Difference Between a Dash & a Pinch

By Jennifer Sobek

Before measuring cups were used for precision measuring, cooks used certain terms to describe measurements. Terms such as "pinch" and "dash" were used to describe small amounts of a seasoning, such as salt or pepper, that would be added to recipes.

Chefs sometimes add a pinch of salt to recipes.


Sometimes a recipe calls for a pinch of something. Recipe Hut describes a pinch as a measurement in which you use your thumb, index finger and middle finger to grab the spice. A small pinch, then, is using just your index finger and thumb. Some websites, such as Ochef and Accuracy Project, state that a pinch equates to 1/16 teaspoon.


A dash of something measures out to be slightly more than a pinch. According to Recipe Hut and Ochef, a dash is at least 1/16 teaspoon but less than 1/8 teaspoon. However, Accuracy Project states that a dash measures exactly 1/8 teaspoon.

Other Terms

In addition to pinch and dash, other cooking terms were used to describe small amounts of an ingredient. For example, "smidgen" is used to describe a measurement of 1/32 teaspoon, and "tad" can be used to describe a measurement of 1/8 teaspoon.