How Many Grams of Sugar are in a Tablespoon? [Guide]

Published Categorized as Guide, Ingredients

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If you prefer to measure out your ingredients with maximum precision, it’s a good idea to be able to convert volume measurements to weight. Or maybe you just want to read how many grams of sugar are in a given food item and be able to picture it measured in tablespoons. Wondering how many grams of sugar are in a tablespoon? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

What’s in a Teaspoon of Sugar?

Before we start looking at how many grams in a tablespoon of sugar, it’s important to understand the conversion we’re making. In this case, we are making a volume to mass conversion. And since different substances have different densities, an equivalent measure of another substance will not weigh the same.

For example, since honey has a greater density than sugar, a tablespoon of honey will weigh more than a tablespoon of granulated sugar converted to grams. Thus, keep in mind that the volume to mass conversions we make here will only apply to sugar.

It’s also important to note that this weight and the others we discuss are accurate for the standard powdered sugar type. Confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, and sugars with larger than normal grains will not likely have the same volume to mass conversion.

That being said, we’ll start with a one-teaspoon measurement of sugar. An accurate conversion table will show you that a teaspoon of sugar equals 4.2 grams. Since we are converting volume to weight (using the metric system), it’s unusual to see a whole number.

That being said, the labels on most foods and beverages will round this number to even 4 grams.

How Many Grams of Sugar Are in a Tablespoon?

So now we know how to convert a teaspoon of sugar to grams. So what’s the weight of 1 tablespoon of sugar in grams? If you measure ingredients often, you already know that there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon. So to measure the grams of sugar in one tablespoon, we just measure the weight of a teaspoon by three. That gives us 12.6 grams, though some tables will just say 12.5 grams for the sake of simplicity.

So what’s the value in knowing the weight of 1 tablespoon of sugar in grams? When cooking or baking, you, of course, want the quantity of each ingredient to be as precise as possible. Especially in recipes with a good bit of added sugar, measuring the exact sugar weight will often result in a better recipe.


Granulated Sugar Conversion Table

Now you know the weight of 1 tbsp sugar in grams. But what about some other common sugar measurements? Here’s a helpful table:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar: 4.2 grams
  • 1 tablespoon sugar: 12.6 grams
  • 1/4 cup sugar: 50 grams
  • 1/2 cup sugar: 100 grams
  • 3/4 cup sugar: 150 grams
  • 1 cup sugar: 200 grams

Many recipes use a cup (rather than tablespoons) as a granulated sugar measure, so it’s a good idea to know how much sugar (in grams) to weigh out.

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

So you now know how many grams of sugar are in a tablespoon. And if you like to be mindful of the food you eat, it can be a good idea to know the basic nutrition facts by tbsp of sugar:

  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: 13g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g

You probably recall that the answer to “how many grams is a tablespoon of sugar?” is 12.6. Most food labels round to the nearest gram, so that’s why we’ve listed 13g of carbohydrates.

It’s important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Complex carbohydrates like those found in vegetables and whole grains are better sources of sustained energy, as they take the body longer to break down.

Thus, health organizations usually have separate recommendations for the total calories from carbohydrates you should eat per day and how much sugar you should eat per day. Though the amount that is right for you depends on your dietary needs, the American Heart Association suggests men eat no more than 150 calories of added sugars per day. This equals 37.5 grams or 3 tablespoons of sugar.

The AHA recommends that women eat no more than 100 calories of added sugars per day. This is 25 grams or 2 tablespoons of sugar.

That said, there is no single correct guideline for sugar consumption. United States dietary guidelines suggest that only 10% of your daily calories come from sugar. If you eat 2000 calories per day, that comes to about 50g of sugar or about four tablespoons.


How Many Tablespoons of Sugar Are in Common Foods and Beverages?

Ever taken a look at the sugar listed on the nutrition facts label on a bottle of soda? Plenty of people assume that sweet tea, soda, and other sweet beverages only have a teaspoon or two of sugar. But in many cases, if you’re drinking sweet drinks, you might be consuming more sugar than you think.

Most sodas are made with high fructose corn syrup. Though it isn’t the same as granulated sugar, this syrup is effectively sugar in another form. And since you can now convert tablespoons to grams, you can create a mental picture of just how much sugar is in foods and drinks you see every day. Here are some common examples:

  • 12 ounces of Coca-Cola: 39g/3.1 tbsp
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup: 14g/1.11 tbsp (the melted sugar takes up less space)
  • 8 ounces skim milk: 11g/0.87 tbsp
  • 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade: 38g/3 tbsp
  • 8 ounces 100% apple juice: 28g/2.22 tbsp
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup: 3.7g/0.3 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce: 7-12g/0.6-1 tbsp

Realizing how many tablespoons of sugar are in a serving of any given food can help you monitor your sugar intake and reduce it if necessary. Many people end up eating more sugar than they realize simply by exceeding recommended serving sizes! If you want to learn more about the sugar hidden in different types of food, check out this cool video!

You may sometimes come across the term “added sugar.” This simply means sugar that is not a natural part of a given food. For instance, honey and fruits contain natural sugars. When fruit juice is made, many manufacturers include added sugar to make it sweeter. So when you see a fruit juice advertised as having no sugar added, that means the sugars present are those that naturally occur in the fruit itself.

Going Forward With Sugar

Granulated sugar is one of the most ubiquitous ingredients today. And while too much of it is certainly bad for you, a small amount of sugar can be a great treat once in a while. And of course, if you want something you’re baking to be as close to the recipe as possible, don’t forget to weigh out your granulated sugar!


Still need to clarify a few things? Here are some common questions and answers:

How much is 2 tablespoons of sugar in grams?

Since one tablespoon of sugar is 12.6 grams, two tablespoons is equal to 25.2 grams of sugar.

How many tablespoons is 40g of sugar?

Since there are 12.6 grams in a tablespoon of sugar, you just need to divide 40g by 12.6 to find the answer. Doing this shows you that 40g is equal to 3.2 tablespoons of sugar.

How many spoons of sugar is 20 grams?

The answer to this question depends on whether you’re looking for an answer in teaspoons or tablespoons. There are 4.2 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, so 20g is 4.8 teaspoons.

There are 12.6 grams of sugar in a tablespoon. Therefore, 20g of sugar is equal to 1.6 tablespoons.

How much is 2 teaspoons of sugar in grams?

A teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4.2 grams. (This is sometimes rounded down to 4 grams, but we’ll use the 4.2-gram figure to be precise.) Therefore, two teaspoons of sugar is 8.4 grams.