There are many specific (certain, special) cooking terms in English, that you may not always know when you’re learning. We already covered some common cooking terms here, but there are so many more that can be useful for you in the kitchen! So, we figured we would take another look at some of the most common cooking terms so you’ll be able to talk about cooking like the pro (professional) you are.

Here are some cooking terms you need to know in the kitchen:


To broil is to cook food with very high, direct heat. You usually broil meats or fish, and you typically don’t broil vegetables. Many ovens have a broil setting on them, which makes broiling really easy. All you have to do is turn your oven all the way up (as hot as it can go), and put your food in to cook.

For example:

  • The broil setting on the oven is great for melting cheese and getting it all nice and bubbly. I love when a recipe says to broil cheese.
  • She makes a really good broiled salmon. She makes it every time I come over for dinner.


Stir-frying is really common when you’re making Asian food. I love Asian cooking, so we do a lot of stir-frying in my house! When you stir-fry, you cook food in a pan over high heat while stirring (moving it around with a spoon or cooking utensil). Stir-frying is a great way to cook vegetables, curry, or things you like to eat with rice. Have you stir-fried anything lately?

For example:

  • Stir-fried vegetables and tofu with rice is one of my favorite meals. It’s so easy and delicious!
  • If you want to stir-fry stuff, it’s usually best to have all of your ingredients ready before you get started, because everything cooks up fast.


Another useful cooking term to know is sauté. If you’re sautéing food, you’re frying it quickly in a pan in a little bit of oil or butter. Sautéing is a great way to get food, like potatoes, a little brown and crunchy. It gives a nice crust (a hardened layer) to food, which makes it all really tasty. Sautéing is best for foods that don’t need to be cooked very long, such as some vegetables, mushrooms, or chicken breast.

For example:

  • He likes to sauté some mushrooms when he makes burgers at home. They’re a really delicious burger topping!
  • My favorite soup recipe says to sauté garlic, onions, and celery before adding the other ingredients. It gives the soup a really nice flavor.

Deep fry

Do you like deep fried foods? They’re not very healthy (good for you), but they’re very yummy! Deep frying is something usually done in restaurants, as (because) you need a lot of oil to do it. Deep frying is when you put food in a large amount of very hot oil and cook it that way. Things like french fries, donuts, and fried chicken or fried fish are deep fried. Deep fried food is really tasty, but only in small amounts, since it’s not healthy for you.

For example:

  • She likes getting something deep fried to eat when she goes to the carnival. She knows it’s not good for her, but it’s a treat (something special).
  • He loved deep frying food so much that he bought a deep fryer for his kitchen. That way he could deep fry things all the time.

Pan fry

Have you ever pan fried food? Pan frying is exactly what it sounds like: it’s when you fry food, typically meat or potatoes, in a pan with a little bit of butter or oil. Sometimes you can pan fry something before putting it in the oven to cook a little slower and more thoroughly. This is a good way to cook steak! You can pan fry the steak on each side for a few minutes, before putting the steak in the oven to cook at a lower heat. Pan-fried potatoes go great with steak made this way!

For example:

  • On Sundays, we have a big breakfast with eggs and pan-fried sausages.
  • Let’s have bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for lunch. I’ll pan fry some bacon!

Do you like cooking? Have you used any of these cooking methods before? Share your favorite things to cook and the methods you use in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Furniture Vocabulary in EnglishCommon Vacation Phrases in EnglishPassive vs Active Voice in English, or these Portuguese Loan Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and loves trying new recipes while learning new cooking terms!

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