Quick Recipes and Easy

Common Abbreviations and Terminology Used in Cooking

My mother has a tale of her first cookbook. She and my dad lived in student housing with a baby and very small money. She received a gift of a gourmet cookbook. She opened it for the first time and felt intimidated, she had to go to the grocer and question him to clarify what all the abbreviations and new words meant. Years later she now keeps this cookbook as a gentle reminder of her humble beginnings.

Well, it is still intimidating at times especially for new cooks. Here is some common abbreviations and terminology used in cooking.


Tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
C = cup

Measuring spoons will usually have teaspoons broken down into 1/4 tsp., 1/3 tsp., 1/2 tsp., and 1 teaspoon and also include a 1 tablespoon.

Dry measure cups come in the same fashion with 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and a 1 cup. They are flat on top to allow for simple measuring and leveling off the top. Liquid measure cups usually have a spout and ounce markings to measure the liquids.


Boil: Bring any liquid to a high heat until it bubbles.

Gentle Boil: A slow bubbling, the liquid will be hot but not as hot as a rolling boil.

Rolling Boil: This is a vigorous boil with a lot of bubbles.

Simmer: In this method the ingredients are heated to just before the boiling point and kept at this temperature.

Braise: This is a moist cooking method that uses a small amount of liquid in a pan with a lid that fits tightly. By boiling in this method the liquid does not evaporate off and the meat or vegetables being cooked will be moist and tender.

Brown: This method uses a frying pan to ‘brown’ the outside of meat. When browning large cuts of meat only the outside cooks, the inner meat remains raw and is cooked by a different method.

Bake: This refers to using a dry heat in the oven.

Broil: This method uses extremely high heat in the oven. The food is cooked from above and crisps up quickly.

Fold: This is a blending method that uses a spoon to bring the ingredients at the bottom of a bowl gently up to the top. Once at the top fold the mixture over on top of itself. Repeat this several times to blend all the ingredients.

Shauna Hanus is a gourmet cook who specializes in making gourmet meal plans. She has extensive experience cooking with simple to find grocery items to make delightful gourmet meals. She is also the publisher of a no cost bi-monthly gourmet newsletter. Her newsletter is always fun and informational packed with tips and trivia you can use everyday. gourmayeats.com gourmayeats.com

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