Lots of my students get confused about English verbs when reading cooking instructions in recipes!! Here is a list of common English verbs used in recipes and kitchens everywhere!


cut: To separate or divide into pieces, using a sharp tool (eg: a knife).

Miranda has cut some apple for the children to eat.

slice: To cut into thin, wide pieces.

I’ll slice the bread so it’s ready for the sandwiches.

chop: To cut into small pieces (generally used with vegetables).

The vegetables need to be chopped before they go into the oven.

carve: To cut cooked meat into slices.

My dad carves the turkey on Christmas Day.

mince: to chop food (normally meat) into very small pieces. A machine is often used to do this.

The meat is minced before they make hamburgers.

grate: To divide into small parts by rubbing on a sharp surface. Usually used with cheese, fruits and vegetables.

He always grates cheese onto his spaghetti.

peel: To remove the skin of fruits or vegetables.

Can you peel the potatoes and add them to the soup?

add: To put ingredients together; to put one ingredient with the others.

Add the mushrooms to the mix.

bake: To cook in an oven by using heat.

Put the cake in the oven and bake it for 40 minutes.

beat: To mix quickly and continually, commonly used with eggs.

Beat the eggs together in the bowl.

knead: To press and stretch dough, usually used with making bread.

Gently knead the dough for 5 minutes.

mix: To combine two or more things using a spoon, spatula, or electric mixer.

Mix the sugar, flour and butter together in the bowl.

stir: To mix liquid ingredients by moving a spoon around in a circular motion.

You need to stir the soup every 15 minutes, so it doesn’t stick.

melt: to make something solid become liquid, by heating.

Melt the butter in the microwave.


barbecue: To cook foods (primarily meat) on a grill by using fire or hot coals.

He is barbecuing the meat while watching the football.

marinate: To soak meat or vegetables in juices and spices to flavour it.

I marinate the chicken in vinegar, lemon, lime and sugar.

boil: To heat water until little bubbles form.

Wait until the water is boiling before you add the sugar.

cook: To prepare food by heating it, so the food is not raw.

John cooks dinner on Wednesday evenings.

fry: To cook by putting the food into extremely hot oil.

To make chips, you need to fry slices of potatoes.

grill: To cook by putting the food on a grill; similar to barbecue.

Do you want me to grill or roast the lamb?

microwave: To heat up food within a microwave oven.

Are you hungry? You can microwave the soup in the fridge.

roast: To cook in the oven or over a fire.

She roasted the vegetables in the oven.

stir fry: To cook small pieces of food by moving it quickly in hot oil (similar to saute)

sauté: To quickly fry food by placing it in hot oil in a frying pan (similar to stir fry)

scramble: To mix the white and yellow parts of eggs together while cooking them in a pan.

steam: To cook by placing the food above boiling water. Steam is the vapor that comes from hot water

crack: to break or snap apart

Then, crack the egg into the saucepan.

break: To separate into smaller parts by force.

We should break the chocolate into pieces so everyone gets a piece.

combine: To put two or more things together.

Combine the flour, sugar and cocoa in the mixing bowl.

grease: To cover with a layer of oil or butter.

Grease the baking tray before you add the mixture.

measure: To obtain an exact quantity.

Can you measure half 300g of flour for me?

open: To allow things to pass through something, the opposite of closed.

I opened a jar of jam. / If you open the fridge, you’ll see the cake!

pour: To transfer liquid from one container to another.

Use the jug to pour water into the glasses.

put: To place something in a particular position or location.

Put the lettuce in the bowl.

wash: To immerse food in water and make sure it becomes clean.

Wash the tomatoes before you cut them.

weigh: To measure the weight (grams or pounds) or something

I need 500g of beef mince. Can you weigh it for me?


REMEMBER: Lots of these Verbs become adjectives to describe food. For example:

  • Stir-fried vegetables (vegetables that has been stir-fried)
  • Scrambled Eggs (eggs that has been scrambled)
  • Microwave popcorn (corn that has been microwaved)
  • Crushed garlic (garlic that has been crushed)
  • Fried eggplant (eggplant that has been fried)