I don’t know about you, but I have definitely been cooking much more since quarantine started, and it was clearly hard to understand some recipes at the beginning. I realized cooking in a different language can be very tricky, which is why I am putting this useful basic English cooking vocabulary post together for all of you wanting to take New York to the kitchen with some exciting American recipes.

And if you still feel like you want to get to know New York a little better, then join our Live in NY Conversation class to learn everything about the city and its culture.

Let’s get this vocabulary ready for some amazing cooking…

Bake: cook by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven or on a hot surface.

Batter: a semiliquid mixture of flour, egg, and milk or water used in cooking, especially for making cakes or for coating food before frying.

Blend: mix substances so that they combine together.

Boil: cook or be cooked by immersing in boiling water or stock.

Broil: cook by exposure to direct, intense radiant heat.

Brush: apply a liquid with a brush.

Caramelize:  convert or be converted into caramel through heating.

Chill: cool typically in a refrigerator.

Chop: cut into pieces with repeatedly with a knife.

Combine: unite; merge.

Cool: cause to become less hot. 

Cut: divide into pieces with a knife or other sharp implement.

Deep Fry: fry in an amount of fat or oil sufficient to cover it completely.

Dice: cut into small cubes.

Dough: a thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry.

Drain: cause or allow the liquid to run off or out of something.

Drizzle: trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient over food.

Flip: turn over or cause to turn over with a sudden sharp movement.

Freeze: be turned into ice or another solid as a result of extreme cold.

Fry: cook in hot fat or oil, typically in a shallow pan.

Glaze: overlay or cover with a smooth, shiny coating or finish.

Grate: Reduce to small shreds by rubbing it on a grater.

Grease: smear or lubricate with grease.

Grill: cook using a grill.

Knead: work moistened flour into dough or paste with the hands.

Mash: reduce to a uniform mass by crushing it.

Measure: ascertain the size, amount, or degree by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size. The measurements usually used in America are:

  • Tablespoons, teaspoons
  • Cups
  • Temperature: Fahrenheit 

Mix: combine or put together to form one substance or mass.

Peel: remove the outer covering or skin from a fruit or vegetable.

Poach: cook by simmering in a small amount of liquid.

Pour:  flow from a container in a steady stream by holding the container at an angle.

Raw: Uncooked.

Roll: flatten or spread by using a roller or by passing it between rollers

Saute: fried quickly in a little hot fat.

Scramble: beating food with a little liquid and then cooking and stirring them gently.

Season: add salt, herbs, pepper, or other spices.

Slice: cut something into slices.

Soak: make or allow something to become thoroughly wet by immersing it in liquid.

Stir: move a spoon or other implement around in a liquid or other substance in order to mix it thoroughly.

Thicken: Make a substance heavier or thicker.

Whisk: beat or stir a substance, especially cream or eggs with a light, rapid movement.

And now it is time to practice… Check this NY bagel recipe, the New York Times Cooking section, this amazing New York-style pastrami, or the famous New York cheesecake!