All posts tagged Ingredients terms

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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



To drizzle or spread baked goods to decorate with a thin frosting.


The technique of making shallow incisions into meats or fish with a sharp knife for the purpose of either tenderisation or to insert herbs/spices into the flesh.

Indirect Grilling

Indirect grilling is a barbecue slowly cooking technique in which the food is placed to the side of the heat source instead of directly over the flame as is more common. This can be achieved by igniting only some burners on a gas barbecue or by piling coals to one side of a charcoal pit. A drip tray is placed below the food to prevent fat from the food igniting and generating a direct flame. Indirect grilling is designed to cook larger (e.g. pork shoulders, whole chicken) or tougher foods (e.g. brisket, ribs) that would burn if cooked using a direct flame. This method of cooking generates a more moderate temperature (about 135- 175°C/275-350°F) and allows for an easier introduction of wood smoke for flavouring.

Infuse (or Infusion)

To allow the flavour of an ingredient to soak into a liquid until the liquid takes on the flavour of the ingredient. Teas are infusions. Milk or cream can also be infused with flavour before being used in custards or sauces.


The technique of inserting thin strips of pork fat called “lardons” into lean cuts of meat using a larding needle. Similar to larding, with interlarding, the fat is left protruding from the surface of the meat whereas larding is achieved by submersing the fat wholly in the flesh.


Food such as meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, wrapped around a filling such as cheese, cured meats, or nuts.


The process of exposing food to radiation, designed to eliminate disease-causing germs from foods.

Isinglass (or Fish glue)

A pure, transparent form of gelatin, obtained from the air bladders of certain fish, used in the production of glue and jellies. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification or fining of beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized glueing purposes.


A term used in cooking to describe either the inedible parts of an animal such as hair or skin.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



A burrowing mammal closely related to the hare. Rabbit meat is very lean but since it is skinned before cooking, it absorbs more of the fat used to cook it.


A portion of the rib section of an animal usually containing eight ribs. The rack is either cut into chops or served whole as with a crown roast.


An Italian variety of chicory related to Belgian endive, sometimes known as Italian chicory, and is a perennial. It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. The most common variety has a spherical head, reddish-purple leaves with creamy white ribs, and a mildly bitter flavour and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted. Served raw in salads, or cooked, usually by grilling.


In classic French terminology (French ragoût), it was used to describe anything which stimulated the appetite. The modern term refers to either a main-dish stew or sauce made from meat, poultry, fish, game, or vegetables cut into evenly sized pieces and cooked in a thick sauce, generally well-seasoned. There are two types of ragout; blonde and brown.


In Italian cuisine, a ragù (known as Raguletto in Oceania, Finland and South Korea) is a red meat-based sauce, which is commonly served with pasta.

Ramekin (or Ramequin)

A small ovenproof dish used for individual portions of baked or chilled foods. Ramekins resemble soufflé dishes and are usually ceramic or porcelain, between 7 and 8 cm in internal diameter and about 2/3 cup volume, used for individual servings. It’s also a casserole of baked cheese prepared in an individual baking pan.

Ras-el-hanout (or Rass el hanout)

A spice blend from North Africa, also known as “couscous spice”, which is a combination of up to 50 ingredients. It is used in many savoury dishes, sometimes rubbed on meat or fish, or stirred into couscous or rice. “Ras-el-hanout” means “head of the shop” (similar to the English expression “top-shelf”), because shop owners create their own unique blend and implies a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer, sometimes also including aphrodisiacs, but most commonly cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, anise, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, dried flowers, mace, and turmeric. It plays a similar role in North African cuisine as garam masala does in Indian cuisine. The mix is generally associated with Morocco, although neighbouring North African countries use it as well.


A thin slice of bacon or a serving of meats portion such as bacon or ham.


A popular stewed vegetable dish from the French region of Province, originating in Nice, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. It is typically prepared as a stew with each vegetable, such as tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers and zucchini, being sautéed separately with olive oil, herbs and garlic before being layered into a baking dish and baked.


To bring a concentrated or condensed food, such as frozen fruit juice or dried food, to its original consistency, strength or texture by adding or letting it soak in warm water.


To decrease the volume of a liquid, usually a stock or a sauce, by simmering or boiling it rapidly to cause evaporation. As the liquid evaporates, it thickens and intensifies in flavour. The resulting richly flavoured liquid called a reduction, which can be used as a sauce or the base of a sauce. When reducing liquids, use the pan size specified in the recipe, as the surface area of the pan affects how quickly the liquid will evaporate.


To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly, usually that of vegetables after being blanched, by plunging them into ice cold water.


To bring prepared food back to the correct temperature suitable for eating after it has already been cooked and cooled down.


A stock made from bones that have already been used once to make a stock. The stock is weaker than the first stock and is sometimes called “second stock”. It is sometimes used for water in making another stock or is reduced to make a glace.


To slowly cook, using a low heat, solid fatty meat or poultry, such as bacon or goose, by melting it over low heat to obtain drippings. This rendered fat can then be used to cook with.


A natural enzyme obtained from the stomach of calves or lamb. It is used to coagulate or curdle milk when making cheese.


To let meats set before serving so that the muscle fibres relax and allow the juices to be retained. Also used in baking to indicate placing dough or batter to one side in a cool place as part of its preparation.


A cut of meat taken from the rib section, between the short loin and the chuck.


A term used to describe the texture of an egg-and-sugar mixture, that has been beaten until pale and thick. When the whisk or beater is held up over the bowl, the batter falls slowly onto the batter, in a ribbon-like pattern, that disappears after a few seconds.

Ribbon Stage

The mixture is thick enough to leave a letter ‘O’ drawn on the surface for 10 secs when the whisk is lifted.


To force food that has been cooked through a perforated utensil known as a ricer, giving the food a rice-like shape.

Rice Noodles (or Rice Sticks or Rice vermicelli or Bee hoon)

Thin noodles, popular in Asian cooking, that are made from finely ground rice (rice flour) and water. However, sometimes other ingredients such as tapioca or corn starch are also added in order to improve the transparency or increase the gelatinous and chewy texture of the noodles. Resembling long, translucent white hairs, that can be cooked in a variety of ways. When fried, they puff into light, crisp strands. They can also be soaked to use in stir-fries and soups. Thicker varieties are called rice sticks. Find in Asian markets; substitute vermicelli or capellini for thin rice noodles, and linguine or fettuccine for thicker rice sticks. They should not be confused with cellophane noodles, which is an Asian type of vermicelli made from mung bean starch rather than rice.

Rice Papers

These round, flat, strong thin edible papers, made from the pith of a rice paper plant and water, are used for wrapping spring rolls.

Rice Vinegar

A mild-flavour vinegar made from fermented rice and comes in several varieties, each differing in intensity and tartness. In general, they are all fairly mild compared to European and American-style vinegar. Rice vinegar is interchangeable with rice wine vinegar, which is made from fermented rice wine. Seasoned rice vinegar, with added sugar and salt, can be used in recipes calling for rice vinegar, though you may wish to adjust the seasonings. If you can’t find rice vinegar, substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar. Used in both Japanese and Chinese cooking. They can be used in dressings, marinades, as dipping sauces and condiments.

Rimmed Baking Sheet

Metal baking pan rimmed on all four sides. Used for roasting vegetables or baking chicken or cookies. A heavy one won’t warp and a light-colour metal will prevent foods from baking dark.


The thick skin or outer coating on some varieties of fruit cheese and meat.


The French word for “sweetbreads”.


A French term for foods that are fried until crispy and golden brown. Also, a small roll or croquette of minced meat or fish coated in egg and breadcrumbs, enclosed in a thin pastry and usually baked or deep fried. It is filled with sweet or savoury ingredients and is served as an entrée, main course, dessert or side dish.


A Spanish term for foods that are stung up on rope or twine, used mainly for drying chilli pepper pods or for decoration purposes. Ristras historically served as a functional system of drying chile for later consumption. Today, ristras are commonly used as a trademark of decorative design in the state of New Mexico, however, many households still use ristras as a means to dry and procure red chile.

Roast (or Roasting)

To cook a large piece of meat, fish, game or poultry uncovered with dry heat in an open flame, over a grill, or the radiant heat of an oven (by roasting), where the hot air envelopes the food to cook it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 150 °C (~300 °F). Roasting can enhance flavour through caramelization and Maillard browning on the surface of the food. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. Tender pieces of meat work best for roasting. A roast joint of meat can take one, two, even three hours to cook—the resulting meat is tender. Also, meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as “roasted”, e.g., roasted chicken or roasted squash.


A small deer common to German and East European forests. The flesh of young roebuck is delicate and dark red with no need for marinating.

Rolling Pin

A long cylindrical kitchen utensil of wood or other material mostly used to roll paste or shape and flatten dough. It can be used also to crush bread crumbs and flatten other foods. Two styles of rolling pins are found; roller and rods. Roller types consist of a thick cylindrical roller with small handles at each end; rod type rolling pins are usually thinly tapered batons. Rolling pins of different styles and materials offer advantages over another, as they are used for different tasks in cooking and baking.

Roll, Roll Out

To form a food into a shape. Dough, for instance, can be rolled (spread out and flatten) into ropes or balls. The phrase “roll out” refers to mechanically flattening a food, usually a dough or pastry, with a rolling pin.


A wide, shallow pan with straight sides and two loop handles and a lid, often used for braising, stewing, searing, oven roasting and poaching, usually only found in restaurants.

Romaine lettuce

A popular variety of lettuce with elongated, pale-green leaves characterized by their crisp texture and slightly pungent flavour that grows in a tall head of sturdy leaves with firm ribs down their centres. Unlike most lettuces, it is tolerant of heat.

Romano cheese

An American and Canadian term for a class of cheeses. In spite of the name, it should not be confused with genuine Pecorino Romano which is a typical Italian product recognized and protected by the laws of the European Community, a hard, salty cheese, suitable primarily for grating, from which the name is derived. Traditionally made from sheep’s milk, now made from goat and cow’s milk as well. Sold either fresh or aged. Similar but tangier than Parmesan.


A woody, perennial evergreen shrub of the mint family with fragrant, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, which grows in Mediterranean regions. Use with partridge, duck, poultry, lamb, veal, seafood and vegetables. A strong, aromatic flavour.


A style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit. A small grill with a rotating spit – a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven – for cooking meats and poultry. It also refers to a shop or restaurant that specializes in broiled and barbecued meats where spit-roasted meats are prepared and sold, a restaurant or store that specializes in roasting chicken by turning it around slowly near a flame or rotisserie grill. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs or turkeys. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.


A round, thick slice of veal cut across the leg commonly used in roasting or braising, this cut is used to make Osso Bucco.


A roulade is a dish of filled rolled meat or pastry. Traditionally found in various European cuisines, the term roulade originates from the French word “rouler”, meaning “to roll”. However, the term may be used in its generic sense to describe any filled rolled dish, such as those found in maki sushi.


A French term that refers to a mixture of flour and a fat cooked to a golden- or rich-brown colour and used for thickening gravy, other sauces, soups, stews, and gumbos. The cooking time varies depending the on the type of the required. The three types of roux are blonde, brown, and black. The roux is used in three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce, and espagnole sauce. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, bacon drippings or lard are commonly used fats. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight.

Rub in

To integrate hard fat into flour by rubbing the two together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Royal icing

Royal icing is a hard white icing, made from softly beaten egg whites, icing sugar (powdered sugar), and sometimes lemon or lime juice. It is used on Christmas cakes, wedding cakes, gingerbread houses and many other cakes and cookies, either as a smooth covering or in sharp peaks. Glycerine is often added to prevent the icing from setting too hard. When placing icing on cakes, Marzipan is usually used under the royal icing in order to prevent discolouration of the icing.

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

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



A Japanese dish of small pieces of marinated boneless chicken placed on skewers and grilled.


A leavening agent (used in bread and beer). It’s a tiny, single-cell organism that feeds on the sugar in the dough, creating carbon dioxide gas that makes the dough rise.

Three common forms of yeast are:

Active dry yeast – This is the most popular form; these tiny, dehydrated granules are mixed with flour or dissolved in warm water before they’re used.

Bread-machine yeast – This highly active yeast was developed especially for use in doughs processed in bread machines.

Quick-rising active dry yeast (sometimes called fast-rising, rapid rise or instant yeast) – This is a more active strain of yeast than active dry yeast, and it substantially cuts down on the time it takes for the dough to rise. This yeast is usually mixed with the dry ingredients before the warm liquids are added.

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

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



To completely coat food with a light, thin, even layer of sauce.


The ability of a liquid to coat the back of a spoon or the act of coating a food, such as a leg of lamb, with glaze.


Injecting fat or flavours into an ingredient to enhance its flavour.

New York Steak (or Strip steak or Sirloin or Strip loin or Contre-filet)

Beefsteak cut from sirloin; prized for its tenderness and flavour. The top section of a Porterhouse steak, which is a crosscut beefsteak containing part of the tenderloin and part of the top loin. The Porterhouse contains a “T” shaped bone that separates the New York Strip from the tenderloin. Unlike the tenderloin, the longissimus is a sizable muscle, allowing it to be cut into larger portions. Thicker in depth, the New York Strip is the larger section of the Porterhouse steak. Tender in texture, New York Strip can be grilled, broiled, sautéed, or pan-fried. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the steak is marketed in the United States under various names, including Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Steak, Top Loin, and Veiny Steak.

Nonstick Cooking Spray

This convenient oil-based spray that is applied to pans before baking (prevents food from sticking to the pan) reduces the mess associated with greasing pans. It can also help cut down on fat in cooking. Use the spray only on unheated baking pans or skillets because it can burn or smoke if sprayed onto a hot surface. For safety, hold pans over a sink or garbage can when spraying to avoid making the floor or counter slippery.


The French word for “hazelnut”, also a small round lean steak, usually of lamb or mutton, the cut from the rib or loin.


A family of chewy confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates.


Popular baking spice that is the hard aromatic pit of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. May be bought already ground or for fresher flavour, whole.


Used to describe food or dietary supplement that is believed to provide health or medical benefits as well as nutritional value, also known as a functional food. The term is applied to products that range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and herbal products, specific diets and processed foods such as cereals, soups, and beverages.


Dried seeds or fruits with edible kernels surrounded by a hard shell or rind. Nuts are available in many forms, such as chopped, slivered, and halved. Use the form called for in the recipe. In most recipes, the nuts are selected for their particular flavour and appearance; however, in general, walnuts may be substituted for pecans, and almonds for hazelnuts, and vice versa. When grinding nuts, take extra care not to over grind them, or you may end up with nut butter. If you’re using a blender or processor to grind them, add 1 tablespoon of the sugar or flour from the recipe for each cup of nuts to help absorb some of the oil. Use a quick start-and-stop motion for better control over the fineness. For best results, grind the nuts in small batches, and be sure to let the nuts cool after toasting and before grinding.

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

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



A Polish dish of de-boned stuffed meat, most commonly poultry or fish, that is poached in gelatin stock, pressed, coated with aspic, and served cold with aspic or its own jelly. Galantines are often stuffed with forcemeat and pressed into a cylindrical shape. Since deboning poultry is thought of as difficult and time-consuming, this is a rather elaborate dish, which is often lavishly decorated, hence its name, connoting a presentation at the table that is gallant, or urbane and sophisticated.


Flat, round cakes of pastry, often topped with fruit, or food prepared in, such as “a galette of potatoes.” Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes, or, in the case of a Breton galette, a pancake made with buckwheat flour, usually with a savoury filling. Of the cake type of galette, one notable variety is the galette des Rois (King cake) eaten on the day of Epiphany. In French Canada, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies. This terminology is also used in Brittany, context-providing differentiation with the Breton galette.


Any wild animal or bird that is hunted for human consumption.


A rich cake or chocolate filling made by melting chocolate in heavy cream. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth, with liqueurs or extracts added if desired. Butter is traditionally added to give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture. When the mixture is completely cold, it can be whipped to lighten it, then pouring it over chopped chocolate of any kind. Ganache (from the French word for “jowl”) is a glaze, icing, sauce, or filling for pastries made from chocolate and cream.


A strongly scented, pungent-smelling bulb of a plant related to the onion used in cooking and medicine. Garlic clove is one of the several small segments that make up a garlic bulb. Elephant garlic is larger, milder, and more closely related to the leek. Store firm, fresh, plump garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place; leave bulbs whole because individual cloves dry out quickly. This robust flavouring is available as garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic chips, garlic seasoning powder, and garlic juice in a huge variety of dishes. Using the convenient substitutes, such as a powder or bottled minced; for each clove called for in a recipe, use 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic.

Garlic press (also known as a garlic crusher in Australia and New Zealand)

A kitchen utensil used to crush a garlic clove efficiently by forcing them through a grid of small holes, usually with some type of piston, extracting both pulp and juice. Cloves do not need to be peeled, but the press must be cleaned right after using it before any garlic fragments are left in the tool dry. Some press models contain teeth that push any remaining fragments back out through the holes, making cleaning much easier.


To add visual appeal to a finished dish. To decorate a dish both with complementary attractive food, enhance its appearance, and provide a flavourful foil. Parsley, lemon slices, raw vegetables, chopped chives, and other fresh herbs are all forms of garnishes.

Gazpacho (or gazpacho in Portugal)

A Spanish (originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia) dish of cold, uncooked vegetable soup made of raw vegetables, usually with a tomato juice base or meat broth, which typically contains cucumbers, onions, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal (spelling gaspacho), particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.

Gelatin (or gelatine)

A dry, translucent, colourless, brittle (when dry), flavourless ingredient derived from collagen made from natural animal protein (made of boiled animal bones and ligaments) was used as a gelling agent that can thicken or set a liquid. Gelatin for recipe use comes in the form of sheets, granules, or powder. Instant types can be added to the food as they are; others need to be soaked in water beforehand. Gelatin is available in unflavoured and flavoured forms. When using, make sure the gelatin powder is completely dissolved.

Unflavoured commercial gelatin gives a delicate body to mousses and desserts. Sold in envelopes holding about one tablespoon, each of which is sufficient to gel about two cups. To dissolve one envelope of unflavoured gelatin: Place gelatin in a small saucepan and stir in at least 1/4 cup water, broth, or fruit juice. Let it stand 5 minutes to soften, and then stir it over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved.

Do not mix gelatin with figs, fresh pineapple (canned pineapple is OK), fresh ginger, guava, kiwifruit, and papaya, as these foods contain an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting.

Some recipes call for gelatin at various stages of gelling. “Partially set” means the mixture looks like unbeaten egg whites. At this point, solid ingredients may be added. “Almost firm” describes gelatin that is sticky to the touch. It can be layered at this stage. “Firm” gelatin holds a cut edge and is ready to be served.


The edible trimmings from internal organs of poultry, or fowl, including the liver, heart, gizzard, and other visceral organs. Although sometimes packaged with the giblets, the neck is not part of the giblets. Giblets are sometimes used to make gravy.

Ginger (or gingerroot)

The fresh, pungent root of a semitropical plant adds a spicy-sweet flavour to recipes. It may be found fresh, dried, crystallized or candied, ground or as a syrup. Ginger should be peeled before using. To peel, cut off one end of the root and use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown outer layer in strips. To grate ginger, use the fine holes of a grater. To mince ginger, slice peeled ginger with the grain (lengthwise) into thin sticks. Stack the sticks in a bundle and cut them finely. Ginger stays fresh for two to three weeks in the refrigerator when wrapped loosely in a paper towel. For longer storage, place unpeeled ginger in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Ginger will keep indefinitely when frozen, and you can grate or slice the ginger while it’s frozen. In a pinch, ground ginger can be used for grated fresh ginger. For 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Ginger, Crystallized

A confection made from pieces of ginger (ginger root) cooked in a sugar syrup, then coated with sugar. Also known as candied ginger. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.


A muscular, digestive pouch found in the lower stomach of poultry used to grind the fowls food with the aid of small stones swallowed for this purpose.


The French term for “glazed” or “frozen.” In the United States, it describes a candied food.


It is applied to a precooked or cooked surface to make it shine or help it colour when cooked, such as an egg wash for uncooked pastry and an apricot glaze for fruit tarts. Used as an essence added to sauces to fortify their flavour. Savoury glazes are made with reduced sauces or gelatin; sweet glazes can be made with a thin sugar syrup, melted jelly or chocolate.


The technique of applying a glossy surface to food. This can be done by basting the food with a sauce while cooking or putting a glaze on it and placing briefly under the broiler. To glaze cold foods, apply a coat of aspic, gelatin, or dissolved arrowroot.

Gorgonzola Cheese

A veined Italian creamy blue cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a “bite” from its blue veining. Other creamy blue cheeses may be substituted.

Grand Marnier

A popular commercial brand of orange-flavoured liqueur distinguished by its pure cognac base. It is made from a blend of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar. Aside from Cordon Rouge, the Grand Marnier line includes other liqueurs, most of which can be consumed “neat” as a cordial or a digestif and can be used in mixed drinks and desserts. In France, this kind of use is the most popular, especially with Crêpes Suzette and “crêpes au Grand Marnier”.


To rub food, such as hard cheeses, vegetables, or whole nutmeg or ginger, across a rough, serrated grating surface, usually on a grater, makes shredded, very fine pieces. A food processor, fitted with the appropriate blades, can also be used for grating. Foods may also be grated in rotating graters or mills. The food that is being grated should be firm. Cheese that needs to be grated can be refrigerated first for easier grating. (See also Shred.)

Grater (or shredder)

A kitchen utensil with round, sharp-edged holes is used to grate foods into fine pieces.


From the French word for “crust.” A term used to describe any oven-baked dish on which a golden-brown crust of bread crumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter, or creamy sauce is formed. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.


To coat a utensil, such as a baking pan, a cooking dish or pan or skillet, with a thin layer of fat or shortening, oil, or butter to prevent food from sticking to it. A pastry brush works well to grease pans. It also refers to fat released from meat and poultry during cooking.


Pomegranate-flavoured non-alcoholic bar syrup is used as flavouring and sauce. Characterized by a flavour that is both tart and sweet and by a deep red colour. It is popular as an ingredient in cocktails, both for its flavour and to give a reddish/pink tint to mixed drinks.


A special flat pan or cooktop designed to cook foods like pancakes and hamburgers. Some have long handles or two handles, non-stick, aluminum or cast iron. Consisting of a broad flat surface that may be heated using various means and has both residential and commercial applications. In industrialized countries, a griddle is most commonly a flat metal plate, but in non-industrialized countries or more traditional cultures, it may be made of a brick slab or tablet. Often confused with grilling.


A device composed of parallel metal bars or wires on which meat is roasted; meat cooked on a grill; a restaurant serving grilled foods.

Grilling (or Broiling)

To cook food on a grill or a rack under or over a radiant direct intense dry heat, such as gas, electricity, charcoal, or wood, as on a barbecue or in a broiler. The intense heat produced seals in the juices by forming a crust on the surface of the food. The grill or grate itself must be heated before the food is laid on it and must be constantly cleaned and seasoned with oil so that food does not adhere, and the distinctive grill marks may show predominantly for presentation. The food can also be basted and seasoned.


To process by hand or mechanically to cut solid food into smaller tiny pieces, usually using a food grinder or food processor, for example, coffee beans or whole spices. Food can be ground to different degrees, from fine to coarse. A mortar and pestle are preferred by many Chefs and Pharmacists alike.


Coarsely ground hominy (corn with the hull and germ removed which has been boiled and then fried). It is commonly made by boiling ground maize (also known as corn) and served with other flavourings for breakfast or as a dinner side dish, usually savoury. It is popular in the Southern United States.

Gruyère cheese (or German: Greyerzer)

Variety of Swiss cheese with a firm, yellow smooth texture, containing numerous cells, small holes and a strong, tangy flavour. French Gruyère style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort. It is also known in the United States as Schweitzerkase.


The word gumbo is from an African word meaning “okra.” This creole stew consists primarily of a strongly-flavoured stock, meat or shellfish, such as shrimp, chicken, or sausage, a thickener, and the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables, namely okra, tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, and onions. It is thickened with a roux.


A Greek specialty consisting of meat and spices cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally beef, veal, mutton, chicken or pork, or other alternatives such as feta or halloumi cheese, and usually is sliced and served in a pita or sandwich, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki (cucumber) sauce

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



To make crisscross lines on the surface of grilled or broiled food, as part of food presentation. The scorings are produced by contact with very hot single grill bars, which brown the surface of the food. Very hot skewers may also be used to mark the surface.


A French term for a cut of veal taken from the rump.


Literally meaning “four spices”, used mainly in the French cuisine, but is also found in some Middle Eastern kitchens. A finely ground mixture of generally ground pepper(white, black, or both), nutmeg, ginger, or cloves, used to season vegetables, soups, and stews. Some variations of the mix use allspice instead of pepper or cinnamon in place of ginger.


A poached dumpling (oval) made with a forcemeat of pork, beef, veal, chicken or fish bound together with fat and eggs, sometimes combined with breadcrumbs. The term is also used to describe the oval, three-sided shape commonly produced. Formerly, quenelles were often used as a garnish in haute cuisine. Today, they are more commonly served as a dish in their own right.


To quickly place a heated object in cold water. This is usually done to either stop the cooking process or to separate the skin of an object from the meat. This process is sometimes referred to as “shocking”.


A savoury main dish pie, open-faced pastry crust with a filling of savoury custard with cheese, meat, seafood, and/or vegetables. Quiche can be served hot or cold. It is part of French cuisine but is also popular in other countries, particularly as party food. Quiche lorraine is one variant.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Watercress (or Cress)

A plant of the mustard family. The leaves have a moderately pungent taste and are used in cooking (especially in soups and salads).

Wax Paper (or Waxed Paper)

Translucent paper coated on both sides with a thin layer of wax to make it waterproof. It is used for lining baking pans and covering food in the microwave.


When liquid separates out of solid food, such as jellies, custards, and meringues.


To beat a food lightly and rapidly using a wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer to produce expansion and incorporate air into the food and increase its volume. Often used to create whipped cream, egg whites, salad dressings, or sauces.


A mixing tool designed so its many strands of looped wire make it effective for beating allowing you to whisk an ingredient, this form of mixing incorporates a lot of air in a process such as whipping. The wires are usually metal, but some are plastic for use with non-stick cookware. Whisks are also made from bamboo. It’s also to beat ingredients (such as heavy or whipping cream, eggs, salad dressings, or sauces) with a fork or whisk to incorporate air or until smooth, well mixed and blended. A whisk or whisking action would be used in a recipe such as meringue where you would change raw liquid egg whites into a light, foamy and stable mixture.


A bowl-shaped and Chinese cooking pan used in Asian cooking for stir-frying, boiling and frying. Nowadays flat-bottom woks are easily available for use on an electric or gas range. It is one of the most common cooking utensils in China and also found in parts of East, South and Southeast Asia, as well as becoming popular niche cookware in all the world.

Wonton (or Wonton Wrappers)

A stuffed savoury Asian pastry. A type of dumpling commonly found in a number of Chinese cuisines. The wrappers, paper-thin skins used to make wontons, can be found in the produce aisle or in Asian markets. Wonton wrappers are usually sold refrigerated, so look for them alongside other refrigerated foods. Wonton wrappers are similar to but smaller than, egg roll skins.

Worcestershire sauce (or Worcester sauce)

A traditional English spicy sauce, seasoning or condiment composed savoury and aromatic fermented blend of many ingredients, including mainly water, barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, corn syrup or sugar, salt, anchovies, soy sauce, garlic, onion, tamarind extract, spices and flavourings. Popular as a marinade ingredient or table sauce for foods, especially red meats. It also helps flavour some sauces but should be used sparingly, as it has a very strong flavour. It is often an ingredient in Welsh rarebit, Caesar salad, Oysters Kirkpatrick, and sometimes added to chilli con carne, beef stew, hamburgers, and other beef dishes. Worcestershire sauce is also used to flavour cocktails such as a Bloody Mary or Caesar. Known as salsa Inglesa (English sauce) in Spanish, it is also an ingredient in michelada, the Mexican beer cocktail.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Tabasco sauce

A brand of spicy sauce made exclusively from tabasco red peppers vinegar and salt. It is hot, so use judiciously; a few drops go a long way.

Tagine (or Tajine)

Refers to a Moroccan shallow earthenware cooking pot, and also a traditional Moroccan stew of meat or poultry mixed with fruits that are named after the earthenware pot in which it is very slowly cooked.

Tahini (or Tahina)

An oily thick and smooth paste made of toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, used in the Middle Eastern cuisine to flavour dishes such as Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and halva. A sweetened dark variety also exists. It can be found in health food stores and the ethnic section of most grocery stores.


Tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava root. It is native to the North Region of Brazil but spread throughout the South American continent. It is now cultivated worldwide. It’s the finely ground flakes of the tropical manioc plant’s dried, starchy root. Used as a thickener in pies, tarts, puddings and other foods. Check my delicious gluten-free recipes using it.


Fragrant, distinctively sweet herb used fresh or dried as a seasoning for vegetables, salads, chicken, light meats, seafood and eggs.

T-bone steak

A tender, flavourful cut of beef from the centre of the short loin (called the sirloin in Commonwealth countries) containing a short t-shaped bone and a small piece of tenderloin on each side. Porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear end of the short loin and thus include more tenderloin steak, along with (on the other side of the bone) a large strip steak. T-bone steaks are cut closer to the front and contain a smaller section of tenderloin.


The process of adding a small quantity of a hot liquid to a cold liquid in order to warm the cold liquid slightly. This is often done before adding delicate ingredients to a hot mixture, where their format may be affected. An example of this would be adding eggs to a hot mixture – in order to prevent them curdling or scrambling you would add a little of the hot mix to the eggs and incorporate before adding the eggs into the heated mixture. Another example would be adding a corn flour slurry to a hot mixture; a little of the hot mixture is added to the slurry to temper the temperature before adding the mix back to the main mixture. This process is used most in making pastry cream and the like. It’s also the process that takes chocolate through a temperature curve, which aligns the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth, silky and creates a satisfying snap, shine and no streaks when you bite into it. Commercially available chocolate is already tempered but this condition changes when it is melted. Tempering is often done when the chocolate will be used for candy making or decorations. Chocolate must be tempered because it contains cocoa butter, a fat that forms crystals after the chocolate is melted and cooled. Dull grey streaks form and are called bloom. The classic tempering method is to melt chocolate until it is totally without lumps (semisweet chocolate melts at a temperature of 40°C (104°F) One third of the chocolate is then poured onto a marble slab then spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 26°C (80°F). The thickened chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 31-33°C (88-92°F) for semisweet chocolate, 29-33°C (84-88°F) for milk or white chocolate. This whole process can also be done in a simple double boiler or a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of hot water.


To make meat tender by pounding with a mallet, or applying a special enzyme substance (also tenderise), or marinating for varying periods of time, or storing at lower temperatures. Fat may also be placed into a piece of meat to make it tender during cooking.


Japanese style of grilling in which food is broiled or grilled, seasoned and basted with a marinade usually based on mirin (sweet rice wine), soy sauce, and sugar to form a rich, shining glaze.


Food substances used to give a thicker consistency to sauces, gravies, puddings, and soups. Common thickeners include:

Flour and cornstarch – All-purpose flour and cornstarch are starches commonly used to thicken saucy mixtures. Cornstarch produces a more translucent mixture than flour and has twice the thickening power. Before adding flour or cornstarch to a hot mixture, stir cold water into a small amount. You can also combine either flour or cornstarch with cold water in a screw-top jar and shake until thoroughly blended. It is critical that the starch-water mixture be free of lumps to prevent lumps in your sauce or gravy.

Quick-cooking tapioca – This is a good choice for foods that are going to be frozen because, unlike flour and cornstarch-thickened mixtures, frozen tapioca mixtures retain their thickness when reheated.

Tip: When using tapioca as a thickener for crockery cooking and freezer-bound foods, you can avoid its characteristic lumpy texture by grinding the tapioca with a mortar and pestle before adding to the recipe.


Fragrant, clean-tasting, small leafed herb, popular fresh or dried as a seasoning for poultry, light meats, seafood or vegetables.


A small round cut of beef taken from the end portion of beef tenderloin, often cooked with bacon or lard and is no more than 2½ cm thick and 5-6½ cm in diameter.


To cut ingredients, usually a vegetable such as carrots or potatoes into a barrel-like shape that forms six or seven sides on the length of the item being cut, using a Tourner knife, or a paring knife or a birds beak knife


To remove the parts of food that are not needed for preparation.


A type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals used in cooking.


The hoof or foot of an animal that is used in cooking.


To tie meat, game or poultry, such as turkey with a string, pins or skewers, woven through the bird parts by using a needle, for the purpose of holding the legs and sometimes the wings in place during cooking and to create a more compact shape before cooking.


The process of browning, crisping, or drying a food by exposing it to heat. Toasting coconut, nuts, and seeds help develop their flavour. Also the result of exposing a slice of bread to radiant heat so it becomes browner, crisper, and drier, altering the flavour of the bread as well as making it firmer so that it is easier to spread toppings on it. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable. Bread is often toasted using a toaster, an electrical appliance with heating elements. Toaster ovens are also used for toasting bread.

Tomatoes, Dried

Sometimes referred to as sun-dried tomatoes, these shrivelled-looking tomato pieces boast an intense flavour and chewy texture. They’re available packed in olive oil or dry. For rehydrating store bought dry tomatoes cover with boiling water, let stand about 10 minutes or until pliable, then drain well and pat dry. Snip pieces with scissors if necessary. Generally, dry and oil-packed tomatoes can be used interchangeably, though the dry tomatoes will need to be rehydrated, and the oil-packed will need to be drained and rinsed. Make your own dried tomatoes following my recipes.

Tomato sauce

Refers to any of a very large number of sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish (rather than as a condiment). Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes.

Tortell (or Gâteau des Rois)

A Catalan and Occitan pastry typically O-shaped, usually stuffed with marzipan or whipped cream, that on some special occasions is topped with glazed fruit. It is traditionally eaten on January 6 (Epiphany), at the conclusion of the Twelve Days of Christmas. This is also known as the day of the Three Wise Men according to the Catholic liturgical calendar.


Small, thin, flatbread made from cornmeal or wheat flour. Popular in Mexican cooking, tortillas are usually wrapped around a filling. To warm and soft flour tortillas, wrap a stack of 8 to 10 in foil and heat in a 180°C (350°F) oven for 10 minutes. A flour tortilla (or wheat tortilla to differentiate it from other uses of the word tortilla, which in Spanish means “small torta”, or “small cake”) is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Originally derived from the corn tortilla, a bread of maize which predates the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, the wheat flour tortilla was an innovation by exiled Spanish Jews who did not consider cornmeal to be kosher, using wheat brought from Europe, while this region was the colony of New Spain. It is made with unleavened, water-based dough, pressed and cooked like corn tortillas. In Spanish, the word “tortilla”, without qualification, has different meanings in different regions. In Spain it is a Spanish omelette of eggs and potatoes (and an omelette without potatoes is a “tortilla francesa”, French tortilla); in Mexico and Central America it is a corn tortilla, and in many other places a flour tortilla.


To mix ingredients lightly by lifting, gently turning over and dropping them using two utensils until blended.


Species of fungus that grows below the ground that are edible; used as a garnish. Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Croatian, Middle Eastern and Spanish cooking, as well as in international. It’s also a very rich chocolate candy.


To bind the legs and wings of a bird to its body for roasting with string or skewers so it will hold its even shape so that none of the extremities dries out during cooking.


A rhizome that is often dried and ground belonging to the ginger family. It is often used to spice and colour dishes (bright yellow). It is used in several ways (in a seasoning such as curry, a yellow dye, and as a medicine) mainly in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. Turmeric is somewhat medicinal in aroma and should be used with restraint. Used primarily in pickling.


A Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of strained yoghurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sometimes dill. American versions may include lemon juice, mint, or parsley.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A Blanc

French for “in white”. Usually used to describe cream sauces or meats that are prepared without browning them.


Act or process of making something slightly acidic or sour with lemon or lime juice.


A substance having a sour taste. Sourness is found naturally in many foods. Wines, vinegar and lemon juice are many of the common acids used in cooking. These are natural tenderizers and help break down foods by marinating.

Adjust (or Adjust the seasoning)

In cooking “To Adjust” means to taste during cooking (before serving) and add salt, herbs, or other seasonings or flavourings, as needed.

Adobo (or Adobar) Sauce

A dark red Mexican sauce made from the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, ground chiles, herbs (such as oregano), salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavour. The Portuguese variant is known as Carne de vinha d’alhos. Chipotle peppers are packed in cans of adobo sauce.

Aerate (or Aeration)

Refers to the process in which air is absorbed into the food item. To pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so large pieces can be removed. It refers to the lightness of cakes and bread, the process also incorporates air to make ingredients like flour (or, confectioners’ sugar, or sugar or butter), lighter. Sifting dry ingredients aerates them while distributing small amounts of chemical leaveners or dry seasoning evenly through the mixture. Use sifters, sieves or whisks to both aerate and sift.

In wine tasting, a variety of methods are used to aerate the wine and bring out the aromas including swirl wine in the glass, use of a decanter to increase exposure to air, or a specialized wine aerator.


In cooking “To Age” means to let food get older under controlled conditions. Aged Meat is usually stored 3-6 weeks at 1-3°C (34-38°F) to allow the enzymes to break down connective tissues. Aged Cheese is stored in a temperature controlled area until it develops the desired texture and flavour. Aged Wine is aged in both barrels and bottles. Red wine often benefits from longer aging. Ageing is the change that takes place when freshly slaughtered meat is allowed to rest and reach the state at which it is suitable for consumption.


The Hawaiian name for yellowfin or Bigeye tuna. Often served raw or medium rare and used in sushi and sashimi. They are found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, but not the Mediterranean Sea.

Aioli (or aïoli)

A strong flavourful garlic mayonnaise mixture used for fish, meats, and vegetables. It is a Mediterranean sauce made of garlic and olive oil; some versions use egg or egg yolks as an emulsifier and lemon juice, whereas the original versions are without egg or egg yolk and have more garlic. The names mean “garlic and oil” in Catalan. In France, it may include Dijon. Purists insist that the true aioli contains no seasoning other than garlic. It is served at room temperature.

À la

A French word for “in the style of” or “in the manner of”, often used by region.

À la carte

According to a menu that prices each dish separately. A term indicating that every item on a menu is priced and ordered separately, not as part of a set meal.

À la Française

Meas “in a French style”

À la Grecque

Prepared in the Greek style of cooking, with tomatoes, garlic, black olives, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and several seasonings, often referring to vegetables.

À la mode

Means served with ice cream on the side (i.e. cake or pie topped with ice cream).

Al Dente

Italian term generally used in terms of pasta and rice cooking, but technically includes vegetables and beans too. From the Italian, Al dente is translated as ‘to the tooth’ meaning something cooked but left with a bite of firmness. Not overdone or too soft.

Al Forno

An Italian term used to describe baked or roasted foods. Al Forno food is food that has been baked in an oven.


Aromatic sweet spice made from the powdered dried berries of Caribbean origin with a flavour suggesting a blend of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, hence its name. May be purchased as a whole, dried berries or ground. When using whole berries, they may be bruised–gently crushed with the bottom of a pan or other heavy instrument–to release more of their flavour. Called “pimento” in Jamaica.

Almond Extract

Flavouring derived by dissolving the essential oil of almonds macerated in an alcohol base. Use only products labelled “pure” or “natural” almond extract (essence).

Almond Paste

A creamy mixture made of ground blanched almonds and sugar that’s often used as a filling in pastries, cakes, chocolates, and confections. For best baking results, use an almond paste without syrup or liquid glucose.


A French culinary term for Dishes made or garnish with almonds.


A sweet Italian liqueur combining essences of apricot and almond.


Greek Mythology refers to ambrosia as the food of the gods (translation is “immortality”). It means something that has a wonderful taste or smell. Also, a dessert mixture of fruit and coconut served many ways, with or without gelatin. And also a Brazilian sweet made of milk, sugar, and eggs.

Amuse-bouche (or amuse-gueule)

A French term meaning “Amuse the mouth”. Also known as, amuse-gueule, amusee, petite amuse, and lagniappe. These are small samplings (a little bite of food) of food served before a meal to whet the appetite and stimulate the palate. Many Chefs tantalize diners palates with decorative, intense flavoured tastings to delight the eyes. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but are served gratis and according to the chef’s selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine.


Tiny saltwater silvery fish, related to sardines; that comes from the Mediterranean. Imported anchovy filets salt-cured and packed in olive oil and salt are the most commonly available canned in some Italian delicatessens. These add great flavour to many foods! They are considered the finest.

Anchovy Paste

A smooth paste made from a mixture of preserved ground filets of the tiny saltwater fish (anchovies), oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Anchovy paste is available in tubes and jars in the canned fish or gourmet section of the supermarket.


Green-grey fruit or seed of plan of parsley family; available whole and in extracts; unmistakable strong liquorice flavour. Used extensively in confections, sweet pastries, and as a flavouring in liqueurs.

Antipasto (plural antipasti)

An Italian term, that means “before the meal”, and denotes a relatively light dish served before courses that are more substantial. Referring to an assortment of hot or cold appetizers. Traditional antipasto includes cured/smoked meats, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella), pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar.


An alcoholic beverage taken before a meal to whet the appetite.


Apple brandy made from hard cider. See Calvados.

À point

Cooking until the ideal degree of doneness as to be warm but still red in the middle, often referring to meat as medium rare.


There are thousands of kinds of apples, and they differ in colour, flavour, shape, size, and texture. Different varieties are used for different purposes. The most common varieties of apples are Gala, McIntosh, Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty. Varieties of Apples:


A yellowish-orange to a red apple. Its yellow to cream-coloured flesh is crisp and sweet.


A bright red apple, it is medium sized and round or oval. It tastes mildly acid to sweet. It has tender flesh and is usually eaten fresh.


A dark red apple with red stripes, it is large and has flat ends. It tastes mildly acid to sweet and is tender and juicy. It is eaten fresh and used for cooking.


It has a solid dark red colour or is dark red with darker stripes. It is medium-to-large and has an oval shape with five knobs on the bottom. This sweet-tasting apple is firm, crisp, and juicy and is usually eaten fresh.


A dark red apple. It has crisp, juicy, slightly tart flesh and is eaten fresh.

Golden Delicious

It has a golden-yellow skin and an oval shape. Its juicy, firm flesh has a sweet flavour. It ranges from medium-to-large and is a good all-purpose apple.

Granny Smith

A bright green apple. It ranges from medium to large and has an almost round shape. Its firm flesh tastes tart and is eaten fresh and used for cooking.


A bright red apple touched with yellow and green. This apple varies from small to medium and has a tart flavour and juicy, firm flesh. Its shape is round to oval and is eaten fresh and baked in pies.

Rome Beauty

A red apple with yellow or green markings. It is large and has a round to oval shape. The crisp, firm flesh has a mildly acid flavour. This apple is used for cooking, baking, and processing.


A dull red apple with darker stripes. This apple varies from medium to large and has a roundish shape. Its firm flesh has a mildly acid flavour and is eaten fresh and used for processing.


A bright dark red and roundish apple. It ranges from small to medium and has a mildly acid flavour. Its flesh is firm and juicy and is eaten fresh and used for processing.

York Imperia

A green or yellow apple with red stripes. This medium to large apple is round to oval and has a slightly lopsided appearance. Its firm flesh tastes mildly acid to sweet. It is used mainly for processing.


The liquid from canned chickpeas, used as an egg substitute (can be used in recipes much like egg whites) because of its function as an emulsifier, leavening agent, and foaming agent.


Dry brandy, similar to cognac, distilled in, and made from wine produced in, the Armagnac region, in Gascony, southwestern France. It is distilled from wine usually made from a blend of grapes, traditionally using column stills rather than the pot stills used in the production of Cognac. The resulting spirit is then aged in oak barrels before release. Other good-quality dry wine-based brandies may be substituted.


Any herb, spice, or plant that gives foods and drinks a distinct flavour or aroma.


A nutritive starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of Maranta arundinacea. Sold as a dried and milled white powder. Does not mask or alter natural flavours. Produces sauces and pastes of remarkable clarity. Use as a thickening agent in place of flour or cornstarch for fruit sauces, pie fillings, puddings, salad dressings, dessert sauces, vegetable sauces, and meat glazes. Do not use to make gravy. Arrowroot reaches maximum thickening at lower temperatures than other thickeners, thus it is ideal for use with heat sensitive foods.


Also known as globe artichoke. The large flower bud of a type of thistle, grown primarily in the Mediterranean and in California. The tightly-packed cluster of tough-pointed, prickly leaves, conceals tender, gray-green flesh at the vegetable’s center–the heart. A globe artichoke is easily prepared for cooking. While trimming, dip the artichoke repeatedly in a mixture of water and lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

Artificial Sweeteners (or Sugar substitute)

A category of sugar substitutes that have no nutritional value. It is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Because they have unique attributes, they should not be substituted for other sweeteners unless a recipe calls for them specifically.

Arugula (or Rocket or Roquette)

Mediterranean plant with pungent edible brightly green leaves with slender, multiple-lobed leaves that have a slightly bitter, peppery mustard flavour. It is also called rocket and it resembles radish leaves. Often used raw in salads.


Jellied meat, fish or poultry stock or vegetable liquid often used for molding meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. Aspic is a dish in which ingredients are set into gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé. Non-savoury dishes often made with commercial gelatin mixes without stock or consommé, are usually called gelatin salads.


A French term for Roasting, which means cooking foods in their own natural juices without adding extra liquids.

Au Gratin

A French term referring to cooking food under a broiler or in a hot oven to form a lightly browned crust. The food can be left plain or topped with bread crumbs and/or grated cheese, and/or egg and/or butter, to make the crust.

Au Jus

A French term for “with [its own] juice” from cooking, meaning served with unthickened natural juices that develop during roasting. Often referring to steak or other meat. In French cuisine, jus is a natural way to enhance the flavour of dishes, mainly chicken, veal and lamb. In American cuisine, the term is mostly used to refer to a light sauce for beef recipes, which may be served with the food or placed on the side for dipping.

Au Lait

A French term meaning served with milk.

Au Poivre

A French term meaning “with pepper”, typically describing meats either prepared by coating in coarse ground (loosely cracked) peppercorns before cooking or accompanied by a peppercorn sauce.

Au sec

The descriptor for a liquid which has been reduced until it is nearly dry, a process often used in sauce making.


A fruit that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. The fruit may be round, oval or pear-shaped. Its skin colour ranges from green to dark purple, depending on the variety. Avocados have a yellow-green pulp and contain one large pit. They are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins, minerals, and oil. Eat fresh in dips, salads, and desserts. Base ingredient for guacamole.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



Used in reference to people of French Acadian descent who were removed from their homeland of Nova Scotia (Canadian province) and settled in Louisiana (USA). Cajun cooking has long been wrongly thought of as synonymous with Creole cooking of the same region. Cajun and creole differ in the fact that, Cajun cuisine relies more on a large amount of animal fat whereas creole cooking utilizes more butter and cream.


A dry apple brandy distilled from apple cider, produced in the French region of Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie). See Apple-Jack.


A type of “hors d’œuvre” (a French term for appetizer), a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. These bite-size bread or toast portions are either toasted or untoasted, topped with pates or savoury spreads, especially caviar or cheese or a variety of meats or fish that are served as a light accompaniment to cocktails.


A food, usually a fruit, nut, or citrus peel, that has been dipped or cooked in sugar syrup.


Capers are the small buds of a spiny shrub grown in the Mediterranean. They are pickled in vinegar or dried and salted. Found next to olives in the supermarket, capers have an assertive flavour that can best be described as the marriage of citrus and olive, plus an added tang that comes from the salt and vinegar of their packaging brine. While the smaller buds bring more flavour than the larger buds, both can be used interchangeably in recipes.


An Italian coffee drink that is traditionally prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed milk foam.

Caramelize (or Caramelise)

To heat sugar (the browning of sugar) until it liquefies and becomes a syrup ranging in colour from golden to dark brown in order to give it a special taste. As the process occurs, volatile chemicals are released, producing the characteristic caramel nutty flavour. Whether it is granulated sugar or the naturally occurring sugars in vegetables. Granulated sugar is cooked in a saucepan or skillet over low heat until melted and golden. Fruits and vegetables with natural sugars can be caramelized slowly over low heat by sautéing, roasting or grilling, in a small amount of fat until browned and smooth giving them a sweet flavour and golden glaze.

Caraway (or Meridian fennel or Persian cumin)

A white-flowered aromatic plant which produces seeds used as a seasoning and in medicine that has a spicy smell and aromatic taste. Use in cakes, bread, soups, cheese and sauerkraut.


Sweet aromatic spice native to India made from the seeds of several plants from the ginger family. They are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small black seeds. Used as a spice for coffee cake, sweet breads, fruit salad dressings, cookies, cakes, pickling spice.


A cartouche refers to a piece of greaseproof or baking paper that is used to create a lid over a pot or saucepan. Usually cut in a circle and placed over a dish with a small amount of liquid. In the instance of poaching, it stops steam from escaping, it can also prevent skins from developing on sauces.


To cut or slice cooked meat, poultry, fish, or game into serving-size pieces.


The time-honoured tradition of separating whole roasted meats or poultry in a ceremonial or lavish setting.


The thin, tubular membrane of the intestine used to hold processed meats and forcemeats, as in sausages and salami.


Refers to both a baking dish and the ingredients it contains. A casserole (French: diminutive of casse, from Provençal cassa “pan”) is a large, deep ovenproof dish that has handles on either side and a tight-fitting lid, and the food prepared in it, used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. It can be made of glass, metal, ceramic or any other heatproof material. The word is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, with the cookware itself called a casserole dish or casserole pan. Casseroles may contain a variety of meats, vegetables, rice, potatoes, etc. It is sometimes topped with cheeses or breadcrumbs similar to dishes served au gratin.


Products based on, but not limited to, pork and its offal such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, salami, pâtés, confit and similar forcemeats. Also used in reference to the practitioner of this ancient culinary art.

Cayenne pepper

Very hot ground spice derived from the dried cayenne chilli pepper. The cayenne pepper, also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chilli pepper, aleva, bird pepper,’ or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika, and others. It is a hot chilli pepper used to flavour dishes. It is named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana.


To create small V-shaped grooves over the surface of fruits or vegetables for decorative purposes using a channel knife. The fruit or vegetable is then sliced, creating a decorative border on the slices.


A thin a loose-woven gauze-like 100-percent-cotton cloth with either a fine or coarse weave used primarily in cheese making and cooking. Cheesecloth is used in cooking to bundle up herbs, strain liquids, and wrap rolled meats. Look for it among cooking supplies in supermarkets and specialty cookware shops.


A French culinary term for a food that is wrapped (in puff pastry, for example) or coated (a thick sauce poured over the top).

Chervil (or garden chervil)

A delicate aromatic annual herb related to parsley cultivated for its finely divided and often curly leaves for use especially in soups and salads. Fresh or dried, has a delicate flavour. It’s good when subtle seasoning is desired. It is commonly used to season mild-flavoured dishes and is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbs.


A French culinary term for a dish where the ingredients are arranged overlapping each other, such as sliced beef or cutlets.


In cooking, this French word, meaning “made of rags”, is a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables (such as spinach, basil or lettuce) are cut into long, thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, and then slicing the leaves perpendicular to the roll. The technique can also be applied to crepes or thin omelettes to produce strips. Those shredded or finely cut vegetables and herbs are usually used as a garnish for soup.

Chilli Oil (or hot chilli oil or hot oil)

A fiery vegetable oil flavoured (infused) with chilli peppers that’s used as a seasoning. It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine, East and Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Particularly popular in Sichuan cuisine, it is used as an ingredient in cooked dishes as well as a condiment. It is sometimes used as a dip for meat and dim sum. It is also employed in the Korean Chinese noodle soup dish jjamppong.

Chilli Paste (or Chilli pepper paste)

A condiment available in mild or hot versions that’s made from chilli peppers, vinegar, and seasonings. Some are used as a cooking ingredient, while others are used to season a dish after preparation. In Korean cuisine, red pepper paste is used to create red pepper sauce, which is a common seasoning in the cuisine.


To cool food to below room temperature in the refrigerator or over ice. When recipes call for chilling foods, it should be done in the refrigerator.


A culinary term referring to the backbone of an animal and its addition or removal from cuts of meat.

Chipotle (or Chilpotle)

A smoke-dried jalapeño pepper that tends to be brown and shrivelled. A key ingredient of Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and southwestern dishes. Chipotle imparts a relatively mild but earthy spiciness to many dishes. It is currently stored in a red sauce (adobo) of tomato puree and onions, and sold in small cans. You can find it in any grocery store that carries ethnic food.


Mild, sweet herb with a flavour reminiscent of the onion, to which it is related.


A sweet food made from cocoa and sugar. In general, six types of chocolate are available at the supermarket:

Milk chocolate

It is at least 10% pure chocolate with added cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.

Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate

It can be used interchangeably. They contain at least 35% pure chocolate with added cocoa butter and sugar.

Sweet chocolate

It is dark chocolate that contains at least 15% pure chocolate with extra cocoa butter and sugar.

Unsweetened chocolate

It is used for baking and cooking rather than snacking. This ingredient contains pure chocolate and cocoa butter with no sugar added.

Unsweetened cocoa powder

It is pure chocolate with most of the cocoa butter removed. Dutch-process or European-style cocoa powder has been treated to neutralize acids, making it mellower in flavour.

White chocolate

It has a mild flavour, contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Products such as white baking bars, white baking pieces, white candy coating, and white confectionery bars are sometimes confused with white chocolate. While they are often used interchangeably in recipes, they are not truly white chocolate because they do not contain cocoa butter.


A small cut of meat taken from the rib section and commonly including a portion of the rib itself. Also referring to quick, heavy blows of a cleaver or knife when preparing foods, i.e. to cut solid foods into smaller pieces, using a sharp knife, cleaver, food processor or other chopping devices. Chopped food is more coarsely cut than minced food.

Chorizo (or Chouriço)

Chorizo (Spanish) or chouriço (Portuguese) is a term originating in the Iberian Peninsula encompassing several types of spicy pork sausages used in Mexican and Spanish cuisines. Spanish chorizo is made with smoked pork; Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork. Traditionally, chorizo is encased in natural casings made from intestines, a method used since Roman times.


An inexpensive cut of beef taken from the section between the neck and shoulder blade.


A spicy (highly seasoned) sauce or relish of fruits often used in Indian cuisine that’s made from chopped fruit (mango is a classic), vegetables, herbs and spices enlivened by hot peppers, fresh ginger, or vinegar. It can vary from a tomato relish to a ground peanut garnish, may contain a combination of raisins, fruits, dates, and onions or a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip.


Anyone of several umbelliferous plants, of the genera Myrrhis, Osmorrhiza, etc.

Cilantro (or Fresh Coriander or Chinese parsley)

Green, leafy herb resembling flat-leaf (Italian) parsley with a sharp, aromatic, somewhat astringent flavour.


A popular sweet spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. The term “cinnamon” also refers to its mid-brown colour. It is sold as sticks or ground.

Clarified Butter (or drawn butter)

Sometimes called drawn butter, clarified butter is best known as a dipping sauce for seafood. It is butter that has had the milk solids removed. Because clarified butter can be heated to high temperatures without burning, it’s also used for quickly browning meats. To clarify butter, melt the butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan without stirring. Skim off foam, if necessary. You will see a clear, oily layer on top of a milky layer. Slowly pour the clear liquid into a dish, leaving the milky layer in the pan. The clear liquid is the clarified butter; discard the milky liquid. Store clarified butter in the refrigerator up to 1 month.


To separate and remove solids from a cloudy liquid, thus making it clear. Most often refers to butter, where the milk solids and water are rendered from the butterfat. This is done by gently melting the butter, allowing the two to separate and then skimming off the solids. The resulting clear liquid can be used at a higher cooking temperature and will not go rancid as quickly as unclarified butter. To clarify liquids, such as stock, egg whites and/or eggshells are commonly added and simmered for approximately 15 minutes. The egg whites attract and trap particles from the liquid. After cooling, strain the mixture through a cloth-lined sieve to remove residue. To clarify rendered fat, add hot water and boil for about 15 minutes. The mixture should then be strained through several layers of cheesecloth and chilled. The resulting layer of fat should be completely clear of residue.


A heavy large butcher knife that varies in its shape but usually resembles a rectangular-bladed hatchet. A good cleaver has a well-balanced weight and is largely used as a kitchen or butcher knife which can easily cut through bone as well as chopping vegetables. The knife’s broadside can also be used for crushing in food preparation (such as garlic).


Rich and aromatic East African flower buds spice used ground in baked goods and whole in pickling brine and as a seasoning for baked hams. Provides flavour to both sweet and savoury recipes.


A culinary term for surrounding a food with another either before or after cooking, as with coating in breadcrumbs, flour, or a batter before baking or sautéeing or topping a finished product with a sauce prior to serving. Meat, fish, and poultry are often coated before cooking.

Coating Consistency

When a liquid, usually a custard, is thick and viscous enough to coat a spoon and doesn’t drain off.

Coat the back of a spoon

A technique used to test the doneness of cooked, egg-based sauces and custards, i.e. the sauce is done when it leaves an even path on the spoon when it is drawn.

Coconut Milk

The liquid that comes made from the grated meat (coconut pulp) of a brown coconut that’s often used in Southeast and South Asian, Indian, Southern China, the Caribbean and north of South America cooking. Coconut milk is not the clear liquid in the centre of the coconut (coconut water), nor should it be confused with cream of coconut, a sweetened coconut concoction often used to make mixed drinks such as piña coladas. The colour and rich taste of coconut milk can be attributed to the high oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat.


To coddle something is to cook it in water just below boiling point. More recently, the term specifically applies to eggs using a device called a coddler. The low cooking temperature produces a much softer egg than if you were to boil it. Coddle (sometimes Dublin coddle) is also an Irish dish which is often made to use up leftovers, and therefore without a specific recipe. However, it most commonly consists of layers of roughly sliced pork sausages and rashers (thinly sliced, somewhat fatty back bacon) with sliced potatoes and onions. Traditionally, it can also include barley.


Dry spirit distilled from wine and, strictly speaking, produced in the Cognac region of France. Other good-quality dry wine-based brandies may be substituted.


A cooking term from the French concasser, “to crush or grind”, meaning to roughly chop raw or cooked food by peeling, seeding, and chopping to make it ready to be served or combined with other ingredients. This term is particularly applied to tomatoes, where tomato concasse is a tomato that has been peeled, seeded (seeds and skins removed), and chopped to specified dimensions. Specified dimensions can be rough chop, small dice, medium dice, or large dice.


A culinary term used to describe a substance in which the water content has been reduced to a certain thickness.


A spice, sauce, or other accompaniment that is added to food to impart a particular flavour, to enhance its flavour, aid in digestion, preserve the food, stimulate the appetite or in some cultures, to complement the dish. The term originally described pickled or preserved foods but has shifted meaning over time.


Confit (French, pronounced or in English “con-fee”) comes from the French word confire which means literally “preserved”. It is any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation. It’s usually a cooked meat or poultry that is prepared and stored in its own fat (or other fat if necessary), at a low heat. Duck and goose are common to this ancient technique of cooking and storage.


A highly flavourful clear soup (broth) served hot or cold, made from richly flavoured stock or bouillon that has been clarified. The broth is clarified using a “raft” of egg whites during preparation to remove fat and sediment. As the whites cook they attract the various sediments like a magnet.

Cooking Oil

Plant, animal, or synthetic fat liquids at room temperature made from vegetables, nuts, or seeds used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking. It is also used in food preparation and flavouring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, and in this sense might be more accurately termed edible oil. Common types for general cooking include corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut, and olive oil. For baking, cooking oils cannot be used interchangeably with solid fats because they do not hold air when beaten.

Cordon Bleu

Originally a blue ribbon worn by the members of France’s highest order of knighthood, it has extended to apply to a food preparation of the highest standards and also in reference to the cook that prepared it. It’s an escalope of veal, chicken or pork stuffed with ham and cheese, then breaded and fried.


A perforated, bowl-shaped kitchen container with holes in it used for draining liquid from solids such as pasta or rice. A colander is also used to rinse vegetables. It can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.


To remove the seeds or tough woody centres from fruits and vegetables that are not usually eaten.


A knife or other tool designed to remove the core from fruit or vegetables. It is usually made of stainless steel and comes in different shapes. An all-purpose corer has a medium-length shaft with a circular cutting ring at the end.

Coriander (or cilantro, Chinese parsley)

Herb having leaves used in cooking and small spicy-sweet seeds (whole or ground) of the coriander plant, used as a seasoning. Particularly used for sausages and variety meats.

Corn Meal (or Cornmeal or Polenta)

Granular (coarse) flour, ground from the dried kernels of yellow or white corn, with a sweet, robust flavour. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, but not as fine as wheat flour. In the United States, very finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as corn flour. In the United Kingdom, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch, cornmeal is sometimes known by the Italian term polenta, and finely ground corn flour (for making bread or tortillas) is known as maize flour.

Corn Starch (or cornstarch, corn flour or maize starch or maize)

The starch (fine, powdery flour ground) derived from the endosperm of corn (maize) grain, the white heart of the kernel, and used as a neutral-flavoured thickening agent in some desserts, sauces or soups, and is used in making corn syrup and other sugars.

Corn Syrup

Light, or dark, coloured neutral tasting syrup extracted from the starch of maize (called corn in some countries). Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavour.


Preserved or cured with salt. Corned, as in corned beef, has nothing to do with corn, the vegetable. While today most corned beef is cured in brine, in Anglo-Saxon times the meat was dry-cured by being rubbed with “corns” of salt. Corning, or brining beef, is a way of preserving less tender cuts of meat such as brisket, rump or round. Spices and herbs such as peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaf are often added to the brining mixture for extra flavour. The pink colour of corned beef usually remains after cooking because nitrite used in the curing process fixes the pigment in the meat.

Corned Beef

Beef brisket, or sometimes other cuts, cured for about a month in a brine with large crystals (corns) of salt, sugar, spices, and other seasonings and preservatives to produce a meat that when slowly simmered in water, develops a moist, tender mixture, mildly spiced flavour, and bright purplish-red colour.


Small French-style sour pickled cucumbers no more than two inches or so in length.


A thick sauce made with puréed and strained vegetables or fruits used as a base or garnish. A vegetable coulis is commonly used on meat and vegetable dishes, and it can also be used as a base for soups or other sauces. Fruit coulis is most often used on desserts. Raspberry coulis, for example, is especially popular with poached apples or Key Lime Pie.

Court-bouillon (or Court bouillon)

A flavoured vegetable broth used for poaching or quick-cooking foods. Traditional uses include poaching fish and seafood, but it is also used for poaching vegetables, eggs, sweetbreads, cockscombs, and delicate meats. For fish, make sure to add the fish to the cold broth. Alternately, seafood is plunged into boiling broth. Ready-to-use dehydrated court-bouillon is available in cubes or bags.


A traditional granular dish of semolina (granules of durum wheat) popular in North Africa, which is cooked by steaming. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughout the North African cuisines. Look for it in the rice and pasta section of supermarkets.


A dairy product composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization (The butterfat portion of milk). Also, to beat ingredients (at room temperature), usually sugar and a fat such as butter or shortening, either alone or with sugar, to a light, fluffy consistency, making a smooth, soft paste. May be done by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer. This process incorporates air into the fat so baked products have a lighter texture and a better volume. The terms light and heavy describe cream’s butterfat content and related richness. Light cream has a butterfat level varying from 18-30%. It is sometimes called coffee cream or table cream. Heavy whipping cream, sometimes simply labelled heavy cream, has a butterfat content of at least 36%.

Cream of tartar

An acidic powder used as an additive to meringue to stabilize egg whites and for heat tolerance. Used as a leavening agent most commonly with baking soda to make baking powder and an ingredient in syrups to prevent crystallization.

Crème Fraîche

A soured cream containing 10–45% butterfat and having a pH of around 4.5. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is less sour than U.S.-style sour cream, and has a lower viscosity and a higher fat content. It’s made from whipping cream and bacterial culture, which causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavour.

If you can’t find crème fraîche in your supermarket, you can make a substitute by combining:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (do not use ultrapasteurized cream)
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream

Cover the mixture and let it stand at room temperature for two to five hours or until it thickens. Cover and refrigerate up to one week.


A type of very thin delicate pancake, usually made from wheat flour (crêpes de froment) or buckwheat flour (galettes). The word is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning “curled”. While crêpes are often associated with Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is widespread in France, Belgium, Quebec and many parts of Europe, North Africa and the Southern Cone of South America. Crêpes are served with a variety of fillings, from the simplest with only sugar to flambéed crêpes Suzette or elaborate savoury galettes.


See watercress


To pinch or press pastry or dough together using your fingers, a fork, or another utensil. Usually done for a piecrust decorative edge.


A term that describes the state of vegetables that have been cooked until just tender but still somewhat crunchy. At this stage, a fork can be inserted with a little pressure.


From the French “croquer”, “to crunch” is a small deep-fried round roll (usually shaped into a ball, cylinder, disk, or oval shape) of ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, cheese, mashed potatoes, or vegetable coated with egg and breadcrumbs. Usually mixed with béchamel or brown sauce, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer, or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, e.g. sautéed onions, mushrooms, or boiled eggs (Scotch eggs). It gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as fast food.


Traditional French appetizers (served as an hors d’oeuvre) consisting of sliced or whole raw vegetables which are sometimes dipped in a vinaigrette or other dipping sauce. Crudités often include celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms, and asparagus spears; sometimes olives, depending on local custom.


Fine particles of food that have been broken off a larger piece. Crumbs are often used as a coating, thickener, or binder, or as a crust in desserts. Recipes usually specify either soft or fine dry bread crumbs, which generally are not interchangeable.


To smash food into smaller pieces, generally using hands, a mortar, and pestle, or a rolling pin. Crushing dried herbs releases their flavour and aroma.


To cut food into small (about 1/2- inch) cubes.

Cumin (or cumin)

A Middle Eastern spice with a strong, dusky, aromatic flavour used as a seasoning. Use in chilli, marinades, and basting sauces, and add to huevos rancheros or other egg dishes.

Curdle (or Curdling)

To separate into lumpy curds and liquid. This can happen with eggs if they are added to a mixture too quickly or if the mixture is too hot or when egg-based mixtures are cooked too quickly and the protein separates from the liquids, leaving a lumpy mixture behind. Egg custards tend to curdle when they are exposed to prolonged or too high heat, or in the case of milk, combined with acid. Cake batters can sometimes curdle if very cold eggs are added too quickly to beaten eggs and sugar. (Beating in a small amount of the flour will usually restore smoothness.). Curdling is intentional and desirable in making cheese and tofu; unintentional and undesirable in making sauces and custards. Curdling occurs naturally in milk if the milk is not used by the expiration date, or if the milk stays out in warm temperature.


A non-heated method of cooking to preserve meats where it is packed and left so that the moisture draws out. Smoking, salting, pickling (in an acid-base), Corning (with acid and salt), are some of the many ways to cure foods which removes water.

Curry Paste

A blend of herbs, spices, and fiery chiles that’s often used in Indian and Thai cooking. Look for curry paste in Asian markets. Curry pastes are available in many varieties depending from the region and are sometimes classified by colour (green, red, or yellow), by heat (mild or hot), or by a particular style of curry (such as Panang or Masaman).

Curry powder

Generic term for a blend of spices commonly used to flavour East Indian-style dishes. Most curry powders will include coriander, cumin, chilli powder, and turmeric.

Cut in

A method of blending, usually for pastry, where fat is combined with flour. To distribute a solid fat, such as shortening, butter, or margarine, into dry ingredients, such as in flour using a cutting motion, until divided evenly into tiny pieces. This is usually done using a pastry blender, two knives in a crisscross fashion, your fingertips, or a food processor. Usually refers to making pastry.


A thin cut of meat from the leg or rib section, usually from lamb, veal, pork, or mutton.

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