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odd size measuring spoons why no 1/3 tsp

hello all- any idea why there's never a 1/3 tsp included in sets? I ordered an odd sized set (which obviously i don't NEED but thought the 1/8 tsp and 2 tablespoon measure would be handy) but noticed there's no 1/3

any ideas? and is this normal or just the set i have? i guess i haven't had an issue with a recipe yet though...

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  1. I have never in my life seen a recipe that calls for 1/3 of a tsp (and I'm not a spring chicken). I think for most purposes either a 1/2 or 1/4 suffices. And I have never in my life seen a measuring spoon of size 1/3 tsp.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      I know this is an old thread but . . .

      There are DOZENS of recipes in Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking that call for 1/3 tsp of something (usually turmeric). I've often wondered why - I don't remember such measurements in her first cookbook, "Classic Indian Cooking".

      1. re: DGresh

        My 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook, which is the best cookbook ever made!, has a ton of recipes that call for 1/3 of a tsp. This includes entrees and desserts. But I too abhor plastic measuring devices, they just feel and look so cheap compared to metal.

      2. I just bought a set of odd-size spoons from Spoonsisters.com. The 2-Tbsp one is perfect for filling large madeleine molds! The set is a great, odd gift.


        1 Reply
        1. re: mnosyne

          I have a set I got on amazon.com - dry measuring cups and measuring spoons in different sizes. Love 'em.

        2. http://www.enasco.com/product/WA23350H

          Personally, I would err with a rounded 1/4 tsp measure for when I do properly measure ingredients. I have too many measuring spoons.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Caralien

            I had a gift certificate and love kitchen stuff (and I had only one set each of measuring spoons, dry and wet measuring cups). They're just so cute, and they fit into herb bottles so well....

              1. re: bayoucook

                the last set I purchased was the odd-size All Clad set (I really wanted the largest cup as a butter warmer, and considered the rest bonus pieces); the benefit of this set has been their sturdiness--I haven't bent the pieces even when scooping out dough:

                I have another standard steel set of spoons (15 years old?) which haven't failed me.

                Then there are the odd pieces acquired at various times, origin unknown.

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    at $30, a relative bargain considering the cost of the butter warmer ($50)

                    We keep ours on a hanging rack (pressed for space), and last minute grabs when one is covered in flour or other cooking detrius makes it far more convenient than having to grab a towel to open a drawer to fiddle between implements!

                1. re: bayoucook

                  Looking a little further down that page it appears there are three different types that you can buy together at the bargain price of $53. Strange thing is that the individual totals for the three items is $43.

                  1. re: Paulustrious

                    I've noticed that on amazon before; who do they think they're foolin'?

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      anybody who just sees "set" and thinks "oh, way easier than ordering individually!"

              2. This is normal. The only time I can think one would want a 1/3 teaspoon measure would be when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of something and you're making a third of the recipe. Even then, unless I was baking I'd probably just do either a heaping 1/4 teaspoon or a scant 1/2 teaspoon.

                There is a set of measuring spoons that has everything from 1/64 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, and in the middle of it is a 1/3 teaspoon. Go to www.pourfectbowl.com to check it out. I'm not the biggest fan of the set, but this is likely because I've found I just prefer metal measuring spoons.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  That's the only time I have seen 1/3 tsp in a recipe...when I have adjusted it to make a third. I am often dividing and multiplying cake recipes to adjust from pan size to pan size. And I have never encountered a recipe either at work or home that the measuring had to be so precise that a 1/4 tsp mounded or a tsp eyeballed to be a third of the measure didn't work. People get so caught up in the 'baking has to be precise idea' and IMHO it's not so true.

                2. Well on the other hand, pretty much every basic set of
                  measuring spoons contains a 1/3 Tbsp.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    If that were so, I doubt the original poster would have asked the question.

                    In my experience, the basic sizes in just about every set of measuring spoon are 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, and 1 tablespoon. Bigger sets add 1/8 tsp, 3/4 tsp, and/or 2 tablespoons. Only the most comprehensive sets contain a 1/3 tsp measure.

                    1. re: ellabee

                      Chuckles said 1/3 Tbsp(tablespoon) which is 1 teaspoon.

                    2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                      Good one, Chuckles. You got 'em!

                      It took a few years, but you got someone.


                    3. If I needed 1/3 of a teaspoon of something, I'd just use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and fill it more than 1/2 full but less than all the way full.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: GH1618

                          I just checked this with kosher salt. A rounded 1/4 teaspoon is very close to 1/3 teaspoon.

                      1. Pourfect makes a 12-piece set of measuring spoons that includes a 1/3 teaspoon. They're well made and beautiful, available in a variety of colors. They also have a matching 9-piece set of measuring cups. I got mine at Chef's Catalog ( www.chefscatalog.com/product/25962-PO... ). You can also find a list of lots of places to buy them, local stores as well as online, on Pourfect's website at www.pourfectbowl.com

                        1. This made me so curious that I had to check mine out . Yep! No 1/3. I do have an interesting set marked "dash", "smidgon" and "pinch". As for the other ones, I take the sets apart and store them in a jar. I hate trying to measure something with all the others hanging around getting in the way. There is one that is 4tsps.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: miriamjo

                            I got a set with dash, smidgon and pinch in a molecular gastronomy kit.

                            1. re: paulj

                              I have a set that has those plus a drop, a dash, and a tad -- a joke Christmas present from my MIL. Never use them, though.

                            2. re: miriamjo

                              So I'm not the only one! I keep measuring spoons loose in a little crock with the peeler, small kitchen scissors, and a few other items. When I got a new set of spoons that included an 1/8 tsp and a 3/4 tsp in addition to the basic four, it was suddenly hard for me to pick out at a glance the size I was looking for. Since quick access is the whole point of keeping them out on the counter, the problem was solved by relegating the 'extra' sizes to the utensil drawer. The 1/8 tsp is called on every once in a while, but the 3/4 tsp is migrating to the back of the drawer.

                              If I found myself needing odd sizes more, I'd shop for single spoons in a shape and/or material different from the basic four.

                            3. As a practical matter, the difference in weight and volume between 1/4 tsp and 1/3 tsp is tiny - in dry weight, 0.04 ounces vs. 0.05 ounces, or 0.18 grams. So even if some recipes do specify 1/3 tsp measurements, can that precision make any perceptible difference?

                              1 Reply
                              1. 2Tbsp make 1/8 cup. Surprised that didn't make it here over the last three years of the life of this thread! :)

                                1. I read something recently maybe even on chowhound that measuring spoons aren't that accurate or consistant anyway.

                                  1. I was thinking of this as well. Basically some recipes call for six servings and a teaspoon of something and if I am making it for only the two of us, that is the 1/3 teaspoon. I too have the odd size set and what I find odd (sorry for the use of the word twice) is that a number of the sizes can be achieved by simply using two of the spoons instead of one. For example 2 teaspoons of something. The closest one can get to 1/3 teaspoon is to use 1/4 teas. and 1/8 teas. for the 3/8 but that is a little more than a third. If anyone knows a place that sells the 1/3 teaspoon I would be interested.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: FayeD

                                      what is it you're making that demands that much precision?

                                      That's an honest question, not a snark.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I guess it isn't so much that I need absolute precision. It's just that the first time I make a recipe, I like to make it exactly as stated. I will admit that with red pepper flakes or cayeen (spelling) precision might be important.

                                        1. re: FayeD

                                          I'm a member of the opposite camp -- for most dishes, I season to my family's taste, regardless of what the recipe says. I use the measurements as a guideline, not a mandate.

                                          And no, I'm not one of those people who swaps out 6 ingredients, doubles one ingredient, halves another ingredients, and then crabs that the recipe wasn't good....

                                          But the difference between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon in most recipes (and with most spices; I'll agree with you on chili/cayenne) is too small to even be detectable to most people.

                                          1. re: FayeD

                                            Three-eighths is close enough. Just add a little more if you like. One-third of an eighth would be exact, which you could eyeball. Where cayenne is concerned, personal taste prevails anyway. You can always use a little more or less to your own taste.

                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              Correction: You would need to take out one-third of an eighth. So make the one-eighth measure a little short.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  The OP wanted accuracy. There are 1/8 tsp measures. I think a pinch is less than that, but I haven't tried to calibrate my pinches.

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    I just realized I have a set of spoons with a 1/3tsp. It also has a 1/2Tbs measure. The spoons are also marked in ml, e.g. 1.23, 1.64, 2.46, etc. I have not idea how accurate they are. No doubt they are better than the shallow stamped Eco brand spoons that I grew up with.

                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                      I do like Ruhlman's recipe -- he refers to one-, two-, or three-finger pinches. Makes me chuckle, but it underlines how much absolute accuracy isn't all that big a deal in most dishes

                                                      (if you were doing molecular gastronomy, maybe, but then for that you'd want a scale, anyway)

                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                        If the goal is accuracy a weight measurement would probably be better.

                                                        1. re: calumin

                                                          Sure, but the accuracy of a good scale that can measure such small amounts precisely isn't required, and it isn't the question under consideration here. We are discussing measuring spoons, and the alternative of using a scale seems like a last resort for someone who uses conventional measuring spoons and who does not have a scale.

                                            2. re: FayeD

                                              How about using 1/4 tsp plus 1/12 tsp? 1/12 is 2/3 of 1/8. When I need 1/3 is use a heaping 1/4 and hope for the best.

                                              If I'm making something where the difference between 1/4 and 1/3 matters, I should be using a scale, preferably one that measures smaller than a gram.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I have never seen a 1/12 teaspoon either.

                                            3. I make my own baking powder by combining 1/3 tsp baking soda and 2/3 tsp cream of tartar. This will yield 1 tsp baking powder. I make my own because commercial baking powder will often contain sodium aluminum sulfate, and since I don't want aluminum in my diet, I make my own. Plus, if you don't use it that often, it will eventually go inert and not work properly.

                                              Since I am somewhat of a stickler for accuracy in recipes (read NOT a cook), I have always had a difficult time making 1 tsp of baking powder, so just today, I made my own 1/3 tsp measuring spoon.

                                              I had a tiny scoop that came with a powdered vitamin supplement, and it measured 1/2 tsp. Since the handle was attached to the bottom of the measure, I simply sanded off the top of the measure until it held 1/3 tsp (verified by putting 3 measures of salt in a 1 tsp. measuring spoon). Now, when I need 1 tsp baking powder, I can measure it out quite easily.

                                              By the way, I'm sure that a rounded 1/4 tsp would suffice for a 1/3 tsp measure in any recipe that you might come across, but like I said, I am NOT a crook, err cook.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: JacksonHawk

                                                That's the hard way. There are three teaspoons in a tablespoon. You could make it in units of a tablespoon from one tsp of baking soda and two tsp of cream of tartar. Then just take the mixture in teaspoons. For that matter, you could make the mixture in one to two proportion using any measure at all.

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Yep, you could do that, but then you wouldn't have a trick-looking 1/3 tsp measuring spoon.

                                              2. If I needed 1/3 of a teaspoon of something, I would just measure out 1/4 teaspoon first and then 2/25 of a teaspoon. Together they make 1/3 teaspoon.