Holding a spoon is easy as can be with our simple steps

Spoons are perfect for tons of delicious treats: ice cream, soup, yogurt, you name it! Spoon usage does vary from culture to culture, but there's one technique that allows for the most range of motion. And we're here to teach you all about it—that way, you can get back to enjoying snacks with a spoon!

Things You Should Know

  • Using your dominant hand, hold the spoon horizontally to prevent any food from spilling.
  • Rest the spoon across your middle finger and curl your pointer and thumb around the handle. Allow the end of the handle to rest on the curve made by your thumb.[1]
  • Hold the spoon in place with your thumb and index finger. This will keep the spoon secure while you're eating and drinking.
Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Gripping Your Spoon Properly

  1. Most people use their right hand when reaching for a spoon.[2] However, you want to be able to control your motions carefully. Therefore, it's best to use your dominant hand.
    • Be careful if you're sitting next to someone whose dominant hand is different from your own. Be conscientious of your movements to avoid accidentally knocking elbows with them.
  2. You want to hold your spoon horizontally as you move it. This will prevent food from spilling while you eat. Keep your spoon steady with the first knuckle of your index finger and the tip of your middle finger, holding it at a horizontal angle.[3]
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  3. [4] Curl your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky fingers inward and lay the handle of the spoon overtop the middle finger, with the dome of the spoon pointing towards your other hand. Rest the portion of the spoon's handle right before the head on your index finger. Allow the end of the handle to rest on the curve made by your thumb.[5]
  4. [6] Place your thumb and index finger on top of the end of the spoon. Press down on the end so that the spoon is held between the top of your middle finger and your thumb and index finger. This should keep the spoon secure while you're eating and drinking.[7]
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Eating with a Spoon

  1. Holding the spoon like this allows you a greater field of motion. When you turn your wrist away from you the spoon will dip downwards, into your food, and when you turn it towards you, the spoon will turn back up.
    • This is a more flexible position than if you held the spoon in, say, a fist, or between your thumb and index finger.
  2. Bring the spoon to your mouth and eat from the broad side of the spoon, rather than the tip. You can use your wrist here to tilt the spoon upwards to aid in eating.[8]
  3. [9] Although you may be tempted to lean forward while eating soup, it's better etiquette to sit with your back at a 90-degree angle. Instead of bending over, bring the spoon to where you are.[10]
  4. Foods that you eat with a spoon are frequently liquid based. It is easy to make slurping noises when eating with a spoon. To minimize noise when eating, eat very slowly. Make sure to open your mouth wide enough to get food in without having to resort to slurping.[11]
    • Eating food slowly will also help you best enjoy the taste and texture of your food.
  5. Make sure to grip firmly on your spoon when you eat. Keeping a loose grip can cause you to drop your spoon, which can cause a mess and loud noises. Keep your grip firm enough that the spoon does not wobble in your hands while you eat.[12]
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Following Proper Etiquette

  1. Spoons are used to eat liquid-based food, such as soups. Spoons are also used to eat mushier, softer foods such as ice cream and mashed potatoes. Use your spoon for these types of foods and avoid using it to eat solid foods. It can be hard to maneuver foods like meats and vegetables using a spoon.[13]
  2. When you're done, it's customary to set your spoon down on your plate. Always plate your spoon on the plate from which you were eating. If you were eating soup, place the spoon on the plate your soup bowl was resting on.[14]
    • In general, you should not place your spoon back in a bowl when you finish eating. This could confuse waitstaff, as they may think you're still eating. However, if no plate was provided, it's okay to put your spoon back in the bowl. You do not want to get food residue on the table.
  3. Never push food onto your spoon using your fingers. This is considered bad table manners. If you have to push food to eat with a spoon, it is probably better to use a fork for this type of food.[15]
  4. Never use your spoon to point at other guests while talking or otherwise gesticulating. Only use your spoon for eating. If you're using your hands to do things like gesticulate while at the table, set your spoon down while doing so.[16]
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Expert Q&A

  • Question
    Is it okay to lean forward while eating with a spoon?
    Tami Claytor
    Tami Claytor
    Etiquette Coach
    Tami Claytor is an Etiquette Coach, Image Consultant, and the Owner of Always Appropriate Image and Etiquette Consulting in New York, New York. With over 20 years of experience, Tami specializes in teaching etiquette classes to individuals, students, companies, and community organizations. Tami has spent decades studying cultures through her extensive travels across five continents and has created cultural diversity workshops to promote social justice and cross-cultural awareness. She holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in International Relations from Clark University. Tami studied at the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Image Consultant Certification.
    Tami Claytor
    Etiquette Coach
    Expert Answer
    It's actually better etiquette to sit up with your back at a 90-degree angle and bring the spoon to your mouth.
  • Question
    Can I use a spoon to eat steak?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    No, as you will not be able to cut the steak or maintain the steak on the spoon. A fork will allow you to eat the steak more successfully.
  • Question
    Do I put the spoon into my mouth, or do I sip?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    It depends on what you are eating. Both methods should work.
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About This Article

Tami Claytor
Co-authored by:
Etiquette Coach
This article was co-authored by Tami Claytor. Tami Claytor is an Etiquette Coach, Image Consultant, and the Owner of Always Appropriate Image and Etiquette Consulting in New York, New York. With over 20 years of experience, Tami specializes in teaching etiquette classes to individuals, students, companies, and community organizations. Tami has spent decades studying cultures through her extensive travels across five continents and has created cultural diversity workshops to promote social justice and cross-cultural awareness. She holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in International Relations from Clark University. Tami studied at the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Image Consultant Certification. This article has been viewed 219,517 times.
13 votes - 80%
Co-authors: 38
Updated: January 11, 2024
Views: 219,517
Article SummaryX

To hold a spoon properly, curl your middle finger, ring finger and pinky inward, then rest the spoon on top of your middle finger. Keep the spoon in place by holding it with your thumb and index finger. When eating, turn your wrist to dip the spoon into your food and hold it horizontally as you bring it to your mouth. Instead of eating from the point of the spoon, use the broad side and tip it up with your wrist to make eating easier. For tips on spoon etiquette, including why you should never point with it or put it back in a bowl after you’ve finished, keep reading!

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