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Tsp vs. Tbsp — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 18, 2023
"Tsp" stands for teaspoon, a smaller unit of measurement; "Tbsp" denotes tablespoon, a larger unit typically equivalent to three teaspoons.
Tsp vs. Tbsp — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Tsp and Tbsp


Key Differences

"Tsp" is an abbreviation for teaspoon, a unit of measurement commonly utilized in cooking and baking. In contrast, "Tbsp" represents tablespoon, another unit of measurement that is larger than a teaspoon.
While both "Tsp" and "Tbsp" serve crucial roles in culinary arts, it's essential to distinguish between them due to their difference in volume. Notably, there are generally three teaspoons in one tablespoon, making "Tbsp" thrice as large as "Tsp."
Another interesting point about "Tsp" and "Tbsp" is their usage beyond the kitchen. They might be employed in various other sectors like medicine, where precise dosages are vital. Here too, the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon can be critical.
From a linguistic perspective, the abbreviations "Tsp" and "Tbsp" derive from the initial letters of the full words they represent. Despite their concise nature, they carry significant importance, especially when exact measurements are necessary.
Conclusively, while "Tsp" and "Tbsp" may seem minor in the grand scheme of things, their correct application, especially in culinary and medical contexts, can drastically influence outcomes.

Comparison Chart

Full Form


Volume (Typically)

5 milliliters
15 milliliters (or 3 teaspoons)


Cooking, Baking, Medicine
Cooking, Baking, Medicine

Abbreviation Origin

Initial letters of "teaspoon"
Initial letters of "tablespoon"


Smaller unit of measurement
Larger unit, thrice the size of a teaspoon

Compare with Definitions


A small measure of volume.
Pour 1 tsp of vanilla extract.


Commonly used in culinary settings.
Stir in 2 Tbsp of peanut butter.


Also used in medicine for dosing.
Take one tsp of the syrup every four hours.


Also found in medicinal contexts for dosing.
Mix one Tbsp of the powder with water and drink.


Abbreviation for teaspoon.
Add 2 tsp of sugar to the mix.


Abbreviation for tablespoon.
Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in the pan.


Used in culinary contexts for precise amounts.
The recipe calls for a tsp of salt.


A measure of volume larger than a teaspoon.
Add 1 Tbsp of honey to the tea.


Denotes a smaller measure compared to a tablespoon.
Use a tsp of oil for sautéing the onions.


Indicates a measure typically equivalent to three teaspoons.
One Tbsp of olive oil is recommended for the dressing.


Abbreviation of teaspoon


Abbreviation of tablespoon}} {{gloss

Common Curiosities

How many tsp are in a Tbsp?

Typically, there are three teaspoons (tsp) in one tablespoon (Tbsp).

What does "Tsp" stand for?

"Tsp" stands for teaspoon.

Can "Tsp" and "Tbsp" be used interchangeably in recipes?

No, due to the difference in volume, they should be used as specified.

Why are there different abbreviations for teaspoon and tablespoon?

The abbreviations help with clarity and prevent mistakes in measurements.

Can "Tsp" and "Tbsp" measurements be critical in medicine?

Yes, especially when ensuring correct dosages.

What is "Tbsp" an abbreviation for?

"Tbsp" is an abbreviation for tablespoon.

Are these abbreviations only relevant in cooking?

No, they're also used in medicine and other fields requiring precise measurements.

How much volume does a "Tbsp" typically represent?

A Tbsp is typically 15 milliliters.

And how much volume does a "Tsp" represent?

A tsp is typically 5 milliliters.

Are "Tsp" and "Tbsp" used worldwide?

While recognized globally, volume specifics might differ in some countries.

Do all tablespoons hold the same amount?

While standardized, there can be minor differences based on design or country.

When did the abbreviations "Tsp" and "Tbsp" come into usage?

The exact origin is unclear, but they've been used for several centuries for clarity in writing.

Is it essential to have both teaspoon and tablespoon measures in a kitchen?

Yes, having both ensures accurate measurements, especially in recipes requiring precision.

Why is it crucial to distinguish between "Tsp" and "Tbsp"?

Mistaking one for the other can result in wrong measurements, affecting outcomes.

Is there a significant difference between a dining tablespoon and a measuring tablespoon?

Yes, dining tablespoons can vary in size, while measuring tablespoons are standardized.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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