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.

Cooking Tools and Appliances


To prepare food on the kitchen counter or table, we often use a tábua de cortarcutting board
When cutting meat or vegetables, you might use a faca de chefchef's knife or a faca para vegetaisparing knife . If you’re cutting bread, then a faca serrilhadaserrated knife would be more appropriate.





Tableware includes os talherescutlery , os pratosplates, serving dishes and os coposglassware.
When it comes to cutlery, the three main eating utensils are colheresspoons , garfosforks and facasknives .
Here are some other common items you may see at a Portuguese table:

Cooking Techniques

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

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.Fish with boiled potatoes.
Legumes cozidos a vapor.Steamed vegetables.
O pastel de bacalhau é frito.The codfish cake is fried.
Ela gosta de carne assada.She likes roasted meat
Salmão grelhado é saudável.Grilled salmon is healthy.

Cooking Meat and Fish

Cooking Eggs

Cooking Potatoes

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 rodelaspotato chips, crisps or em palitosFrench fries .


  • 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.
    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
    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

    • 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.

  • Thank you soooooooooooooo much 🤗❤it’s the best explanation and cooking subject that I have come across 🤩

  • I didn’t understand this at all:

    “Over-easy eggs are not so common that you could order them without having to explain how to cook them.”

    What am i missing?

    • It means there’s not really a translation for “over easy eggs” in Portuguese. If you wanted to order them that way, you would likely have to explain how they are cooked / just describe it, because it’s not very common in Portugal. I’ll reword this part to make it a bit more clear.

    • Wow congrats, you’re doing great! Make sure to spend some time with Smart Review, too, to help you retain everything you’re learning. 😊

  • I suppose when asking how the fries are served at a restaurant you would say something along the lines of “as batatas fritas está servido como ás rodelas ou em palitos?”

    • Olá Brandon!
      You’d be perfectly understood just like you put it. More correctly should be: “Como são servidas as batatas fritas: às rodelas ou em palitos?” or even “As batatas fritas são às rodelas ou em palitos?”. You may, however, find fries shaped as chips… It’s just not that common, though.

    • 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 indeed closer to a sandwich press.

  • Hello! Thank you again for all your lessons! I have a question about pronunciation. I’ve been using an app for vocabulary, and the speaker (native) pronounces tigela like “chela” (hard ch) . Also I’ve heard words starting with desc pronounced like “ji” like descansado as “jicansado”. Am I hearing it wrong or do these words have different variations in pronunciation? Thank you for your help. I really appreciate that you take time to respond 🙂

    • Olá! I believe that you’re just hearing it wrong, specially due to quick pronunciation. Tigela does sound like “Tchela” if you’re speaking too fast. Same with Descansado… it may sound like “djcansado”. But there’s no specific variation in pronunciation here. Just lack of good articulation of words, which my happen often.

  • That sounds like Brazilian pronunciations. Ti-, te- are pronounced like Chee- in Brazilian Portuguese. And De- and Di- are pronounced as gee- (djee). Practice Portuguese is continental Portuguese. So, not wrong, but different and probably not helpful for you while learning.

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