Can you please elaborate what's "rounded" teaspoon, what's "heaped" teaspoon and what other "types" of teaspoons exists as a measures of volume?

And is there any difference between, rounded teaspoon and rounded teaspoon*ful*?

  • General reference for the first part (seriously, try putting "rounded teaspoon" into Google); no difference for the second part. Mar 1, 2012 at 8:56
  • 3
    "Heaping"? Heaped, surely?
    – slim
    Mar 1, 2012 at 9:34
  • Definitely heaped - slim has this right
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 1, 2012 at 10:47
  • 7
    @slim and Rory: sorry, Ngrams shows 'heaping' is American and 'heaped' British. Mar 1, 2012 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


You have a teaspoon, which measures volume - usually in some ovular, concave measuring device. Let's say you're measuring a teaspoon of something granular, like flour, coffee or sugar.

1 tsp (or 1 level tsp) means that the top of what you're measuring is flat; no sugar goes above the top of the spoon.

1 rounded tsp means you scoop a spoonful of sugar, and let it form a small pile above the top of the spoon. It is inherently less precise than a level teaspoon.

1 heaping tsp means you pretty much try to get as big a pile of sugar onto the spoon as you can, without spilling it. It's a little over a smidgen more than a rounded teaspoon. Helpful hint: Don't try to measure a heaping teaspoon when dealing with liquids.

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No, the -ful suffix has no effect on the amount.

  • 1
    That's interesting - heaping tsp looks really weird to me, but a few seconds with NGrams confirms this is another of those US/UK usage splits. The line for heaped tsp disappears completely when the corpus is restricted to American books - obviously they must almost all be the British usages, even though there aren't enough to graph at all when the corpus is restricted to British books. Mar 1, 2012 at 12:51
  • @FumbleFingers Before this, I have not heard of "heaping" teaspoonfuls... sounds like hooting night-owls.. :) You will see the BrE contribution if you expand the tsp: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – karthik
    Mar 1, 2012 at 13:54
  • I believe it's a term used in cookbooks and recipes, but not much else.
    – J.R.
    Mar 1, 2012 at 14:51
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    @tchrist: only if you're measuring upside-down. If that's how to do it, though, I'll pass on your cookies ;^/
    – J.R.
    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:42
  • 1
    Relatedly, in Australia we also have the unit "spoons of milo" or "spoonfuls of milo". This is a material-specific idiosyncrasy in that a) the implement is always assumed to be at least a tablespoon (there is no such thing as a "teaspoon of milo"), b) it is always of much greater quantity than "heaped" of other materials, and c) there is no singular, it is always plural.
    – Erics
    Jul 13, 2021 at 3:32

There is also the "scant teaspoon" (example here). It's slightly less than a level teaspoon.

Note that "scant" sometimes means "barely" but in this context it means "not quite."

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