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No more washing five measuring spoons per meal

Rebecca Firkser
Updated: January 08, 2019

Recipes can stress me out. A tablespoon of this, two teaspoons of that, and don’t forget ¼ teaspoon of that other thing. When I first started cooking, I was careful to measure out exactly the teeny amount of whatever ingredient was called for. I would wash ten tiny spoons if that meant my meal would turn out properly. As I got more comfortable in the kitchen, I realized that for most dishes eyeballing the measurement of dry goods like salt, pepper, and spices gets the job done. You can also use the junior eyeball method, which consists of first pouring the ingredient into your palm to make sure it’s about what you’re looking for.

Eyeballing measurements takes some practice, for sure. If you’ve never made a scrambled egg, I don’t necessarily recommend free-pouring ingredients for your next frittata—but I won’t say you shouldn’t give it a try if you’re willing to experiment. Essentially, to become proficient in eyeballing measurements, you should first familiarize yourself with what teaspoons and tablespoons look like. SheKnows suggests thinking about the measurement as the size of coins, poker chips, and sports balls. If that works for you, stick with it. Personally, I have just as much trouble visualizing how big a ping pong ball is as much as two teaspoons, so I instead got comfortable with eyeballing through good old fashioned practice. As you practice, it’s definitely best to pour out the ingredients into your hand over a cutting board or small bowl to avoid accidentally dumping a whole jar of cumin into your skillet. Just remember that it’s pretty unlikely you’ll actually ruin a dish by using a little more or a little less of something.

There’s one area I’ll never eyeball: baking. Baking is such a science that sometimes it actually matters if you accidentally use more or less than the exact amount that's called for in a recipe. Of course, if the idea of washing a bunch of measuring spoons and cups still drives you mad, baking with a kitchen scale is the easiest fix. Trust me, few things are more satisfying than pouring ingredients into one bowl resting on a zeroed out scale. Your measuring cups will get over it.

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