If you don't have a measuring spoon, use your hand and these eyeball estimates!

Eyeball Estimates: Measuring by Hand

Have you ever been fumbling around, looking for the right measuring spoon to put the salt in the pasta water?

When she needed a teaspoon or less of something, my grandmother always “measured” it in the palm of her hand.  My mother owned measuring spoons and taught me to use them, but almost never used them herself — again, just measuring in her hand.  And over time, I learned some of their “eyeball estimates.”

I found I used these frequently aboard Que Tal — it was often easier to just measure in the palm of my hand instead of digging measuring spoons out.  And if the boat was rolling a bit, I didn’t spill nearly as much.

I’m sure, when you read some of these, you’re going to think “that can’t be right.”  Before writing this, I checked the measures against actual measuring spoons.  Sure enough, mom was right.

Even if you don’t intend to use these regularly, you might want to print this out and keep it in case you lose a measuring spoon and it’s a while before you can buy another one . . . or you are in a metric country!

1/8 teaspoon 1 pinch using your thumb, index and middle finger
1/4 teaspoon 2 of the above pinches OR cup your hand like you were holding water in it; pour a mound into the center of your hand about the size of a nickel
1/2 teaspoon a mound about the size of a quarter in your cupped hand
1 teaspoon a mound about 1/4-inch all around larger than a quarter in your cupped hand OR an “eating” teaspoon about half full
1 tablespoon fill a soup spoon so it is very slightly rounded up OR turn a 12-ounce pop or beer can upside down (wash it!) – that depression in the bottom holds exactly 1 tablespoon
How to measure 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon without a measuring spoon -- use your hand and these eyeball estimates.

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  • Diane Dashevsky
    Posted at 06 October 2013 Reply

    Yep! I believe it! I check out that section of the book frequently since my brain stopped working…seriously suffering from CRS 🙁 SOOOOO glad I got the book 🙂

  • Lynn Kaak
    Posted at 06 October 2015 Reply

    Hands are easier to wash on a boat!

    • Vezza
      Posted at 13 December 2016 Reply

      I agree. Yaaas Queen!!!!!!!

  • Edward Popka
    Posted at 05 January 2017 Reply

    Say Amen to about that much

  • Joakim Muth
    Posted at 05 January 2017 Reply

    Try mixing resin that way LOL

  • Jack Kagy
    Posted at 05 January 2017 Reply

    Well, two hands.

  • Lamarr Harding
    Posted at 27 January 2017 Reply

    When you are familiar with ratios, I use one dry measure (rice for example) and rinse the (glass, cup, whatever) adding the two parts water to the pot. The measure is clean and ready to go back where it belongs.

  • Michael Guelker-Cone
    Posted at 14 January 2018 Reply

    It works great for general cooking but if you’re baking, you do need to be a little more exacting.

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