• Ann-Sophie

The Ultimate Cooking & Baking Glossary

When I started to experiment in the kitchen with more complex recipes, I often found myself confused and flabbergasted by the terms used in some recipes. Every time I ran across a term I didn't understand, I looked it up and wrote it down. That's how this glossary came to be.

Because this glossary has 300+ items in it, I divided it into three sections: Cooking & Baking Techniques, Cookware & Utensils, and Types of Ingredients and Foods. Hopefully you guys find what you're looking for!

Cooking & Baking Technique Terms

À la Carte

(Pronunciation: ah luh -kahrt) Refers to food that can be ordered as separate items and has individual prices, rather than part of a set meal.

À la Grecque

(Pronunciation: a-la-grek) Literally translated from French, à la grecque means "in the Greek manner". Refers to Greek style of cooking whereby food, often vegetables, is served in a sauce made of olive oil, lemon juice and a combination of spices.

À la Minute

(Pronunciation: a lah min-oot) A French phrase used to describe something that is cooked to order.

À Point

(Pronunciation: a -pwan) Cooking until the ideal degree of doneness, often referring to meat as medium rare.


A process where dry ingredients pass through a sifter and air is circulated through. As a result, there is a change in composition of the sifted material. It is usually used in reference to flour.

Al Dente

The term al dente comes from an Italian phrase which translates as "to the tooth". It generally means to cook food firm to the bite. The phrase is most commonly used in reference to pasta.


(Pronunciation: amooz-boosh) Literally translated from French, "amuse the mouth" is a small bite of food served as you site down for dinner. It is a gift from the chef and is usually served in fine restaurants.

Au Gratin

(Pronunciation: oh -graht-n) Sprinkled with breadcrumbs or grated cheese and browned.

Au Jus

(Pronunciation: oh -zhoos) A French culinary term meaning "with juice". It refers to meat dishes prepared or served together with a light gravy, or broth, made from the fluids secreted by the meat as it is cooked.

Au Poivre

(Pronunciation: oh -pwa-vruh) French for "with pepper", it usually refers to a sauce or preparation incorporating crushed black peppercorns

Au Sec

(Pronunciation: oh seck) A process often used in sauce making to describing a liquid which has been reduced until it is almost completely dry.

Bain Marie

(Pronunciation: beyn-muh-ree) A container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking, otherwise known as a "water bath" or "double boiler".


To cook food by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven.


To cook or roast foods over an open hearth or fireplace.


To cover meat with a layer of fat before cooking to maintain the moisture of the meat while it cooks.


A technique to keep food moist and to add flavor by spooning, brushing, or squirting a liquid, such as fat or meat drippings, onto meat while it is cooking.


To stir rapidly in a circular motion to make a smooth mixture, using a whisk, spoon, or mixer.


(Pronunciation: ben-yay) A fritter or doughnut without a hole in th ecnter. It is a deep-fried pastry that is doused in copious amaounts of confectioner's sugar. New Orleans is well-known for having delicious beignets.


To cut on an angle


A cooking technique where fruits, vegetables or nuts are partially cooked in boiling water or steam to intensify and set color and flavor.

Blanch and Shock

To cook fruits, vegetables or nuts rapidly (about a minute or less) in boiling water. After which the blanched food is immediately transferred to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking in its tracks.


To combine two or more ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer or blender, until smooth and uniform in texture, flavor and color.

Blind Bake

A baking technique where the pie- or pastry crust is baked without its filling. The crust is pricked with a fork and a sheet of parchment paper and baking beans are placed on top to keep the crust flat while baking. The pie filling is then added and the pie or pastry is baked again if necessary.


To cook food in liquid at a temperature that causes bubbles to form in the liquid and to rise in a steady patter, breaking at the surface.


To remove the bone(s) from a piece of meat.


To cook first by browning the food in butter or oil, then gently simmering in a small amount of liquid over low heat for a long period of time in a covered pan until tender.


A coating of crumbs, sometimes seasoned, on meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables.


Marinating foods in a strong solution of water and salt. Traditionally, this cooking technique is used to preserve or pickle food. It is also used to add flavor and juiciness to meat and poultry before grilling, broiling, sautéing or roasting.


To expose food to direct heat on a rack or spit, often used for melting food like cheese.


The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry or fish has been simmered with vegetables and herbs. It is similar to stock and can be used interchangeably. Reconstituted bouillon can also be used when broth specified.


To cook over high heat (usually on the stove-top) until the food has a golden-brown color.

Bruising Herbs

To add fresh herbs to a marinade, herbs are often "bruised". The herbs, usually their whole sprigs, are pounded with a pestle and mortar to release their aromatic oils.


A very, very small dice. Brunoise cuts typically measure 1/8 of an inch on each side of the cube.


To split food, such as lobster or pork chops, through the middle without completely separating the halves. Opened flat, the split halves resemble a butterfly.


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


To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a syrup.


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


(pronunciation: shif-oh-nod) Slicing foods into thin ribbon-like threads. Most often used when referring to sliced herbs.


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


To cut vegetables into large squares, usually specified by the recipe.


To evenly cover food with crumbs, flour, or a batter.


Coming from the French "concasser" which means to "to crush or grind", concasse is a cooking term meaning to roughly chop any ingredient, usually vegetables or fruit. The term is particularly applied to tomatoes, where tomato concasse is a tomato that has been peeled, seeded and chopped to specific dimensions.


(pronunciation: con-fee) Duck or other meat cooked very slowly at a low heat in its own fat.


To remove the tough central parts and seeds that are usually not consumed. The term is mostly used in reference to fruit.


To work two or more ingredients, typically butter and sugar, together to form a smooth and fluffy paste.


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


To smash food into smaller pieces, generally using hands, a mortar and pestle, or a rolling pin.


To cut food into small cubes, usually 1/2 inch squares.


Curing is a non-heated method of cooking meant for preserving. The food is packed with a salt mixture so that the moisture is drawn out of the food.

Cut In

To work a solid fat, such as shortening, butter, or margarine, intro dry ingredients. This is usually done using a pastry blender, two knives in a crisscross fashion, your fingertips or a food processor.


1/8th of a teaspoon.


To cook food by completely immersing it into hot (liquid) fat. To deep-fry a vegetable oil, such as peanut or sunflower oil) with a smoking point over 200°C (400°F) should be used.


Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving browned food residue from a pan to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies.


To remove the moisture from food in order to preserve it. Coconut is a food that is commonly desiccated.


To cut into small pieces, usually 1/4 to 1/8 inch chunks.


To immerse food for a short time in a liquid or dry mixture to coat, cool, or moisten it.


A spoonful of a semi-solid food, like whipped cream or masted potatoes, placed on top of another food.


To lightly coat uncooked food with a dry mixture, usually with flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs, to be pan fried or sautéed.


To put oil, vinegar, salt or other toppings on a salad or other food.


To pour liquid back and forth over a dish in a fine stream, usually melted butter, oil, syrup, or melted chocolate.


To coat lightly with a powdery ingredients, such as confectioner's sugar or cocoa.


Emincer is a French cooking term that means to slice thinly. It is often mistakenly thought by English-speakers to mean “chop finely”, based on what the English word “mince” means.


A form of food preservation that uses naturally occurring "gut friendly" organisms to convert the natural sugars in food into acids.


To drizzle a flammable spirit (alcohol) over a food while its cooking and ignite it just before serving.

Flour (verb)

To coat or dust a food or utensil with flour. Food may be floured before cooking to add texture and improve browning. Baking utensils are floured to prevent sticking.


To make indentations around the edge of a pie, in an undulating pattern, sealing the edge of the dough.


A technique to gently combine light ingredients, such as whipped cream or beaten eggs whites, with a heavier mixture, using an over-and-under or folding motion.


To cook food in hot cooking oil or fat, usually until a crisp brown crust forms. Pan-frying uses just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet.


To coat foods with mixtures such as jellies or sauces.


To reduce food, usually cheese or vegetables, to small shreds by rubbing it across a grating surface.


To coat a pan or dish with some kind of fat to prevent food from sticking during cooking.


The flavors extracted when adding ingredients to a liquid and heating them slowly, then letting them sit or "steep" while cooling.


Cutting vegetables into long, thin strips, approximately 1/4 inch thick and 1 inch.


To work (moistened flour or clay) into dough or paste with the hands.

Large Dice

A knife cut that results in 3/4 inch squared pieces.


The soaking of an ingredient, usually fruit, in a liquid so that it takes on the flavour of the liquid. Can also be used to soften dried fruit.


To gently swirl one food into another. Marbling is usually done with light and dark batters for cakes or cookies.


To soak in a sauce or flavoured liquid for a long period of time, usually a meat, poultry or fish.


To press or beat a food to remove lumps and make a smooth mixture. This can be done with a fork, potato masher, food mill, food ricer, or electric mixer.

Medium Dice

A knife cut that results 1/2 inch squared pieces.


A very fine chop, with pieces about 1/4 inch or smaller. These will effectively melt into whatever you are cooking.

Mise en Place

(pronunciation: meez-ahn-plahss) The practice of assembling and preparing all the ingredients before starting to cook.


To stir or beat two or more foods together until they are thoroughly combined. May be done with an electric mixer or a rotary beater, or by hand with a wooden spoon.


To slowly heat a beverage, such as cider, with spices and sugar.

Nap, Nappé, Napper

To coat with sauce. Sauces are said to nap when they leave an opaque coating on the back of a spoon.


To partially cook by boiling, usually to prepare the food for cooking by another method.


To cut off the skin or outer covering of a fruit or vegetable using a small knife or a vegetable peeler.


The process of preserving food in a brine, which is a salt or vinegar solution


1/16th of a teaspoon.


To put a decorative line or pattern on a cake or similar dish, using frosting, whipped cream, etc.


To remove the seed from fruits such as avocados, cherries, or peaches.


To cook in gently bubbling liquids such as stock or a broth.


Using a food-specific meat pounder/tenderizer to flatten meats to an even thickness. This allows the meat to cook evenly.


To partially or completely cook a food before using it in a recipe.


To heat an oven or utensil to a specific temperature before using it.

Prix Fixe

(pronunciation: pree-feeks) Translated from French prix fixe literally means "fixed price". It is a multi-course meal served at a pre-set price.


(pronunciation: proh-ven-sahl) An area of Southern France on the Mediterranean bordered by Italy, where olive oil rather than butter is the choice for cooking. Many dishes utilize locally prolific tomatoes, garlic, herbs, eggplant, artichokes, and almonds.


Ingredients that are crushed or blended until smooth. Usually done with the assistance of a blender or food processor.


To restore dried foods or drinks to its original state by adding water. For example, you reconstitute dried noodles in boiling water.


To heat a liquid over medium heat to thicken to a sauce consistency and concentrate flavors.


To halt the cooking process, usually that of vegetables after being blanched, by plunging them into ice cold water.


To melt the fat out of the meat, such as bacon.


To cook food, especially meat, by prolonged exposure to heat in an oven or over a fire.

Roll Out

To mechanically flattening a food, usually a dough or pastry, with a rolling pin.


To cook small pieces of food over a medium-high heat with oil in a pan.


To heat liquid almost to a boil until bubbles begin forming just around the edge.


To cut narrow slits, often in a diamond pattern, through the outer surface of a food to decorate it, tenderize it, help it absorb flavor, or allow fat to drain as it cooks.


To use a sharp or blunt instrument to rub the outer coating from a food, such as carrots.


To brown the surface of meat by quick-cooking over high heat into order to seal in the meat’s juices.

Separating Eggs

To separate the egg yolk from the egg white.

Shocking Foods

Transferring food, in particular vegetables, from a steaming or boiling pot to an ice bath. This is done to avoid overcooking delicate foods.


To reduce food, usually cheese or vegetables, into long smooth striped using a grater with larger holes.


To remove the shells from seafood, such as oyster and clams, or the husks from corn.


To put one or more dry ingredients, especially flour or powdered sugar, through a sifter or sieve to remove lumps or incorporate air.


Bring a pot to a boil, then reduce the heat until there are no bubbles.


To remove a substance, such as fat or foam, from the surface of a liquid.


To cut vertically down, thickness sometimes specified by the recipe.

Small Dice

A knife cut that results in 1/4 inch squared pieces.


1/32th of a teaspoon.


To cut food, often fresh herbs or dried fruit, with kitchen shears or scissors into very small, uniform pieces using short, quick strokes.


To cook food by heating it in steam from boiling water.


To soak a dry ingredient in a liquid just under the boiling point to extract the flavour.


To cook covered over low heat in a liquid for a substantial period of time.


To mix ingredients with a spoon or other utensil to combine them, to prevent ingredients from sticking during cooking, or to cool them after cooking.


This fast, medium-high to high heat method is for quick-cooking larger quantities of uniform-size ingredients. Small amounts of oil are used in a wok or extra-large skillet.


Inserting whole cloves into an orange, onion, or ham for example.

Sweating Vegetables

The gentle heating of vegetables in a little oil or butter, with frequent stirring and turning to ensure that any emitted liquid will evaporate.


To slowly introduce a hot liquid into a cool one, bringing the two to a moderate temperature.

Tenting Foods

To loosely cover food with a sheet of aluminum foil to hold in the heat while the food is resting. This process allows the juices to be reabsorbed and prevents over-browning or roasting.

Thickening Sauces

To create a sauce with a thicker consistency or texture. Common methods include reducing, adding cornstarch or flour, using gelatin or using a roux. All methods require the sauce to be stirred gently.


A technique by which a food product is browned and crisped to develop its flavor.


To mix ingredients lightly by lifting and dropping them using two utensils.


To beat food with a whisk or mixer to incorporate air and increase volume.


To beat ingredients with a fork or a whisk.

Cookware & Utensils

Baking Dish

A dish made out of glass or ceramic in which items can be baked.

Baking Pan

A pan made out metal for the purpose of baking.

Casserole Dish

A large, deep pan used for oven cooking.


A thin 100% cotton cloth with a very loose weave. It is used to bundle up herbs, strain liquids and wrap rolled meats.


A container in the shape of a bowl with holes in it. It is used to wash or drain food in.

Double Boiler

A cooking utensil consisting of two saucepans, one fitting inside the other. The bottom saucepan contains water that, while boiling, gently heats food in the upper pan. Often used to melt chocolate and also known as "bain marie".

Drip Pan

A shallow pan placed under roasting meat to catch the dripping.

Dutch Oven

An enamel cast iron pot with straight sides, two handles and a tight fitting lid.

Food Processor

An electric appliance that is used to mix, chop, or beat food, or to make it into a liquid.

Kitchen Twine

A thick, cotton string usually used for trussing meats, also known as butcher's twine.


A utensil with an adjustable blade, for slicing foods thinly and evenly.

Mortar and Pestle

A set that includes a bowl-shape vessel (the mortar) to hold ingredients to be crushed by a club-shape utensil (the pestle).

Nonreactive Cookware

Any pan made of stainless, glass, ceramic, or a material that will not react with the acidic ingredients in a recipe. Conversely, a reactive pan is made of aluminum copper.

Offset Spatula

A thin metal spatula where the blade is bent and sits about 1/2-inch below the handle. Used in cake decorating and other projects, it allows you to smooth surfaces you can't reach with a regular flat spatula.

Parchment Paper

A waterproof and grease-resistant paper used to line baking pans, wrap foods in packets for cooking, baking or make disposable pastry bags.

Pastry Blender

A pastry blender is a cooking utensil used to mix a hard (solid) fat into flour in order to make pastries. The tool is usually made of narrow metal strips or wires attached to a handle, and is used by pressing down on the items to be mixed (known as "cutting in").


A small dish in which food for one person can be baked in the oven.

Reactive Cookware

Any pan made of aluminum or copper that will react with the acidic ingredients in a recipe.

Rolling Pin

A cylinder rolled over pastry or dough to flatten or shape it.


A cooking appliance with a rotating spit for roasting and barbecuing meat.

Rubber Spatula

An essential, multi-purpose kitchen tool that has evolved over time. It is the go-to utensil for such tasks as gently scraping out the contents of bowls without scratching the surface; stirring and blending batters and other mixtures; and gently folding mixtures.


(pronunciation: sihv) A wire mesh container for straining foods. Can be a basket or a strainer with a handle.


A long, narrow metal or wooden stick that can be inserted through pieces or meat or vegetables for grilling.

Springform Pan

A circular baking pan, especially for cakes, with the sides held in place by clamps, which are released to free the baked contents.

Types of Ingredients and Foods


The french term for garlic mayonnaise; in Italian it is allioli; in Spanish it is aliolio.

Andouille Sausage

(pronunciation: ahn-doo-ee) A pork sausage seasoned with peppers, garlic and Cajun seasoning.

Arboria Rice

A kind of short-grained rice produced in Italy. It is often used to make risotto because of its high starch content, which is released gradually during cooking, giving the risotto its creamy texture.


Plant ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, and spices that enhance the flavor and aroma of food.


(pronunciation: bag-et) A long, slender loaf of bread. Typically made in traditional French bready style, they can also be seeded or sourdough.

Baking Powder

A combination of dry acids, baking soda and starch that has the ability to release carbon dioxide in two stages: when liquid ingredients are added and when the mixture is heated.

Baking Soda

A chemical leavening agent that creates carbon dioxide and is used in conjunction with acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk, sour cream, brown sugar, or fruit juices, to create the bubbles that make the product rise.

Balsamic Vinegar

Italian vinegar made from grape juice that has been aged for a minimum of 12 years in wooden casks.

Basmati Rice

A long-grained rice traditionally grown in Indian in the foothills of the Himalayas. Its nut-life flavor and aroma enhance the flavors combined with it.


Batter is an uncooked wet mixture of flour, eggs, and milk that is used in cooking.


Sauce made from milk thickened with white or blond roux.

Beurre Blanc

An emulsion of cold butter in a white wine or vinegar and shallot reductions.


A rich, creamy soup based on shellfish or a vegetable purée. It is often thickened with rice and finished with cream.


Denoting a brown sauce flavored with red wine and sometimes mushrooms.


Bouillon is a liquid made by boiling meat and bones or vegetables in water and used to make soups and sauces. Boillon may be sold in dried cubes that need to be reconstituted. Bouillon and broth are often interchangeable.

Bouquet Garni

A bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs that are tied together and used in cooking to add flavor to the food.


A rich, buttery egg bread.

Brown Stock

An amber-colored stock made from bones that have been browned (caramelized) and browned aromatic vegetables (typically carrot, celery and onion) simmered in water.

Brown Sugar

Raw sugar or natural brown sugar, is the result of the first crystallization of sugar cane.


A soft yellow substance made from cream.


Buttermilk is a low-fat or fat-free milk to which a bacterial culture has been added. It has a mildly acidic taste. Sour milk, made from milk and lemon juice or vinegar, can be substituted in baking recipes.


The flower buds of the caper plant, which are pickled and used as a condiment.


(pronunciation: shar-coot-air-ee) The branch of cooking devoted to prepared meats such as ham, sausage, plated, terrines, confit, etc. Can also refer to the cold cooked meats prepared in this manner.


(pronunciation: chih-poht-lee) A smoked and dried jalapeño pepper.


A spicy pork sausage flavored with garlic and powdered chilies. Spanish chorizo is a hard, dry-cured or smoked sausage, which doesn't require additional cooking. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork a needs to be cooked before serving.


A condiment often used in Indian cuisine that's made from chopped fruit, vegetables and spices enlivened by hot peppers, fresh ginger or vinegar.


(pronunciation: see-lahn-troh) Also known as coriander, cilantro is a bright green herb. Widely used in Asian, Caribbean and Latin American cooking, its distinctive flavor is often combined with spicy foods.


Cinnamon is a sweet spice used for flavoring food.

Clarified Butter

Butter with the water and milk solid removed, used for cooking at high temperatures without burning.

Cocoa and Dutch Processed Cocoa

Cocoa is made from fermented, dried, roasted, cracked and unsweetened cocoa beans. Dutch-Processed cocoa has been treated with alkali to remove some of its acidity and is much darker in color and richer in flavor than regular cocoa.

Coconut Milk

A product made from water and coconut pulp that's often used in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. Coconut milk is not the clear liquid in the center of the coconut, nor should it be confused with cream of coconut, a sweetened coconut concoction often used to make mixed drinks such as piña coladas.`


A fine brandy produced in France from a specific blend of grapes and aged in oak barrels. Enjoyed as a drink on its own or used to add deep, complex flavor notes.


A French liqueur made with bitter and sweet orange peels.

Confectioner's Sugar

Also known as powdered, frosting or icing sugar, it is white granulated sugar that has been more finely ground and often has cornstarch added to help avoid clumping.


A type of clear liquid that has been clarified using egg whites and flavoured to remove fat.

Contemporary Sauces

One of the many labels given to items that lay outside the traditional French mother sauces and derivative sauces: salsas, compotes, marmalades, chutneys, infused oils, BBQ sauces, relished, flavored butters, purees and more.

Cooking Oil

Liquids at room temperature made from vegetables, nuts, or seeds. For baking, cooking oils cannot be used interchangeably with solid fats because they do not hold air when beaten.

Coq au Vin

(pronunciation: coke-oh-van) A chicken stew made with red wine, onions, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf. Marinated for hours and cooked even longer, it is a great way to take a tough rooster or chicken and make it succulent and rich.


A thick sauce made with fruit or vegetable puree, used as a base or garnish.


A granular pasta popular in North Africa that's made from semolina. Look for it in the rice and pasta section of supermarkets.


To beat a fat such as butter or shortening, either alone or with sugar, to a light, fluffy consistency. 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.

Crème Fraîche

A dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture, which causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor.


(pronunciation: kraw-sahnt) A French pastry made by folding layer upon layer of dough and butter together until dozens of flaky layers are made. Usually baked into a crescent shaped.


A small round roll of minced meat, fish, or vegetable coated with egg and breadcrumbs.


(pronunciation: croh-stee-nee) A small piece of toasted or fried bread typically used as a crouton or served with a topping as an appetizer.


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.


When egg-based mixtures are cooked too quickly and the protein separates from the liquids, leaving a lumpy mixture behind.

Curry Paste

A blend of herbs, spices and fiery chiles that's often used in Indian and Thai cooking.


A thin slide of meat or a piece of meat that has been pounded to an even thickness. Often breaded and fried or grilled, it is commonly served with a pan sauce.

Derivate Sauces

Also called petite sauces or compound sauces, they are made by adding another ingredient or multiple ingredients to the mother sauce and to demi-glace.

Dijon Mustard

Mustard made from brown or black mustard seeds, white wine, unfermented grape juice, and seasonings. Originally from Dijon, France, this mustard is known for its sharp, complex flavor.


A concentrated stock or extract of a flavorful ingredient such as mushrooms, truffles, celery, or leeks.


A tangy, crumbly Greek cheese made of sheep's or goat's milk.


To cut the bones from a piece of meat, poultry, or fish.


Flour is a white or brown powder that is made by grinding grain. It is used to make bread, cakes, and pastry.


French for "base" or "foundation", fond is used to describe the residue or particles of food remaining after meat and/or vegetables have been browned or cooked.

Food Coloring

Liquid, paste, or powdered edible dyes used to tint foods.

Fruits de Mer

Seafood; French for fruits of the sea.


Flat, round cakes of pastry, often topped with fruit or a a food prepared and served in the shape of a flat round cake, such as "a galette of potatoes".


Typically made by heating heavy cream and pouring it over chopped chocolate. The chocolate melts and a sauce or frosting is born. Ganache is also often used as the base for truffles.


The small, white, round bulb of a plant that is related to the onion plant. Garlic has a very strong smell and flavor.


To add visual appeal to a finished dish.


A Spanish dish of cold, uncooked soup, which typically contains tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, oil and vinegar.


A dry ingredient made from natural animal protein that can thicken or set a liquid. Gelatin is available in unflavored and flavored forms.


The edible internal organs of poultry, including the liver, heart and gizzard. Giblets are sometimes used to make gravy.


The root of a plant that is used to flavor food. It has a sweet spicy flavor and is often sold in powdered form.


The protein in wheat flour that gives elasticity to doughs, helping it to rise and hold its shape, and producing a pleasing chewy texture. Gluten is developed by beating, kneading or working the dough.


A cow's milk blue cheese from Italy. It is rich and creamy with a pungent, savory flavor.


A Hungarian stew of meat and vegetables that is often seasoned with paprika and other spices.


A dish with a lightly browned crust of breadcrumbs or melted cheese.


The word gumbo is from an African word meaning "okra". This creole stew contains okra, tomatoes and onions as well as various meats or shellfish, such as shrimp, chicken or sausage. It is thickened with roux.


A mixture of equal parts cream and milk. It has about 12% milk fat and cannot be whipped.

Haricots Vert

French for "green string beans", these beans are particularly thin and tender.


A spicy, aromatic chili paste made from a variety of hot peppers and spices, often used in North African and Middle Eastern dishes.

Heavy Cream

Also called heavy whipping cream. It contains at least 46% milk fat and is the richest cream available. It can be whipped to twice its volume.

Hoisin Sauce

A dark, spicy sauce used in Chinese and Asian cuisine, made of fermented rice, soy beans, vinegar, sugar, salt and chili.

Hollandaise Sauce

An emulsion sauce made with vinegar or wine reduction, egg yolks, melted butter and lemon juice.


Honey is a sweet, sticky, yellowish substance that is made by bees.

Hors D'oevre

(pronunciation: or-derv) French term for a small, hot or cold portion of savory food served as an appetizer.


French word for juice. The natural juices released by meat during roasting. Meat served "au jus" is served with its cooking juices.

Kalamata Olives

Greek olives named for the region where they're produced. They are almond-shaped with a very dark purple color and a rich fruity flavor.


A dark, leafy green and a member of the cabbage family. It has a slightly peppery, slightly sweet flavor and stands up well to cooking.


A spicy Korean condiment made from a fermented cabbage mix. It's usually served over rice, noodles, eggs, and stir-fries.


Fermented tea, consumed by many for its health benefits.

Kosher Salt

Coarse salt with no additives that many cooks prefer for its light, flaky texture as well as clean taste. It has a lower sodium content than regular salt.


Product made from pork fat that is sometimes used for baking. It's especially noted for producing light, flaky pie crusts. Today, shortening is commonly used instead of lard.


Ingredients essential in helping batter and dough expand or rise during baking. If omitted, the baked product will be heavy and tough.


An aromatic vegetable related to onions and garlic.


A type of grass that grows in warm countries. It is used as a flavoring in food.


A binder or thickening agent for soups and sauces. Roux, egg, yolks and starches such as flour, cornstarch and arrowroot are all liaisons.

Light Cream

Also known as coffee cream or table cream. It usually contains about 20% milk fat and cannot be whipped.

Manchego Cheese

A well-known Spanish cheese, made from sheep's milk and ranging in flavor from mild to sharp.


Margarine is a yellow substance made from vegetable oil and animal fats that is similar to butter. You spread it onto bread or use it for cooking.


A seasoned liquid in which meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or vegetables are soaked to flavor and sometimes tenderize them. Most marinades contain an acid, such as wine or vinegar.


A fortified wine that can be either dry or sweet. Sweet Marsala is used both for drinking and cooking. Dry Marsala makes a nice pre-dinner drink.

Meringue Powder

A powder made primarily from dehydrated egg whites that can be mixed with water and used as a substitute for egg whites in many recipes.


A red wine made from the merlot grape, originally grown in the Bordeaux region of France.


A salad consisting of tender mixed greens such as lettuce, arugula, and chicory, herbs and edible flowers


A thick Italian soup made with vegetables and pasta or rice.


A French term for a combination of chopped onions, celery and carrots. When sautéed together, it forms the foundation for many dishes, adding a depth of flavor to your dish.


A Japanese sweet rice wine used in cooking.


The base sauce used to make other variations of the original sauce; there are five variations: brown or Espagnole, velouté, béchamel, tomato sauce and emulsions.

Nonstock Cooking Spray

A spray form of an oil used as a lubricant to prevent food from stick to pans or pots.

Nut Oil

Oil made from some kind of nut, such as walnut, that is often used to add a rich flavor to salad dressings.


A cereal grain that comes in many forms and commonly eaten in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats.


The French term for egg.

Oignon Brûlé

Literally meaning 'burnt onion,' a culinary term for a half-peeled onion seared on a skillet.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is that obtained by pressing olives. It is used often in mediterranean cuisine. There are degrees of quality in olive oils, with Extra Virgin olive oil being of the highest quality.


An anise flavored, strong, colorless liquor from Greece.

Pain au Chocolat

French pastry commonly known as a chocolate croissant.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Made in Northern Italy under strict rules and guidelines from skimmed cow's milk, it is one of the world's greatest cheeses. It has a hard, granular texture and intense, rich, sharp flavours.


A white root vegetable that resembles a carrot. Parsnips have a mild, sweet flavor and can be cooked like potatoes.


A substance that is found in fruit. It is used when making jam to help it become firm.


The skin or outer covering of a vegetable or fruit (sometimes called the rind). Peel also refers to the process of removing this covering.


Traditionally an uncooked sauce made from crushed garlic, basil, and nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil.

Phyllo Dough

(pronunciation: FEE-loh) Phyllo consists of tissue-thin sheets of dough that, when layered and baked, result in a delicate flaky pastry. Prominent in Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes.


Italian dish in which boneless veal, chicken, or turkey is pounded thin, sautéed, and served with a sauce made from the pan drippings, lemon, parsley and butter.

Pico de Gallo

(pronunciation: peekoh-day-guyoh) A fresh tomato salsa made of chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeño chiles, cilantro and lime juice.


A dish in which a grain is sautéed quickly in butter and then cooked in a flavorful stock.

Pine Nut

A high-fat nut that comes from certain varieties of pine trees. Their flavor ranges from mild and sweet to pungent.

Plumping Dried Fruit

Dried fruits are full of flavor but can be tough and dry, especially when added to baked goods. To combat this and return moisture to the fruit, you can plump them in a hot liquid. Bring water, a liqueur, or alcohol (such as rum, brandy, or vodka) to a boil, add the fruit and take off the heat. Let it steep for up to 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.


Polenta is made from boiled cornmeal and can be served hot, like a porridge, or cooled until it solidifies into a loaf that you can bake, grill, or fry. Polenta can be made from any type of cornmeal.


A strong, sweet, fruity, fortified wine usually red or brown in color, made in Portugal.


Ham that has been seasoned, salt-cured, and air-dried (not smoked). Pressing the meat gives it a firm, dense texture. Parma ham from Italy is considered to be the best.


When the term is used in cooking, it typically refers to a portion of meat, fish, or poultry. It can also be used to describe other vegetarian protein sources such as beans and legumes.


A southern Italian cheese made from cow's milk. Provolone is firm and creamy with a mild, smoky flavor. Because it melts so well, it is an excellent cooking cheese.

Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is a type of pastry which is very light and consists of a lot of thin layers.


(pronunciation: keen-wah) Quinoa is the small round seeds of a South American plant, eaten as a grain and popular as a health food.

Rice Paper

Round, flat, edible papers, made from the pith of a rice paper plant, are used for wrapping spring rolls.

Rice Vinegar

A mild-flavor vinegar made from fermented rice. Rice vinegar is interchangeable with rice wine vinegar, which is made from fermented rice wine.

Riesling Wine

A delicate white wine with a complex, fruity floral, lightly spiced flavor.


(Pronunciation: roo-lawd) A dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral. If made of meat, it is often tied with string at intervals to keep the roll intact during cooking. It is then browned and braised in a liquid, often wine or stock.


(Pronunciation: roo) Equal parts of flour and fat, usually butter, cooked together to make a thickening agent for liquids. The darker it gets, the nuttier the flavor. For a white sauce you want no color in roux, for a gumbo you want it as dark as you can get it without burning.


A yellowish-orange powder obtained from a flower and used to give flavor and coloring to some foods.


A sauce usually made from finely chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles, and cilantro. It is often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Sea Salt

This variety of salt is derived from the evaporation of seawater. Some cooks prefer it over table salt for its clean, salty flavor.


A meat substitute made from wheat protein (gluten) that comes whole or precut. It can be sautéed, roasted, or grilled as a substitute for beef or pork in dishes.


A fortified wine originally made in Spain.

Shiitake Mushroom

A type of mushroom originally cultivated in Japan with a wide, shallow cap and a narrow, tough stem.

Shiraz Wine

A deep-colored red wine produced from Shiraz grapes in Australia.


A vegetable oil that has been processed into solid form. Shortening commonly is used for baking or frying. Plain and butter-flavor types can be used interchangeably

Soba Noodles

Made from wheat and buckwheat flours, soba noodles are a favorite Japanese fast food. In a pinch, substitute a narrow whole wheat ribbon pasta, such as linguine.

Soy Sauce

A complex, dark, salty sauce made from fermented soy beans and wheat, often used in Asian cuisines.


Made of the liquid pressed from ground soybeans, soymilk can be a good substitute for cow's milk for people who do not consume dairy products.

Stilton Cheese

An English blue cheese made from whole cow's milk. It has a rich, creamy, but slightly crumbly texture and mellow, yet pungent flavor.


The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry, or fish has been simmered with vegetables or herbs. It is similar to broth but is richer and more concentrated. Stock and broth can be used interchangeably; reconstituted bouillon can also be substituted for stock.


A sweetener that's primarily made from sugar beets or sugar cane. Sugar comes in a variety of forms.


A meat alternative made from fermented whole soybeans that easily takes on other flavors. It has a nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture: it can be sliced like chicken or crumbled and sautéed like ground meat.


Tofu is a soft white or brown food made from soybeans. It is popular in Asian cuisine and often eaten as a meat substitute.


A round, irregularly shaped fungus with wrinkled skin that range in color with a complex, earthy aroma and flavor. Considered a culinary delicacy. Truffles may also refer to a soft round sweet made with chocolate.

Vegetable Oil

With a mild, neutral taste, vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, soybean, and safflower, brings body to dressings without overwhelming the flavor of the other ingredients.


Vinegar is sharp-tasting liquid, usually made from sour wine or malt, which is used to make things such as salad dressing.


Wedges are cut from whole produce like apples and onions. Cut halves, flat sides down, angling toward the center.


A savory stuffed Asian pastry.


A tiny, single-cell organism that feeds on the sugar in dough, creating carbon dioxide gas that makes dough rise. Three common forms of yeast are: active dry yeast, bread-machine yeast, quick-rising active dry yeast.


The outer, coloured peel of a citrus fruit.

Didn't find what you were looking for or think something should be added to this list? Comment below and let me know!

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