A list of French Cooking Terms that are Used in the Kitchen

Maybe some menus that you have stared, but you don’t know its spelling and the meaning of basic french cooking terms.

Am I right? It often happens for every chef in the kitchen.

From confit to sous vide, many culinary terms are derived from French and have some meaning to those unacquainted the language.

That’s why; in this post; we’ve listed some of the French cooking terms or basic culinary terms and techniques with you.

To know and understand the basic terms used in cookery SEE the list of French cooking terms below:

French Cooking Terms


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French Cooking Terms


Accompaniments                            Items offered separately with a dish of food

A la                                                        in the style of

A la carte                                            Dishes prepared to order and priced individually

Appetizer                                           It is the first course that gets the appetite. Fruit juices, cocktails, sherry or tidbits could be served

Aromates                                           Vegetables like carrots, onions, leeks, turnips, herbs and spices that provides aroma to the dish they are put in.

Aspic                                                     Clear meat or poultry jelly. It is a thin type of gelatin syrupy to decorate dishes in the larder.

Au gratin                                             A type of Food that is covered with a sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, spread with cheese, mixed with butter and baked or gratinated in a salamander.

A la king                                               Foods are served in a white sauce with mushrooms, pimientos and green pepper. Usually makes flavored through sherry.

Anchois                                                 French for anchovy.


Bain-marie                        i               A container of water to keep foods hot without fear of burning

ii              A shallow container of water for cooking foods in order to prevent them from burning

iii             A deep, narrow container for storing hot sauces, soups, and gravies

Bouquets garnish                            A faggot of herbs: parsley, thyme, and bay leaf usually tied inside pieces of leek and celery.

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Brunoise                                              Small dice.

Baking                                                   Generally the food is placed in the oven and cooked through dry heat.

Batter                                                   Mixture of liquid and flour consistently that can be stirred. The batter can be plain or mixed with eggs. For the beignets and fritters, foods are dipped in the batter and fried.

Béchamel                                            A basic white-colored sauce which is prepared with flour, butter and milk.

Baked Alaska                                     Ice-cream on cake completely covered with meringue and delicately browned in a quick oven.

Bavarian                                               A dessert consisting of whipped gelatin and whipped cream folded together. It is placed in a mold and refrigerated until set.

Beat                                                       To lift a mixture with a whip for the purpose of injecting air and to make the mixture smooth.

Beef a la Stroganoff                        Sautéed small thin slices of beef tenderloin, poached in a sour cream sauce.

Bercy                                                     A sauce consisting of brown sauce, shallots, lemon juice and white wine. Usually served with meat of fish.

Blend                                                    To mix thoroughly two or more ingredients.

Broth                                                     A liquid in which meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables have been simmered.

Blanching                                             Submerging food items into the boiling water for a little time. Many ways are performed to blanch; tomatoes are placed in boiling water to blanch, i.e. to take the skin away. Cauliflower is submerged in boiling water to white the color. French fried potatoes are dipped in hot fat to let a skin form and to cook them partially.

Broil                                                       The ancient term for grilling.

Buffet                                                   Display of ready-to-eat foods. Often self-service from a table of various foods.

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Casserole                                            An earthenware fireproof dish with a lid.

Canapé                                                 A cushion of bread on which are served various foods, hot and cold.

Chateaubriand                                  Head of the fillet of beef.

Chinois                                                 A conical strainer.

Caviar                                                    Salted roe or eggs of fish, usually, sturgeon, served as a sandwich spread or in plates as appetizers.

Condiments                                       Seasonings.

Correcting                                           Adjusting the salt and pepper, color and consistency of a dish.

Caper                                                    European flower bud seasoning (nasturtium bud) or garnish. The buds are pickled by using vinegar and kept in tiny green bottles.

Champignon                                      French, meaning “mushroom”.

Charlotte                                             A mould lined with ladyfingers, filled with fruit and whipped cream or custard.

Chef                                                      Head of the kitchen.

Chop                                                     To cut into small pieces using a knife or some type of sharp tool.

Coat                                                       To cover the surface of one food with another.

Consommé                                         A clear, strong-flavored soup. Consommé is derived from the word consummate, meaning perfect.

Cocotte                                                                Porcelain or earthenware fireproof dish.

Concassé                                             Coarsely-chopped, e.g. parsley, tomatoes.

Crepes                                                  Pancakes.

Croutons                                             Cubes of fried bread served with soup, also triangular pieces with spinach and heart-shaped with certain vegetables and entrees.

Croquettes                                         Cooked foods molded cylinder shape, egg and crumbed and deep-fried.

Croissant                                             A crescent-shaped roll.

Cuisine                                                 The art of cookery.

Cube                                                     To cut into square pieces.

Curry                                                     East Indian stew or dish containing curry powder, a blended spice.

Cutlet                                                    A small flattened boneless piece of meat. Usually, the term is associate with pork and veal.

Cordon                                                 A tread or a thin line of sauce.


Dame                                                    A slice of fish on the bone (round)

Demi-glace                                         A refined brown sauce

Drain                                                     To remove the fluid, generally in a perforated container

Doily                                                      A fancy cut round paper

Dish paper                                          An oval cut paper with a decorative edge


Egg wash                                             Beaten egg

Escalope                                              A thin-slice

Espagnole                                           A basic brown sauce


Farce                                                     filling – stuffing – forcemeat

Flan                                                        A shallow pastry case filled with various mixtures of food

Fume                                                    Smoked


Glace                                                     A concentrated form of various stocks, i.e. glace de viande (meat glaze)

Gratiner                                               To color food golden brown under a salamander or in an oven, after sprinkling with cheese or breadcrumbs (see ‘au gratin’)


Hors d’oeuvre                                   A single or variety of foods, served at the commencement of a meal to stimulate appetite


Julienne                                               Cut into very fine strips

Ju-lie                                                     A thickened gravy

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Liaison                                                  Used to thicken, bind or enrich


Macèdoine                                         Vegetables or fruits cut into dice and mixed

Marinade                                            A mixture of various seasonings, herbs and spices with vinegar/wine/oil/water used to flavor and tenderize

Menu                                                    A list of dishes offered

Mirepoix                                              A roughly diced mixture of carrot, onion, celery, used for flavoring

Mise en place                                    Basic preparations for cooking.


Paysanne                                            A thin cut approximately 12 mm in diameter if round or 12 mm x 12 mm across

Printaniere                                         A garnish of spring vegetables

Pulse                                                     Any vegetable, grown in a pod or casing in the fried preserved form


Roux                                                      A mixture of cooked fat and flour used as a thickening


Sabayon                                               A mixture of yolks of egg and liquid cooked to the smooth texture of the cream

Salamander                                        An appliance heated from above; used for cooking and coloring foods

Seasonal flour                                   Flour with the addition of salt

Shred                                                    To thinly slice

Saidur Rahman
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