Example of roasting a chicken
Kitchen Tips & Tricks

13 Cooking Methods Defined

One thing recipes have in common is that they all include a cooking method. Some home chefs are confident and understand every type of cooking method. However, for some home chefs they could really use some clarification as to what each method means. Below is a list of thirteen often used cooking methods and their descriptions. 

Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook by dry heat especially in an oven.* 
Bake is one of the most common directions in recipes. If you want to make a cake or brownies you need to bake them. You can also bake chicken or fish in the oven. The term bake can be used for regular ovens, pizza ovens, convection ovens or toaster ovens. I love to bake my Christmas Snickerdoodles all year long.
Merriam-Webster Definition: to generate bubbles of vapor when heated – used of a liquid, to cook in boiling water.*
The term boil comes to mind the most often when making pasta, however, you can boil potatoes and eggs too. The act of boiling causes the water to produce moving bubbles, referred to as a roiling boil. When you are making homemade fudge you need to bring it to a roiling boil.
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook slowly in fat and a small amount of liquid in a closed pot.* 
Braising uses both dry and moist cooking techniques. It is great for cooking tougher cuts of meat. To braise you brown the meat on all four sides and then cover with liquid and cook until the meat is tender. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook by direct exposure to radiant heat.*
Broil cooks the food only on the top in the oven. It is a great way to brown a casserole or get extra crispy roasted veggies. I always leave my oven door slightly cracked when broiling as you can quickly burn your dish. Or as I have done you can catch your garlic bread on fire, oops. 
Photo showing a sauce simmering
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook in a pan or on a griddle over heat especially with the use of fat.*
The most common stovetop cooking is to fry. Depending on what I am frying I will use butter or oil in the pan. I love to make fried eggs with some butter in the pan.  
Merriam-Webster Definition: to broil on a grill.*
Grilling is cooking your food from the flame underneath of the food. Whether you use a gas grill or a charcoal grill it is still cooking your food from the flame. It is easier to keep a consistent heat with a gas grill than a charcoal grill, however, the taste of a charcoal grill is really unique and one I love. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook in simmering liquid.*
Poaching water will not have any bubbles just a slight ripple. It is best for cooking eggs or fish. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook by exposing to dry heat (as in an oven or before a fire) or by surrounding with hot embers, sand, or stones.*
Roasting is most commonly used with meats such as a roast chicken or a pork roast. When you roast something you cook it in the oven. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to fry (food, such as small pieces of meat or vegetables) in a small amount of fat.* 
To sauté something you cook it in oil or butter. I love to sauté mushrooms in some butter.  
Example of Stir-fry cooking
Merriam-Webster Definition: to cook the surface of quickly with intense heat.*
When cooking meat you want to sear all sides of the meat quickly to get a nice color on the meat and then you can finish it by putting the meat in the oven. Pork chops are great to sear and then finish in the oven. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to stew gently below or just at the boiling point.*
Homemade pasta sauce is one thing that is best when it simmers for a while on the stove top. Mushroom rice is another great example of a simmered dish. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to expose to the action of steam (as for softening or cooking).*
Most commonly you will use steam cooking for vegetables or dumplings. You can get many different steamer inserts for your cooking pans. 
Merriam-Webster Definition: to fry quickly over high heat in a lightly oiled pan (such as a wok) while stirring continuously. *
Most commonly you will use stir-fry cooking for Asian meals. I love to cook sweet n’ sour chicken in my wok.. 
*All definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary app. 

Cooking methods can determine what flavor you have in your finished meal. If you roast a pork chop in the oven it will taste differently than if you had cooked it on the grill. I find that I use a lot of different cooking techniques but only steam foods once and a while. What’s your most used cooking method?

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