Cooking – Vocabulary for Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate

Vocabulary for Cooking

The intermediate vocabulary builder for cooking

Some ways of cooking

There are 3 types of cooking ways which you should know about as a home cook: dry heat cooking, moist heat cooking, and combination cooking. Each of these uses heat and different cooking wares to cook food in different ways and obtain different results.

You boil potatoes or rice in a saucepan.

You grill toast or meat under a grill.

You also bake cakes [without oil] in the oven.

You can fry sausages in a frying pan.

You roast meat [using oil] in the oven.

You barbecue meat and fish on a barbecue.

Prepare and cook food


Peel the potatoes [remove the skin] and boil them.


While they’re boiling, chop an onion. [cut it into small pieces]


Then stir it all for a few minutes. [move it around in a saucepan using

a spoon]


Fry the onion before adding some chopped tomatoes. [putting them together with the




 containing or having a taste like sugar 


having a sharp, sometimes unpleasant, taste or smell, like a lemon, and not sweet

Unami (savoury)

a strong taste that is not sweet, sour, salty, or bitter and that is often referred to as “the fifth taste”


having a strong sharp taste, like black coffee without sugar


tasting of or containing salt


smelling or tasting very strong and sharp

Are you a good cook?

Common mistakes



lower position

no formal + prof. training

work under a chef

involved in cooking directly

less professional

follow recipe/ chef instruction



higher position

have formal + prof. training

lead a team of cook

not involved in cooking

more professional

create/ make recipe

  1. A person who cooks well is a good cook (NOT a good cooker). The cooker is the large piece of equipment you use for cooking. You could also say that you are good/bad at cooking (NOT good/bad in cooking), e.g. I’m quite good at cooking fish.
  2. Also we ‘cook’ a type of food, e.g. I’m cooking some beef, but we ‘make’ a dish, e.g. I’m making dessert. (NOT I’m cooking dessert.)
  3. Note: dessert /dɪˈzɜːt/ and desert /ˈdez.ət/

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