This glossary has been provided by Hispanic Kitchen. Please visit their site for a great selection of Mexican,Tex/Mex & Puerto Rican recipes
Here, you'll find many common and practical Spanish cooking terms — about 1000 in fact! We've also included some regional (non-standard) terms you might encounter in some of our Spanish-language content. Different names do exist for the same things, depending on the region. For example, in Mexico, peppers are called chiles. In other regions, such as the Caribbean, they are called ají.
Abrelata — can opener
Abulón — abalone
Aceite — oil
Aceite con achiote — annatto oil
Aceite de girasol — sunflower oil
Aceite de maíz — corn oil
Aceite vegetal — vegetable oil
Aceituna — olive
Acelga — Swiss chard
Acerola — West Indian or Barbados cherry
Achiote or Achote — annatto seeds
Achiotera — a container used to store annatto oil with its seeds. The oil is heated every time it is needed so the seeds can release their yellow color.
Acido — acid; acidic
Acompañante — side dish
Aderezo — dressing (aderezar: to dress or to season)
Adobo — a basic marinade used in various cuisines
Agave — a family of succulent plants, some of which are edible. Tequila in particular is made from the blue agave species.
Agave nectar — a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico from several species of agave. Used as a sugar substitute.
Agitar — to shake
Agridulce — bittersweet
Agrio — sour
Agua — water
Agua de Azahar — orange blossom water. A distilled water made of orange blossoms, used to flavor traditional desserts like rice-flour stovetop custard.
Aguamiel — The sweet juice of the maguey plant, which when fermented produces pulque.
Aguardiente — a liquor or clear brandy from fermented fruit juice. The word "aguardiente" literally means "burning water."
Aguas frescas — In Mexico, a class of soft drinks made by infusing water with various flavorings including tamarind, chía, and flor de jamaica
Aguas de frutas — juices made from fruits (Mexico)
Aguja — Literally, "needle." A cut of chuck steak that is one of the favorite al carbón (char-broiled) specialties of northern Mexico. Elsewhere, it can also mean a type of slender fish.
Ahumado — smoked
Ahumar — to smoke food. For example, pescado ahumado means smoked fish.
Ajiaco — a general name for a variety of brothy stews
Ají amarillo — Peruvian yellow pepper
Ají caballero or Ají picante — hot chili pepper
Ají chileno — Chilean hot pepper sauce
Ají dulce — sweet chile pepper
Ají manzano — a very hot yellow Peruvian pepper
Ajili Mojili — A traditional Puerto Rican sauce made with garlic, peppercorns, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
Ají panca — dry, hot, burgundy-colored, Peruvian chile pepper
Ají rocoto — a hot Peruvian red chile
Ajo — garlic
Ajonjolí — sesame seeds
Ajo porro — leeks
Alacena or despensa — pantry
Alambre or brocheta — shish kabob
Albahaca — basil
Albaricoque — apricot. In Mexico, it's chabacano.
Albóndigas — meatballs
Alboronia de chayote — chayote salad
Alcachofa — artichoke
Alcaparras — capers
Alcaparrado — a mixture of green olives, capers, and pimientos.
Alcapurria — a traditional Puerto Rican fritter made of grated yautia (taro root) and green bananas, stuffed with picadillo. It can also be stuffed with crabmeat or chicken.
Alcaravea — caraway
Al carbón — cooked over charcoal or wood coals
Al gusto — to taste (as in, salt and pepper to taste)
Alimento — food
Aliño — dressing or seasoning
Alioli — garlic mayonnaise
Almeja — clam
Almendra — almond
Almíbar — syrup
Almidón — starch
Almojabana — rice-flour fritter
Almuerzo — lunch
Altea — marshmallow
Al tiempo — at room temperature
Alubias — white beans (Spain)
Al vapor — steamed
Amargo — bitter
Amarillo — "yellow", or ripe yellow plantain
Anacardo — cashew
Anafre — portable burner. Used in the old days in place of a stove.
Anato/Onoto — annatto. In Bolivia, urucu.
Anchoas — anchovies
Anguila — eel
Angulas — elvers (baby eels)
Añejo — aged
Anís estrellado (Illicium verum) — star anise
Anís en semilla — aniseed. Used mostly to prepare desserts.
Anón — sugar apple or sweetsop (fruit)
Antiadherente — nonstick
Antojito — In Mexico, an appetizer
Aperitivo — appetizer or aperitif
Apio — celery; also celery root
Arándano — berry; specifically blueberry or cranberry
Arepa — A dish made of ground corn dough or precooked corn flour. There are many varieties of arepas enjoyed in both Colombia and Venezuela.
Arequipe — milk caramel
Arrachera — In Mexico, marinated, grilled flank or skirt steak
Arroz — rice
Arroz amarillo — basic yellow rice made with annatto oil, which can also be combined with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Arroz blanco — white rice
Arroz con coco — coconut rice
Arroz con dulce — Puerto Rican rice pudding. A traditional dessert made with rice, coconut milk, ginger, and spices.
Arroz con gandules — yellow rice with green pigeon peas. This is Puerto Rico's national rice dish.
Arroz con pollo — yellow rice with chicken
Arroz integral — brown rice
Arroz moros — White rice blended with black bean sauce and black beans
Arroz y habichuelas — rice and beans
Arroz Valencia — short-grain white rice (also known as pearl rice)
Arveja — pea
Asadero — A barbecue or grill. In Mexico, also a type of cheese the texture of mozzarella that is made with half fresh and half day-old milk.
Asado — roasted; also, a roast
Asadura — offal
Asar — to roast or broil
Asopao — A stew thickened with rice, some meat, shrimp or pasta and commonly enjoyed in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Atole — a traditional masa-based Mexican and Central American hot drink.
Atún — tuna
Auyama — squash (Puerto Rico usage)
Avellana — hazelnut
Avena — oat
Ayote — pumpkin
Azafrán — saffron
Azúcar — sugar
Azúcar de confección — confectioner's sugar
Azúcar glas — powdered or icing sugar
Azúcar granulada — granulated sugar
Azúcar morena (piloncillo) — brown sugar
Azúcar moscabada (piloncillo) — brown sugar
Azúcar prieta — brown sugar
Bacalao — salted codfish (if you want fresh, unsalted cod ask for "bacalao fresco")