The complete glossary of culinary terms – U

The complete glossary of culinary terms – U

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 U


Udon is a type of Japanese noodle made from wheat flour. It is thicker than soba noodles and has a chewy texture. Udon noodles are often served in a hot broth, soups, stir-fried with vegetables, meat, or seafood, or chilled with dipping sauces.


Ultra-pasteurization is a process that involves heating food to a higher temperature than traditional pasteurization, typically around 135°C/275°F, to kill off any remaining bacteria and extend its shelf life. This process is most commonly used for milk but is also used for fruit juices, cream, soy milk, yogurt, wine, soups, honey, and stews.


Umami is a savoury or meaty taste sensation often described as the fifth basic taste, alongside sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Umami helps you recognize amino acids and proteins. Since protein is vital to your health, this is an important taste. Umami comes from three compounds naturally found in plants and meat: glutamate, inosinate, and guanylate. The first, glutamate, is an amino acid found in vegetables and meat. Iosinate is primarily found in meat, and guanylate levels are the highest in plants. Some foods in which natural umami flavour is found include mushrooms, meats, vegetables, Tomatoes, seaweed, Seafood, cheese, and fermented foods like soy sauce, kimchi, miso, and natto. Umami is a key component of many cuisines and can enhance the flavour of dishes. Though hard to pinpoint on its own, umami is a great flavour enhancer, making salty foods taste even saltier and sweet foods taste even sweeter. Adding foods with natural umami flavour to your recipes can create a dish with a brighter or deeper flavour.


Umeboshi is a traditional Japanese pickled plum with a sour and salty taste. It is made by fermenting green plums with salt and drying them in the sun. Umeboshi is commonly used as a condiment or filling in various dishes, such as rice balls and bento boxes. It is known for its distinct flavour and health benefits, as it is believed to aid digestion and strengthen the immune system. Umeboshi can be an acquired taste, but it is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine for its unique and tangy flavour profile.


Uni is a Japanese word that typically refers to sea urchin, a delicacy known for its creamy, buttery flavour and unique texture. It is often used in sushi, sashimi, and pasta sauces.


Union is a term for a type of strong-flavoured, globe-shaped onion that is unique and versatile and commonly used in cooking. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and stir-fries. Its mild flavour makes it a great addition to many recipes, and its globe shape makes it easy to handle and chop.


Unleavened describes any baked good made without a leavening agent (a substance used to produce fermentation in the dough), such as yeast, baking powder, baking soda or any other leavening agent. Unleavened refers to bread or other baked goods that have not been allowed to rise or ferment with yeast. It is often used to describe flatbreads or other breads made without yeast, baking powder or other leavening agents.


Upend means turning food upside down during cooking or serving, often to achieve even cooking, create a unique presentation, or emphasize a particular flavour or texture. For example, a chef might upend a soufflé to create a dramatic presentation on the plate.

Upside-down cake

An upside-down cake is cooked with the batter upside down, so the cake is flipped over and cooked on the bottom of the pan. It’s a type of cake where the fruit or topping is placed at the bottom of the pan, and the cake batter is poured on top before baking. This technique helps to create a moist and evenly cooked cake.


Utensils are objects used for eating, preparing or serving food. Examples include forks, knives, spoons, tongs and spatulas.


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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