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Common cooking terms

Understand all your recipes with this glossary of common cooking terms.

Al dente – Cooking pasta until it is tender but slightly firm

Bake – To cook in an oven

Baste – Brushing or spooning liquids over food for flavor and to prevent drying out

Beat – Rapidly stirring ingredients into a smooth mixture using a whisk, spoon or mixer

Blanch – Briefly cooking food in boiling water and then cooling in cold water

Boil – Cooking liquid over a temperature that causes bubbles to form rapidly and break at the surface

Broil – Cooking food below direct, dry heat

Chop – To cut with a knife or food processor into bite-sized pieces

Cream – To beat a fat either alone or with sugar until fluffy, light and smooth

Cube – To cut into even pieces, usually 1/2-inch on all sides

Dash – A small amount of seasoning added to a dish, usually 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon

Dice – To cut into small even pieces, usually 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch on all sides

Double boiler – Two saucepans, one filled with water and heated to a simmer and the other set on top for gentle cooking

Dredge – To lightly coat with flour or another dry ingredient before or after cooking

Dutch oven – A large, heavy pot with a tight fitting lid usually made of cast iron

Garnish – Adding an edible decoration to a finished meal

Grate – Rubbing food across a grating surface to make very fine pieces

Juice – Extracting the juice from a food

Julienne – To cut into long, thin stripes

Mash – Pressing or beating food to remove lumps

Marinate – To soak in a seasoned liquid to add flavor or tenderize

Mince – To cut into tiny, uneven pieces

Pinch – The amount of an ingredient that can be pinched between your finger and thumb

Puree – To process or mash until smooth

Reduce – Boiling a liquid until the volume is decreased by evaporation

Roast – Cooking food uncovered in an oven for a brown surface and moist interior

Saucepan – A round pot with tall sides and a flat bottom

Sauté – Cooking food in a small amount of fat over high heat

Sear – Using high heat to quickly brown a food’s surface and seal in the juices

Simmer – Cooking liquid over low heat where little bubbles form slowly

Skillet – A long-handled, shallow pan with sloping sides

Slice – To cut into flat, thin pieces

Toast – To brown, crisp or dry out a food by heating

Toss – Lightly mixing ingredients using two utensils to gently lift and drop

Whip – Beating rapidly to add air and increase the volume

Zest - The colored outer peel of citrus fruit. To zest, run the fruit along the fine holes of a grater only removing the outer peel and not the white layer below.

Wok – A bowl shaped pan