Does 2 tsp make 1 tbsp?

Teaspoons and tablespoons are common units of measurement used in cooking and baking. Many recipes call for ingredients to be measured out in teaspoons (tsp) and tablespoons (tbsp). But exactly what is the conversion between teaspoons and tablespoons? Does 2 tsp make 1 tbsp?

What are teaspoons and tablespoons?

A teaspoon (tsp) and a tablespoon (tbsp) are both units of volume typically used to measure small amounts of liquid and dry ingredients in recipes. A teaspoon is smaller than a tablespoon.

One teaspoon is equal to:

  • 1/3 tablespoon
  • 1/6 fluid ounce
  • 5 milliliters
  • Approximately 1/48 cup (US customary)

One tablespoon is equal to:

  • 3 teaspoons
  • 1/2 fluid ounce
  • 15 milliliters
  • 1/16 cup (US customary)

Teaspoon and Tablespoon Conversions

So how do teaspoons and tablespoons convert? Here are some key teaspoon and tablespoon conversions to remember:

  • 3 teaspoons (tsp) = 1 tablespoon (tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1 fluid ounce
  • 16 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons (tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons (tbsp)
  • 2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons (tbsp)

Knowing these basic conversions allows you to adjust recipe measurements and substitutions easily.

Does 2 tsp make 1 tbsp?

With the teaspoon and tablespoon conversions in mind, can 2 teaspoons make 1 tablespoon? The short answer is no. Two teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon minus 1 teaspoon (2 tsp = 1 tbsp – 1 tsp).

Since 1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, and 2 teaspoons is less than 3 teaspoons, 2 teaspoons does not equal a full tablespoon.

The math behind 2 tsp vs 1 tbsp

Here is the math showing that 2 tsp does not equal 1 tbsp:

  • 1 tbsp = 3 tsp
  • 2 tsp = 2/3 tbsp

So 2 tsp is equal to 2/3 tbsp, not a full 1 tbsp.

Examples of 2 tsp vs 1 tbsp

To demonstrate that 2 tsp does not make a full tbsp, here are some examples:

  • If a recipe calls for 1 tbsp of vanilla extract and you only add 2 tsp, you will be short 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • If you are measuring 1 tbsp of olive oil but accidentally only add 2 tsp, you will be 1 tsp short of the full 1 tbsp needed.
  • Adding 2 tsp of baking powder instead of 1 tbsp to a recipe can alter the results since it is less than the full amount.

The bottom line is – 2 tsp does not equal a full 1 tbsp when measuring ingredients for cooking and baking. Being aware of the precise conversions is important for recipe accuracy.

Tips for Measuring Teaspoons and Tablespoons

Here are some tips for successfully measuring teaspoons and tablespoons for recipes:

  • Use measuring spoons – Measuring spoons are specially designed to provide precise teaspoon and tablespoon measurements for consistency in cooking and baking.
  • Level off ingredients – Use a straight edge like the back of a knife to level off dry ingredients after spooning them into the measuring spoon to get an accurate measurement.
  • Don’t “heap” – Heaping spoons of ingredients can throw off recipe results. Always level off ingredients for accuracy.
  • Measure over bowl – When measuring dry ingredients, hold the measuring spoon over the mixing bowl to easily pour in the ingredient after measuring.
  • Use proper utensils – Use measuring spoons, not regular flatware spoons, which vary in size and won’t give a reliable measurement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there 3 tsp in 1 tbsp?

The conversion of 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon originated back when the tablespoon and teaspoon were first adopted as standardized units of measurement. The tablespoon has long been regarded as the equivalent of one-half of a fluid ounce. Based on the fluid measurements, three teaspoons were established as equaling 1 tablespoon.

Can I use 2 tsp if a recipe calls for 1 tbsp?

It’s not recommended to substitute 2 tsp when a recipe calls for 1 tbsp. Since 2 tsp equals 2/3 tbsp, using 2 tsp instead of a full tbsp means you would be short by 1/3 tablespoon or 1 teaspoon. This slight reduction in some ingredients won’t make a big impact, but for certain ingredients like yeast, baking powder, or spices, an accurate conversion is more important.

What happens if I use 2 tsp instead of 1 tbsp?

In some cases, using 2 tsp instead of 1 full tbsp may not cause a noticeable difference, like if it’s 2 tsp of milk instead of 1 tbsp. But for other ingredients like yeast, baking powder, vinegar, or essential flavoring extracts, the slightly reduced amount could result in a measurable impact on the outcome. Baked goods may not rise properly or the flavor may be lacking. When accuracy matters, it’s always best to precisely measure 1 full tbsp instead of 2 tsp.

Can I use 3 tsp if I don’t have a 1 tbsp measuring spoon?

Yes, you can substitute 3 teaspoons for 1 tablespoon in a recipe if you don’t have a 1 tbsp measuring spoon. Since 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon, using 3 separate teaspoons will provide the full 1 tablespoon needed.


While 2 tsp may seem close to 1 tbsp, the precise conversion is that 2 teaspoons does not directly equal 1 tablespoon. One tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, so 2 tsp falls short of a full tbsp by 1 teaspoon. For accuracy when cooking and baking, it’s important to be aware of exact teaspoon and tablespoon conversions. Measuring ingredients precisely using measuring spoons and leveling off ingredients helps ensure your recipes turn out right every time.

Measurement Teaspoons
1 tablespoon (tbsp) 3 tsp
2 teaspoons (tsp) 2/3 tbsp

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