Converting Grams to Teaspoons When You Cook

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It's tough to find a converter for grams and teaspoons because they're two different types of measurements. One is mass, and one is volume. Within a recipe, ingredients vary by how much mass is in a unit of volume, and, therefore, how many grams are in a teaspoon.

The Problem of Mass vs. Volume

A gram is a unit that measures mass, which has to do with the amount of matter something contains. Ounces and pounds are also measurements of mass.

For this purpose, mass and weight are about the same thing. It doesn't matter how much space something takes up—a pound of feathers would take up much more room than a pound of steel, but they still have a mass (weight) of a pound.

Look at the difference in mass versus volume on a larger scale. Imagine you have two one-cup measuring cups, a big tub of peanut butter and a bag of powdered sugar sitting on your kitchen counter. Think about filling one cup with peanut butter and the other one with powdered sugar. Then imagine picking them up.

If you do this for real, you'll find the cup of peanut butter is much heavier than the cup of powdered sugar even though they both take up the same amount of space.

A teaspoon measures volume, which is the space that something takes up. Cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons all measures of volume. Trying to convert grams to teaspoons is like converting ounces to teaspoons—every ingredient is going to be different, so one converter can't convert everything.

Similar Ingredients Have Different Grams per Teaspoon

Back at the teaspoon level, ingredients with a similar appearance can have different weights. Making the wrong conversion could easily mess up the whole recipe. For example, a teaspoon of sugar looks a lot like a teaspoon of salt. But the teaspoon of sugar weighs about 4 grams while a teaspoon of salt weighs 6 grams.

So, an online converter for grams to teaspoons would have to have a large database of ingredients. It couldn't rely on a simple mathematical conversion formula, like liters to gallons or pounds to kilograms.

An Example: Converting Grams of Sugar to Teaspoons 

When you look at the Nutrition Facts labels on any packaged food product, you'll see the amount of sugar listed there, in grams. The problem is that if you're in the U.S., your brain probably thinks in teaspoons, so it's difficult to picture how much sugar is in there based on weight.

To convert grams to teaspoons, in this case, you'll need to know that one teaspoon of granulated white sugar is close to four grams. So if you buy a bottle of cola with 44 grams of sugar, you can divide 44 by 4, which is equal to 11 teaspoons of sugar. That's a lot of sugar.

Of course, the sugar in the cola may be in liquid form, like high fructose corn syrup, rather than granulated sucrose. So it may not be totally accurate, but it can give you an idea of how much added sugar is in the product.

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  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Sugar, white, granulated or lump. Updated April 2020.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Salt, table. Updated April 2019.