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Glossary of Culinary Terms

& Common Ingredients


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Adobo Sauce

Mexican sauce, dark red in color made from ground chiles, herbs, and vinegar. When canned chipotle peppers are packed in cans the cans with the adobo sauce.

À la carte

Term indicating that every item on a menu is priced separately.

Al Dente

Italian term used to describe pasta, grains, vegetables or rice that when cooked al dente are chewy and firm. Means  "to the tooth" in Italian.

Almond Paste

Creamy mixture made of ground blanched almonds and sugar, often used as a filling in pastries, cakes, and confections.

Anchovy Paste

Mixture of ground anchovies, vinegar, and seasonings available in tubes in the canned fish or gourmet section of the supermarket.

Artificial Sweeteners

A category of sugar substitutes with no nutritional value and since they have unique attributes, they should not be substituted for other sweeteners unless a recipe calls for them specifically.


Salad green with a slightly bitter, peppery mustard flavor with a unique shape which look similar to radish leaves. Arugula is also referred to as rocket.

Au Gratin

French term for cooking food in a hot oven or under a broiler to form a lightly browned crust. Au gratin may be left plain or topped with bread crumbs and/or grated cheese to make the crust.



The method of gently cooking food in a water bath. A bain-marie is made by placing a pan or dish of food (such as egg custard or crème brulée) in a larger, shallow pan and then adding enough water to the larger pan to come partway up the sides of the smaller dish. The food is then baked in the oven. A bain-marie can also be stove top, when a saucepan or other metal container is placed inside a larger shallow pan over low heat.


Cooking in the oven, covered or uncovered, using consistent dry or direct heat. It could be referred to as  roasting when applied to meat or poultry. Usually used to describe the cooking of cakes, desserts, casseroles and breads.

Baking Ammonia

Also known as Hartshorn powder which was once used as a leavening agent. Common in Scandinavian baking and can be found in pharmacies or ordered by  mail. An acceptable substitute would be Cream of tartar, although cookies made with it will not be as crisp than those made with baking ammonia. Use caution when using baking ammonia for baking when opening the oven door because ammonia-like fumes may be produced which could cause irritation.

Baking Dish

A baking dish is usually made out of glass or ceramic while baking pans are made of metal. A casserole dish is a round and deep dish. Make sure to note the capacity of the dish and to use the recommended size stated in the recipe. If it is not clear, check the capacity by filling the dish with water, a quart at a time.

Baking Powder

Baking powder is made up of dry acid (such as cream of tartar), baking soda and a flour/starch combination (this serves as a moisture absorber). The powder, such as double-acting baking powder, releases carbon dioxide in two stages; when liquid ingredients are added and when the mixture is heated. It is used as a raising agent or for leavening in baking by creating small air bubbles in the food that expand when heated, lightening the texture. Please note that baking powder is not the same as baking soda.

Baking Sheet

Also referred to as cookie sheets. Baking sheets have a raised rim on two sides to facilitate removing them from the oven. 

Baking Soda

Bicarbonate of soda otherwise know as baking soda is used in baking as a leavening or raising agent when mixed with acidic liquid ingredients such as buttermilk, sour cream, brown sugar, or fruit juices. Baking soda should always be mixed with other dry ingredients before adding any liquid since the leavening process begins as soon as the baking soda comes in contact with liquid. Baking soda is frequently used with baking powder to neutralize acid ingredients such as brown sugar, honey or molasses. Please note that baking soda is not the same as baking powder.

Baking Stone

Used in a gas or electric oven to imitate a brick one, this heavy, thick round or rectangular stone absorbs and retains the oven's heat and promotes even baking. Most frequently for baking pizzas.

Balsamic Vinegar

A dark brown vinegar made from the juice of the white Trebbiano grape. Balsamic vinegar has a syrupy texture and  tastes slightly sweet. By aging the vinegar in wooden barrels, it produces the dark body, color, and sweetness.


Generally refers to grilling done outdoors or over an open charcoal or wood fire using a rack or a spit. Barbecue more specifically, refers to the method of long, slow direct-heat cooking, with liberal basting commonly done with a barbecue sauce.

Basmati Rice

Aromatic fluffy long-grain brown or white rice from India and California with a nutty flavor.


Technique for moistening foods during cooking or grilling with fats or seasoned liquids (such as pan drippings) which add flavor and prevent drying.


A mixture usually made up of flour, a liquid, and other ingredients which can be spooned or poured. In some cases thin batters are used to coat foods before deep-frying.

Bean Sauce/Bean Paste

A popular ingredient in Asian cooking. These products, such as Japanese miso, are made from fermented soybeans and have a salty bean flavor.

Bean Threads

Also are called bean noodles or cellophane noodles are noodles that are thin, semi-transparent, made from mung bean flour.


Rapid mixing technique to adequately combine ingredients in order to produce a smooth and light mixture incorporating as much air as possible. Usually done with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer.


A way to slice foods, such as long vegetables (ex. carrots or scallions), crosswise at an angle slices producing a more oval slice.


A method in which seasoned fish or other foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated heavy skillet until charred, resulting in a crisp, spicy crust, popular in Southern and Cajun cooking.


Cook briefly, for a minute or less, in steam to intensify or rapidly boiling salt water to or remove odors or seal in flavor and color; commonly used for vegetables, nuts or fruit, in preparation for freezing. This process helps loosen skins from tomatoes, peaches, and almonds. Blanching is followed usually by "shocking" which refers to the immediate transfer of the blanched items  to bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process in its tracks.


Process to thoroughly combine 2 or more ingredients, either by hand using a whisk or spoon, or with an electric mixer or blender. The process is completed when the ingredients are  smooth and uniform in texture, flavor, and color.

Blind Bake

A pre-baked, unfilled pie crust or pastry shell crust part-way baked which  may be baked further after filling or not, depending on the recipe.


Technique most often used to cook pastas and grains in a liquid of 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius. A rolling boil occurs when liquid is boiling so vigorously that the bubbles can't be stirred down.


Removal of bones from poultry, meat, or fish.


A compressed cube of dehydrated beef, chicken, fish, or vegetable stock made up of small particles of the same substance. Once dropped in a hot liquid the compressed granules dissolve at a rapid rate to substitute for stock or broth.

Bouquet Garni

A bundle of aromatics tied inside two pieces of leek leaf or in a piece of cheesecloth used to add flavor to soups, sauces, stews, stocks, and poaching liquids. The bundle is usually made up of thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. The bouquet garni is cooked in with the other ingredients, then removed before serving the finished dish.


Favored cooking method for tenderizing tougher cuts of meat or vegetables by browning them first on each side then slowly cooking them in a tightly covered pan in a  little liquid halfway up on the range top or in the oven.


A crumb coating made with cornmeal or soft/dry bread crumbs, sometimes seasoned, on meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables applied before cooking.


Soft, creamy cheese with an edible white rind. 


Heavily salted water used for pickling, curing or tenderizing vegetables, meats, fish, and seafood.


French term for foods cooked on a skewer; en brochette.


Cooking technique requiring high, direct, dry heat relatively close to the heat source.  Using a rack or spit under or over the direct heat with a  distance specified within the recipe.


A strained flavorful clear liquid made with (either a mix of or on their own) vegetables, water, herbs and proteins (meat, poultry, or fish) after being simmered with vegetables and herbs. Broth is similar to stock and can be used interchangeably. Reconstituted bouillon could also be used when broth is specified.


Using a skillet, broiler, or oven on high heat to cook to add flavor and aroma, developing a rich, desirable color on the outside and moistness on the inside.


A very small cut, typically measuring 1/8 of an inch on each side of the cube.

Bundt Pan

Tube pan with fluted sides.


The fat of choice used in baking for a rich flavor. Salted and unsalted butter can be used interchangeably though butter is recommended rather than margarine for consistent results.


Splitting of food through the middle without completely separating the halves and opened flat. Used on some meats and seafood such as lobster or pork chops where the split halves resemble a butterfly.



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


Come from the buds of a spiny shrub that grows from Spain to China and have an assertive flavor described as the marriage of citrus and olive with an added tang from the salt and vinegar of the packaging brine.


To brown sugar (melted and golden, granulated sugar or the naturally occurring sugars in vegetables) by cooking them in a saucepan or skillet over low heat until until liquefied and the resulting syrup ranges in color anywhere from a light golden color to a dark brown hue. Caramelized sugar will harden when cooled. Sliced onions and some vegetables while being slowly cooked in a little fat will caramelize when the natural sugars brown adding flavor and color to a dish. Natural sugars will also cause grilled or roasted vegetables to brown and caramelize.


Cut or slice cooked meat, poultry or fish into serving-size pieces.


A thin fine or coarse weave 100% cotton cloth used in cooking to bundle up herbs, strain liquids, and rolling proteins.


French word, meaning "made of rags." Knife cuts resulting in ribbony pieces of herbs or greens by stacking leaves such as basil on top of each other, or rolled together, and then slice thinly.

Chili Oil  

Fiery oil flavored with chile peppers used as a seasoning.

Chili Paste

A condiment made from chile peppers, vinegar, and seasonings and produced in mild or hot versions.


The cooling of food to below room temperature in the refrigerator or over ice. 


Generally there are six types of chocolate:

Milk chocolate (at least 10% pure chocolate) with added cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.

Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate (at least 35% pure chocolate) with added cocoa butter and sugar. These can be used interchangeably.

Sweet chocolate (at least 15% pure chocolate) is dark chocolate with extra cocoa butter and sugar.

Unsweetened chocolate (contains pure chocolate), used for baking and cooking with cocoa butter with no sugar added.

Unsweetened cocoa powder (is pure chocolate) with most of the cocoa butter removed. Unsweetened cocoa powders such as Dutch-process or European-style cocoa powder have been treated to neutralize acids, giving it a mellower in flavor.

White chocolate, contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids giving it a mild flavor. White baking bars, white baking pieces, white candy coating, and white confectionery bars are sometimes confused with white chocolate. They are often used interchangeably in recipes, but they are not truly white chocolate because they do not contain cocoa butter.


Coarsely chopping of a ingredient into an estimated ½ inch pieces or finely chopping refers to it being roughly chopped into ¼-inch cubes.


Spicy pork sausage used in Mexican (made with fresh pork) and Spanish (made with smoked pork), dishes.


Condiment made from chopped fruit (ex. mango), vegetables, and spices enlivened by hot peppers, fresh ginger, or vinegar which is commonly used in Indian cuisine.


Separating and removing solids and sediment from a liquid to make it clear. For example, butter is clarified by heating it and pouring off the clear yellow fat, leaving behind the milk solids making it very useful for quickly browning meats. Clarified Butter, sometimes called drawn butter, is popular as a dipping sauce for seafood.


Evenly cover meat, fish, and poultry before cooking with crumbs, flour or batter.

Coconut Milk

Made from water and coconut pulp it is often used in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. Coconut milk should it be confused with cream of coconut which is a sweetened coconut concoction used to make mixed drinks.

Cooking Oil

Oils produced from ​vegetables, nuts, or seeds used for baking and cooking. Cooking oils cannot be used interchangeably with solid fats because they do not hold air when beaten.
Nut oils produced from hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, as well as other nut are oils that bring rich flavor to dressings. This type of oil can be used to replace a portion of the oil in dressings rather than the whole amount. 
Olive oil  such as extra virgin olive oil (known as the highest-quality olive oil available) has a golden to deep greenish color and rich flavor with a slight tingly finish (sometimes referred to as a burn). "Light" olive oils are more processed blend of refined and virgin olive oils. 

Vegetable oil have a mild, neutral taste. Other vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, soybean, and safflower, bring body to dressings without overwhelming the flavor of the other ingredients.


Removal of seeds or tough woody centers from fruits and vegetables.


Corning, or brining beef, is used to preserve less tender cuts of meat, for example brisket, rump or round. For this process spices and herbs like peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaf are often added to the brine mixture for extra flavor. In the case of corned beef, the pink color usually remains after cooking due to the nitrite used in the curing process which fixes the pigment in the meat. In Anglo-Saxon times the meat was dry-cured by being rubbed with "corns" of salt.

Cotija Cheese

A Mexican firm cheese with a salty flavor, the aged version is known as "queso añejo."


Popular North African granular pasta that's made from semolina. 


Technique used with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer in which fat (ex. butter or margarine) and sugar are beaten together incorporating air into the mixture, to make them light and fluffy. 

Crème Fraîche  

Dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture, causing the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor.


Pinch or press two edges of pastry or dough together using your fingers, a fork tines, or another utensil, commonly done for a piecrust to form a decorative edge.


Term used to describe the state of vegetables that have been cooked until just tender but still semi-crunchy where a fork can be inserted with a little pressure.


Soft or fine pieces of food that have been broken off a larger piece used as a coating, thickener, or binder, or as a crust for desserts. Soft or fine dry bread crumbs are generally not interchangeable in recipes.


Smashing of food, generally by hand, mortar and pestle, or a rolling pin into smaller pieces. This process when used on dried herbs releases their flavor and aroma.

Curry Paste

A blend of herbs, spices, and fiery chiles in come many varieties. These are sometimes classified by color (green, red, or yellow), heat (mild or hot), or by a particular style of curry (such as Panang or Masaman). Often used in Indian and Thai cooking.


Cutting of food into small cubes about a 1/2- inch in size .


The separation into lumpy curds and liquid. 


Process of preserving meats and fish by smoking, salting, drying. Sometimes the process is a combination of two or three.

Cut in

Incorporation of a cold solid fat (such as butter, vegetable shortening, lard) into salt and flour using a cutting motion with 2 knives used scissors-fashion or a pastry blender until divided evenly into tiny pieces resembling coarse crumbs to create a pastry crust.



Imprecise small amount of seasoning measurement that is roughly equivalent to 1/16 to 1/8's of a teaspoon often used for ingredients like bottled hot pepper sauce or salt.


The cooking of food by completely immersing it into hot fat such as vegetable oil with a smoking point over 400ºF. Others oils such as peanut, corn, safflower, and sunflower can work as well.


Action of adding a liquid such as water, wine, vinegar, stock, or broth to a skillet or frying pan after the meat has been fried, sauteed or roasted. The liquid, while stirring and scraping the pan, removes the brown bits of food that are stuck to the pan, which are then incorporated into a pan sauce to be served.


Removal of fat from the surface of stews, soups, or stock, sometimes done when cooled in a refrigerator so the fat hardens and is easier to remove.


Cutting of solid food into small, uniformly sized cubes or squares about 1/8-to 1/4-inch in size.


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

Direct Grilling  

Cooking food by quickly placing it on a grill rack directly over the heat source.


Stirring of a solid food and a liquid food together to form a mixture in which none of the solid remains.


Spoonful of soft food such as whipped cream or mashed potatoes.


Scattering of butter in bits over food.

Double Boiler

2 pan arrangement where the lower pan holds simmering water that gently cooks heat-sensitive food nested partway inside the upper pan used to cook custards and sauces where the mixture might curdle if cooked over direct heat.


Refers to a whole fish, with or without scales, which has had its internal organs removed. 

Drawn Butter

Refers to clarified butter.


Sprinkle or coating a piece of food with a dry ingredient such as flour, cornmeal, or sugar, either before or after cooking.


Coating foods such as salad with a sauce.

Dressed (Dress)

Clean out the innards of fish, poultry, or game for cooking.

Drip Pan

Metal or disposable foil pan placed under food to catch drippings when grilling. 


The juices and fats rendered by meat or poultry left in a roasting pan or skillet during cooking.


Sprinkling drops of liquid or lightly pouring melted butter, oil, syrup, melted chocolate, or another type of liquid over food in a back and forth pattern or in a fine stream.


Lightly coat or sprinkle a portion of food with a dry powdery ingredient, such as flour or powdered sugar using a strainer, jar with a perforated cover or a paper bag, either before or after cooking.

Dutch Oven

Dutch oven have a heavy wide bottom and are made of materials which distribute heat evenly (on the stove top or in the oven) and have a tight fitting lid to trap moisture inside.


Egg Roll Skins

Pastry wrappers used to encase a savory egg roll fillings.


Simple ingredient which plays a complex role in baking and cooking. Eggs are at times used as the glue, holding ingredients together or act as leaveners in recipes (ex. angel food cake). Eggs are also used to add structure, richness, and moisture to baked goods.

Egg Whites (Pasteurized Dried)

Pasteurized dried egg whites can be used where egg whites are needed; pasteurized dried egg whites can be used in recipes that do not call for egg whites to be thoroughly cooked. Meringue powder can not be substituted, as it has added sugar and starch.

Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are high in fat and flavor, while egg whites add moisture and help to provide the structure in baked products. 


The combination of two liquids or semi-liquid ingredients, which do not naturally dissolve together by gradually adding one ingredient to the other while whisking rapidly. 

Extracts, Oils

Aromatic essential oils of plant materials that are distilled by a variety of methods. Extracts, such as almond, anise, lemon, mint, orange, peppermint and vanilla are highly concentrated oils, usually suspended in alcohol to make them easier to combine with other foods. Never substitute oils for ground spices in recipes. 


Fava Bean  

Flat tan bean similar in looks to a large Lima bean.


Food preservation using naturally occurring conversion of the natural sugars in food into acid by "gut-friendly" organisms.


Salty, tangy, crumbly cheese made of sheep's or goat's milk popular in Greek cuisine.


Piece of poultry, meat or fish with no bones.

Fillet (verb)  

Removal of bones by cutting pieces of poultry, meat or fish into fillets.

Fish Sauce  

Sauce commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking made from fermenting fish, usually anchovies, in brine.

Fines Herbes

Mixture of herbs used to flavor fish, chicken, and eggs commonly made up of parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon.


Gently breaking food into flat, small pieces.


Artificial extract, flavoring commonly does not contain any of the original food as is the case with with common imitation flavors such as banana, cherry, chocolate, pineapple and raspberry.

Flour (verb)

Coating or dusting food to add texture and to improve browning or in the case with utensil to prevent sticking.


Milled from many wheat, cereals, roots, and seeds, common ypes of flour are:
All-purpose flour which is made from a blend of soft and hard wheat flours used for baking, thickening, and coating.

Bleached flour is chemically made to be whiter and is used to make cakes and breads a brighter white.
Bread flour with more gluten than all-purpose flour, making it ideal for structure and height when baking breads
Cake flour comes from a soft wheat producing a tender, delicate crumb .
Gluten flour used in some whole grain bread recipes attain the proper texture. 
Pastry flour is a soft wheat blend containing less starch than cake flour and is used in making pastry dough.
Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour containing a leavener, such as baking powder, and salt.

Specialty flours like whole wheat, graham, rye, oat, buckwheat, and soy, commonly combined with all-purpose flour in baking recipes due to the fact that none of these flours have sufficient gluten to provide the needed amount of elasticity.


Process of using a fork to mix up cooked rice, quinoa or grains before serving.


The pouring of a flammable liquor over food while it is cooking and when the alcohol warms igniting the food on fire just before serving.


Creating a decorative impression, such as grooves or a scalloped pattern in food, usually referring to a pastry such as the edge of a piecrust.


Incorporating a light mixture (beaten egg whites or whipped cream) into a heavier one commonly done with a rubber spatula by using a gentle over-and-under motion bringing some of the mixture up from the bottom and over the surface while slowing rotating the bowl.

Food Coloring

Used to tint foods, these edible dyes are available as a liquid, powder or paste.


Cutting meat away to expose the bone in a a rib or chop.


Cooking meat by braising it in fat and then gently in a liquid with aromatic vegetables.


A food deep fried in a small amount of thick batter.


Application of a topping to cakes, cookies, etc. by applying a spread  (cooked or uncooked) that is stiff enough to hold its shape.


Cooking of a food in hot cooking oil or fat, until it has formed a crisp brown crust.

Pan-frying or sauteing incorporates enough oil for a light coat to the bottom of the skillet.

Deep-fat fry or to French fry is cooking food submerged in hot fat or oil until it's crisp.

Shallow-fry is done by cooking breaded or coated food in batter in an inch of hot fat or oil

Oven-fry is done by cooking food in a hot oven with a small amount of fat producing a healthier dish.



A plant related to the onion with a strong scented bulb made up of several small segments called garlic clove. 


Rich cake or chocolate filling made by melting chocolate in heavy cream.



Decoration used to enhance a dish's appearance, such a sprig of fresh herbs such as Rosemary or Parsley or a lemon wedge.


Made from natural animal protein, this unflavored or flavored dry ingredient is used to thicken or set a liquid.


Edible internal organs of poultry, such as the liver, heart and gizzard that are sometimes used to make gravy.

Ginger (Root)

Root used to add a spicy-sweet flavor to recipes.

Ginger (Crystallized/Candied)   

Confection made up of pieces of ginger root that have been cooked in a sugar syrup and coated with sugar.


French term for "glazed" or "frozen.", in the US it refers to a "candied" food.


Thin sweet, savory liquid coating made with reduced sauces (ex. ham) or gelatin or a sweet glaze can be made with melted jelly or chocolate (ex. donuts).

Gochujang Paste 

Korean condiment made of chiles, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.


A technique of rubbing a hard food product against a serrated surface using a box grater or a microplane, producing shredded or fine bits.


French word for "crust" used to describe any oven-baked dish which a golden brown crust of bread crumbs, cheese or creamy sauce is formed.


Application, by rubbing or coating with a utensil a fat of any kind to a cooking surface to prevent the food from sticking.The term is also in reference to fat released from meat and poultry during cooking.


Mediterranean sauce made up of fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, or cilantro), citrus zest, and fresh garlic.


Cooking food on a rack, like in a broiler or on a barbecue, under or over intense direct heat.


Mechanical process of cutting food, by hand or usually incorporating a food grinder or food processor to reduce the food into tiny particles.


Creole stew, thickened with a roux, which contains okra, tomatoes, onions, shrimp, chicken and sausage. The word gumbo comes from the African word meaning "okra". 



Mixture of equal parts cream and milk with about 12% milk fat and cannot be whipped.

Haricots Verts

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

Heavy Cream

Also referred to as heavy whipping cream can be whipped to twice its volume and has at least 46% milkfat making it the richest cream available.

Hoisin Sauce

Popular in Asian cooking made up of fermented soybeans, molasses, vinegar, mustard, sesame seeds, garlic, and chiles, this sauce adds a multitude of sweet and spicy flavors.


White or yellow corn kernels that have dried and soaked in lime or lye in order to remove the hull and germ.


Produced by honey bees from floral nectar, this thick, sticky sweetener is available in more than 300 varieties in the United States. Most honey is from clover, some other sources are lavender, thyme, apple, cherry and buckwheat.

Hors d'oeuvre

French culinary term for a hot or cold small portion of food served as an appetizer.


Ice or Icing  

Drizzling or spreading thin frosting over baked goods.

Indirect Grilling

Slow cooking method using a covered grill and placing the food over a spot where there are no coals or direct heat.

Induction Cooking

Is performed using direct induction heating of cooking vessels, instead of relying on indirect radiation, convection, or thermal conduction. Induction cooking allows high power and very rapid increases in temperature to be achieved, and changes in heat settings are instantaneous.


Jelly Roll

A sponge cake dessert made by spreading a filling and rolling it into a log like shape.

Jelly Roll Pan

Rimmed baking sheet commonly used to bake thin cakes that are often rolled with fillings or cut in strips to be stacked.


A knife cut used on vegetables, fruits, or cheeses to produce long, slender matchstick like pieces. 


Extraction of natural liquids (juice) from fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry. 



Spicy Korean condiment made from a fermented mix of cabbage, usually served over rice, noodles, eggs or in a stir fry.


Fermented tea which is consumed by many people around the world for the health benefits it claims to have.


Blending dough together with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion or in a mixer until it becomes smooth and elastic by developing the gluten in the flour.

Kosher Salt

Coarse salt containing no additives that has a clean taste and a light, flaky texture with lower sodium than regular salt.



Made from pork fat, sometimes used for baking, producing light, flaky pie crusts.

Large Dice

Cut resulting in 3/4-inch square pieces.


Ingredients used to make batter and dough expand or rise during the baking process.


Aromatic, lemon-flavor herb popular in Asian cooking, commonly used in Thai dishes. 

Light Cream

Contains about 20% milk fat and cannot be whipped, also referred to as coffee cream or table cream.


Temperature state that is approximate to body temperature (98ºF-105ºF), not cool or warm.



Usually done with light and dark batters, marbling is the process of lightly swirling one food into another.


Technique of soaking a food in a sugar or flavored liquid, for example a liqueur, wine or syrup.


Product created in the late 1800s as a substitute for butter, commonly made from vegetable oil.


Liquid made up of seasonings and an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or lemon juice, that is commonly used to flavor or tenderize meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or vegetables.


The process of soaking in a marinade to flavor, moisturize and/or tenderize meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or vegetables. The marinating process using dry ingredients is called a rub.


Fortified wine which is either dry (used as an apéritif, pre-dinner drink) or sweet (used both for drinking and cooking).


Process using a fork, potato masher, food mill, food ricer, or electric mixer to press or beat food, removing lumps creating a smooth mixture.


Process to determine the quantity or size of a food using a utensil such as a measuring cup or spoon.

Medium Dice

Cut resulting in ½-inch square pieces.


Taking a solid, such as chocolate, lard, margarine, or butter, and heating it over very low heat until it becomes liquid or semi-liquid.

Meringue Powder

Powder made primarily from dehydrated egg whites, which can be mixed with water to be used as a substitute for egg whites.


Technique of taking a food, dredging it with flour and sautéing in butter.


Hand-held grater in a stick (or wand) shape used for grating garlic, hard cheeses, ginger, nutmeg or used for zesting citrus fruit rinds.

Milk and Milk Products

A variety of milk products can be used in recipes such as:
Buttermilk - a low-fat or fat-free milk with a mildly acidic taste which has an additional bacterial culture added during the pasteurization process. 
Evaporated milk - a low-fat or fat-free milk that comes from whole milk, brings a creamy richness to recipes and is not interchangeable with sweetened condensed milk.
Fat-free half-and-half milk - mostly comes from skim milk, with carrageenan added and can bring a creamy flavor to recipes without adding additional fat. 
Light cream and half-and-half - a mixture of milk and cream which contains 18% to 30% milk fat. 
Nonfat dry milk powder - can be used in cooking once water has been added to it.
Sour cream (low-fat or fat-free)  - commonly made from a light cream with a bacterial culture added to the cream. 
Sweetened condensed milk - a low-fat or fat-free milk that comes from whole milk which has had water removed and sugar added.
Whipping cream - has at least 30% milkfat and is used to be beaten into a whipped cream for desserts.
Whole, reduced-fat, low-fat or light, and fat-free milk - differentiated by the amount of fat they contain and richness.

Yogurt (low-fat or fat-free) - a milk by-product made from milk with a bacterial culture added. 


Cutting or chopping of a food with a knife into extremely fine pieces.

Mise en Place

French term for “everything in its place” or “put in place” - refers to organizing ingredients prior to starting the cooking process. 


The combining of ingredients using an electric mixer, rotary beater or a wooden spoon, stirring or beating two foods together until combined.


The addition of enough liquid to dampen a dry ingredient or mixture.

Mortar and Pestle

Tool set made up of a vessel (the bowl-shaped mortar) used to hold ingredients for crushing by the club-shape pestle.


Process of gently crushing or pressing fruit or herbs against a glass, releasing their flavors.


Slowly heat a beverage with spices and sugar.


Flavorful morsels that can be used dry or fresh in recipes, come in many colors, shapes and types with a flavor range of mild and nutty to meaty, woodsy, and wild.


Nonstick Cooking Spray

Reduces the mess associated with greasing pans by using the spray on unheated baking pans or skillets to prevent food from sticking.


Dried seeds or fruits with an edible kernel surrounded by a hard shell or rind that come in many forms, such as chopped, slivered, and halved, adding a particular flavor and texture to a recipe.



Cereal grain available in many forms, commonly consumed as oatmeal or rolled oats.
Instant Oats - used for breakfast and not in baked goods, are precooked to soften and dried before they are flattened by rollers. 
Oat Bran - the outer coating of the grain packed with a soluble fiber that can be added to baked goods to increase fiber.
Oat Flour - made from grinding gluten-free oats, is not considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat. 
Oat Groats - the least-processed oat option, are hulled, unbroken oat grains which can be cooked and served as a cereal.
Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats - cook faster and are less chewy, these oats are made from groats that have been chopped before undergoing the steaming process and are flattened more than rolled oats.
Rolled Oats - whole groats which have been hulled, steamed, and flattened with a faster cooking time than steel-cut oats. 
Steel-Cut Oats - called Irish or Scottish oats, are chewy, coarse oats made by chopping groats into smaller pieces and require a longer cooking time than rolled and quick-cooking oats.



Boiling of a food, slightly longer than blanching, such as vegetables, until they are partially cooked and tender, usually this is followed by a final cooking in a seasoned sauce.


Process of cooking uncovered in a hot frying pan or skillet, pouring off fat as it accumulates.



Cooking of large pieces of food over medium to medium-high heat in small amounts of fat.

Parchment Paper

Grease and heat resistant paper used to line baking pans, wrap foods in packets for cooking/baking, or to make disposable pastry bags.


Removal of the skin or outer covering of a fruit or vegetable using a small knife or a vegetable peeler.


White root vegetable similar to a carrot with a mild, sweet flavor and can be cooked like a potato.

Pastry Blender

Kitchen tool fitted with rigid, curved wires used to cut fat into flour.

Pastry Scraper

Kitchen tool with a flat, rigid metal or flexible plastic plate used to scrape dough from counter tops and boards. 


Natural substance found in some fruits that produces a fruit-and-sugar mixture used in jelly or jam making.


Removal of the skin or outer covering of a vegetable or fruit (also can be reffered to as the fruit's rind). 


An uncooked sauce traditionally made up of crushed garlic, basil, and nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil.

Phyllo Dough

Comes from the Greek word for "leaf" and is common in Greek, Turkish, and Near Eastern dishes. This dough consists of tissue-thin sheets when layered and baked result in a delicate, flaky pastry. 


Process used to preserve meats, vegetables, and fruits in brine and seasonings.


Small amount of a dry ingredient you can hold between your thumb and forefinger, roughly equivalent to 1/8-1/16 of a teaspoon.

Pine Nut

High-fat nut produced from certain varieties of pine trees, with a flavor that ranges from mild and sweet to pungent.


Squeezing of a semi-soft/soft mixture (such as whipped cream or frosting) through a pastry bag or tube to create decorative shapes or borders.


Removal of the seed from a fruit, such as an avocado, cherry, olive or peach.


Cooking technique used to cook a food on a thick hardwood plank.


Soaking of dried fruits in liquid until they swell.


Cooking technique used to cook food gently over very low heat by partially or completely submerging it in a simmering liquid with a temperature of approximately 180°F.


Made from any type of cornmeal, can be boiled and served hot like porridge, or cooled until it solidifies into a loaf which can be baked, grilled, or fried. 


Striking food (meat or poultry) with a heavy utensil like a meat mallet to crush it to break up connective tissue to tenderize or flatten the meat.


Partially or completely cook a food before using it in a recipe.


Heating, to a specific temperature, of an oven or utensil before using it.


Preserving food at home by canning, or to prepare food in a food processor.


Testing yeast to make sure it is alive and capable of leavening bread dough.


Seasoned, salt-cured, and air-dried (not smoked) ham giving it a firm, dense texture.


Firm and creamy southern Italian cheese with a mild, smoky flavor made from cow's milk.

Puff Pastry

Butter-rich, multi-layer pastry that when baked, butter produces steam between the layers, causing the dough to puff up into multiple flaky layers.


Process of grinding or mashing of a food using a blender, food processor, sieve, food mill or by hand until it is as smooth as possible, resulting in a food that has been puréed.



Crisscross pattern marks on the surface of grilled or broiled food which are created when the hot single grill bars brown the surface of the food.  

Quark Cheese

Soft, unripen cheese with a similar texture and flavor to sour cream. 

Quatre Epices

French term for “four spices” which is a mixture of ground spices, traditionally made up of pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves but can vary depending on the cook.


Open-faced pie/tart originated in Germany made with a bread dough, pie or puff pastry crust and has an egg filling along with other ingredients.  

Quick Bread

Breads that can be made quickly and easily using a leavening agent like baking powder, baking soda, or steam, therefore no rising time is required.


In ancient times it was known as “the mother grain,” this very small ivory-colored grain, similar to rice, comes in either grain and flour forms and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. 



Small ceramic or porcelain ovenproof dish used for individual baked or chilled portions of food. 


Process of bringing a concentrated or condensed food to its original strength or texture by adding water.


To decrease the volume of a liquid by simmering it slowly or boiling it rapidly in an uncovered pan, causing evaporation which in turn causes the liquid to thicken and the flavor to intensify, resulting in a reduction to be used as a sauce or the basis of a sauce.


Technique to stop the cooking process quickly by running cold water over food that has been parboiled.


Turning a solid fat into liquid by melting it slowly over a low heat to obtain drippings.


Process of forcing cooked food through a perforated utensil known as a ricer, producing a food with a shape similar to rice.

Rice Noodles, Rice Sticks

Popular in Asian cuisine, these thin noodles are made from finely ground rice and water, thicker varieties are called rice sticks.

Rice Papers 

Made from the pith of a rice paper plant, these round, flat, edible papers are used for wrapping spring rolls.

Rice Vinegar

Mild-flavored vinegar made from fermented rice, commonly used in Japanese dishes.

Rimmed Baking Sheet

Rimmed on all four sides, this metal baking pan is used for baking cookies, chicken or roasting vegetables. 


The thick skin or outer coating of a food.

Roast, Roasting

Refers to a dry-heat uncovered cooking method used to cook foods like fish, chicken, beef or vegetables in an oven.


The forming of a food into a shape.

Roll Out

Refers to mechanically flattening a food with a rolling pin.

Rough Chop

Imprecise knife cut producing relatively large pieces of approximately the same size. 


Light or dark roux refers to a cooked mixture of equal parts flour and fat which has a golden or rich-brown color that is used for thickening sauces, soups, and gumbos.


A dry mixture or paste of herbs (composed of salt, pepper, herbs or spices) which are rubbed onto meat, poultry or seafood before it is cooked.



Often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, this sauce is usually made up of finely chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles, and cilantro.


Derived from the French word "sauter" which means "to jump in the pan," this process consists of cooking, shaking and stirring food in a small amount of oil over medium to medium-high heat in a skillet similar to pan frying.


To heat liquid just below the boiling point when it just begins to form tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan.


Technique of baking a food usually in a casserole dish with sauce or other liquid. 


Refers to thin, boneless slices of meat that can also be called scallops, for example veal scallops or veal scalloppine.


To cut elongated narrow slits, grooves or gashes, often in a diamond pattern, through the outer surface of a food to either decorate it (ex. bread), tenderize it, help it absorb flavor, or allow fat to drain while it cooks.


Technique used to remove batter or other ingredients stuck to the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula or scraper.


Browning food very quickly by intense high heat to develop flavor and seal in the meat's juices.


To separate and remove the membrane of segments of citrus fruits with a knife, such as a paring knife. 


Whole or precut meat substitute made from wheat protein (gluten) that can be sautéed, roasted, or grilled.

Sheet Cake Pan

Term often used to describe a 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking pan.


Fortified wine used in cooking ranging from dry to sweet and light to dark and can also be enjoyed as a pre/post dinner drink.


Vegetable oil that has been processed into solid form commonly used for baking or frying. 


A technique to push food across a shredding surface or by using a knife or food processor to produce long, narrow strips that cook or melt more slowly than grated products.

Shred, Finely

To finely shred means to make long, thin strips.

Shrimp Paste

Pungent seasoning made of dried, salted shrimp which has been pounded into a paste, used in Southeast Asian dishes giving them an authentic, rich flavor. 


Removal of the shells from seafood, such as oysters and clams, or the husks from corn.


To cook slowly in liquid over low heat between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit just below the boiling point where the liquid should be barely moving and only broken occasionally by slow rising bubbles.


The separation of liquids from the solids, usually using a stainless steel strainer-sifter of the same name.


Technique used to put one or more dry ingredients through a sifter, strainer or sieve to fluff it to remove lumps and incorporate air.


Process used to remove impurities, such as scum, surface foam or fat, from the cooking liquid's surface during cooking, resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final dish.


Knife cut resulting in long, thin, flat pieces.

Small Dice

Knife cut that results in 1/4-inch square pieces.

Springform Pan

Round baking pan with a high, straight side that is released with a clamp.


Steam produced by boiling a liquid (such as water or stock) in a pressure cooker, deep well cooker, double boiler, steamer or covered pot that is used to cook a food on a rack or in a basket, preventing the food from touching the liquid.


To soak an ingredient in a very hot liquid just under the boiling point to extract color, flavor or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in water to release its flavor or color.


Process of killing micro organisms by boiling, dry heat or steam.


To simmer slowly in a covered pot in a small amount of liquid for a long time.


Mixing of ingredients with a circular motion until well blended or the ingredients have a uniform consistency.


Cooking technique best done using a wok in which small, uniformly shaped pieces of food are cooked very rapidly over very high heat and only using a small amount of fat.


Pouring of a mixture of liquid and solids into a strainer to remove the solids, which could be pushed through the strainer with the back of a spoon or spatula where the resulting purée is mixed with the strained liquid to become part of the dish.


Technique used to remove a citrus fruit's peel, rind, and pith in order to serve in slices.



Heating or warming of a food carefully and gently so it can be incorporated into preparations requiring longer cooking.


Technique used to brown and crisp a food to develop its flavor.


Combining of ingredients with a lifting motion.


Securing of poultry or another meat with kitchen twine or skewers, to hold its shape while cooking.


Uniq Fruit

A citrus fruit with a very short season of December to April, this fruit has pot-marked skin and comes in various odd shapes with a flavor similar to a mandarin orange and a Pomelo.


Sweet, bitter, salty and sour are taught as the four basic tastes with the addition of a fifth element of taste identified as umami, which is most common in Asian foods, soups and stews, mushrooms, tomatoes and aged meats and cheeses.


Describes any baked good with no leavener, such as yeast, baking powder, or baking soda.



Extracted from the fruit of a thick, tropical vine indigenous to southeastern Mexico, the West Indies, Central America, and northern South America.  

Pure vanilla extract  - an amber-colored liquid made from vanilla beans, alcohol, and water and must contain at least 35% alcohol.

Vanilla flavor  - a mix of pure vanilla extract and other natural sources other than vanilla beans.

Imitation vanilla - a mixture made up of synthetic substances imitating pure vanilla extract's smell and flavor.

Cookie vanilla - a pure vanilla extract made up of a blend of Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla beans which makes it an ideal ingredient for cookies.


One of several yeast extract spreads from Australia made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract and various vegetable and spice additives with a deep, dark, reddish-brown color.

Vegetable Oil

This is an expensive and all-purpose blend of oils made from plant sources such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Most vegetable oils are made from soybeans and are high in polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, but low in saturated fat.

Vegetable Shortening

Hydrogenated vegetable oil turned into a solid fat which is nearly flavorless, used for imparting flakiness and tenderness in baked goods.

Veloute Sauce

One of the five “mother sauces,” this sauce is a stock-based white sauce made from chicken, veal, or fish stock thickened with white roux.


French term meaning “green juice” referring to a medieval staple condiment of French provincial cooking made from semi-ripe and unfermented wine grapes.


Made from white wine flavored with aromatic herbal extracts and spices which comes in red and white varieties.


Sauce or dressing made with vinegar or a combination of vinegar, oil, and seasonings.


A natural product made from fermented fruit juice that has become acidic, made from a variety of ingredients, such as wine, beer, hard cider, and grain alcohol.  All vinegars are made by the same process of fermentation, but come in a number of different varieties.

Distilled white vinegar - commercially processed from grain alcohol, used widely in processed foods and preserves.

Wine vinegars - made from red, white or champagne wines.

Fruit and herb vinegars  - wine vinegars infused with other ingredients.

Sherry vinegar - sherry wine that is aged for a minimum of 6 years in oak barrels.

Balsamic vinegar - red-wine vinegar fortified with concentrated grape juice and sometimes caramelized sugar.

White balsamic vinegar - made from cooked down grape juice added to white wine vinegar giving it an amber color and slightly sweet flavor.

Cider vinegar - milder and sweeter than most wine vinegars and is slightly cloudy with a fruity, apple flavor.

Rice vinegar, also called rice-wine vinegar - made from grain and not grapes with a mild and sweeter taste which tends to be more acidic and sharp.

Malt vinegar - traditionally made from beer and can be colored with caramel and infused with wood shavings.


French term which means “flying in the wind,” used to refer a pastry’s lightness.  



Beating rapidly with a whisk or mixer to incorporate air and produce expansion.


Beating of ingredients with a fork or whisk to incorporate air and produce volume.


Round-bottomed pan with curved sides popular in Asian cooking, used for stir-frying, boiling and frying.



The indicator on a box of confectioners’ sugar displaying how many times the confectioners’ sugar has been ground, the higher the number of X’s, the finer the grind.



A living, microscopic, single-cell organism which grows and ferments, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide bubbles get trapped in the gluten strands of bread causing it to rise.

Active dry yeast - a granular powder used to leaven bread. 

Compressed yeast - known as “cake” or “fresh” yeast. 

Quick rise yeast sometimes referred to as rapid rise yeast - quick rising yeast which makes dough rise approximately in a third less time than active dry yeast.



Means “egg punch” in Italian and refers to a light, fluffy Italian dessert made from whisked egg yolks, sugar, wine (traditionally Marsala) with a touch of salt.


Outer, colored part of a citrus peel which can be grated for flavor using a Microplane or a box grater.


German for “twice baked” referring to dry toasted bread slices.

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