Abbreviations for Cooking Measurements

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A "Tbsp.," " tsp.," "c," "qt," "pt," "pinch" or a "dash" - What do they mean? When reading a recipe it is imperative to know what the measurement abbreviations stand for. If you mistake a tablespoon for teaspoon of an ingredient, you may ruin the dish.


  • "Tbsp." stands for tablespoon. For precise measurements of ingredients, use cooking measuring spoons rather than a household tablespoon. A tablespoon is equivalent to three teaspoons.


  • "tsp." stands for teaspoon. Recipes may call for 1/4, 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of an ingredient. A set of cooking measuring spoons contains these various sizes.


  • A "c." or "(c)" stands for cup. A cup is 8 oz. Use a cup measuring container not a drinking cup when measuring ingredients for your recipe, as the size of a drinking cup varies.

Qt., Pt. and Gal.

  • The abbreviations "qt.," "pt." and "gal." are liquid measurements. "qt." stands for quart and is equivalent to 32 oz. "pt." represents pint and is equivalent to 16 oz. or two cups. "gal." stands for gallon - 64 oz.

Hint, Drop, Smidgen, Pinch, Dash, Tad

  • A hint, drop, smidgen, pinch, dash or tad are not precise measurements. They usually refer to the amount of spices, salt or sugar to add to a recipe. They are the amount you can pick up with your thumb and forefinger. A hint is a very tiny amount, about half a drop. A drop is equal to approximately 1/64 of a teaspoon. A smidgen is twice the amount of a drop. A pinch is approximately 1/16 of a teaspoon. A dash is twice the amount of a pinch or approximately 1/8 of a teaspoon. A tad is about 1/4 of a teaspoon.



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