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odd size measuring spoons why no 1/3 tsp

qwerty78 Jun 25, 2009 09:03 AM

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. d
    DGresh Jun 25, 2009 09:13 AM

    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
      ZenSojourner May 8, 2011 04:03 PM

      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
        Thankyouabba Sep 6, 2012 10:45 AM

        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. mnosyne Jun 25, 2009 09:26 AM

        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
          bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 09:27 AM

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

        2. Caralien Jun 25, 2009 09:29 AM


          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
            bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 09:59 AM

            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
              bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 10:18 AM

              and these cups:


              1. re: bayoucook
                Caralien Jun 25, 2009 10:41 AM

                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: Caralien
                  bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 10:51 AM

                  Those are NICE!

                  1. re: bayoucook
                    Caralien Jun 25, 2009 03:33 PM

                    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!

              2. re: Caralien
                bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 10:16 AM

                I got this one:


                1. re: bayoucook
                  Paulustrious Jun 25, 2009 02:33 PM

                  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
                    bayoucook Jun 26, 2009 05:40 AM

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

                    1. re: bayoucook
                      sunshine842 Sep 9, 2012 04:11 AM

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

              3. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jun 26, 2009 01:02 AM

                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
                  Sooeygun Jun 26, 2009 06:29 AM

                  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. Chuckles the Clone Jun 29, 2009 11:52 PM

                  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
                    ellabee Sep 6, 2012 11:43 PM

                    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
                      wekick Sep 7, 2012 02:50 AM

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

                    2. re: Chuckles the Clone
                      ChillyDog Sep 7, 2012 11:06 AM

                      Good one, Chuckles. You got 'em!

                      It took a few years, but you got someone.


                      1. re: ChillyDog
                        ellabee Sep 7, 2012 11:15 AM

                        Ah. Gotten indeed.

                    3. John E. Sep 6, 2012 08:38 PM

                      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: John E.
                        GH1618 Sep 6, 2012 08:53 PM

                        That, or a heaping 1/4.

                        1. re: GH1618
                          GH1618 Sep 9, 2012 09:51 AM

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

                      2. nsxtasy Sep 7, 2012 07:52 AM

                        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-POURfect-Measuring-Cup-and-Measuring-Spoons-Sets.aspx ). 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. m
                          miriamjo Sep 7, 2012 05:33 PM

                          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
                            paulj Sep 7, 2012 10:12 PM

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

                            1. re: paulj
                              sunshine842 Sep 9, 2012 04:15 AM

                              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
                              ellabee Sep 8, 2012 03:24 PM

                              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. j
                              John Francis Sep 9, 2012 12:31 AM

                              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. re: John Francis
                                ellabee Sep 9, 2012 09:13 AM

                                Maybe for cayenne.

                              2. j
                                jedovaty Sep 9, 2012 07:11 AM

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

                                1. wekick Sep 9, 2012 09:33 AM

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

                                  1. f
                                    FayeD Jan 25, 2014 10:36 AM

                                    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.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: FayeD
                                      sunshine842 Jan 25, 2014 02:43 PM

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

                                      That's an honest question, not a snark.

                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        FayeD Jan 26, 2014 07:50 AM

                                        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
                                          sunshine842 Jan 26, 2014 08:10 AM

                                          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
                                            GH1618 Jan 26, 2014 10:24 AM

                                            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
                                              GH1618 Jan 26, 2014 04:59 PM

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

                                              1. re: GH1618
                                                sunshine842 Jan 26, 2014 05:08 PM

                                                isn't 1/8 teaspoon a pinch?

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  GH1618 Jan 26, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                  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
                                                    paulj Jan 26, 2014 06:35 PM

                                                    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
                                                      sunshine842 Jan 26, 2014 07:57 PM

                                                      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)

                                          2. re: FayeD
                                            paulj Jan 25, 2014 05:44 PM

                                            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
                                              FayeD Jan 26, 2014 07:49 AM

                                              I have never seen a 1/12 teaspoon either.

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