Common Kitchen Lingo

If you are new to cooking and you feel a little lost sometimes trying to understand what certain things mean in a recipe, then you need to check out this list. It contains some common phrases used throughout cookbooks and recipes. Make yourself familiar with these terms so that you will more easily understand how to read a recipe!

Terms used for preparing food…

Beat – To use a spoon, a fork, a whisk, or an electric mixer to mix ingredients together, using a fast, circular movement.

Blend – To combine two or more ingredients until the mixture is smooth and uniform in texture, color and flavor

Bread – To coat a food in bread crumbs before frying or baking

Chill – To put the food in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours

Chop – To cut into little pieces

Combine – to put items together or place them in the same bowl

Dice – To Cut into small square pieces

Drain – To remove all the liquid from something – may be done in a colander, strainer or by pressing a plate against the food while tilting the container forward

Fold – To very gently combine a light, delicate substance (such as beaten egg whites) with a heavier mixture, using a light “over and under” motion

Grate – To scrape against the small holes of a grater, making thin little pieces

Grease – To coat a pan with oil or margarine so food does not stick when cooking

Marinate – To soak foods in a flavorful liquid that tenderizes or adds flavor to meat, fish, chicken, veggies or tofu

Mash – To squash food with a fork, spoon or masher

Melt – To use heat to make a solid into a liquid

Mince – To cut into very small pieces, smaller that chopped or diced

Mix – To stir together with a spoon, fork or electric mixer

Peel – To remove the outside of a fruit or vegetable

Pit – To remove the seed

Preheat – To turn on your oven ahead of time so it heats up to the temperature you need it to be before cooking

Shred – To scrape against the large holes on a grater, making long, thin pieces

Stir – To mix with a spoon

Strain – To remove solid bits from liquid

Wash – To clean thoroughly (Fresh fruits that do not have skins to peel and all fresh veggies need to be cleaned with a special brush before using.)

Whisk – To use a whisk to quickly stir to get lumps out


Terms used to cook food…

Bake – To cook in an oven

Boil – To heat on the stove until the liquid gets hot enough for bubbles to rise and break the surface

Broil – To cook by direct heat in the broiler of an electric or gas range oven

Brown – To cook until the color of the food changes to brown

Fry – To cook food in hot fat such as an oil or butter. Deep fry means to put enough fat in the pan to cover the food.

Roast – The same as bake, but this term is used for cooking meat

Sauté – To cook quickly in a little oil, butter or margarine

Scramble – To mix up really well, like, to scramble eggs, stir them while they cook.

Simmer – To cook in liquid over low heat just below the boiling point. Where bubbles form slowly and burst just before they reach the surface.

Steam – Too cook food using the heat from boiling water without putting the food directly in the water. This is usually done with a device called a steamer, a silver bowl with holes that folds to fit many different pans.

Stew – To cook food for a long time in a covered pan with liquid

Stir-fry – To toss and stir cut-up pieces of food in a pan with hot oil, cooking it quickly



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2 Responses to Common Kitchen Lingo

  1. Selina says:

    I love your blog!!! I am not great in the kitchen, but your recipes inspire me to want to cook!

    • Awe, thank you so much! I am so glad that your inspired to try new things. The more you try, the more successful you will be, and the more you will love it. Keep me posted on your kitchen adventures and if you ever have questions, let me know.

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