Basic Cooking Terms and Abbreviations

When you first start cooking recipe books and online recipe sites can appear daunting if you don’t understand the terminology and the shorthand. Never fear, today I’ll help you decode the lingo and get you on your way towards becoming the fabulous Domestic Darling you are destined to be.

  • Bake: Cooking in an oven
  • Baste: Keeping foods moist during cooking either by pouring liquid over them, or brushing liquid over the food with a brush.
  • Beat: Making a mixture smooth and creamy by whipping in a brisk motion, by hand or machine
  • Blanch: Precooking food by briefly cooking it in boiling liquid.  Blanching usually loosens the skin, and retains the original color of the food.
  • Boil: When a liquid is boiling, 212 F at sea level, rapid bubbles will form and break when they reach the surface of the liquid.
  • Braise: Browning meat quickly in a fat and then cooking it in a covered pan on the stove or in the oven.  Liquid is optional.
  • Breading: Coating a raw food that has been dredged (dipped into, dragged through, soaked in) a liquid such as eggs, buttermilk, ranch dressing, or an egg/milk mixture with bread crumbs, crushed cereal or cracker crumbs.
  • Broil: Cooking a food by placing it on a rack in the oven that is directly under the heat source.
  • Cream: Mixing one or more foods together until soft and creamy
  • Cut In: Using a pastry blender or fork (not your hands) to add shortening or butter to dry ingredients.
  • Dice: Cutting food into small cubes of equal size and shape
  • Fold In: Gently adding a new ingredient to an already mixed or beaten mixture. Putting the new ingredient on top of the mixture and then gently bringing it down through the middle and brought back through and around the mixture.
  • Fricassee: Braising small pieces of meat in a small amount of liquid
  • Fry: Cooking food in a hot fat (ie. vegetable oil, shortening )
  • Marinate: Making foods more flavorful and tender by soaking them in a liquid for several hours or overnight.  Generally marinades are made of oils, spices, vinegars or some combination of citrus and spices.
  • Mince: To chop food into very tiny pieces
  • Parboil: Cooking food in a boiling liquid until it is only partially cooked
  • Poach: To slowly simmer in a hot liquid
  • Puree: Blending a cooked vegetable or fruit until is is smooth
  • Saute: Cooking a food quickly in melted butter until tender
  • Sear: Browning meat rapidly by using extremely high heat
  • Simmer: Cooking a food in a hot liquid just below boiling point. Bubbles will form slowly but will not reach the surface
  • Steep: Simmering food in a liquid just below boiling point over a long period of time so that the flavor is extracted into the water.
  • Stew: Simmering slowly in a small amount of liquid, usually for several hours.
  • Whip: Beating a food rapidly so as to add air to it


  • teaspoon         tsp. or  t.
  • Tablespoon    Tbsp. or T.
  • Cup                    C.
  • Pint                    pt.
  • Quart                qt.
  • Ounce               oz.
  • Pound               lb. 

What do you think?



  1. 2
    Avatar Svilen Vasilev says

    This is very helpful , thank you 🙂

  2. 3

    very basic, would have thought going to all that trouble you could have used some professional kitchen terms ?