Dessert spoon

A dessert spoon is a spoon designed specifically for eating dessert and sometimes used for soup or cereals. Similar in size to a soup spoon (intermediate between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) but with an oval rather than round bowl, it typically has a capacity around twice that of a teaspoon.

By extension the term 'dessert spoon' is used as a cooking measure of volume, usually of 10ml or 0.4 fl oz.


The use of dessert spoons around the world varies greatly; in some areas, they are very common while in other places the use of the dessert spoon is almost unheard of—with diners using forks or teaspoons for their desserts instead.[1]

In most traditional table settings, the dessert spoon is placed above the plate or bowl, separated from the rest of the cutlery, or it may be brought in with the dessert.[2]

Culinary measure

As a unit of culinary measure, a level dessertspoon (dstspn.) equals 2 teaspoons. In the United States this is roughly 0.4 of a fluid ounce. In the UK it is 10 ml.

Apothecary measure

As a unit of Apothecary measure, the dessert-spoon was an unofficial but widely used unit of fluid measure equal to two fluid drams, or 14 fluid ounce.[3] In the United States and pre-1824 England, the fluid ounce was 1128 of a Queen Anne wine gallon (which was defined as exactly 231 cubic inches) thus making the dessert-spoon approximately 7.39 ml. The post-1824 (British) imperial Apothecaries' dessert-spoon was also 14 fluid ounce, but the ounce in question was 1160 of an imperial gallon, which was originally defined as 277.274 cubic inches, but later adjusted to approximately 277.419433 cubic inches, in either case yielding a dessert-spoon of approximately 7.10 ml.[4]

In both the British and American variants of the Apothecaries' system, two tea-spoons make a dessert-spoon, while two dessert-spoons make a table-spoon. In pharmaceutical Latin, the Apothecaries' dessert-spoon is known as cochleare medium, abbreviated as cochl. med. or less frequently coch. med., as opposed to the tea-spoon (cochleare minus or minimum) and table-spoon (cochelare magis or magnum).[5]

See also


  1. Martin, Judith (March 13, 2005). "On the Offensive". The Washington Post.
  2. "The Secret of the Formal Place Setting". Diner's Digest. CyberPalate LLC. 1997. Archived from the original on 1998-01-25.
  3. Sir Robert Christison (1842). A dispensatory, or commentary on the pharmacopoeias of Great Britain: comprising the natural history, description, chemistry, pharmacy, actions, uses, and doses of the articles of the materia medica. Black. p. 38. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  4. Robert Borneman Ludy (1907). Answers to questions prescribed by pharmaceutical state boards. J.J. McVey. p. 125. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  5. Robert Gray Mayne (1881). A medical vocabulary; or, An explanation of all names, synonymes, terms, and phrases used in medicine. p. 91. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
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