30 Terms Every Home Cook Should Learn

Roughly Chopped.

A large cut, with no distinct shape. Usually up to an inch long.

Rondelles or rounds.

Can be made by cutting a cylinder-shaped vegetable onto circles. 

Cut into diagonals.

Are elongated or oval-shaped slices of a cylindrical vegetable like a carrot, green onions, or zucchini. This cut is similar to that used to cut rondelles except that the knife is held at an angle. 


Is finely sliced or shredded leafy vegetables and herbs by stacking one leaf over another, rolling tightly, and cutting across while maintaining a tight roll. Thin small ribbons are the result.


A two-angled cut made by placing a vegetable down, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, making the first cut. Give the vegetable a half turn, keeping the knife in the same place. A wedge-shape or triangle is the result. 


Whenever you horizontal slice down the belly, you are creating a butterfly cut. This usually applies to meats, poultry, and fish. 


Is when you create stick-like shapes of food, usually vegetables. They are approximately ⅛ inch x ⅛ inch x 2 inches. 


Cut into cubes with 6 equal sides.

Small dice.

A cube shape with the dimension of ¼ inch x ¼ inch x ¼ inch (6mm x 6mm x 6mm).

Medium dice.

A cube shape with the dimensions of ½ inch x ½ inch ½ inch ( 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm).

Large Dice.

A cube shape with the dimensions of ¾ inch x ¾ inch x ¾ inch ( 2cm x 2cm x 2cm).


Referring to garlic, shallots, and sometimes herbs. It’s a method in which an item is cut into small pieces. It does not have to be uniform in shape. 


Is a French word meaning “to turn” and is a technique that results in a football-shaped product that contains seven equal sides, and flat ends. 

Mise en place.

Having all of your ingredients out on a working surface, prepped, and in place before beginning to cook a dish. 

Preheat the oven to …

Most conventional ovens can take up to 15 minutes to come to a stable temperature. In many cases, start preheating the oven before prepping your ingredients.

Plus additional for greasing the pan.

Usually for baking, is to use a bit more than the recipe calls for to grease the pan with butter or oil right before going into the oven. This can be achieved by adding butter or oil to a paper towel and smearing the inner side and corners of the pan.

Set aside.

Place your bowl, or plate aside in room-temperature covered with plastic wrap, unless the recipe calls for setting aside in the refrigerator otherwise.  


Always use a wooden or rubber/plastic spoon when using nonstick pans. 


Use a thin whisk when using it with saucepans and a large, balloon-shaped whisk when whipping ingredients into bowls. 


Referring to when barbecuing, is to slather generously with sauce. Grilling mops have thick brushes and can hold a lot of sauce. 

Stirring on Occasion.

This refers to how much attention is needed in a recipe. Never leave a pan unattended. When cooking stew, for example, the point is to reach the bottom of the pan and stir on occasion to prevent any bits from sticking to the bottom. 

Until aromatic.

Some spices need to be heated in order for them to release their scents and flavors. Usually, once you add them to the pan and smell their aromas, it is time to add other ingredients into the pan to prevent the spices from burning. 

Until lightly browned, golden or dark brown.

The darker the color, the more prominent the taste. With that being said, The color that needs to be achieved is determined by the time the dish needs to be cooked. 

Coats the back of a spoon…

This refers to when a sauce in a recipe needs to be thickened. Usually, puddings and custards use starch. You know the dish is ready for its next phase once you dip the item with a spoon and run your finger across the back, and through the mixture, a line you make will form borders. 


Is a dry-heat cooking method that generally uses conduction that transfers heat from a pan to food with little amounts of fat.

Heat a skillet, pot, or saucepan…

Adding cold food onto a cold pan will prevent deep caramelized flavor and color, especially when cooking with meat dishes. First heat the pan, as soon as you are ready to add the ingredients, add the oil then the items. Overexposed heat to oil can cause a fire, so be careful. 

Fluff with a fork.

Sometimes a spoon will not do. Fluff with a fork to help increment air into rice, potatoes, and other items that need to double in volume. 

Until uniform. 

This refers to the way vegetables should be cut. In most cases, uniformity is important for presentation and overall pleasant eating experience. 

Until aromatic.

Some spices need to be toasted for their flavor to shine in a recipe. This tip can help prevent the burning of spices, herbs, and garlic. Your nose will always know.

Until softened.

This is referring to onions, shallots, and sometimes celery. Most dishes can not move on to the next step until the ingredients have gone from sturdy to translucent and soft.

1 Comment

  1. Foodie says:

    Now, I feel like I am a pro chef!

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