The complete glossary of culinary terms – L

The complete glossary of culinary terms – L

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 L


Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria that produces lactic acid found in fermented foods and probiotic supplements. It can help support gut health, boost the immune system, and even produce antibiotics. Additionally, lactobacillus can be used to make yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.


Lamination is the process of layering ingredients, such as dough, meat, or cheese, to create a desired texture or flavour profile. This technique is often used in pastry-making, where layers of dough and butter are rolled and pressed together to create a flaky, layered texture.


Lard is a rendered pig skin fat commonly used for cooking and baking. It has a rich, savoury flavour and a high smoke point, making it ideal for sautéing, frying, and making pastry dough. Lard is also used in traditional dishes such as bread and crackers.


Larding is the process (using a larding needle) of inserting strips of fat, such as bacon or lard, into the cavity of a roasted bird or piece of lean meat before cooking. You can also place slices of fat on top of uncooked lean meat or fish for flavour or to prevent dryness. This helps keep the meat moist and flavorful and can also enhance the dish’s overall flavour.

Lardons (or Lardoon or Larding needle)

Lardons are strips or cubes of bacon that are used for adding flavour and texture to various dishes. They are typically made from pork belly and often used in French cuisine, particularly in quiches, salads, and stews. Lardons are usually cooked until crispy and slightly rendered, which enhances their smoky and savoury taste. They can be a delicious and versatile ingredient, providing a rich and indulgent touch to a wide range of recipes.

Leavening agent

A leavening agent is a substance that causes dough or batter to rise or expand through gas production. Common leavening agents include baking powder, baking soda, and yeast. These agents release carbon dioxide gas as they react with moisture and heat, causing the dough to expand and give bread its light, airy and fluffy texture.


Leek is a sweet, moderately flavoured edible plant member from the onion and garlic family. It is long and cylindrical with a pale white root and dark green leaves and can be cooked in various ways. The leek’s white and light green parts are commonly used, while the darker green tops are often discarded or used for making stock. Leeks have a mild and slightly sweet flavour, making them versatile ingredients in soups, stews, and stir-fries. They can also be sautéed, braised, or used in quiche and raw in salads. Overall, leeks add a delicious depth of flavour to many culinary creations.

Lemon zest

Lemon zest is the outermost layer of the lemon peel, which is grated or scraped off to extract the flavourful oils and essence of the lemon. It adds a bright, tangy, and citrusy flavour to various dishes and recipes. Lemon zest is often used as a seasoning or ingredient in desserts, marinades, dressings, and cocktails. It provides a fresh and zesty kick to savoury and sweet dishes alike.

Lemon balm (or balm or Common balm or balm mint)

Lemon balm is a fragrant herb commonly used in desserts and drinks to add a citrusy, floral flavour. It’s often used in ice cream, sorbet, and lemonade and can also be found in herbal teas and sauces. Its subtle flavour and aroma make it a versatile addition to many dishes, and its pharmacological properties can provide a calming and relaxing effect when consumed.


Lemongrass is a herb commonly used in Asian cuisine for its aromatic and citrusy flavour. It adds a unique and refreshing taste to dishes, often used in soups, curries, stir-fries, and marinades. Its long and fibrous stalks are typically sliced or bruised to release its essential oils and flavour. Lemongrass is also known for its medicinal properties. It is used in traditional medicine for its digestive and anti-inflammatory effects. Overall, lemongrass is a versatile ingredient that enhances the taste and fragrance of various culinary creations.


Lentils are a type of legume that is high in protein and fibre. They have a mild, nutty flavour and are versatile in cooking. They can be used in soups, stews, salads and as a main ingredient in dishes like curries and stews. Lentils are also a good source of folate, potassium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.


Liaison is a mixture that thickens or enriches sauces, soups, or stews. It is typically made by combining egg yolks and cream or broth and then gradually adding it to the hot liquid while continuously stirring. The liaison helps give the dish a smooth and velvety texture and adds richness and flavour. It is an important technique in French cuisine and is used in classic dishes such as hollandaise sauce and veloute.

Light cream (or coffee cream or table cream)

Light cream is a type of dairy product that has a lower fat content compared to heavy cream. It typically contains around 18-20% fat, compared to heavy cream’s 35-40% fat content. Light cream is often a versatile ingredient in cooking and baking, adding richness and texture to dishes without weighing them with excessive fat. It can be used in a variety of recipes, such as soups, sauces, desserts, and coffee beverages. Light cream is popular for those seeking a slightly lighter alternative to heavy cream in their culinary creations. However, it cannot be whipped.


Line is to cover the bottom and sides of a pan, mold or terrine with a thin layer of bacon, pork fat, flavourings or pastry. Cake pans are frequently lined with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan after baking.


Liqueur is a sweet alcoholic beverage often flavoured with various fruits, herbs, spices, or chocolate. It is typically enjoyed in small amounts either on its own, as an after-dinner drink, or as a key ingredient in cocktails. Liqueurs can add depth and complexity to dishes, desserts, and sauces, enhancing their flavours and adding a touch of elegance. They can be used in recipes to impart unique tastes and aromas. They can also be used for cooking techniques like flambéing or deglazing. Overall, liqueurs are a versatile and distinctive addition to the culinary world.


Loin is the tender and lean meat found on the back or sides of an animal, such as pork loin or beef loin. It is rich in protein and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as roast chicken or beef tenderloin. The anatomical reference also carries over into the description of cuts of meat from some such animals, e.g. tenderloin or sirloin steak.

London Broil

London Broil is a popular cut of beef in American cuisine, named after the city of London. It refers to a thick, juicy cut taken from the chuck or round area of the animal, typically cooked by broiling or grilling. Many thick cuts of meat, including top round and sirloin tip, are labelled “London broil”. The term “London Broil” has no direct connection to London, England, and is believed to have originated in the United States in the late 19th century.


Luau refers to a traditional Hawaiian feast that typically consists of fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables, served with a variety of sauces and side dishes. It usually revolves around the roasting of a whole pig. It may feature food such as poi, kalua pig, poke, Lomi salmon, opihi, haupia and beer, and entertainment such as traditional Hawaiian music and hula. It’s also a Hawaiian dish containing taro leaves baked with coconut cream and chicken or octopus. The term “luau” can also be used to describe the cooking and eating style associated with Hawaiian culture, which emphasizes the use of local ingredients and traditional preparation methods. The celebration and ceremonies are combined with dance, music, and song. Among people from Hawai’i, the concepts of “luau” and “party” are often blended, resulting in graduation, weddings, and birthdays.


Lucuma is a tropical fruit native to Peru, used in traditional Andean cuisine. Its sweet, nutty flavour resembles a combination of maple and pumpkin. Lucuma is often used as a natural sweetener, an ingredient in desserts, and a topping for oatmeal or yogurt. Its unique flavour profile makes it a versatile and sustainable alternative to refined sugars.


Lukewarm refers to a temperature that is neither hot nor cold but somewhere in between. It is typically used when describing food or beverages that should be served slightly warmly, approximately body temperature, usually between 36-40°C/98-105°F. Lukewarm can indicate that the item is still warm but not piping hot. This temperature is often ideal for certain dishes, such as soups or sauces, as it allows for a comfortable eating experience without being too hot to handle. It is important to note that lukewarm should not be confused with room temperature, as it generally refers to a cooler temperature.


Lyonnaise is a dish or cooking style originating from the city of Lyon, France. It is commonly used to describe dishes that incorporate traditional ingredients and techniques to Lyon’s culinary heritage. “Lyonnaise” also refers to a specific preparation method, typically involving sautéing sliced onions until they are caramelized and tender. This technique is often used in dishes such as Lyonnaise potatoes or Lyonnaise salad. Overall, “Lyonnaise” signifies the influence and flavours of Lyon’s rich gastronomy.


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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