Cooking Terms

If you’re fairly new to cooking, you might run into some terms, often in French, that you don’t recognize. It’s rarely as complicated as it seems – take a look at these explanations of common cooking techniques.


See Double boil


Boil or steam something briefly, then cool immediately in cold water. This may be in preparation for further cooking, or to remove the skins from, for example, almonds.

Blind bake

Line pie crust with foil and fill with dry beans or rice before baking in order to keep it from puffing up during the pre-bake. This is necessary when making a pie with an unbaked filling (cream pie) or a pie with a juicy filling that would otherwise get soggy.


Add a liquid, such as wine, to a hot pan to remove bits of food from it and incorporate them into the liquid.


Cut into small, uniform cubes.

Double boil

A technique for heating or melting delicate products like milk and chocolate – see how to fake a double boiler.


Incorporate something delicate, such as whipped cream or whipped egg whites, so as to avoid losing its fluffiness or breaking it. To fold, slowly scrape your wooden spoon or rubber spatula toward you along the bottom of the bowl so that it picks up the mixture, lift, and turn over. Repeat until everything is just barely mixed in.

High-speed blender

Extremely powerful blender that can make much smoother liquids than a tradictional blender, and can also grinding things like nuts and beans into butters and flours – see Vitamix review.


Chop into tiny pieces.


Blend something in order to liquefy it.


Boil a liquid so that it lessens in volume and thickens.


Fry something, usually onions and/or garlic, in a small amount of oil or butter.


Boil something over very low heat, so that it only bubbles slightly.


Cook vegetables in a wire or bamboo basket over a small amount of boiling water – see how to fake a steamer.


More Cooking Tips