General Cooking Terms
Some general cooking terms need to be learned when you learn to cook
everything. When they appear in a recipe you will know immediately what
they mean; poach, bake, broil or braise rather than frying. The list
below is a thorough listing of terms; many you will only see
occasionally in recipes but others will appear every time you cook.
Knowing the difference between whip, mix, stir, and fold will certainly
affect the result of your product.
Probably of the general cooking terms which have irritated me over the
years is the difference between a pie, deep dish pie and cobbler. Many
seem to think that a cobbler is a pie with a little more fruit, even in
eating establishments. I know of one baker that takes leftover fruit
pies, break them up and sell them as cobblers. These are not cobblers!
When I get hungry for a cobbler, I want a cobbler! A pie is thinner,
made with either a bottom crust or a bottom and top crust of pie pastry.
A deep dish pie has thick fruit on the bottom and a top crust made of
pie pastry. Cobblers are made with a biscuit dough.
PEACH COBBLER RECIPE (Or cherry cobbler recipe)
Try this recipe to see the difference between the cooking terms pie
and cobbler. I made this recipe the other day when I wanted a cobbler. I
made it with some of the peaches I froze but it is also good with
cherries. It is delicious!
- 2 Cups flour
- 1 ½ Cups sugar
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1 Cup milk
- 4 Tablespoons softened butter
- 1 Gallon frozen peaches, thawed (You can substitute with canned fruit)
Preheat oven to 350F degrees
Butter 9 X 13 inch casserole baking dish (Best to have deep one to
prevent fruit from running out. I placed a tray on the shelf below to
Combine flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder, cut in softened butter.
Blend in milk, stirring to moisten; spoon batter into buttered dish or pan.
Combine peaches, juice and remaining sugar (or other fruit) in pan; bring to a boil and pour over batter.
NOTE: If fruit is sweet, cut back on sugar; this amount of sugar is for unsweetened fruits.NOTE:
When you pour hot fruit over batter, the batter will rise to the top
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is done.
One of the general cooking terms if you can vegetables during harvest
is to BLANCH vegetables. This is so important to know how to do because
it removes the skins on vegetables like tomatoes very easily and
quickly; but if not done correctly it will cook the vegetable too much.
COOKING TERMS FROM A TO B
- APERITIF: A drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite
- APPETIZER: Small serving of food or beverage served before or as the first course of a meal.
- ASPIC: Jellied meat, fish, or poultry stock or vegetable liquid often used for molding meat, fish, poultry or vegetables
- AU GRATIN: Topped with crumbs and/or cheese and browned in the oven or under the boiler
- AU LAIT: A French term meaning served with milk
- BARD: To cover a bird or roast with strips of fat in order to automatically baste meat or to protect delicate parts
- BASTE: To moisten roasting meat or other food while baking with juices from the pan or additional liquid.
- BATTER: A mixture of liquid, flour, etc. that can be beaten or stirred.
- BAVARIAN: A mold cold dessert made with gelatin, eggs, cream and flavoring
- BIND: To use egg yolk, flour, cornstarch, etc. to thicken or smooth a liquid
- BISQUE: A rich thick cream soup usually made from fish. Also a rich frozen desert usually containing powdered nuts or macaroons.
- BLANCH: To pour boiling water over a food, then
drain and rinse with cold water. Used to whiten or remove skins from
almonds or to prepare vegetables for freezing.
- BLANQUETTE: A white, creamy stew of veal, chicken or lamb with small onions and mushrooms
- BOMBE: A dessert of frozen mixtures arranged and frozen in a mold
- BONBON: A sweet mad of or dipped into chocolate.
- BOUILLABAISSE: A hearty stew made with several kinds of fish and shellfish
- BOUILLON: Clear delicately seasoned soup usually made from lean meat stock.
- BRAISE: To cook meat or vegetables by simmering in a covered dish in a small amount of liquid, either in an oven or over direct heat.
Do you know how to CARAMELIZE? This is another of
the general cooking terms you might want to remember. If this is not
done correctly, it is a disaster. Turn your back and you will have a
smoking burning sugar instead of sugar with a pretty caramel color.
COOKING TERMS FROM C TO D
- CAFFEIN: An alkaloidal substance found in the coffee bean, coffee leaf, tea leaf, cacao bean, etc.
- CANAPE: A small piece of bread spread with a highly seasoned food.
- CANDIED: Cooked in sugar or syrup when applied to
sweet potatoes and carrots, fruit or fruit peel, to cook in heavy syrup
till transparent and well coated.
- CARAMELIZED: To heat sugar in a skillet until melted and brown or to heat foods containing sugar until light brown and of a caramel color.
- CAVIAR: Salted roe (fish eggs); originally from sturgeon.
- CAPON: A castrated male chicken; grows large and has tender meat.
- CHARLOTTE OR CHARLOTTE RUSSE:Usually a gelatin dessert with flavored whipped cream molded in a form lined with cake or lady fingers.
- CHICORY: The root of a plant that is cut into
slices dried and roasted as coffee; leaves of plant are used for salads
and are sometimes called curly endive.
- CIDER: The juice pressed from apples used as a beverage or to make vinegar.
- CHUTNEY: A highly seasoned relish of fruits, herbs and spices
- COBBLER: A deep dish fruit pie with a rich biscuit dough instead of pie pastry.
- COCKTAIL: An appetizer served before or as the
first course of a meal; an alcoholic beverage usually served before
dinner; Fruit or vegetable juice; cut fruit or shellfish with sauce
served as first course of meal.
- CODDLE: to cook slowly just under the boiling point
- COMBINE: to blend two or more ingredients together
- COMPOTE: Sweetened stewed fruit, cooked to keep the fruit as whole as possible.
- CONDIMENTS: Food seasonings such as salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, herbs and spices.
- CONFECTIONERS SUGAR: powdered sugar
- CONSOMME: a clear, heavily flavored soup made from stock
- CHOWDER: a thick soup usually of seafood, made with milk and vegetables
- CRACKLINGS: Crisp particles after fat has been fried out; especially in pork.
- CREAM SAUCE: White sauce made with cream.
- CRIMP: To seal the edges of a two crust pie either
by pinching them at intervals with the fingers or by pressing them
together with the tines of a fork
- CROQUETTE: A mixture of chopped or minced food, usually shaped as a cone or ball, coated with egg and crumbs then deep-fried
- CROUTONS: small, hard toasted pieces of French bread used to garnish
- CRUDITES: an assortment of raw vegetables such as carrots, celery served as hors d’oeuvre often accompanied by a dip
- CRUSTACEAN: Shellfish such as shrimp, lobster and crab with segmented body covered by crusty outer skeleton
- CUSTARD: A cooked or baked mixture mainly of egg and milk; may be sweetened to use as dessert or flavored with cheese or meat as entrée.
- CUTLET: Small piece of meat cut from the leg or rib of veal or pork; or a croquette mixture in the shape of a cutlet.
- DEGREASE: To remove fat from the surface of stews,
soups, or stock; usually cooled in the refrigerator, so that fat hardens
and is easily removed
- DEMITASSEE: A small cup (“half cup”) of black coffee, usually served after dinner.
- DEEP DISH PIE: Fruit pie with top crust only baked in a deep dish.
- DEVILED: Highly seasoned
- DILUTED EGG WHITE: Egg white slightly beaten and diluted with two tablespoons of cold water
- DILUTED EGG YOLK: Egg yolk slightly beaten and diluted with two tablespoons of cold water
- DISSOLVE: To disperse a dry substance in a liquid to form a solution
- DOUGH: Mixture made of liquid, flour, etc. that is stiff enough to be handled or kneaded.
- DRIPPINGS: Fat or liquid resulting from cooking meat.
- DURUM: A wheat variety used in making high-quality spaghetti and other pastas
- DUST: To sprinkle lightly, usually with flour or sugar
Cooking term like to fold is very important in a recipe. If this is not
done correctly as in an Angel Food Cake, the cake will not be light in
texture as the cake should be. So you can understand how important it is
to understand general cooking terms.
COOKING TERMS FROM E TO G
- ENRICH: to add eggs, cream or butter
- ENTRÉE: main dish of an informal meal or a subordinate dish served between main courses.
- FLAKE: To break slightly into small pieces with a fork
- FLAMBE: to flavor food with an alcoholic liquid which is lit and burned away, leaving its flavor
- FLORENTINE: Dishes or soups containing spinach
- FOI GRAS: Literally “fat liver” usually applied to goose liver
- FOLD: To make large slow motions with spoon when blending; usually used when blending stiffly beaten egg whites.
- FONDANT: Sugar and water mixture cooked to a soft ball stage (234F degrees) cooled and kneaded.
- FONDUE: Baked food similar to a soufflé but including bread or cracker crumbs.
- FRAPPE: Sweetened fruit juice frozen until mushy consistency.
- FRICASSEE: To stew meats, poultry, etc in stock or sauce.
- FRITTERS: Fruit, vegetables, meat or fish covered with batter or chipped and mixed with batter and then usually fried.
- FROSTING: A cooked or uncooked sugar mixture used to cover and decorate cakes, cookies and
- GELATIN: A purified protein found in connective tissues and bones of animals.
- GIBLETS: The heart, liver and gizzard of poultry.
- GLAZE: To coat with thin sugary syrup
- GOULASH: A thick meat stew originating in Hungary.
- GRENADINE: Pomegranate-flavored syrup used as flavoring or a sauce
Many people have problems understanding cooking terms like meringue;
when beating egg whites. Do you know the difference in general cooking
terms like mix and stir?
COOKING TERMS FROM H TO M
- HOISIN SAUCE: A thick sauce made of soy beans and seasonings used in Chinese cooking
- HOLLANDAISE: A rich sauce made of eggs and butter, served hot with vegetables, fish and eggs.
- HORS D’OEUVRES: Salty, tart or crisp foods served as appetizers such as canapés, fish, pickles, olives, celery, sausage etc.
- ICE: Frozen mixture of juice, sugar and water.
- INFUSION: Liquid extracted from coffee, tea or herbs.
- JARDINIERE: French term to garnish with vegetables
- JULIENNE: To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into match shaped slivers
- MACEDOINE: A mixture of fruits and vegetables
- MARINATE: To soak (in marinade) in dressing, vinegar, juices, wines or combinations before cooking.
- MARRON: Chestnut. Marron glazes are chestnuts preserved in syrup or candied
- MARZIPAN: A paste of sweet almond and sugar.
- MERINGUE: A mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites, flavoring and sugar; used on pies etc.
- MEUNIERE: With sauce of butter, lemon juice and parsley or dredged in flour and sautéed in butter
- MINISTRONE: Thick Italian vegetable soup.
- MIX: to combine ingredients, usually by stirring, till evenly distributed
- MOCHA: A flavoring made with coffee infusion and chocolate.
- MOLLUSK: Shellfish such as clams and oysters, with soft unsegmented bodies protected by a hard shell
- MOUSSE: Mixture of whipped cream, sugar and
flavoring frozen without stirring; or flavored thin cream and gelatin
combined with meats, fruits and vegetables.
- MUFFINS: A drop batter baked in individual pans or served as quick bread.
Do you know of a difference between cooking terms like parboil verses precook?
COOKING TERMS FROM O TO S
- OEUF: French word for egg
- PARBOIL: To boil food until partially cooked.
- PARE: To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable
- PARFAIT: A frozen dessert made of a foundation of
beaten egg whites or yolks cooked with hot syrup sometimes with whipped
cream added; also applied to ice cream and syrup, all served in parfait
- PIPE: To ornament with a decorating tube
- PRAWN: Term used on the West Coast for large shrimp
- PRECOOK: To cook food partially or completely before final cooking or reheating
- PUREE: A smooth thick liquid made by pressing cooked fruit or vegetables through a sieve.
- RAGOUT: A thick highly seasoned stew.
- REFRESH: To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly
- RELISH: A highly seasoned food served as an accompaniment
- RENDER: to melt down solid fats to get liquid oil
- ROE: Fish eggs
- ROLL: To place on a board and spread thin with a rolling pin
- ROUX: A blended mixture of melted fat and flour, used to thicken a liquid
- SAUTE: To brown or cook in a small amount of hot shortening
- SCALD: To heat liquid to a temperature just below the boiling point; to immerse food in boiling liquid for a short time.
- SCALLOP: To bake food, usually in a casserole, with sauce or other liquid and crumbs are often sprinkled on top
- SCALLOPINE: Small, thin pieces of meat
- SCORE: To make light cuts or gashes in surface of food, usually meat like ham.
- SEAR: To cook at very high temperature for a short time in order to quickly form a brown crust on the outer surface of the meat
- SHERBET: Frozen mixture of fruit juice, sugar, egg whites and milk or water.
- SHRED: To cut into very small thin slices or strips.
- SIFT: To put try ingredients through a fine sieve
- SIMMER: To cook in liquid just below boiling point.
- SKEWER: To fasten with metal or wood pens
- SLIVER: To cut or shred into lengths.
- SOUFFLE: A dish made very light and puffy by the addition of beaten egg whites
- STEEP: To let food stand in (hot) liquid to extract or enhance flavor, like tea in hot water or poached fruit in sugar syrup
- STIR: To mix ingredients with a circular motion until well blended or of uniform consistency
- STOCK: Liquid in which meat, fish, poultry or vegetables (or combination of any of these) has cooked
COOKING TERMS FROM T TO Z
- TABLE D HOTE: Set-price menu in a restaurant consisting of several of several courses
- TIMBALE: A mixture made with unsweetened custard base and baked in custard cups or timbale molds
- TOAST: To brown by direct heat or in a hot oven
- TOURNEDOS: Filet of beef steak
- TRUSS: To tie a fowl or other meat so that it will hold its shape during cooking; or to hold stuffing in.
- WHIP: To beat briskly by hand using a whipping utensil (some call whisk)
- ZABAGLIONE: Delicate dessert made of beaten eggs and wine
Knowing these general cooking terms will help you
understand the recipe you are preparing. You might want to print this
list out if you will be doing a lot of cooking; mark the general cooking
terms and start by memorizing those.
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