The complete glossary of culinary terms – K

The complete glossary of culinary terms – K

Reading a recipe and aren’t sure about some of the ingredients, terms, and recipe techniques included? You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself lost in a restaurant menu or need clarification on a recipe. Even for the most gifted Chefs, there are terms in a recipe that make them stop and say, “Huh?” The culinary world is full of unique terms, jargon, and words and techniques that can be challenging to understand and master. That’s where the complete glossary of culinary terms comes in. This comprehensive guide is designed to demystify the world of cooking and help you easily navigate complex recipes. This glossary covers everything from ingredients and cooking methods to equipment and kitchen jargon. It provides all the essential knowledge you need to navigate the world of cooking. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting in the kitchen, this guide is a must-have tool for expanding your culinary skills and knowledge. So grab your apron and get ready to elevate your cooking endeavours with the Fast2eat complete glossary of culinary terms.

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Here is a glossary of culinary terms starting with the letter K


Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese culinary concept that focuses on dishes’ aesthetic presentation, balance, and seasonality. It is a multi-course meal that is carefully prepared and beautifully arranged. Each course is thoughtfully chosen to showcase the ingredients’ flavours, textures, and colours. Kaiseki emphasizes the use of local and seasonal ingredients, resulting in a harmonious dining experience that reflects nature. It is often served in ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and high-end restaurants, where skilled chefs meticulously prepare and serve each dish with precision and artistry.


Kamut is a type of ancient wheat grain that originated in Egypt. It is often used as an alternative to regular wheat in various dishes. Kamut has a rich and nutty flavour, and its grain can be used in salads, soups, side dishes, and even baked goods. It is known for its high protein content and is a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Kamut can be cooked and enjoyed as a whole grain or ground into flour for use in bread and other recipes.


Katsu is a popular Japanese dish typically consisting of a breaded and fried cutlet, most commonly made with pork or chicken. The meat is coated with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs before being deep-fried until golden and crispy. The word “katsu” is derived from the English word “cutlet” and is often served with a tangy, sweet, and savoury sauce called tonkatsu sauce, alongside rice and cabbage. This dish is beloved for its satisfying crunch and tender meat, making it a staple in Japanese cuisine and a favourite among food enthusiasts worldwide.

Kettle corn

Kettle corn is a type of popcorn sweetened with sugar or, sometimes, a combination of sugar and salt. It is traditionally cooked in a cast-iron kettle, which gives it a unique combination of sweet and salty flavours. Kettle corn is often associated with fairs, carnivals, and other outdoor events, but it can also be made at home using a kettle or a large pot. It is a popular snack many people enjoy and is known for its addictive taste and satisfying crunch.

Key lime

Key lime is a small citrus fruit that is native to Florida. It has a unique tart and refreshing flavour commonly used in culinary applications. Key lime is most well-known as the main ingredient in the classic Key lime pie, where its juice provides a tangy and citrusy taste to the custard filling. Aside from Key lime pie, it can also be used in a variety of desserts, beverages, dressings, and marinades, adding a bright and zesty twist to dishes. Its distinctive taste and aroma make it popular in many culinary creations.


Kidney typically refers to a type of offal, the organ meat that comes from cattle, sheep, or pigs. It is highly nutritious and is known for its rich flavour. Kidney can be prepared in various ways, such as being sautéed, grilled, or used as an ingredient in stews or pies. It is often considered a delicacy in many cuisines and can be found in traditional dishes worldwide. However, it is important to note that the kidney has a distinct taste and texture that may not appeal to everyone’s palate. The kidneys of beef and veal are multi-lobed, while pork and lamb are single-lobed. Young animals such as calves, heifers, and lamb have the most delicate flavour; pigs’ kidneys are rather strong in flavour, while those of beef and sheep tend to be tough and strongly flavoured. In all cases, the membrane surrounding the kidney must be removed so they do not shrink when cooked. Any blood vessels and the core of fat must also be removed.
Kidney also refers to small, bean-shaped pasta forms, typically made with egg dough and used in dishes like risottos or soups. They resemble kidney beans in shape, hence the name.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, usually napa cabbage, Korean radishes, or cucumbers, seasoned with chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, and other spices. The fermentation process gives kimchi its distinctive sour, spicy, and slightly sweet flavours and tangy texture. In culinary terms, kimchi is considered a superfood due to its high nutritional value and potential health benefits.

King cake

King cake is a sweet bread traditionally served in several countries with the Epiphany festival at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival. It is typically made with a rich, sweet dough filled with cream cheese or other sweet fillings. The word “king cake” refers to the fact that the bread is often shaped to resemble a king’s crown, with a small plastic baby inside. The baby represents the baby Jesus, and whoever gets the piece with the baby is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.


Kipper is a small, oily fish, usually herring, split into a butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted, pickled, and cold-smoked over smouldering woodchips (typically oak). It is a popular ingredient in many dishes, providing a strong and distinctive flavour. Kippers are commonly enjoyed for breakfast or used in sandwiches, salads, and various other recipes. They can be enjoyed hot or cold and are known for their rich, smoky taste.

Kirsch (or kirschwasser)

Kirsch (or kirschwasser) is a clear, colourless cherry brandy commonly used as a flavouring agent in various dishes and desserts. This liqueur is made by fermenting and distilling sour cherries, resulting in a strong, fruity flavour with a hint of almond. Kirsch is often used in traditional recipes such as Black Forest cake, which adds a distinct cherry taste to the dessert. It can also enhance the flavour of sauces, jams, and chocolates. Kirsch is a versatile ingredient that adds a burst of cherry flavour to dishes.

Kissing Crust

The kissing crust is the part of the upper crust of a loaf that comes into contact with another loaf during the baking process. This can occur when loaves are placed side by side in the oven. Due to this contact, the kissing crust may have a slightly different texture or appearance than the rest. Some people may find the kissing crust a special and delicious part of the loaf.

Kitchen shears

Kitchen shears are scissors specifically designed for the kitchen, cutting anything from meat and poultry to herbs and vegetables. They are typically made of stainless steel or plastic and have a sharp, curved blade that can be locked into place for safe storage.


Knead is a verb that means to work or manipulate dough or a similar substance by pressing, folding, and stretching it with the hands. It is commonly used in baking to develop gluten, giving bread structure and texture. Kneading helps to activate the yeast and evenly distribute the ingredients. It is an essential step in the bread-making process to achieve a light and airy texture. Kneading requires patience and practice to master, but it is a vital skill for anyone who enjoys baking homemade bread.

Kobe Beef

Kobe beef is a highly prized and sought-after type of beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle, raised explicitly in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. Known for its exceptional marbling, tenderness, and rich flavour, Kobe beef is often considered one of the world’s best and most expensive types of beef. The cattle are raised in a specific manner, with strict regulations and requirements, including a special diet and even massages to ensure the highest quality, extremely tender and full-flavoured meat. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, and teppanyaki. Due to its limited supply and high demand, Kobe beef is typically only available in select restaurants and specialty meat shops.


Kohlrabi is a root vegetable similar to a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It has a mild, sweet flavour and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as salads slaws, and as a substitute for cabbage in recipes. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. Kohlrabi has a delicate turnip-like flavour and can be cooked in the same ways as turnips. Kohlrabi is also high in fibre and vitamins, making it a nutritious addition to any meal.


Korma is a delicious and flavourful dish in Indian cuisine. It is made with a creamy sauce, typically consisting of yogurt, cream, or coconut milk, and various spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Korma can be made with a variety of ingredients, including meat, poultry, or vegetables, such as chicken korma or vegetable korma. The dish is known for its rich and aromatic taste and is often served with rice or naan bread. Korma is popular for those who prefer a milder and creamier Indian dish.


Kosher foods are those that comply with the dietary laws of Judaism, including rules about food preparation, ingredients, and combination restrictions. These laws dictate what foods are permissible and what are not and are based on the book of Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible. Some examples of kosher foods include meat from animals slaughtered in a specific way, dairy products, and certain grains.

Kosher Salt (or Koshering salt)

Kosher salt, also known as koshering salt, is a coarse salt commonly used in cooking. It gets its name from its use in the koshering process, which involves drawing blood out of meat in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. Kosher salt has a larger flake size than table salt, making sprinkling and controlling the amount used in recipes easier. It does not contain additives like iodine, which can affect the taste of the food. Kosher salt is versatile and can be used for seasoning, brining, and even rimming cocktail glasses.


This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers a variety of culinary terms.
Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms?
If you need more terms or have any other questions, please ask in the comments, and we will update our ever-growing list.


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