Is 5 mL or 10 mL a teaspoon?

When it comes to measuring small amounts of liquid, it can be confusing whether 5 mL and 10 mL are equivalent to a teaspoon. This article will examine the answers to common questions about teaspoons, milliliters, and how they relate to each other.

Quick Answer

5 mL is equal to 1 teaspoon. 10 mL is equal to 2 teaspoons. A teaspoon is a non-standardized kitchen measuring spoon that holds about 5 mL of liquid. Milliliters (mL) are a metric unit of volume. 1 mL is equal to 1 cubic centimeter (cm3).

What is a Teaspoon?

A teaspoon is a common kitchen measuring tool used for small amounts of liquid and dry ingredients. Teaspoons are often included in a set with tablespoons and measuring cups.

There are several important things to know about teaspoons:

  • A teaspoon is a non-standardized unit. This means teaspoons can vary slightly in their actual capacity from set to set.
  • On average, one teaspoon holds about 5 mL of liquid.
  • In cooking, the standard teaspoon size is 5 mL.
  • Teaspoons are also used to measure dry ingredients. The capacity depends on how densely the ingredient is packed into the spoon.

While teaspoons are non-standardized in terms of milliliters, they provide a convenient way to measure out small amounts of ingredients by volume in the kitchen.

What are Milliliters?

Milliliters (mL) are a metric unit of volume. Metric units like milliliters are standardized measurements used in science, medicine, and cooking.

Here’s some key information about milliliters:

  • 1 milliliter is equal to 1 cubic centimeter (cm3).
  • 1000 milliliters = 1 liter
  • Milliliters are used to measure volumes of liquid medications, chemical solutions in science, and small amounts of ingredients for recipes.
  • Milliliters provide an exact, standardized measure of volume.

For liquid volumes less than one liter, milliliters give a precise measurement. The milliliter is part of the modern metric system used globally in science and industry.

How Many Milliliters are in a Teaspoon?

On average, 1 teaspoon holds about 5 milliliters (mL) of liquid. However, keep in mind that teaspoons are not an officially standardized unit like the milliliter.

The actual volume held by a teaspoon can vary slightly between different spoon sets. But in general, using 5 mL as equivalent to 1 teaspoon works for most cooking and measurement purposes.

Key Equivalents:

  • 1 teaspoon = 5 mL
  • 1 tablespoon = 15 mL
  • 1 fluid ounce = 30 mL
  • 1 cup = 240 mL

So if you need to substitute teaspoons and milliliters in a recipe or measurement, keep this approximate 5:1 ratio in mind. For more precision, actually measuring out the volumes is best.

Milliliters and Teaspoon Conversions

Using the 5:1 ratio, we can make conversions between teaspoons and milliliters:

Teaspoons to Milliliters

  • 1 tsp = 5 mL
  • 2 tsp = 10 mL
  • 3 tsp = 15 mL
  • 4 tsp = 20 mL

Milliliters to Teaspoons

  • 5 mL = 1 tsp
  • 10 mL = 2 tsp
  • 15 mL = 3 tsp
  • 20 mL = 4 tsp

So to answer the original question:

  • 5 mL is equal to 1 teaspoon
  • 10 mL is equal to 2 teaspoons

This shows how converting between teaspoons and milliliters works based on their 5:1 ratio. Of course, for accuracy measuring the actual volumes is best.

Measuring Precise Volumes

For scientific work and baking recipes that require high precision, measuring out volumes directly is better than converting between teaspoons and milliliters.

To measure liquids precisely, use volumetric glassware calibrated for milliliters. This includes laboratory-grade tools like graduated cylinders, pipettes, and volumetric flasks.

For home kitchen purposes, liquid measuring cups or syringes designed for milliliter measurements will work well. Digital kitchen scales can also weigh liquids in grams, which can be converted to milliliters since 1 mL water = 1 gram.

Volumetric measuring provides more accuracy than the approximated teaspoon-to-milliliter conversions. However, teaspoons still provide a convenient way to estimate small liquid amounts for less precise cooking situations.

Common Recipes and Measurements

Here are some examples of teaspoon and milliliter amounts used in common recipes and measurements:


  • Salad dressing: 1 tsp mustard (5 mL)
  • Blueberry muffin: 2 tsp vanilla (10 mL)
  • Soup broth: 1 cup broth (240 mL)
  • Cocktail: 1.5 oz vodka (45 mL)


  • Cough syrup dose: 1 tsp (5 mL)
  • Infant acetaminophen dose: 2.5 mL
  • Prescription dispensed amount: 500 mL


  • Titration sample: 25 mL analyte solution
  • Buffer preparation: 100 mL total solution
  • Serial dilution: 1:10 ratio per step

This shows the variety of uses for teaspoon and milliliter measurements, from the kitchen to the chemistry lab.

Teaspoons vs. Measuring Spoons

Teaspoons are sometimes confused with measuring spoons. However, there are distinct differences:

  • Teaspoons are used for casual measuring, not precision. They often come in a cutlery set.
  • Measuring spoons are designed for accurate measurements for baking recipes. They are sold as a nesting set with exact volumes marked.

Measuring spoon sets include:

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon = 5 mL
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon = 7.5 mL
  • 1 tablespoon = 15 mL

Using actual measuring spoons allows more consistent and precise measurements compared to regular eating teaspoons. However, standard teaspoons are fine for more casual everyday uses.

Proper Technique for Measurement

To accurately measure liquids with teaspoons, measuring spoons, or other volumetric tools, use proper technique:

  • Use the right tool for the volume needed. Don’t estimate multiple teaspoons; use a tablespoon instead.
  • Level off the top surface of the liquid. Don’t overfill the spoon.
  • When doubling recipes, don’t guess; measure each volume carefully.
  • With sticky liquids like corn syrup, coat the tool with cooking spray so all the liquid pours out.
  • When converting volumes, double check your math.

Being careful in your technique helps ensure more precise measurements.

Digital Kitchen Scales

For advanced home cooks and bakers, digital kitchen scales can take your measuring skills to the next level. These scales allow weighing ingredients directly in grams, ounces, or milliliters.

Benefits of using a kitchen scale include:

  • More accurate than measuring spoon volumes
  • Easily doubles recipes by weight
  • Consistency in baking for reliable results
  • Allow weighing liquids directly in milliliters

For example, you can precisely measure 25 mL of milk without the uncertainty of counting teaspoons. While scales require an investment, they enable precision that surpasses teaspoons or measuring spoons.

Specialty Measuring Tools

Beyond basic spoons and cups, there are also specialty liquid measuring tools for different applications:

  • Graduated cylinders – Tall narrow tubes marked with volume graduations used in labs.
  • Burettes – Allows controlled drop-by-drop dispensing of liquids.
  • Pipettes – Allows aspiration and dispensing of small, precise volumes.
  • Syringes – Plastic tubes with volume markers used for medicine and culinary arts.
  • Dropper bottles – Dispense liquid one drop at a time.

The appropriate tool depends on the level of precision needed for the application.

Accuracy Matters

Being careful about measures, conversions, and tools leads to accuracy. While teaspoons provide a convenient general estimate for small volumes:

  • Recipes with baking powder or yeast rely on precise measurements for proper reactions.
  • Medical dosing requires accuracy to ensure safety.
  • Titration analyses depend on exact sample volumes.

For critical applications, take time to measure properly or use specialty volumetric tools. Don’t rely solely on teaspoon approximations.

Key Takeaways

To summarize the main points about teaspoons and milliliters:

  • A teaspoon holds about 5 mL, but is not standardized like milliliters.
  • 1 teaspoon = 5 mL is a useful approximation, not an exact measure.
  • Measuring spoons or laboratory glassware give more precise volumes.
  • Careful technique is important for accuracy when measuring any liquid volume.
  • Digital kitchen scales excel at precision weighing in metric units.

Understanding the relationship between teaspoons and milliliters allows you to estimate, convert, measure, and ultimately get the volumes you need for cooking, experiments, medicine, and more.


In summary, 5 mL approximately equals 1 teaspoon, while 10 mL approximately equals 2 teaspoons. However, the teaspoon is not standardized like the milliliter. Converting between them uses an approximate 1:5 ratio.

For precision measurement, use tools like graduated cylinders, pipettes, burettes, or digital scales calibrated in milliliters. But for casual everyday measurements, teaspoons can still be useful when techniques are applied carefully.

Knowing the teaspoon-to-milliliter relationship provides a good starting point. But taking time to measure properly with the right tools results in more accuracy.

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