Master Over 33 French Cooking Verbs

Cooking verbs in French

Are you at your best when in a kitchen? Maybe you’re more like me and prefer to eat out at nice restaurants. Either way, our lists of French cooking verbs are going to prove very useful whether you cook or not. When dining out, some of these verbs can help describe how you’d like your food prepared or cooked.

For your first mini-lesson here’s the French verb for cook: cuisiner

Many connoisseurs of food would argue that French cooking is an art and that French cuisine is among the best in the world. Let’s investigate some French cooking vocabulary and find out what exactly is the magic they put into those French recipes.

French Cooking Terms – Present Tense

This French cooking vocabulary is presented in present tense form. You’ll see many of these words in a French cookbook. We’ll take a look in the next section at how to speak in the continuous tense which makes it easier to talk about what you or someone else is actually doing in the kitchen.

EnglishFrench TranslationPronunciation
to bakecuire
to blendà mélanger
to boilbouillir
to burnbrûler
to chillrefroidir
to fermentfermenter
to foldplier
to fryfaire frire
to grillgriller
to mixmélanger
to peeléplucher
to poachpocher
to preparepréparer
to presspresser
to roastrôtir
to scalds’ébouillanter
to steamcuire à la vapeur
to stewmijoter
to stirremuer
to tenderizeattendrir
to trimcouper
to washlaver
to whiskfouetter

French Cooking Terms – Continuous Tense

French cooking verbs

This French cooking vocabulary is presented in the continuous tense form. You can use these French cooking verbs to discuss the present, future, or past. We’ll take a look in the next section at how to speak in the past tense.

EnglishFrench TranslationPronunciation
PreparingEn train de préparer
Steamingcuire à la vapeur
WashingLa lessive

French Cooking Terms – Past Tense

Cooking verbs in French

This French cooking vocabulary is presented in past tense form. You may want to also learn some French adjectives to help you describe how something has been cooked.

EnglishFrench TranslationPronunciation
SteamedÀ la vapeur

French Cuisine

French cuisine

French food is sought after around the world. Among the most notable French recipes are Boeuf Bourguignon, a slow-cooked beef, and Moules Marinières (mussels). But the most cherished French recipe is their national dish, Pot-Au-Feu. This is a hearty stew, filled with herbs, marrowbone and root vegetables.

Some other famous French dishes you’ve likely heard of and may be wary to try are escargot (snails), frog’s legs (cuisses de grenouilles), or pig feet (Pieds de porc). You may be wary but trust me, all are incredible.

To learn more about famous French recipes, have a look at our article all about delicious French foods to try.

French Cooking Methods

Cooking styles in French

French cooking incorporates many different styles. Seafood for example may be boiled, steamed, baked, or fried in a frying pan. Meats may be cooked in a double boiler and covered in a thick sauce, or simply pan-fried in a roasting pan.

Sometimes the French will even serve you raw meat such as steak tar tar, which is actually tremendously delicious by the way.

Here are some cooking techniques that are used in preparing French foods:

  • slow cooking (cuisson lente)
  • deep frying (friture)
  • sauté (sauté)
  • stir fry (sauté)
  • braising (braiser)
  • confit (confit)
  • broiling (griller)
  • En papillote
  • Flambéing (Flambé)
  • low temperature simmer (mijoter à basse température)
  • everything in its place (Mise en place)

French Eating Customs

France certainly care about etiquette. It’s customary to eat everything with a fork and knife in hand except for soups, breads, and sandwiches. This means no picking up your pizza slice and eating it! No, no, you must cut it up into small bite sized pieces.

Also, you’ll be given a napkin with every meal. It’s meant to be placed on your lap not tucked into your shirt as a bib.

When ordering food, it isn’t customary to share your meal. Rather, everyone orders their own dish and meals are served in order of an appetizer (apéritif), a main (le repas principal), and dessert (le dessert).

It’s also very common for wine (vin) to accompany your meal as the French are quite proud of their wine culture.

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