50 Easy Thai Cooking Terms To Learn Today

Interested in cooking Asian delicacies like Kaeng som or classic Pad Thai but do not know that basic Thai cooking terms? In this post, we will walk you through all the vocabulary commonly used in Thai cooking so that you can easily follow recipes in an instant. In addition, we will give you an overview of the basic ingredients used in traditional Thai-style cuisine. If you are up for that, then let’s start learning.

Whether you are a traveler or someone who has Thai friends and colleagues, then perhaps one of the topics that you might come across is อาหาร (pronounced as ahan) or food. You see, Thailand has always been considered one of the top Asian countries with amazing cuisine that is usually healthy (with lots of vegetables or ผัก) and easily available for a low price. Some of their top recipes include the ผัดเปรี้ยวหวาน (sweet & sour stir-fry), แกงเขียวหวาน (green chicken curry), ข้าวผัด (stir-fried rice), and ข้าวคลุกกะปิ (shrimp paste rice) and if you haven’t heard any of these yet then you should try cooking it soon!

And speaking of cooking, the Thai style of cooking is remarkable in the sense that it is not as labor-intensive as most Western recipes. In fact, a basic Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai coconut chicken soup) will only take you 15 minutes to cook and be ready to serve so long as you have all the ingredients ready! As for the flavors of the basic Thai food, the locals love balancing all flavors at once:

  • เค็ม (khem or salty).
  • หวาน (hwan or sweet).
  • เผ็ด (phed or spicy).
  • ขม (khom or bitter).

And the best part of it all? Cooking Thai food will only require you to use basic cookware and ingredients. Before we discuss all the commonly used terms for cooking Thai food, let us first give you a rundown of the basic translations for common kitchenwares.

EnglishThai Pronunciation Guide
Fry pan/skilletกระทะKratha
OvenเตาอบTao ko
Teaspoonช้อนชาChon cha
Tablespoonช้อนโต๊ะChon to
Chopping boardเขียงK̄heīyng
Rice potหม้อข้าวMo khao
Hot potหม้อไฟMo fai
Soup potหม้อแกงMo kaeng


31 Commonly Used Thai Cooking Terms

31 Commonly Used Thai Cooking Terms

Like in any language, there are distinct words created especially for a country’s way of life. While other English cooking styles are also used in Thai cuisine, some do not directly translate. You will read below those with direct translations, so be sure to memorize the ones below to sound like a total pro.

EnglishThaiPronunciation Guide
To boil/ grillปิ้งPhing
To boil ต้ม Tom
To boil downเคี่ยวKhiao
To braiseตุ๋นTun
To broil meatผิงPing
To chop/ minceสับSap
To coatชุบChup
To cookทำอาหารTam a-han
To cutตัดTạd
To dissolve/ meltละลายLalai
To fryทอดToot
To glazeเคลือบKhelụ̄xb
To grillย่างỲāng
To grindตำTam
To kneadนวดNwd
To marinateหมักH̄mạk
To mix togetherผสมPasom
To peelลอกLok
To pinchคีบKeeb
To pourราดRat
To roastคั่วKhua
To sautéผัดP̄hạd
To scoopตักTak
To sift / filterกรองKrong
To sliceแล่Lae
To snipซอยSoi
To steamนึ่งNụ̀ng
To stew / simmerหลน Lon 
To stuffยัดYat
To wrapห่อHo

Now that you already know some of the cooking styles, please be sure to check out our previous posts on popular Thai dishes and traditional food so that you can check which types of food makes use of these styles. If you are already in Thailand and would like to order specific dishes, check out this special guide about structuring a sentence when ordering at restaurants.


33 Common Thai Ingredients

If you have been tasting traditional Thai dishes, you probably understand it when we say that there is something unique with how they bring out flavors, whether in the meat, soup, or grilled food. Below are some of the common ingredients used aside from soy sauce (ซีอิ๊ว), oyster sauce (ซอสหอยนางรม), kaffir lime (มะกรูด), green onions (หัวหอมเขียว), and chilies (พริก).

EnglishThaiPronunciation Guide
Bay leafใบกระวานBai krawan
Bean sproutsถั่วงอกT̄hạ̀wngxk
Chili pepperพริกขี้หนูPhrik khihnu
Coconut milkกะทิKathi
Curry powderผงกะหรี่P̄hng kah̄rī̀
Fish sauceน้ำปลาNam pla
Noodlesเส้นก๋วยเตี๋ยวSen Goo ay dtee o
Palm sugarน้ำตาลปาล์มN̂ảtāl pāl̒m
Porkเนื้อหมูNua Moo
Rice flourแป้งข้าวจ้าวPæ̂ng k̄ĥāw ĉāw
Rice noodlesขนมจีนKanom jeen
Shrimp pasteกะปิKampi
Spinachปวยเล้งBuai leng
Sugarน้ำตาลNam than
Thai chili sauceน้ำพริกNam phrik
Thai curryเครื่องแกงKruang Gang
Tofuเต้าหู้Tau hu



Easy Thai Cooking Terms To Learn Today


Which of these Thai food terms are you interested in coming across when reading Thai recipes? Are there any pan-fried dishes you want to try?

Whatever that may be, we hope that you enjoyed this post and will find the confidence to use these in real-life conversations about cooking. To expand your vocabulary in this language or in 60+ foreign languages, we highly recommend that you check out the Ling App.

Simya Solutions’ Ling App is a FREE beginner-friendly language learning platform guaranteed to support you with its comprehensive resources for mastering Thai. This is ideal to use may you be a student, an enthusiast, or a professional since you will only need 10 minutes a day to practice with this handy tool. Get to know more about this by downloading it today via Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore!

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