Kitchen-Reference Guide

You're about to unlock your inner chef with this handy reference for kitchen terms, substitutions, and more.

DissolveTo incorporate a solid ingredient/food to a liquid to form a solution or mixture.
DrizzleThe process of pouring a thin stream of liquid such as glaze or butter over food.
DustThe process of sprinkling a thin layer of powdered ingredient such as cocoa powder, flour and confectioners’ sugar over food.
Egg Wash

(noun) Beaten eggs. Sometimes additional liquid such as milk and water are added.

(verb) To brush a layer of beaten egg mixture over the surface of food, typically to add colour after it is baked.

EmulsionA mixture containing liquids that are immiscible such as oil and water.
ExtractRefers to the natural substance that has been extracted straight from its source. For example, vanilla extract is the substance that has been retrieved straight from vanilla pods.
FoldA technique used to describe the gentle incorporation of dry to liquid ingredients. It is typically done using a whisk or rubber spatula.
Firm peaksRefers to a stage in whipping. When you lift up your beaters/whisk, the peaks should hold their shape better than soft peaks. Firm peaks have more distinct ridges, but with tips that are slightly bent.
GlazeTo make the surface of a food shiny by coating with a layer of sugar, butter, or any other glossy liquid.
GrainyRefers to the texture of a substance – not smooth/fine, has granular bits.
Grease (verb)To lubricate or oil something (usually a pan) with a fat, usually butter.
IncorporateTo add one substance to another and mix them together such that they are evenly distributed.
InfuseTo immerse/steep/soak something into a liquid to extract its flavours.
KneadTo work dough (usually for bread) by massaging, stretching, pulling and folding it.
MacerateThe process of softening a food by soaking it in liquid.
MeltHeating a solid product to form a liquid.
MinceUsing a knife or sharp object to chop something very finely/into very small pieces.
MixTo combine two or more substances together.
MoldTo pinch or give shape to something, such as bread or pie dough.
ParchmentUsed to line baking pans to prevent food from sticking to them.

(noun) the outer skin or covering of a food such as orange or lemon.

(verb) Removing the outer layer or skin of something.

PinchUsing your fingers to press something (usually a pie dough) together.
PipeTo squeeze a liquid substance (usually a frosting) through a piping bag for decorating purposes.
PreheatTurning the oven/pan beforehand to let it come to the desired temperature.
ProofLetting the shaped bread dough have its final rise before baking.
Punch downDeflating bread dough, eliminating air bubbles so that it can be easily kneaded and shaped after its first rise. Contrary to its name, this process should be carried out gently.
ReduceThe process of thickening and reducing the amount of liquid in a liquid substance through simmering or boiling in order to intensify its flavour. Opposite of dilute.
Rolling boilHappens when a liquid or mixture has reached its boiling temperature and produces a lot of bubbles. Required in some baking processes, such as making choux pastry for cream puffs. Bringing a mixture to a rolling boil will emulsify the butter into the other liquid ingredients, which will give you a smooth product.
Rubbing inTypically used to refer to the process of crumbling and breaking butter into small pieces rubbing them into flour. Usually used to make food like crumble topping and shortcrust pastry.
ScaldHeating liquid until it reaches the temperature just before its boiling point. Indicated by the formation of small bubbles around the edges of your pan.
ScoreSlashing the surface of food such as bread/pie dough, cakes and meat using a sharp knife.
SievePutting a food through a sieve to separate solids from liquids, or lumps from powdered material.
SimmerThe process of bringing a liquid to a temperature that is slightly below its boiling point, and letting it bubble gently.

(noun) the outer layer of a fruit, vegetable, or meat.

(verb) to remove the outer layer of a fruit, vegetable, or meat.

Softened butterButter that has been left at room temperature for a while until it is no longer hard and cold. It should still be cold to the touch and form an indentation when pressed.
Soft peaks A stage in whipping where the peaks are able to hold their shape when your whisk/beaters are lifted. They are soft and melt back into the mixture after some time.
SprinkleTo lightly scatter something (sugar, toppings etc) over a food.
Stiff peaks Refers to a stage in whipping. This refers to peaks that do not collapse at all when the beaters/whisk is lifted. At this point, the mixture should be very thick. Don’t continue whipping when you’ve reached this stage since it’ll result in overbeating.
StirMixing a substance by moving a kitchen utensil/tool in circular motions.
TemperA technique used to raise the temperature of a substance gradually. Typically used for eggs and chocolate. When tempering eggs, a hot liquid is slowly added to the mixture in small amounts to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Under-proofingUsually in reference to bread dough. This occurs when the fermentation time isn’t long enough, so the air bubbles produced are not enough for the desired bread texture. If your proofed bread dough bounces back immediately when poked, it is under-proofed and needs more time to rise.
Whip (verb)Beating liquid ingredients such as heavy cream and egg whites using a whisk or mixer to produce volume. Air is incorporated into the liquid in this process, making it light, voluminous, and frothy.
WhiskA kitchen tool used to blend, beat, and incorporate air into a mixture.
ZestMade by scraping the outer layer of the skin of citrus fruits using a grater. Used to add flavour to food.

Liquid Measurements:

  • 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup | 1/2 pint | 237 milliliters | 16 tablespoons
  • 16 fluid ounces = 2 cups | 1 pint |473 milliliters
  • 32 fluid ounces = 4 cups | 2 pints | 1 quart | 946 milliliters
  • 128 fluid ounces = 4 quarts | 1 gallon | 3.784 liters
  • 8 quarts = one peck
  • 4 pecks = one bushel

Dry Measurements:

  • 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup | 1 fluid ounce | 28.3 grams
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup |2 fluid ounces | 56.7 grams
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup | 2.6 fluid ounces | 75.6 grams
  • 8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup | 4 ounces | 113.4 grams | 1 stick butter
  • 12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup | 6 ounces | .375 pound | 170 grams
  • 32 tablespoons = 2 cups | 16 ounces | 1 pound | 453.6 grams
  • 64 tablespoons = 4 cups | 32 ounces | 2 pounds | 907 grams

Grab our downloadable printable for measurement conversions.

IMPORTANT: When subbing baking pans watch the baking time because the change of pan dimensions might change the time of cooking. Keep an eye on the oven.

Square Pans:
8×2 inch square (20 x 5 cm) = 8 cups (1.9 liters) the same as a 9×2 inch round pan
9×2 inch square (23 x 5 cm) = 10 cups (2.4 liters) the same as an 11×7 rectangular pan
10×2 inch square = (25 x 5 cm) = 12 cups (2.8 liters) the same as a 10x 2.5 inch springform pan or 9×3 inch tube pan or 12×17 inch jelly roll pan.

Round Pans:
6×2 inches (15 x 5cm) = 4 cups (960ml) the same as the 8×4 inch loaf pan
8×2 inches (20 x 5cm) = 6 cups (1.4 liters) the same as a 8x2inch round pan
9×2 inches (23 x 5cm) = 8 cups (1.9 liters) the same as an 8×2 inch square pan or 9×5 inch loaf pan

Rectangular Pans – 2 inch (5 cm) tall
11×7 inches (28 x 18 cm) = 10 cups (2.4 liters) the same as an 8×2 inch square pan or 9×2.5 inch springform pan or bundt pan or 10×15 inch jelly roll pan
13×9 inches (33 x 23 cm) = 14 cups (3.3 liters) 

Springform Pans:
9x 2.5 inches (23 x 6 cm) = 10 cups (2.4 liters) the same as an 9×2 inch square pan or 11×7 inch pan or bundt pan or 10×15 inch jelly roll pan
10x 2.5 inches (25 x 6 cm) = 12 cups (2.8 liters) the same as a 10×2 inch square pan or 9×3 inch tube pan or bundt pan or 12×15 jelly roll pan.

Tube Pan:
9×3 inches (23 x 8 cm) =  12 cups (2.8 liters) the dame as a 10×2 inch square pan or 10×2.5 inch springform pan or bundt pan or 12×17 inch jelly roll pan.

Bundt Pan – designs are different so the volume might vary.
10×3 inch (25 x 8 cm) = 10-12 cups (2.8 liters) the same as an 9×2 inch square pan or 11×7 inch rectangular pan or 9×2.5 inch springform pan or 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.

Loaf Pans – about 3 inches (8 cm) tall 
8×4 inch (20 x 10 cm) = 4 cups (960 ml) the same as a 6×2 inch round pan 
9×5  inch (23 x 13 cm) = 8 cups (1.9 liters) the same as a 8×2 inch square pan or 9×2 inch round pan or 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Jelly Roll Pans – 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall
10×15 inches (27 x 39 cm) = 10 cups (2.4 liters) the same as a 9×2 inch square pan or a 11×7 inch rectangular pan or 9×2.5 inch springform pan or bundt pan.
12×17 inches (32 x 44 cm) = 12 cups (2.8 liters) the same as a 10×2 inch square pan or 10×2.5 inch springform pan or 9×3 inch tube pan or bundt pan.

Our Mission

In our company, we aim to make home cooks happy by providing them with the best resources and community, regardless of their experience or budget. 

We believe that home cooks of all levels and budgets should feel confident and supported in their cooking journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the Novice Cook Who Isn't Sure Where to Get Started

We have answers for you!

→ Check out the Kitchen-Reference guide to learn the definitions of various kitchen terms (like what the heck is folding?), what pan to use if you don’t have the one you need, and even how many tablespoons in a cup…etc.   
→ Check out In NellieBellie’s Cupboard for my list of essential kitchen supplies and the quick link to my favorites!
→ Don’t miss the Learn to Cook section.
→ And for SURE don’t miss the 5 Ingredients or Less Section. Those recipes are guaranteed to help you gain confidence in the kitchen fast! 

No way! We believe that home cooks of all levels should feel confident and supported in their cooking journey.” — that includes you! We just ask that you follow the directions, have fun, and watch for the tips and tutorials that we’ve included for novice cooks. I think our Short-Cut Cooking recipes are the perfect place for you to start looking for new recipes. And don’t miss the Learn to Cook section as the perfect starting place for learning new skills!

A large mixing bowl, whisk, chef’s knife, baking sheet, and skillet should get you started on most recipes. As you do more cooking & baking you’ll find yourself building on the basic supplies you need to. In fact, check out my essential supplies list for a tiny kitchen. This list was created when we were renting and I had to condense my supplies down a TON. This list will give you a great place to start as well as tell you how you can multi-purpose several tools, if needed.

To learn more about the tools and supplies I keep on hand in my own current kitchen, check out what’s In the NellieBellie Cupboard for links and info.

You’ll want to keep some basic baking and cooking ingredients on hand. Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, oil, salt, pepper, bouillon, pasta or rice, and canned beans are some items most people find useful. As you start using recipes you’ll learn more of what ingredients would be helpful to keep in your pantry.

If you want to learn more now, check out what I keep stocked In the NellieBellie Cupboard.

We have LOTS of recipes for Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free diets. On the recipe index page we have an easy button to sort via diet. You’ll find lots of great recipes! 

Check out the recipe collection –>.

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