portuguese cooking tools vocabulary

A Portuguese Kitchen

Enjoying food is an important part of the culture of Portugal. Whether you’re buying groceries, ordering at a restaurant, or just talking about food, you’ll need to be comfortable with the basics of Portuguese cooking vocabulary. To start, let’s focus on some of the things you might find in a Portuguese kitchen.

Food Storage

There are many different places and containers you can use to store or preserve food.

  • Food that can be stored at room temperature can be placed in a despensa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the pantry, in the armário de cozinha paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio kitchen cabinet, or right on a bancada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the counter or mesa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio table. Fruit, in particular, can be put in a fruteira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio fruit holder, which might be a bowl, basket, or a whole multi-tiered stand.
  • Food that needs to be preserved at lower temperatures could be placed in the frigorífico paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio fridge, others in o congelador Play normal audio the freezer. Some people might have a arca frigorífica paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio freezer cabinet, which is a larger freezer, separate from the fridge.

Cooking Tools and Appliances

Knives

To prepare food on the kitchen counter or table, we often use a tábua de cortar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cutting board
When cutting meat or vegetables, you might use a faca de chef paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio chef's knife or a faca para vegetais paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio paring knife. If you’re cutting bread, then a faca serrilhada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio serrated knife would be more appropriate.

Utensils

  • colheres de pau paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio wooden spoons
  • pinças paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio tongs
  • espátulas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio spatulas
  • coadorcolander
  • ralador paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio grater
  • batedor paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio whisk
  • quebra-nozes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio nutcracker
  • rolo da massa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio rolling pin

Appliances

  • o micro-ondas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio microwave
  • o fogão paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio stove
  • placa de indução paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio induction cooktop
  • o forno paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio oven
  • grelhador paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio grill
  • liquidificadora paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio blender
  • chaleira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio kettle
  • panela de pressão paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pressure cooker
  • processador de alimentos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio food processor
  • a tostadeira Play normal audio sandwich / panini press
  • batedeira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio mixer
  • espremedor paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio juicer
  • cafeteira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio coffee maker
  • balança paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio scale
  • a máquina de lavar loiça paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the dishwasher (Or just wash them in o lava-loiça paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the kitchen sink)
  • a máquina de lavar roupa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the washing machine

Cookware

  • panelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pots
  • caçarolas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio casseroles
  • tachos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pans
  • frigideiras paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio frying pans
  • luvas (de forno) paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio oven mitts

Tableware

Tableware includes os talheres Play normal audio cutlery, os pratos Play normal audio plates, serving dishes and copos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio glassware.
When it comes to cutlery, the three main eating utensils are colheres paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio spoons, garfos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio forks and facas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio knives.
Here are some other common items you may see at a Portuguese table:

  • travessa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio platter
  • tigela Play normal audio bowl taça paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bowl
  • concha paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio ladle
  • cesto de pão paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bread basket
  • colher de café paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio coffee spoon
  • jarro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pitcher, jug
  • copo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio glass
  • chávena paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cup
  • caneca paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio mug
  • a garrafa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bottle
  • o guardanapo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio napkin
  • pires paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio saucer

Cooking Techniques

Our guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some Portuguese vocabulary for cooking methods!

  • assado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio roasted assada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio roasted
  • grelhado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio grilled grelhada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio grilled
  • cozido a vapor paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio steamed cozida a vapor paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio steamed
  • frito paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio fried frita paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio fried
  • cozido paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cooked, boiled cozida paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cooked, boiled
  • fervido paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio boiled fervida paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio boiled

In Portuguese we do not used “barbecued” to express how something was cooked. We say grelhado when you use a grill, whether it’s a barbecue or a stove, and we say assado when you use an oven. There is one exception though: don’t be surprised when you hear frango assado for barbecued chicken. Let’s see a few examples in context:
Peixe com batatas cozidas. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Fish with boiled potatoes.
Legumes cozidos a vapor. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Steamed vegetables.
O pastel de bacalhau é frito. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The codfish cake is fried.
Ela gosta de carne assada. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio She likes roasted meat
Salmão grelhado é saudável. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Grilled salmon is healthy.

Cooking Meat and Fish

  • Crua paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Raw – Not a great idea unless you like steak tartar, and definitely avoid it with chicken.
  • Mal passada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Rare to medium-rare
  • Ao ponto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Medium
  • Bem passada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Medium-well to well-done
  • Queimada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Burnt – Not a great idea either.

Cooking Eggs

  • estrelados paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio sunny side up
  • mexidos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio scrambled
  • escalfados paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio poached
  • omelete paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio omelet
  • Over-easy eggs are not so common that you could order them without having to explain how to cook them.

Cooking Potatoes

  • fritas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio fried
  • cozidas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio boiled, cooked
  • assadas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio roasted

Be careful when you go to a restaurant and ask for batatas fritas, since sometimes you get a side of potato chips and other times, French fries. You can ask them to clarify if the batatas fritas are served às rodelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio potato chips, crisps or em palitos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio French fries.

Comments

  • Wow, a lot of vocabulary to learn here!
    I’ve been going round my kitchen pointing at things and reciting. LOL
    Love the detail. Thank you!

  • I think it is time for more yellow post-its in the kitchen, thank you for this helpful vocabulary, particularly as we want to learn to cook traditional Portuguese meals.

  • The detail in this course marks it out as special.
    So much to learn yet but worth every moment of study.

    • Hi, Tommy. Both are absolutely fine – “O liquidificador” or “A liquidificadora”. The feminine variation derives from “A máquina liquidificadora” (the juicing machine), so it’s true that there is a certain adjectival nature there.

  • I have just put post it notes all around my kitchen, a minha esposa não está muito feliz !!!
    Thankyou for this language course, it is very good.
    One question , is tostadeira, a toasted sandwich maker, and is torradeira, a toaster ,(for making toast) ?

  • I love that Portuguese eggs are star side up rather than sunny side up! A whole new concept. I think I’m starry eyed about that one!

  • Excellent, thank you!
    Are cozido and fervido interchangeable for boiled or is there a difference somehow?

    • Thank you too, Frank! To answer your question, ‘cozido‘ and ‘fervido‘ are similar, but not entirely the same thing.

      If you’re cooking in boiling water, you can use both expressions, but keep in mind that ‘cozer‘ (‘to cook’) refers mainly to the cooking method itself, while ‘ferver‘ (‘to boil’) refers to the temperature, usually of the water used to cook the food. So, you can say “ferva a água” (‘boil the water’) when you want to bring it to boiling temperature, but you can’t say “coza a água” (‘cook the water’), because we don’t cook water. On the other hand, if you want to cook fish in boiling water, you can say either “coza o peixe” (‘cook the fish’) or “ferva o peixe” (‘boil the fish’, as in cook it at boiling temperature).

      When something is very hot (food, an object, the weather…), you can also say that it “está a ferver!” (‘it’s boiling hot!’).

    • Olá, Alan. You will hear and see both, and I couldn’t confirm if there is one that is more correct than the other – I don’t think so. Personally, if the context is obvious, I just say “arca”. I’m all for the simplest possible option 🙂

  • Hi,I often see the expression “frango ou borrego etc no forno”, which i know means in the oven, wheras you use only “assado/a” in this lesson. is there any particular reason for this?

    • Olá Robert! Both options are very commonly used. In this case, we were more focused on covering many of the simple adjectives we can use for direct descriptions of food. For something cooked no forno, we typically say assado, but it’s fine to use the former as well.

  • Hi guys, it would be really helpful if you included the gender of all these nouns. I find myself having to look all of them up to be sure.

    • Thanks for the feedback! We are working on some improvements that will allow us to add details such as gender, part of speech, etc. 🙂

    • Many times, we use them interchangeably to describe bowls. A ‘tigela’ (or ‘malga’, in the North) is always a bowl, but a ‘taça’ may also be a cup or glass with a stem/base. For example, we may use ‘taça’ to refer to champagne glasses or certain trophies.

    • Olá. I think it’s mainly a size difference. A ‘escorredor’ would be larger than a ‘coador’. We mainly use ‘escorredor’ for dish drainers, but it’s also sometimes used for cooking utensils, like salad or pasta colanders (these are usually called ‘passador’). A ‘coador’ is usually smaller, like, for tea/infusions, for example.

  • HI Rui and Joel
    Great learning tool. Thank you. The fact that I can hear the pronunciation of each word is amazing.
    It would be super helpful if next to the nouns was added the a or o, as or os to indicate if the noun is female or masculine. I would be great to learn the words together with the articles.
    I was trying to add the articles by inputting the words into the translated and found out that some of the words are translated differently on the translator.
    Examples:
    Wooden spoon
    A colher de pau but when I wrote the wooden spoon on your translator it come up with: a colher de madeira
    Rolling pin
    O rolo da massa but in translator: o rolo de pastel
    Toaster
    A tostadeira but in translator: a torradeira
    I really enjoy your course and I practice português every day. I also like the fact that there are dialogs included. I also watch your podcasts and videos. I love the video when you are visiting your grandma “Lavar a Loiça com a Avó Odete”; I watched it several times.
    Kind regards
    Margaret

    • Olá, Margaret. Thanks for your kind words and feedback, which was duly noted. Regarding the translations, technically, they’re fine, but not necessarily idiomatic. ‘Colher de pau’ and ‘colher de madeira’ are synonyms, but we usually prefer to use the former. Same for ‘rolo de pastel’ and ‘rolo da massa’ – I’m not fully certain, but I believe the former is more typical of Brazilian Portuguese. I only hear and use ‘rolo da massa’, personally. As for ‘toaster’, that one’s actually on us! 🙂 This depends on the model at hand, but generally speaking, ‘torradeira’ is a closer translation for ‘toaster’ (to toast individual slices of bread), whereas ‘tostadeira’ is closer to a sandwich press. We’ll update that translation for clarity.

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