Cooking Glossary

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

aerate

Aerating refers to incorporating air into dry ingredients, such as flour, to make it lighter, and to remove large pieces by passing it through a fine mesh.



al dente

Al dente, Italian for to the tooth, is a phrase that refers to food, usually pasta, that is cooked to the point of giving a mild resistance when bitten into, and not overcooked or too soft.



antipasto

Antipasto, an Italian phase, translated as before the pasta, refers to hot or cold hors d'ouevres served as appetizers.



B

bake

Baking refers to cooking using the dry heat of an oven. Baking is mostly used in the preparation of breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, quiches, crackers and pies. More...



baking cups

Baking cups are used to form cupcakes or muffins while baking. Thin paper cups can be placed in the cups of muffin pan to prevent the baked goods from sticking to the pan. More...



baking dish

A baking dish is a typically wide, shallow, rectangular cooking vessel, usually for placement into an oven for baking or roasting. A popular size is 9 inches by 13 inches, especially for dishes like lasagna or brownies. More...



baking sheet

A baking sheet is a flat, rectangular pan used in an oven. Baking sheets are primarily used to bake cookies, pastries rolls, or other foods that can lay flat and do not require a shape mold. More...



baste

To baste means to brush drippings, melted fats (like oil or butter), or other liquid over food as it cooks. A bulb baster can also be used to drip the liquid over the food. More...



blanch

Blanching refers to boiling ingredients very briefly. Vegetables are usually immediately plunged into cold water ("shocked") after blanching to stop the cooking process and preserve color and crunch. More...



braise

Braising means to cook covered food in liquid at low heat for a long period of time. This slow process keeps meats moist and tenderizes it by breaking down its fibers. More...



bread pan

A bread pan, or a loaf pan, is a deep, (usually) rectangular cooking vessel used to shape bread while baking. Dough or batter is placed or poured evenly into the pan. More...



broil

To broil means to cook food by exposing it to direct, radiant heat, when the heat source is above the food. This is essentially the inverse of grilling, where the heat source is below the food. More...



brown

Browning means to partially cook food, usually ground or whole cuts of meat, giving it an outer brown color and to burn off excess fat. Browning is usually done in a skillet or frying pan on medium heat. More...



butterfly

To butterfly means to split a piece of food, usually meat, fish, or poultry down the middle, but not all the way through. The two halves are opened and spread flat, resembling butterfly wings. More...



C

caramelize

Caramelizing means to heat sugar until it liquifies and becomes a golden or brown syrup. Vegetables and fruits can be caramelized with their natural sugars by grilling, roasting or sauteeing, giving them a glaze and/or sweet flavor. More...



casserole dish

Casserole dishes are deep, oven proof, round or rectangular dishes with handles and possibly a lid. These are used for baking casseroles, which are dishes that can include any variety of ingredients like meat, vegetables or cheeses. More...



cheesecloth

Cheesecloth is a loosely-woven cotton fabric used mostly in cheese making, to separate whey from curds. The whey/curd mixture is gathered in the cloth, and then squeezed around it to push out the liquid and hold the curds together, forming a lump of cheese. More...



chiffonade

To chiffonade means to cut leafy vegetables or herbs into long, thin strips. This is usually done by rolling up the leaves and cutting across with a sharp knife to produce thin ribbons. More...



chop

To chop means to cut ingredients into small, bite-sized pieces with a knife. Alternatively, a food processor can be used for chopping. More...



confit

Pronounced con-fee, confit is a general term meaning to immerse foods in a liquid for preservation and flavor. Confit is a specialty of southwestern France, and is among the oldest ways of preserving food. More...



cookie sheet


D

deep fryer

A deep fryer is an appliance that holds and heats oil for frying. Temperature settings control the frying time. More...



deglaze

Deglazing means to remove caramelized food bits from a pan by dissolving it and making a pan sauce.

Meat that is prepared in a pan leaves bits of caramelized sugars, fats and other material. More...



dice

To dice ingredients means to cut them into tiny, cube-like pieces, usually 1/4 or 1/8 cubic inches in size, with a knife.



dredge

Dredging means to lightly coat moist foods, usually meat, in a dry ingredient in preparation for cooking, especially frying. Flour, cornmeal, or breadcrumbs are commonly used for dredging. More...



Dutch oven

A Dutch oven is a large kettle or pot, usually made of cast iron. They typically come with a tight-fitting lid to prevent steam from escaping. More...



E

earthenware

Earthenware refers to clay bakeware fired with a nonporous and hard glazing. Earthenware is suitable for cooking dishes requiring long cooking times, such as stews and baked beans. More...



egg wash

An egg wash is a mixture made from beaten egg and a liquid, usually water or milk. Egg wash is typically brushed onto a pastry before baking,

Egg wash is usually used to bind the pastry and any toppings together, and to give it a golden brown color when baking. More...



F

fold

To fold, in culinary terms, means to combine a light and airy ingredient, like beaten egg whites, with a heavier ingredient, like a custard or cream. The technique involves placing the heavy ingredient in the bottom of a bowl, with the lighter one on top of it. More...



food processor

A food processor is a kitchen appliance used to grind, slice, chop, mix, puree or shred ingredients. These can be powered manually or electrically. More...



fricasee

A fricasee is a term used to describe any stewed dish made with poultry or other white meat, like pork. The stew is usually made with gravy and thickened with butter, milk, or cream. More...



frost

In culinary terms, frosting means to cover a cake or other baked dish in a sweet frosting or icing. This is used for both flavor and decoration. More...



fry

To fry means to cook food in some amount of fat or oil over medium to high heat. To deep fry means to submerge the food in hot fat, while to sautee or stir-fry means to quickly fry food in smaller amounts of fat or oil. More...



G

garnish

To garnish means to adorn a dish with a small amount of some ingredient as a decoration or to add a bit of flavor. When garnish is used as a noun, the ingredient itself is referred to as the garnish. More...



grill

Grilling refers to cooking food over hot coals or some other heat source like gas burners. Grilling typically creates a crust on the outside of food that seals in juices and flavor. More...



H

highball glass

Also known as a tumbler glass, a highball glass, is a tall, narrow glass that typically holds 8 to 12 fluid ounces (240 to 350 ml) of liquid.

Highball glasses are used to serve highball cocktails and certain mixed drinks. More...



hors d'ouevre

Hors d'ouevre, French for outside the work (meal), refer to small and savory appetizers, served hot or cold.



J

julienne

To julienne means to cut food, usually fruits or vegetables, into thin strips or sticks.



K

knead

To knead means to work and mix dough until it is smooth and elastic. Kneading stretches the gluten strands, which allow the dough to hold in gas bubbles produced by a leavening agent, enabling the dough to rise. More...



M

marinate

To marinate means to soak food in seasoned liquid, often meats or vegetables, for some amount of time before cooking. This tenderizes and adds flavor to the food. More...



melon baller

A melon baller is a tool used to form small balls of melon pieces for easy serving, usually 1" or 1/2" inch in diameter depending on the tool size. The tool's scoop shape is placed into a cut melon, and twisted to form a ball before removing. More...



mince

To mince means to cut food, usually vegetables, herbs or fruits, into very tiny pieces. Minced pieces are smaller than diced pieces. More...



mousse

From the French word meaning foam or froth, mousse is a food that incorporates air bubbles to give it a rich, airy texture. Mousse can be prapared sweet, served as a dessert, or savory. More...



muddler

A muddler is a bartender's tool that is used to crush (or muddle) fruit, herbs or other ingredients at the bottom of a glass to release their flavors.



muffin tin

A muffin tin, or muffin tray, is a mold used form muffins or cupcakes while baking. A typical muffin tin has room for 12 muffins, with each cup holding about 3. More...



O

on the rocks

The term on the rocks refers to a beverage, usually alcoholic, served in ice without an additional mixer or water.



open-faced

Open-faced refers to a sandwich served without a top bun or piece of bread. These sandwiches consist of a bottom slice of bread topped with various meats, cheeses, and vegetables. More...



P

parboil

Parboiling involves cooking food to boiling water and removing before it is fully cooked. Parboiling is usually done to precook food in preparation for some other cooking method, like stir-frying or grilling. More...



parchment paper

Also called bakery paper, parchment paper is a cellulose-based paper that serves as a non-stick surface for use in baking. The paper can be used instead of greasing a surface to aid in easy release of the baked item. More...



pare

To pare means to remove a thin outer layer of skin from a fruit or vegetable. This is usually done with a peeler or a short knife known as a paring knife. More...



peel

To peel means to remove the outer rind or skin of a fruit or vegetable using a peeler or sharp knife.



poach

To poach means to cook food in simmering liquid (often water), either at or just below the boiling point.



pound

To pound, in culinary terms, means to tenderize meats by hitting pieces repeatedly with a kitchen mallet. This breaks down the meat fibers and also produces a thinner cut of meat, which may cook faster. More...



puree

To puree (or purée) means to grind or mash food until it is a smooth paste. This is usually accomplished with a food processor or blender. More...



Q

quench

Also known as shocking, to quench means to quickly place boiled food into cold water. This stops the cooking process. More...



R

ramekin

A ramekin is a small earthenware or porcelain baking dish, usually 3 or 4 inches in diameter, that looks like a small souffle dish. These are used for both savory and sweet dishes. More...



reduce

To reduce, in culinary terms, is the process of rapidly boiling a liquid to reduce its volume via evaporation. The resulting mixture, called a reduction, is thickened with an intensified flavor. More...



reduction

A reduction, in culinary terms, is the thickened mixture produced by rapidly boiling a liquid until it is reduced in volume via evaporation.



risotto

Risotto is a class of Italian rice dishes with a creamy consistency, cooked in a vegetable, meat or fish broth. Onion, butter and wine are also common ingredients in risotto. More...



roux

A roux is a mixture of fat and flour that is slowly cooked over low heat. It is then used to thicken mixtures like sauces and soups. More...



S

saucepan

A saucepan is a round cooking vessel with a long handle and usually comes with a tight-fitting cover. The shape and size of saucepans can vary, from a shallow pan with straight sides to deeper pans with flared sides. More...



sautee

To sautee (or sauté) is to cook in a way similar to stir-frying, where a small amount of fat, usually oil, is heated in a shallow pan over high heat. Food is cut into small or thin pieces and cooked in this pan. More...



sear

To sear means to quickly brown fish or meat over high heat in a broiler or frying pan. Searing produces a crisp exterior that seals in juices. More...



seed

Seeding means to remove the seeds from fruits or vegetables.



sift

To sift means to pass dry ingredients like flour or confectioner's sugar through a fine mesh using a sifter in order to remove or break up large bits and incorporate air. More...



sifter

A sifter is a device used to aerate dry ingredients like flour, or to separate lumps from finer particles, by passing it through a sieve or fine mesh.



simmer

To simmer means to cook food in liquid over medium or low heat, under the boiling point, but hot enough to bring tiny bubbles to the surface.



skewers

A skewer is a thin wooden or metal stick with a pointed end used for holding pieces of food together, especially during cooking.

Skewered foods such as meats and vegetables are usually grilled or roasted. More...



slice

To slice means to cut food into thin pieces. Depending on the shape of the food, the slices may be in the form of thin, broad sheets or thin wedges. More...



slow cooker

A slow cooker is an electric cooking appliance used to slowly cook meals at relatively low temperatures, compared to frying, sauteing, baking, broiling or grilling. Slow-cooked dishes are usually simmered at these low temperatures for several hours, and are often left unattended during cooking. More...



souffle

A soufflé is a savory or sweet cake made from egg yolks and beaten egg whites. The term soufflé comes from the French verb souffler which means "to puff up": essentially describing what happens to the combination of egg and other ingredients. More...



springform pan

A springform pan is a kind of baking dish with sides that can be separated from the base. The pan has a latch on its exterior wall that can be opened to release the base from the sides. More...



steam

Steaming involves cooking food, usually vegetables, on a rack or in a steamer over boiling liquid. Steaming helps retain shape, nutrients, and texture better than by boiling. More...



steep

To steep means to extract flavor out of dry ingredients such as coffee, tea leaves or herbs by soaking them in liquid, usually hot water. The liquid is usually strained before serving it, once the desired about of flavor is reached. More...



stir-fry

Stir frying refers to quickly frying small pieces of food in oil over very high heat while constantly stirring. The technique allows use of a minimal amount of oil, reducing the amount of fat compared to other frying techniques. More...



stock pot

A stock pot is a name for a common type of pot often used to make broths, stock or a large quantity of soup. It is a typically large pot with high walls and a flat bottom. More...



strainer

Typically made of metal or plastic, a strainer is a mesh or sieve used to separate solids from liquid. Strainers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. More...



sushi

Sushi is a Japanese term for a food with a base of cooked, vinegared rice and combined with other ingredients, such as meats, vegetables and condiments.

The term sushi is often confused with sashimi, which refers to raw meat, especially fish. More...



U

unleavend

Unleavened describes breads or other baked goods that contain no leavening agent, like yeast, baking soda or baking powder. Unleavened foods are typically flat, since the leavening agent is what makes it rise in the oven. More...



V

vandyke

To vandyke means to cut decorative zigzags in round fruit or vegetable halves. This is often done as a decoration for lemons, oranges, or tomatoes. More...



W

whip

To whip means to beat ingredients, like cream or egg whites until light and fluffy, by incorporating air and increasing their volume.



whisk

To whisk means to blend ingredients until smooth with a kitchen tool having looped wires, known as a whisk.



wok

A wok is a cooking vessel with a long handle and round bottom, often used in Asian stir-fry cuisine. Woks are usually made from steel or cast iron. More...



wurst

Wurst is the German word for sausage.



Y

yakitori

Yakitori is the Japanese term for grilled fowl. This usually refers to small pieces of marinated, grilled chicken. More...



Z

zest

Zesting means removing the outermost layer of a citrus fruit peel, using a grater, peeler, or a zester. Care should taken to avoid removing the bitter white layer of the peal, called the pith. More...