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Why do we need measuring spoons, anyway? It used to be that all the great cooks would just throw in “a dash of this” or “a pinch of that,” and the food would come out perfect, right? Maybe so. But then again those cooks of the past most likely had spent many hours in the kitchen learning the few recipes they used. Today, with the standardization of recipes and correct ways to measure ingredients, if you really want to get ta recipe as close to its best, then you've got to use measuring spoons.
A good measuring spoon is a tool used by any cook. Accurate measurement of the small details that make any dish drool-worthy isn’t only just about making a delicious dish, though. It’s also about learning the strengths and weaknesses of your ingredients and how an overall final dish becomes balanced. Practice making a dish enough and you might not need the spoons anymore, but there’s something that can be quite satisfying about these tiny, well-wrought tools that act as conveyances of flavor. To me, the measuring spoons I’ve kept over the years feel just like old friends.
Before picking up your first set, or fifteenth set, of measuring spoons, it's important to know how you'll be using them. If it's mostly for adding spices to baking projects, a spoon that fits inside jars will be useful, but if you'll simply be adding wet ingredients to dinner, a round spoon may work better. You should also consider storage and whether you regularly use ingredients that may stain. "I have three sets (of measuring spoons) and some odd spoons, but I cook for a living," says Jackie Alpers, food photographer and author of "Taste of Tucson: Sonoran-Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona." "The average home cook could probably get by with one or two sets. I have an unattached tablespoon and teaspoon that I gravitate to more on an everyday basis than the set."
From durable stainless steel measuring spoons to a ceramic set for your Instagram pics, here are the best measuring spoons to have in your drawer.
Best Overall: Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set
What We Love: Narrow spoon designed for spice jars, millimeter measures on handle
What We Don’t Love: A larger ring might make these easier for some
There are tons and tons of stainless-steel measuring spoons, connected by a metal ring on the internet. Some rings hold onto those spoons too tight, inevitably causing you to break a nail if you need to get a spoon off. Others are too round to fit into narrow jars. Or they have measurements that rub off after a spin through the dishwasher. Not this set by Cuisipro.
First, the spoons are held together with an easy-to-use key ring, and the smaller measurements easily fit into every spice jar you have in the cabinet. The measurement markings are etched into the spoon's handle and even have the corresponding millimeter measure. Lastly, they can be cleaned in the dishwasher time and time again, and nest nicely until your next batch of oatmeal cookies. If you're also looking for a "pinch" measure or 2/3 teaspoon, Cuisipro sells those as well.
"I love the stainless steel spoons from Cuisipro. They're sturdy and classy and fit easily into narrow spice jar necks." — Sara Bir, Senior Editor
Material: Stainless Stee | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Measurements: 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon | Number in Set: 5
Best Budget: KitchenAid Classic Measuring Spoons
What We Love: Great price, good value, standard and metric measurements
What We Don’t Love: Handle makes it feel shorter than it actually is
KitchenAid knows how to help you achieve your kitchen dreams, so it's no surprise its most affordable set of measuring spoons is the perfect budget buy. This neat little set of five spoons on a removable ring is perfect for most measuring jobs. "I find I consistently need to measure a tablespoon of some sort of liquid, condiment, or herb, more than anything else, but when I am following a recipe with several different measurements in the instructions I prefer a ring attachment," says Alpers.
They’re well-made of heavy-duty BPA-free plastic, are available in beautiful matte colors, and have a soft grip added at the top of the handle. The measurements are printed in raised text on the handle in both metric and standard format, so you'll be able to use them for all your recipes, even grandma's kaju katil. The plastic ring is incredibly easy to open and the whole set can go in the dishwasher when you're done.
Material: BPA-free plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Measurements: 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 tablespoon, 1 tablespoon | Number in Set: 5
Best Digital: 3T6B Digital Measuring Spoon
What We Love: Measures small amounts of ingredients well
What We Don’t Love: Not a kitchen tool most home cooks will use on an everyday basis
Digital measuring spoons are different from traditional measuring spoons since they measure by weight, rather than by volume. They almost seem like mini kitchen scales, and can easily replace them for precise measurements by weight of small amounts of ingredients like yeast.
This digital measuring spoon performs just like that. It has a tare so you can add multiple ingredients into the spoon bed for measuring, making sure to straighten it on the counter for an accurate reading. It also comes with auto-shutoff after 1 minute. Most importantly, it has four modes of measurement: gram, ounce, grain, and carat. It measures anything from 0.1 grams to 500 grams and comes with two AAA batteries.
Material: Stainless steel, plastic, and polystyrene | Dishwasher Safe: No | Measurements: Range from 0.1 gram to 500 grams | Number in Set: 1
Related: The Best Kitchen Scales
Best Adjustable: KitchenArt Adjust-a-Teaspoon and Adjust-a-Tablespoon
What We Love: Space-saving tool, multiple measurments from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon
What We Don’t Love: Feels somewhat fussy to use for some cooks
Adjustable measuring spoons eliminate the need for different spoons of each size. They work by adapting a spoon with a sliding cover that can be set to the size you want.
This set includes one spoon for up to 1 teaspoon and one spoon for up to 1 tablespoon. Made of top-rack dishwasher-safe plastic, the size markings are printed on each spoon in both metric and standard format. When it comes time to clean, the cover can be snapped off and on. If you know that your turmeric is going to stain this very quickly, KitchenArt does also sell a similar metal version.
Material: Plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Measurements: 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 3/4 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1.5 teaspoons, 2 teaspoons, 2.5 teaspoons, 1 tablespoon | Number in Set: 2
Related: The Best Mixing Bowls
Best Magnetic: Spring Chef Magnetic Stainless Steel Dual-Sided Measuring Spoons
What We Love: Easy to use for different tasks, comes with a leveler
What We Don’t Love: There’s no actual handle to grip
If you sometimes want a round spoon, sometimes an oval one, and all the time want your spoons to easily nest together, then this is the set for you. These have that round side with an oval shape on the other, which makes it easy to switch when you need to scoop from a spice jar.
They’re stainless steel, nest together nicely, and have magnetic handles for easy storage. Measurements in both metric and standard formats are marked in the center of the spoon on the plastic grip space, with reviewers stating that these markings stay put for years. Available in six different colors, the set also includes a handy leveler for when you get a little ambitious with your spices.
Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Measurements: 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 3/4 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 tablespoon, 1 tablespoon | Number in Set: 7 plus leveler
Related: The Best Spice Racks
Best Ceramic: Portmeirion Sophie Conran Measuring Spoon Set
What We Love: Lovely look and feel, fabulous for gifting
What We Don’t Love: Only four sizes
Ceramic spoons are perfect for adding a certain stylized look to your kitchen projects. This set of four ceramic measuring spoons from Portmeirion are neatly tied together with a leather cord to offer simplicity, chicness, and charm. These are actually designed by Sophie Conran, a designer, cook, and author, who also happens to be the daughter of well-known British designer Terence Conran.
"My favorite measuring spoon is a white porcelain tablespoon with blue trim," says Alpers. "I don’t remember where I got it and the rest of the set broke over the years. It’s the one measuring spoon I reach for first. It’s smooth and cool to the touch and I love how the while color offsets whatever it holds."
While these are picturesque, the range of sizes is fairly basic. The four spoons start at 1/2 teaspoon and go up to 1 tablespoon. The measurement markings are in the standard format (no milliliters here) and are handwritten on the handles. And being ceramic, they might break as Alpers's set has. All that said, they do darling and if you'll be taking photos of your bakes afterward, they'll fit right in.
Material: Ceramic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Measurements: 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 tablespoon, 1 tablespoon | Number in Set: 4
Related: The Best Cake Decorating Tools
If you’re looking for a flexible set of well-made measuring spoons that should last a lifetime, the Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set (view at Amazon) will be an excellent addition to your kitchen tools. If it’s an extra unique set, the Portmeirion Sophie Conran Measuring Spoon Set (view at Wayfair) definitely stands out and will carry with it a sense of joy in the act of cooking.
What to Look for When Buying Measuring Spoons
Round vs. Rectangular vs. Oval Spoons
Measuring spoons are most commonly found in a round shape. These are easy to fill with no corners that might gather air pockets, and are just as easy to level off for exact measurements. Rectangular spoons are also available and are generally used for scooping from jars with small openings that the round spoons don’t fit. Oval spoons, if well constructed, have the advantages of both round and rectangular spoons.
The features of any measuring spoon will include what it’s made out of and how that material performs; the shape of the spoon; whether the spoon is adjustable or digital; the sizes included in the set; the measurement format (metric and/or standard); the readability of the measurement markings; whether it’s dishwasher safe; the length and comfort of the handle; and how the spoon looks and feels.
Measurement markings should be clear to read from the distance of your countertop to your eye. Markings that are permanently a part of a spoon's handle, whether that's through embossing or baked into the material, are preferred since they will last the life of the spoon. Markings that are simply painted on are more apt to be rubbed off over time.
What's the correct way to measure with a measuring spoon?
For dry ingredients, use the spoon to scoop your ingredient out of the jar or bag, making sure the spoon is slightly overfilled. Then, with the spoon over the opening or the sink, level the top evenly with a knife and check for any air pockets. For wet ingredients, fill the spoon over the sink before pouring it into your recipe.
How do you measure a pinch?
A pinch is generally considered to be approximately 1/16 teaspoon, but it’s always good to taste the result then adjust it if needed. If you have a 1/8 teaspoon measure, you can fill it halfway for "a pinch."
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Karen Resta is a NYC-based writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries and restaurants. A former executive chef who began her professional journey as a pastry chef, she travels around the globe as a photographer and writer, finding the best authentic food and pastries along the way. She supports the idea of having a whole single drawer just for measuring spoons if at all possible.! She’s passionate about finding quality ingredients within your given budget and believes that having the right tools and knowing how to use them makes all the difference in the kitchen. She curated this list with that in mind.
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