Cooking Basics 

Like any new skill, cooking takes time and practice. Learning and understanding of cooking basics will help you practice the skills you need to become a star in the kitchen.

Sharpen your cooking skills with these helpful tips:

  • Start by picking a recipe and planning each step.
  • TIP: Use this guide to see what fruits and vegetables are in season right now to help pick ingredients and recipes.
  • Gather all the ingredients and utensils you need.
  • Dry and liquid measuring cups are different from each other. Use a dry measuring cup for ingredients like flour, sugar, baking soda, or baking powder. Liquid measuring cups are for oil, water, milk, melted butter, or any other fluid.
  • If you don’t have the tools above, use your hand to help measure portion sizes.

Measuring Portion Sizes

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Measurement Conversion Chart:

Use this chart to reference cooking measurement equivalents. This can be used for measuring liquids in a recipe.

1 Tablespoon = 3 Teaspoons0.5 fluid ounce
1/8 Cup = 2 Tablespoons1 fluid ounce
1/4 Cup =4 Tablespoons = 2 fluid ounces
1/3 Cup = 5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon2.65 fluid ounces
½ Cup = 8 Tablespoons =4 fluid ounces
2/3 Cup =10 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons5.3 fluid ounces
¾ Cup =12 Tablespoons =6 fluid ounces
1 Cup =48 Teaspoons =8 fluid ounces
1 Cup =16 Tablespoons = 8 fluid ounces
1 Pint =2 Cups = 16 fluid ounces
1 Quart =4 Cups = 32 fluid ounces
1 Gallon =4 Quarts = 128 fluid ounces

Cooking Terms:

  • Al Dente:  Italian to describe pasta that is cooked until it offers a slight resistance to the bite.
  • Baste:  Foods moistened during cooking by pan drippings or by sauce for flavor and to prevent the food from drying out.
  • Braise: To brown meat in a small amount of fat, then cook slowly in a covered container with a small amount of liquid.
  • Broil:  To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.
  • Cored:  With the stem and hard center part removed.
  • Cream: To stir or mix ingredients until they are soft and creamy.
  • Diced:  Cut up into cubes or squares about the size of dice.
  • Fillet:  To remove the bones from meat or fish. A fillet (or filet) is the piece after it has been boned.
  • Minced:  Finely chopped.
  • Marinate: To allow food to stand in oil and acid mixture to add flavor or tenderize.
  • A Pinch:  Small amount you can pinch between your finger and thumb.
  • Pitted or Seeded:  With the pits or seeds removed.
  • Poach: To cook food in hot liquid.
  • Sauté:  To cook something gently in a little oil.
  • Simmer:  To cook at a very gentle boil. A liquid is simmering when bubbles form slowly and break just below the surface.
  • Stir Fry: To cook and stir small pieces of food quickly in a small amount of oil until just tender.
  • To Taste:  Taste it to see whether you want to add more or less of an ingredient.
  • Toss:  To mix together lightly.

Cooking Abbreviations:

c = Cup

t or tsp. = Teaspoon

T or Tbsp. or Tbs. = Tablespoon

oz. = Ounces

lb. = Pound