How to Convert Whole Spices to Ground Measurements

January 13, 2016

Have you ever thrown a bunch of whole spices into the spice grinder, hoping you get close to the amount you need, and then you’re stuck with a whole lot of ground cardamom that you would rather not have sitting around, waiting for its next use? Let’s not do that anymore.

Here’s the guide to measurements of whole spices to powdered. Bookmark it, print it out, keep it close.

Allspice: 1 teaspoon allspice berries = 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Black pepper: 1 teaspoon peppercorns = 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

Cardamom: Approximately 12 pods, dehusked = 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Cinnamon: One 1 1/2-inch (4-centimeter) stick = 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder

Coriander: 1 teaspoon coriander seeds = 1 1 /4 teaspoons ground coriander

Cumin: 1 teaspoon cumin seeds = 11/4 teaspoons ground cumin

Fennel: 1 teaspoon fennel seeds = 11/4 teaspoon ground fennel

Nutmeg: 1/2 nutmeg = 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon mustard seeds = 11/2 tsp ground mustard

Then, get cooking (and drinking):

Expanded from Made in India by Meera Sodha.

Tell us: What spiced up recipes do you have bookmarked for this season?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ups mom
    ups mom
  • MRF
  • Rex
  • Llana
  • Jo
Author of "Made in India" (Flatiron Books 2015).


ups M. August 31, 2020
How to convert 5 tbsp achiote seeds to ground?
MRF April 16, 2020
So, what is the actual conversion? Please help! I have everything assembled according to the measurements above, & no whole spices... Thanks

Rex December 9, 2018
This article really needs correcting and needs to be more thorough. The measurements are wrong and ambiguous, the spices list is incomplete and in my opinion, weights should be given in both ounces and grams. My wife and I make a lot of our food from scratch, i.e., mayonnaise, some cheeses, sour cream, bacon, ham, corned beef, sausages, etc... We've converted all of our recipes to metric weights. We use both a kitchen scale and a 'jewelry' scale which is accurate to 0.001 grams. A good gram scale can be purchased on Amazon for under $20.
Llana May 10, 2018
As other mentioned, the spacing of the numbers in the measurements needs improvement. It is a simple fix; why, after more than a year of feedback has it not been fixed?
Also, the information is confusing. For example, it says "1 teaspoon peppercorns = 1.5 teaspoons ground pepper", but when I grind peppercorns, the volume becomes less, not more. Grinding 1 teaspoon of peppercorns results in about 1/2 teaspoon of groud pepper. Grinding 1/2 cup of peppercorns results in about 1/4 cup ground pepper. Please check your figures!
Jo April 14, 2018
What they said...
I thought you meant 11 quarters for a minute then realised it was nonsense
Diggette D. January 20, 2018
1 and a quarter? this is clearly nonsense. If you mean 1/4 teaspoon, say so!
Lisa April 16, 2016
I'm wondering about whole clove vs ground clove measurements. Any ideas? Thanks.
Martin B. February 3, 2016
Yes, please correct this. It is VERY confusing.
Meticularius January 27, 2016
The numbers are confusing at first: 11/4 should be written as 1-1/4.
Blue V. January 14, 2016
I have the same question as Patricia. I was expecting the quantities to be smaller after grinding, not larger.
Patricia C. January 13, 2016
Wouldn't the spices be smaller quantities after grinding than before because of space between the pieces in whole form? Seems to me these might be backwards, no?
Smaug January 13, 2016
It seems to me that the ground measurements are going to be pretty variable, depending on how they're ground, how they're measured, the moisture content, etc. Measuring preground spices from a jar (which is what you'll get in most western recipes), they're going to be pretty densely packed. Stuff from a blender style grinder is likely to be fluffier (and somewhat less flavorful) than that from a mortar and pestle, etc. Still, better some kind of a guide than total guesswork.