A Comprehensive Glossary of Culinary Terms – Z

A Comprehensive Glossary of Culinary Terms – Z

Think you know every culinary term used in your kitchen? Get ready to think again.

Reading a recipe and aren’t sure about some of the ingredients, terms, and recipe techniques included?

Recipes can sometimes be a minefield of terms, jargon and foreign words. Even for the most gifted Chefs, there are terms in a recipe that make them stop and say “huh?”.

Don’t worry, we have compiled an extensive list of common culinary terms to help you out!

Some of the most common are defined here. Take a look at our list to get cooking.

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Zabaglione (or Sabayon or zabajone or zabaglione)

An Italian frothy custard like foamy dessert, or sometimes a beverage, made by beating together egg yolks, sugar, and wine (traditionally Marsala wine) or other spirits until a thick, luscious cream forms. This whisking is done over a bain-marie (simmering water) so that the egg yolks cook as they thicken into a light custard. Sabayon is a French name derived from the Italian zabaglione. Zabaione is usually served with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. in a champagne glass (coupe). Also served warm as a dessert or sauce. See its recipe at Irresistible Tiramisu Fast2eat Recipe.

Zahtar (or Za’atar

Popular spice blend in Turkey and other areas, this blend of dried herb(s) is composed of sesame seeds, powdered sumac, dried thyme, and often salt, as well as other spices. Used in Arab cuisine, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East.


The coloured outer portion of citrus fruit (most commonly orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon). The rind of the fruit contains oils if essence that lend a nice flavor to the final dish. It is commonly candied or crystallized for pastry use. To remove the zest, scrape a grater, a peeler, a knife or fruit zester across the peel. When zesting, be careful NOT to include the white pith (the white membrane beneath the peel), as that adds a bitter taste.

Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms? Comment below!
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