Cooking Terms

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Dictionary of Cooking Terms

Au gratin – covered with a sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, dotted with butter or fat, and browned under a grill – Cheese may be mixed with the sauce or the crumbs

Baste – keep the surface moist by spooning liquid or melted fat over it frequently

Beat – with an electric beater or vigorously by hand

Blanch – dip food briefly in boiling water, then in cold water, usually to aid the removal of skin

Blend – stir gently until well mixed

Boil – use only sufficient heat to keep the liquid bubbling gently

Bouquet garni – small cloth bag containing usually thyme, bay leaf, and parsley, used to flavor a stew or soup, and removed before serving

Braise – cook on stove top in hot fat until browned, then add liquid and simmer

Brush – use a pastry brush to cover the surface, usually with egg or milk, before baking Coat – cover with a thin layer

Compote – stewed, usually fruit

Consommé – a clear meat stock

Cream – beat shortening until it is of spreadable (creamy) texture

Dice – cut into small cubes

Dot – place small pieces, usually of butter or fat, on the top

Dredge – coat thoroughly with flour, bread crumbs, or cornmeal

Fold – use a wide spatula to gently cut and turn (usually stiffly beaten egg whites) into a batter enough to mix but keeping a light batter

Glaze -brush with a liquid near the end of baking which will give a shiny surface

Grate – shave on or with a grater to produce small pieces or crumbs

Grill – cook under direct red heat

Knead – work a dough lightly by hand to give a smooth texture

Marinate – let meat stand in soy sauce, wine, or seasoned vinegar to improve flavor and tenderize meat

Parboil – boil only part way, then finish cooking with some other method

Poach – cook in hot liquid, water usually

Puree – force cooked food through a sieve, giving fine pulp

Reduce – rapid boiling to evaporate water and thicken

Roux – a mixture of melted fat or butter and flour which is the basis for most sauces

Sauté – cook in a pan over a moderate heat using a small amount of oil

Scald – heat a liquid to just under the boiling point, as to scald milk, or to pour boiling water on

Sear – brown meat very quickly over high heat to seal in juices

Sift – pass through a screen to remove lumps

Simmer – cook below the boiling point where there is only occasional bubbling

Truss – tie meat with string so it will hold its shape

Vinaigrette – a liquid mixture of oil, vinegar, and seasonings

Whip – beating that results in highly aerated mixture, as whipped cream


photo by: stuart_spivack


  1. Bea says

    Thanks for the simple explanation of terms. I like simple and your explanations taught me more than long detailed instructions. I will print this out.

  2. says

    been following ur blog around several days. absolutely love what you posted. btw i am conducting a research about this subject. do you know any other great websites or online forums where I might find out more? many thanks.

    • says

      Rolanda to be honest I am usually so busy with our website I don’t have time to roam to much but I think Tawra has a couple she knows about but she is gone this week. I will try to remember and ask her when she gets back. Sorry I couldn’t help more.

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