tbsp 195 mL
14 Tbsp 210 mL
15 Tbsp (1 cup) 225 mL
16 Tbsp 240 mL

## When Precision Matters

In many recipes, the slight difference between 20 mL and 30 mL (2 tablespoons) won’t make a significant difference. But there are some instances when precision is more important:

• Baking – Baking recipes often require very precise measurements, so every milliliter may matter.
• Nutrition tracking – When tracking calories or nutrients, you want to be as accurate as possible with serving sizes.
• Medicine dosing – Getting medication doses exactly right is critical.
• Chemistry – Chemical reactions require ingredients be combined in very precise amounts.

For these applications, it’s important not to round or estimate when converting tablespoon and milliliter measurements.

## Converting Between Measuring Spoons and Milliliters

In the United States, spoons used for measuring ingredients come in standard sizes:

• 1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 mL
• 1/2 teaspoon = 2.5 mL
• 1 teaspoon = 5 mL
• 1 tablespoon = 15 mL

So if you don’t have a milliliter measuring tool available, you can use measuring spoons instead. Just keep in mind that the conversions won’t be exact since these spoon sizes are standardized to convenient volumes rather than precise milliliter amounts.

### Spoon/Milliliter Conversion Table

Spoon Measure Milliliters
1/4 teaspoon 1.23 mL
1/2 teaspoon 2.5 mL
1 teaspoon 5 mL
1 tablespoon 15 mL

## Tips for Measuring Ingredients

To get the most accurate measurements in cooking and baking:

• Use standard measuring spoons and cups designed for the most common baking measurements.
• When precision matters, use a graduated milliliter measuring tool designed for smaller volumes.
• Level off dry ingredients like flour, sugar, and spices when filling measuring spoons and cups.
• Use liquid measuring cups with a spout for measuring out syrups, honey, milk, and other wet ingredients.
• When doubling recipes, double check your conversions to be sure the measurements translate correctly.

## The Bottom Line

While 2 tablespoons equals 30 mL, 20 mL is only about 1 1/3 tablespoons. Tablespoons and milliliters are both units of volume, with 1 tablespoon equal to 15 mL. For simplicity, they can often be used interchangeably in recipes. But when precision matters, be sure to get your conversions right by using measuring tools designed for the specific volumes needed.