Mexican Spanish <> English Food Lexicon
Last update 10 March 2008

My goal is to create a complete Mexican food lexicon.   I have tried, probably unsuccessfully, to include only words and expressions used in Mexico.  I'm sure I don't have them all because there are so many regional terms that don't make it into the dictionaries or the dozens of Mexican food lexicons on the web that I have searched.  If you know words that should be included, or if you find errors, I'd sure like to hear from you.   The reason I undertook this project is that I have not been able to find a truly complete Mexican food lexicon -- there are several of them on the web, but each one comes up short.  I hope you find this one useful.

There are some links that take you to Doña Martha's cooking pages, and there are a few links that take you to other websites that will help to define concepts.  Use your browser's back button to return here. 

If you want to print it, it will be 35+ pages.

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abadejo = haddock

abulón = abalone

acelyas = chard, Swiss chard

aceite = oil

aceite de cacahuates = peanut oil  

aceite de oliva = olive oil

aceite vegetal = vegetable oil

aceituna = olive (Aceituna is not commonly used in Mexico except on labels of imported olive producs)

acelga = Swiss chard

achiote = the seed of the annato tree which is used to make a seasoning paste of the same name.

acitrón = candied fruit made from shoots of the biznaga cactus used as a candy or ingredient in stuffings

acocil = small, fresh water crustacean

acuyo = piper sanctum, plant with large leaves which has an anis-like flavor.  More often called hoja santa in Mexico and "root beer plant' in the USA

adobo = a seasoning paste, usually containing ground chiles, vinegar, garlic and spices that is used to coat meats, poultry and seafood prior to cooking or drying to preserve

agridulce = sweet and sour

agrio = sour

agrio, ácido = bitter

agua = water  

agua de coco = coconut milk

aguacate = avocado

aguamiel = the sweet juice of the maguey plant, that when fermented produces pulque

aguas frescas = a genre of soft drinks made by infusing water with various flavorings including tamarind, chía, and flor de jamaica

aguayon = sirloin steak

aguja = litterally "needle." A cut of chuck steak that is one of the favorite al carbón (char-broiled) specialties of northern Mexico

ahumado = smoked

ahumar = to smoke foods

ajedrea = savory

ajo = garlic

ajonjolí = sesame  

alcaravea = caraway

al carbón = cooked over charcoal or wood coals

alambre, brocheta = shish kabobs

ala = wing of a bird, fin of a fish

albahaca = basil 

albardilla = batter

albaricoque, chabacano = apricot

albóndiga = meatball

alcachofa = artichoke

alcaparras = capers

alegría = a traditional sweet made of toasted amaranth seeds and honey or syrup.

albóndiga = meatball 

albóndigas = meatballs, also a meatball soup

aleta = fin (of a fish)

alioli = garlic mayonnaise

almeja = clam

almendra = almond

almíbar = syrup

almuerzo = a midmorning meal that is often  translated as lunch

alubias = a dried white bean

al vapor = steamed

amaranto = amaranth, a grain sometimes used in making candies and moles; or the eatable leaves from the plant of the same name

anacardo, nuez de la India = cashew  

añadir = add

ancho = dried poblano chile used in most red chile sauces

anchoa, anchovete, bocón = anchovy

añejo = aged

anguila = eel

anís = aniseed  

annatto = small, dark red seed used by the Mayas to color and spice food

antojito = appetizer

antojitos mexicanos = any corn and tortilla-based dish

apagar = to turn off

aperitivo = appetizer or aperitif

apio = celery

almorzar = to eat breakfast or lunch  

arándano -- see note under berries

arándano rojo = cranberry (see note under berries)

arenque = herring

arenque ahumado = kipper

arracheras = skirt steak or fajitas

arroz = rice

asadero = a type of cheese

asado = grilled, roasted 

asador = barbeque grill

asar = to grill, to roast or braise

ate = quince

atole = a thick drink, dating from pre-Hispanic times, made with ground, dried corn and water or milk, and seasonings;  served hot or cold.

atún = tuna

avellana = filbert, hazelnut

avena = oats

ayocote = a large type of bean, also spelled ayecote

azafrán = saffron (and crocus)

azafrancillo  = a plant whose bulbs are used to color foods, and often used as a substitute for saffron

azucar = sugar  

azúcar blanca de granulado muy fino = caster sugar

azúcar de arce = maple syrup 

azúcar glace = confectioners or icing sugar

azucarera = sugar bowl




abalone = abulón

achieved = logrado

acidic or sour = ácido, agrio

acorn = bellota

add = añadir

agave = maguey

allspice = pimienta de Jamaica, pimienta inglesa

almonds = almendras

aluminum foil = papel de aluminio

amaranth = amaranto

anchovy = anchoa, anchovete, bocón

aniseed = anís

ant eggs = escamoles

appetizer = (drink) aperitivo

apple = manzana

apricot = chabacano, albaricoque

to arrange = poner

artichoke = alcachofa

artichoke heart = corazone de alcachofa

asparagus = espárrago

avocado = aguacate

bacalao = cod

bacalao salado = salt cod

bagre = see catfish

baja = low

balché = an alcoholic beverage made from bark of the balché tree and honey.

bañar = (to bathe)  to cover with sauce

barbacoa = a beef or lamb dish that is slow-cooked with chiles; sometimes used to mean barbeque

barra = loaf

batido (de leche) = milkshake

bechamel = bechamel sauce

basa = a type of catfish native to the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam 

báscula = scale (for weighing) 

batidora = mixer

batidora eléctrica = electric mixer

batir = to whisk or beat as in to beat eggs

baya = berry (see note under berries)

bebida = drink, beverage

bellota = acorn

berenjena = eggplant

berro = watercress

berza, col, repollo = cabbage

betabel = beet also remolacha

biberón = baby's bottle

birria = a barbacoa specialty of Jalisco made with lamb or goat

bistec = beefsteak

bizcocho = biscuit, cupcake or cookie

bizcochito redondo = cupcake

biznaga = a type of cactus, resembling a barrel cactus, from whose young stalks acitrón, (candied cactus) which is used as a flavoring in stuffings such as for chiles en nogada, is made  

blanco de Nilo = a fish from the perch family; usually farm-raised

blanco de Pátzcuaro = a mild flavored fish from Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, for which the town of the same name is justly famous. It is usually fried in an egg batter and is often served al mojo de ajo (with garlic sauce)

blanquear = to blanch

bocadillo = snack or finger food  

bocón = anchovy

bolillo = French style, crusty bread rolls that is served with entrees and used for sandwiches. 

bollo, panecillo = biscuit, roll, bun, scone

bonito = bonito tuna

borracho = (drunk) sauces or beans made with pulque, beer or tequila

borrego = lamb 

botana = snacks or appetizers, often taken with drinks in a bar which may be called a botana

bote - jar

botella de biberón = baby's bottle

brasear, asar = to braise

brocheta, alambre  = shish kabob 

brócoli, brécol = broccoli

brotes de soja = bean sprouts (soyabean)

budín = pudding

budin de elote = corn pudding 

buñuelo = a fritter made of fried wheat flour dough and flavored with sugar or a syrup or honey, and often anis and cinnamon

burritos = a large flour tortilla wrapped around a filling, usually shredded meat or cheese and beans, often mixed with a chile sauce





baby's bottle = tetera, biberón, botella de biberón 

bacon = tocino

to bake = hornear, cocer al horno  

baking dish = charola

baking powder = levadura (en polvo)

banana = plátano

barbeque = parrillada, sometimes barbacoa  

barbeque grill = asador

barracuda = cuda

basil = albahaca  

bass = róbalo, lobina

basting = rociando

batter = albardilla  

to batter and fry = capear

bay leaf = laurel

bean = frijol;  beans = frijoles  

 - black = frijoles negros

 - green or string beans  = ejotes

 - sprouts (soybean)  = brotes de soja

bechamel sauce = béchamel

beef = carne de res 

beef shank = cambareta

beef steak = bistec

beer = cerveza 

berries = bayas  --- blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and mulberries are sometimes called by a confusing overlapping of the same names = arándano, mora, zarzamora.  Strawberries = fresas are not part of this confusion.

beet = betabél

bell pepper, green = chile pimienta marrón verde

bell pepper, red = chile pimienta marrón roja

bell pepper, yellow = chile pimienta marrón amarilla

biscuit = bolo, bizcocho, panecillo

bitter = amargo, áspero

black beans = frijoles negros

blackberry = zarzamora (see note under berries) 

black pepper = pimiento negro

blade of a knife = hoja del cuchillo  

to blanch = blanquear, escaldar

to blend = pasar por la licuadora  

blender = licuadora

blueberry = mora azul (see note under berries)

to boil = hervir

boiling point = punto de ebullición

bone = hueso; fish bone = espina  

to bone (debone) = dehuesar

boned = dehuesado  

bonefish = macabi 

bonito tuna = bonito

borage = borraja

bottle opener = destapador

bowls = cuenco

bran = salvado

brandy = coñac  

brains = sesos 

Brazil nut = nuez del Brazil 

bread = pan 

breadcrumbs = pan molido, pan rallado  

bread pudding = capirotada 

breakfast = desayuno

breast (of chicken or turkey) = perchuga (de pollo o povo)

brisket = pecho de res

broad beans = habas

broccoli =  brócoli, brécol

to brown = dorar

browned = dorado

to brush = cepillar

Brussel sprouts = coles de Bruselas

butter = mantequilla

buttermilk = suero de leche

to butter = untar con mantequilla

to burn =quemar

burned, burnt = quemado

burner (on a stove) = quemador


caballa = mackerel

cabra = goat

cabrito = kid (young goat)

cabuche = flower of the biznaga (barrel) cactus

cacahuacentli also spelled cacahuacintle and cacahuazintle = a type of corn with large ears and round grains (resembling cacao beans) often used to make tamales cernidos (strained tamales, meaning that the dough is strained to make it extra fine and spongy) and pozole.

cacahuate = peanut

cacerola = casserole (food and cooking dish)

café = coffee or a cafe

café de olla = Mexican style coffee made in a clay pot  

cafetera = coffee pot or coffee machine

caguama = a large turtle; an extra large bottle of beer or any large item

cajeta de Celaya = a thick paste confection made by simmering goat's milk and sugar

calabacín =  zucchini squash

calabaza = pumpkin or summer squash  

calabaza en tacha = a pumpkin dessert traditionally served for The Day of the Dead

calamar = squid

caldo = soup or broth

caliente = hot - to touch, to taste [and horny]  

callos de hacha = scallops

calor = hot (weather)

camarón = shrimp

camote = sweet potato; sweets which are made with sweet potatoes and fruit

campechano =  various seafood cocktails  

caña del cordero = lamb shank

canela = cinnamon  

canelones = canneloni

cangrejo = crab

capa = layer

capeado = egg white batter

capear = to cover food with batter and fry it.

capirotada = a pudding of bread, fruit, nuts and syrup

capulín = a fruit resembling a wild cherry, used for medicinal and ornamental purposes.  

caracol = snail

caramelo = caramel  

caramelo duro hecho con azúcar y mantequilla =  butterscotch 

cardamomo = cardamom 

carne = meat

carne asada = broiled or grilled meat

carne de puerco = pork

carne de res = beef

carne molida = ground meat or hamburger

carnero = mutton or lamb

carnitas = deep fried or shredded pork

carne picada = mince

carne seca = jerky

carta = menu  

cáscara, peladura = rind, zest

cáscaras = shells

castaño = chestnut

cazo = pan, saucepan

cazón = dog fish, small shark

cazuela, cacerola = casserole (food and cooking dish)

cazuelitas = are made by pressing a thin layer of tortilla dough around the outside of a small mold and then deep frying it to produce a crisp shallow corn cup. They are filled with shredded meat and other taco fillings.

cebiche, often spelled ceviche which see

cebolla = onion

cebollíta, cebolita, cebolla de verde = scallion 

cebollino, cebollana or chive = chive

cecina, tasajo = dried beef or pork, jerky

cedazo = strainer or sieve

cena = supper, dinner

centeno = rye 

cerdo = pork, pig

cerdo picado = minced pork

cereal = cereal

cereza = cherry

cernidor = sifter

cernir also tamizar = to sift

cerveza = beer

ceviche sometimes spelled cebiche = fish that is cooked by the chemical action of lime juice and may include tomatoes, avocados and cilantro

chabacano, albaricoque = apricot

Chalupas = boat shaped fried tortilla dough topped with shredded meat, cheese and similar fillings.

chamberete = shank of beef

chamberete de carnero more commonly caña del cordero  = lamb or mutton shank

champiñón = mushroom; See also hongo

champurrado = Mexican hot chocolate

charales = a fish similar to smelts

charola = baking dish

chaya = large-leafed vegetable used to flavor soups, stews and, in some areas, to wrap tamales.

chayote = a squash called Mirliton in the southern USA

chía = a plant whose seeds have been used since pre-Hispanic times as in ingredient in drinks, cereals and tamales.

chícharo = pea

chicharrones = fried pork skins, cracklings

chicoria = chicory

chicos = dried corn cooked with pork and chile sauce

chicozapote = a small brown, sweet fruit from the chicle tree from which latex is made.

chicozapote = brown-skinned fruit with a mild flavor somewhat like that of a pear.

chilacayote = gourd with edible flesh and seeds.

chilaquiles = a casserole of corn tortilla chips, chile sauce and cheese; often sereved for breakfast 

chile -- see this website for a list of common chiles with pictures and descriptions.  Also look at this one.

  -- con queso = cheese dip with mild chiles

  -- pimiento amarillo = yellow bell pepper

  -- pimiento rojo = red bell pepper

  -- pimiento verde = green bell pepper

chiles in nogada = made with green chilies stuffed with ground meat and almonds and covered with walnut sauce

chiles relleños = stuffed chiles,  poblano chiles stuffed with cheese or meat and fried

chimichangas = small deep fried burritos  sometimes spelled chivichanga

chilatole = an atole flavored with ground broiled tomatoes and chiles.

chilmole = a flavoring paste from the Yucatan made with dried chiles that are dry roasted on a comal until blackened, often with grain alcohol to enhance the charring effect, and other spices. Also spelled chimole or chirmole

chilocuil = red maguey worms. second in popularity to the meocuil or white maguey worm.

chilorio = a  meat filling, popular in northern Mexico. Usually made with pork but sometimes with beef, that is boiled, shredded, then fried with ground chiles and other spices.

chilpachol = a crab soup

chipotle = smoked ripe jalapeno chile, very hot with a smoky flavor

chirimoya = a scaly, greenish-brown fruit that is white inside with large seeds. Very sweet with a custard-like flavor and grainy texture.

chirmole See chilmole

chivo = kid (young goat)

chocolate = chocolate  

chongos = a sweet dessert made from curdled milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon

chorizo = spicy pork sausage 

choros = mussels

chorote = an atole served in the state of Tabasco, flavored with sugar and chocolate.  

choucroute, chucrut, col picada en salmuera = sauerkraut

chuleta = chop, cutlet 

chuleta de aguayon = sirloin steak

chuleta de carnero = lamb chop

chuleta de dos lomos = porterhouse steak

chuleta de puerco = pork chop

churro = fried strips of dough typically served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar

ciervo, venado = deer

cilantro = coriander

ciruela pasa = prune

ciruela = plum

clara de huevo = egg white

clavetear = to decorate or adorn

clavo de olor = clove (the spice)

clemole = a kind of mole, sometimes used in the diminutive, clemolito

cocada = a sticky sweet made with coconut

cocer = to cook, boil or simmer

cocina = kitchen

cocinar = to cook

cocinar a fuego lento = to simmer

cochinita pibil = Yucatecan-style roast pork wrapped in banana leaves

cocinero = cook, chef

coco = coconut

cóctel = cocktail

codillo = elbow or knuckle.

codorniz = quail 

cogollo = heart (of cabbage, lettuce)

col = cabbage. See also repollo.  

col picada en salmuera = sauerkraut

coladera = colander, sieve or strainer  

colar = to strain

coles de Bruselas = Brussel sprouts

coliflor = cauliflower

colonche = an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting tunas from the nopal cactus.

colorín = edible, red flowers from the tree of the same name - coral tree in English

comal = a griddle made originally from clay, but now more usually from metal.

comida = food; a meal, often referring to the principal one taken in the mid or late afternoon

comida chatarra, comida basura, porquerías = junk food

comida del mar, mariscos = sea food

comino = cumin

comiso = packed lunch

compota de fruitas = stewed fruit

coñac = brandy

conchas = scallops

condimento = seasoning

conejo = rabbit

confitar = to crystallize, sweeten or cook fruit in syrup

congelado = frozen

congelador = freezer

conserva = food preserved in sealed, sterilized

copos de avena = oats

copos de maíz tostados, often "cornflakes" = cornflakes

corazón = heart

corazones de alcachofas = artichoke hearts

cordero = lamb

coriando = coriander, cilantro

cortado en cuatro = quartered

cortar = to cut or trim

cortar en cuadritos = diced

cortar en lonchas finas = thinly slice 

cortar en tiras = to cut into strips, shreds

corunda = a pyramid shaped tamal which is a specialty of Michoacán

corvina = sea bass

costillas = ribs, spare ribs

costillas chuletas = rib steaks

crema = cream  

  -- agria = sour cream

  -- dulce = sweet cream

  -- para batir = whipping cream

crema de cacahuate = peanut butter 

crema tartaro = cream of tartar

cremera = creamer

crepe = crepes, pancake

cuajar = to curdle

cuajo = rennet

cubrir = to cover

cuchara = spoon    

cuchara de medir = measuring spoon

cuchara de servir = serving spoon

cuchara del azúcar = sugar spoon

cuchara para sopa = soup spoon

cucharada = spoonful

cucharadita, cucharilla = teaspoon   

cucharear = to spoon, to ladle 

cucharón  = ladle, large spoon

cuenco = bowls

cueritos = pickled pig skin 

cuchillo = knife  

cuchillito = small knife

cucuma = tumeric

cuda = barracuda

cueta = eye of the round

cuitlacoche,  huitlacoche = mushroom-like corn smut

curry en polvo = curry powder

cuscurro = crouton





cabbage = col, repollo, berza

chard = acelyas

cake = pastel

cake pan = molde para pastel

can = lata

candy = dulces, golosinas, caramelos

candy shop = dulceria

canned = en lata

canneloni = canelones  

cantaloupe = melón

capers = alcaparras  

caramel = caramelo

cardamom  = cardamomo

cranberry = arándano rojo (see note under berries)

caraway seed = semilla de alcaravea

carrot = zanahoria  

cashew = anacardo, nuez de la India

casserole (food and cooking dish) = cazuela, cacerola

catfish = bagre.  There are many verities of catfish found in Mexico and they go by many different names.  Here are the most common: bagre (with many modifying words), barge, barbe, barbo, basa, cautete, chihuil, cabeza de hueso, juile, siluro.  There may be others.

cauliflower = coliflor

cayenne pepper = pimienta cayena

celery = apio

celery seed = semilla de apio

cereal = cereal  

charcole grilled = al carbon

cheese = queso  

cheesecake = tarta de queso

cheeses of Mexico -- this website describe several, but not all, of the cheeses made in Mexico 

chef, cook = cocinero

cherry = cereza; black cherry = guinda  

chervil = perifollo

chestnut = castaña

chicken = pollo

chicken breast = pechuga de pollo  

chicken nuggets = trocitos de pollo

chick peas = garbanzos

chicory = chicoria  

fresh chiles, dried chiles and more chiles-- see these websites for information and pictures of common chiles.   This one gives general information about chiles (very interesting).

chiles' heat index:

Scoville units      Names

             0            Bell Pepper

      100 - 500        Peperoncini, Cherry

      500 - 1000      New Mexico

    1000 - 1500      Pasilla, Poblano, Ancho

    1500 - 2500      Rocotillo

    2500 - 5000      Jalapeno, Chipotle, Guajillo

    5000 - 10000     Wax

  10000 - 23000     Serrano

  15000 - 30000     Arbol

  30000 - 50000     Cayenne, Piquin

  50000 - 100000   Thai

100000 - 300000   Habanero

350000 - 577000   Red Savina Habanero

     1.000.000       Bhut Jolokia or ghost chile

15,000,000 - 16,000,000  Pure Capsaicin

In 2007, the Bhut Jolokia. from India, set a world record for heat at 577,000 Soville units.

to chill = enfriar

chips = patatas fritas, but usually called Sabrias

chive  = chive, cebollino

to chop = picar; finely copped = en trozes menudos

chops = chuletas

chock cherry = guinda

chocolate = chocolate  

chuck steak = diezmillo

cider = sidra

clams = almejas

clove (the spice) = clavo (de olor)

cloves of garlic = dientes de ajo

to coat = rebozar

coarse = de grano grueso

cocktail = cóctel

cocoa powder =   cocoa (en polvo)

coconut = coco

coconut milk = agua de coco

cod = bacalao

coffee = café

coffee mill = molinillo de café

coffee percolator = cafetera de filtro  

coffee pot, coffee machine = cafetera

to combine = combinar

confectioner's custard = crema pastelero  

confectioner's  sugar = azúcar glace

conger eel = congrio

container = vasija

consistency = consistencia

to cook = cocinar  

cook, chef = cocinero

cooked ham = jamón York

cookie = galleta

coriander = cilantro, coriandro

corn (dried) = maíz  

  -- fresh = elote

  -- field = milpa

  -- husk = hoja, oja

  -- on the cob = elote, mazorca de maíz  

  -- pudding = budin de elote 

  -- silk = pelos de elote; which can be boiled to make a good tasting medicinal tea; said to be good for reducing uric acid -- kidney stones and gout.

  -- starch = maizena 

corned beef = pecho curado

courgette = calabacín  

to cover = cubrir  

cow = vaca

crab = cangrejo; sometimes jaiba

cracker = galleta, galleta salada

cracklins, fried pig skin = chicharrones

cranberry = arándano rojo

crayfish =langostino

cream = crema, nata  

  -- sour = crema agria

  -- sweet = crema dulce

  -- whipping = crema para batir

cream of tartar = crema tartaro 

crouton = cuscurro

to crush = machacar

cucumber = pepino  

cumin = comino

cup =taza

cupcake = pastelito, bizcocho, bizcochito redondo, magdalena

curdle = cuajar

currant = grosella

curry powder = curry en polvo 

custard = natillas

to cut = cortar  

cutlet = milanesa, chuleta



dar la vuelta = to turn

dátíl = date (the fruit)

de grano grueso = coarse

de horno = ovenproof

dejar en adobo, marinar = marinade, marinate

derretido = melted

derretir, fundir = to melt

desayuno = breakfast

descansar = to rest

despensa = larder

desgrasar = to degrease

deshebrada, tinga = shredded beef in chile sauce typical burrito filling

deshuesar = to debone

destapador = bottle opener

desvenar = to devein, as from chiles

dientes de ajo = cloves of garlic

dietética = dietetic 

dividir en dos = to halve

diezmillo = chuck steak

diluir = to dilute

doblar = to fold

donut, rosquilla = doughnut

dorado = browned, golden AND dolphin, mahi mahi 

dorar = to brown

dulce = sweet or candy

dulcería = candy shop  

dulcificante, endulzarte = sweetener 

dulcificar, endulzar, azucarar = to sweeten

durazno = peach

dzotobichay = a tamal from the Yucatan that is wrapped with chaya leaves





dash = chorrito  

date (the fruit) = dátil

to debone = deshuesar

dent = hueco

to decorate = clavetear

deer = ciervo, venado

to degrease = desgrasar

dessert = postre  

dessert plate = plato de postres

dessert spoon = cuchara de postre

to devein (as from chiles) = desvenar

diced = cortar en cuadritos

dietetic = dietética  

dill = eneldo

to dilute = diluir

dinner = cena

to dip = sumergir

dish = plato

dogfish = cazón  

dolphin = dorado

dot with = poner trocitos encima  

dove = paloma

dough, corn = masa (tortilla or nixanal dough)

dough, flower = masa de harina

doughnut = dona. donut, rosquilla

to drain = escurrir

dragon fruit = pitajaya  

dried beef or pork, jerky = tasajo, cecina

drumstick (chicken)  = muslo de pollo

dry = secar

duck = pato

roast duck = pato al horno


ejotes = green beans

elote = fresh corn, (as opposed to maíz or dried corn) and corn-on-the-cob

embutido = sausage and the making of sausage, cold meat

empanada = a pastry turnover filled with either meat or fruit, jelly and other sweets.

empanizar = to bread or to fry items such as meat that have been coated with bread crumbs

en lata = canned (tinned)

en trozos = sliced

en trozos menudos = finely chopped

en vez de = instead of

encender = to light (a fire/stove)

enchiladas = enchiladas consist of a corn tortilla that has been softened in hot oil and often dipped in a chile sauce, wrapped around a filling of either meat or cheese, then garnished with a little more sauce and cheese.

enchilado = meat, cheese or other foods that are coated with chile paste or powder. For example: queso enchilado, is a cheese that has been coated with chile.  

endibia = endive

endulzarte, dulcificante = sweetener

endulzar, azucarar, dulcificar = to sweeten

eneldo = dill

enfriar = to chill

enfrijoladas =  similar to enchiladas except that they are covered with thinned, refried beans, rather than a chile sauce, and the softened tortillas are often folded in half twice into a triangle shape  

engrasado = greased

engrasar = to oil

enharinar = to flour

enrollado = rolled up

enrollar = to roll up

ensalada = salad

ensaladera = salad bowl.

entomatadas  = enchiladas using tomato sauce rather than an ancho chile sauce

entrada = entree

entero = whole

envueltos = tacos that are filled and fried

epazote = an herb  used to flavor beans, soups, stews and quesadillas

escabeche = marinade, usually a spicy marinade

escabechar, marinar = to marinate

escaldar = blanch, scald

escamoles = ant eggs

escurrir = to strain

espagueti = spaghetti  

espelón = a small, black bean from the Yucatan

espada also pez espada = swordfish

espárrago = asparagus

espesar = to thicken

espeso = stiff

espesura, grueso = thickness

espina = fish bone

espinacas = spinach

espinazo = spine, back bone

espuma = foam

espumadera = slotted spoon, skimmer

estofado = a stew, stewed or braised.

estragón = tarragon

estufa = stove

estofar, guisar = to stew

estofado, guisado = stew

exprimidor = juicer

exprimir = to squeeze.





eel = anguila 

edge = borde

egg = huevo

 - fried = huevo frito 

 - hard boiled = huevo duro

 - scrambled = huevos reveltos

 - white = clara de huevo

 - yolk = yema de huevo  

eggplant = berenjena 

egg white batter = capeado

elbow = codillo

to empty = vaciar

endive = endibia

entree = entrada

eye of the round = cuete, gusano


fajita = skirt steak cut into strips and fried for tacos

falda also called arracheras = skirt steak which is often actually flank steak

farina = a refined cereal made from ground and sifted wheat

fécula = starch

fiambre = a mixture of various foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses that is usually marinated in a dressing and served cold  

fibra = fiber

fideos = a coil of dried, angel hair sized pasta, vermicelli

filete = filet

flamear = to flame as in a flaming dessert

flan = a dessert custard  made with milk or cream and eggs

flautas  = a large corn tortilla tightly rolled around a filling, usually shredded meat, and deep frying

flor de calabaza = squash blossom

flor de jamaica = the deep red portion of hibiscus flowers used to make soft drinks and a tea

flor = flower

fondo = broth or consume made from soup bones or, a reduced stock  

fortificado = fortified

frambuesa = raspberry

frasco = jar

fregadero = kitchen sink

freír = to fry

fresadilla = another word for tomatillo

fresas = strawberries

frijoles = beans

frijoles borrachos = beans cooked with beer or pulque.

frijoles colados = beans that are cooked, then strained before frying.

frijoles maneados = beans fried with cheese, a specialty of Sonora

frijoles refritos = refried beans.

fritada = northern Mexican dish made by cooking kid in its blood.

frito = fried

frotar = to rub

fruta = fruit

fundir, derretir = to melt 

fuego fuerte = high heat

fuente, plato grande = platter





fat = grasa

fava bean = haba

fennel = hinojo

fiber = fibra

filbert, hazelnut = avellana

fig = higo

fillet mignon = filete

filling = relleño  

fin (of a fish) = ala, aleta

finely = en trozos menudos  

finger food = bocadillo

fish = pescado (for eating)

fish = pes (sill swimming free)

fish bone = espina

to flatten = aplastar/aplanar  

flavor = sabor

flesh = carne

flour = harina  

to flour = enharinar

flounder = platija, lenguado  

flower = flor

foam = espuma

to fold = doblar

fork = tenedor  

fortified = fortificado

fridge = refi (slang for frigerador) 

frito = fried 

freezer = congelador 

french fries = papas fritas

frozen = congelado

fruit = fruta

to fry = freír  

fryer (chicken) = pollo de leche

frying pan = sartén


galleta = cookie, cracker

galleta salada = cracker, soda cracker

gallina = hen

gambas = prawns

garbanzos = chickpeas

garnachas = thick masa cakes topped with a variety of meats, beans, chile sauce and cheese

gazpacho = fruit cocktail with sugar and cinnamon (Mex); cold, spicy tomato and vegetable soup (Spain)

gelatina = gelatine

gelatina = jelly

girasol = sun flower

golosina = candy or sweet


granos de pimienta = peppercorns

granada = pomegranate

grasa = grease or fat.

grosella = currrant

guacamole = avocado ground to a paste and mixed with onions, chiles, tomato, lime juice and cilantro.

guajolote, pavo = turkey (pavo is the more common term)

guanábana = a medium large, sour fruit often used in ice cream

guarnición = an accompaniment to the main entree such as vegetables

guasanas = boiled fresh garbanzo beans still in the pod

guasano = eye of the round

guayaba = guava 

guinda = choke or sour cherry

guisado, estofado = stew, stewed, stewed meat

guisantes = peas

guisar, estofar = to stew 

guiso = a stew or casserole

gusanos de maguey = worms found on the maguey (agave) plant that, when fried are considered a delicacy. The worm often found in bottles of mescal.





garlic = ajo  

garlic sauce = mojo de ajo

garnish = guarnición

gelatine = gelatina

to get rid of = quitar

gherkins = pepinillo

glass (drinking) = vaso

giblets = menudencias

ginger = jengibre

ginger cookies = maranitos, puerquitos = (little pigs)  thick pig-shaped ginger cookies

goat = cabra, chivo

golden = dorado

gradually = lentamente  

grape = uva

grapefruit = toronja 

grate, grill = parrilla, rejilla

to grate = rallear

grated = rallado

gravy = salsa hecha con el jugo de la carne asada

gravy boat = salsera

grease = grasa

greased = engrasado

green bean or string bean = ejote,  judía verde

greens = quelite

griddle = plancha

ground = molido, pulverizado  

grouper = mero

grill = parrilla, rejilla

to grill = asar, asar a la parrilla

grilled = asado

to grind = machacar, molar

guava = guayaba


haba = fava bean 

habanero = a very hot chile with a fruity flavor

hamburguesa = hamburger 

harina = flour  

harina de maíz = flour made from nixtamalized corn for making masa for tortillas and tamales

harina de trigo = wheat flour

helado = ice cream

hervir = to boil

hielo = ice  

hielero = ice chest

hierbaluisa = lemon verbena

hierbas = herbs

hígado = liver

higo = fig  

hinojo  = fennel

hipogloso = halibut

hoja = leaf (of a plant)

hoja or oja = corn husk

hoja santa or piper sanctum or acuyo = a plant whose large, soft leaves with the flavor of anis are used as an ingredient in stews and tamales. Often referred to as the rootbeer plant

hojaldre = puff pastry  

hojuela  = pancake

hongo, champiñón  = mushroom

horchata = soft drink prepared by blending water or juice with melón seeds or rice, and with additional ingredients including fruits, coconut, almonds and sugar.

hornear = to bake in an oven.

horno = oven

huachinango = red snapper

huauzontle, sometimes spelled guausoncle = a plant related to epazote whose leaves are coated with batter and fried.

huesos = bones

hueva = roe

huevo = egg

  -- clara = egg white

  -- cocidos = boiled eggs

  -- duro = hard boiled egg

  -- frito = fried egg

  -- tibio = soft-boiled egg

  -- yema = egg yolk

huevos Maxicanos = scrambled eggs with tomatoes, chilies and onions

huevos motuleños = tortilla topped with ham, fried eggs and a sauce made with cheese, peas and tomatoes

huevos revueltos = scrambles eggs

huitlacoche See cuitlacoche





haddock = abadejo

haddock (smoked) = abadejo ahumado
hake = merluza

halibut = hipogloso, halibut

to halve = dividir en dos

ham = jamón  

ham end = punta de jamón

hamburger = hamburguesa  

hamburger meat = carne molida

handful = puñado

hard-boiled egg = huevo duro

hare = liebre

hash browns = papas y cebolla doradas en la sartén  

hazelnut, filbert = avellana

heat = calentar

heart = carazón  

hen = gallina

herring = arenque

hibiscus = hibisco, jamaica

hibiscus flower = flor de jamaica (used to make soft drinks and a tea)

high heat = fuego fuerte

honey = miel

hot (to touch) = caliente

hot (weater) = calor

hot (to taste) = picante, caliente

hot dog = perrito caliente

hot tea = té caliente

[horny = caliente]

horseradish = rábano picante


ingredientes = ingredients



ice = hielo

ice chest = hieldero

ice cream =  helado

iced tea = té helado

icing sugar = azúcar glace

ingredients = ingredients

instead of = en vez de


jaiba = crab

jalea = jelly or marmalade

jamaica = hibiscus flower used to make flavored drinks

jamón = ham

jamoncillo = confection or candy made from sugar and milk or from fruits and pumpkin seeds.

jarabe = syrup

jarra = pitcher

jengibre = ginger

jícama = a white-fleshed root vegetable also called a Mexican potato, and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Makes a great addition to salads or can be boiled or baked like a potato

jitomate, tomate = tomato

jocoque = Mexican-style sour cream, somewhere between buttermilk and sour cream 

jugo, zumo = juice

jugo (zumo) de fruta 

jugo (zumo) de naranja = orange juice

juliana = julienne

jumil = an insect that is eaten both alive and dried

jurel = yellow tail





jam = mermelada

jar = bote, frasco

jelly = gelatina, jalea  

jerky = carne seca, tasajo, cecina  

jugged hare =  estofado de liebre

juice = jugo, zumo  

juicer = exprimidor

juicy = jugoso

junket = leche cuajada

junk food = comida chatarra, comida basura, porquerías

julienne = juliana


Kahlúa = a coffee liqueu

Kilo = one kilo is  2.2 pounds



ketchup = salsa de tomate

kid (young goat) = cabrito 

kidney = riñón

kidney beans = alubias rojas

kitchen = cocina 

kitchen tissue = papel de cocina

kitchen ware = utensilios de cocina

kipper = arenque ahunado

kiwi = kiwi

knife = cuchillo

knob of butter = nuez de mantequilla

knuckle = codillo


lado = side

langosta = lobster  

langostino = crayfish

lata = can

laurel = laurel, bay leaf

lavar = to wash

leche = milk

leche quemada = see cajeta

lechuga = lettuce

legumbre = vegetable  

lengua = tongue

lenguado = flounder

lentejas = lentils

levadura = baking powder

licor = liquor

licuadora = blender  

licuar = to liquify

liebre = hare

linaza = linseed

lima = lemon

limón = lime -- Note that lima/lemon and limón/lime in Mexico are reversed from English.  Can be confusing.  To make it more confusing, this reversal does not occur in all Spanish-speaking countries..

limpiar con agua = rinse

limpiar con un paño = wipe

lisa = striped mullet

lista de la compra = shopping list

limonada = limeade

lobina, róbalo = bass

lomo = loin  

lomo de cerdo = boneless pork tenderloin

longaniza = a sausage flavored with chiles and other spices.





ladles = cucharónes

lamb = cordero, borrego

lamb chop = chuleta de carnero

lamb shank = caña del cordero less commonly  chambarete de cornero

lard = manteca

larder = despensa

layer = capa

leaf = hoja  

lean meat = magno

leaves = hojas

leeks = puerros  

leg = pierna

lemon = lima -- Note that lima/lemon and limón/lime in Mexico are reversed from English.  Can be confusing.  To make it more confusing, this reversal does not occur in all Spanish-speaking countries.

lentils = lentejas

lettuce = lechuga

lid = tapadera

to light (a fire or stove) = encender

lime = limón

linseed = linaza

to liquify = licuar  

liquor = licor

liver = hígado

loaf = barra

lobster= langosta

loin = lomo

low = baja

lunch = almuerzo


macabi = bonefish

machacar = to grind, crush or mash

machacado = dried shredded beef

machacado con huevos = dried beef with scrambled eggs

macis = mace

maduro = ripe

magdalena = sponge cake, cupcake

magro = lean meat

maguey = agave

maíz = corn in its dried state as opposed to elote which refers to fresh corn

malteada = milkshake

mamey = a tree and the edible fruit it bears which is peach colored. A favorite ingredient in ice cream.  

mandarina = tangerine

mango = mango

manitas de cerdo = pigs feet

manjar = any delicious dish or delicacy

manteca = lard  

manteca de res = suet

mantequilla = butter  

mantequilla de cacahuate = peanut butter

manzana = apple  

manzana chile = a medium to hot chile with a fruity flavor, also know as chile rocoto, chile peron, or chile caballo

marinado = marinade

mariscos = seafood, usually shellfish; pescado is the usual term for fin fish

maracuyá = passion fruit

maranitos, puerquitos = (little pigs)  thick pig-shaped ginger cookies

marinar, escabechar = to marinate

marlin = marlin

marquesote = a sweet bread or tort

masa = dough of ground nixtamal from which tortillas are made.  

masa harina = packaged dried masa

mayonesa = mayonnaise

mejillones = mussels

mejorana = marjoram

melaza = molasses

melón = cantaloupe, melon

membrillo, ate = quince

menta = mint

menudencias = giblets

menudo = spicy tripe soup flavored with chiles, considered a cure for hangovers.

meocuil = white maguey worm

merienda = a light meal or snack taken either between the comida and the cena. Similar to an English high tea.

mermelada = marmalade, jam

mero = grouper

metate = the three-legged, flat, stone implement used for grinding corn, chiles and spices.

mezcal = distilled liquor made from the juice of various agaves, which often roasted over open fires giving it a smoky taste.

mezclar = to mix.

miel = honey

milanesa, chuleta = cutlet

mojarra = a type of perch (the fish)

milpa = cornfield

mixiote = thin parchment-like membrane of the maguey, or the dish made by wrapping meats and vegetables in it and cooking them in a steamer or barbacoa pit.

mojo de ajo = garlic sauce

molcajete = stone mortar used principally to prepare sauces

molde = mold  

moldear = to mold

molde para pastel = cake pan

mole = a thick sauce or paste. A spicy rich traditional Mexican sauce that is usually served with chicken. The most common ingredients include nuts, seeds, spices, Mexican chocolate, and chiles

moler = to grind

molido = ground

molletes = bolillo or small French rolls , muffin

mollejas = gizzards, sweetbreads

molotes = corn masa for tortillas, sometimes with a little wheat flour added, is mixed with some lard, rolled into small oblongs, filled and pressed into oblong shaped little packages which are then fried until golden and crisp

mora -- see note under berries 

mora azul = blueberry (see note under berries)

moros con cristianos = (Moors with Christians) lentils, boiled like regular pinto beans and served with rice; a traditional Lenten food

morcilla = meat, often entrails, cooked in blood or stuffed into intestines and grilled or broiled.

mostaza = mustard

mújol = mullet

muslo = thigh

muslo de pollo = chicken drumstick





mace = macis 

mackerel = caballa, sierra

mahi mahi = dorado

marmalade = mermelada, jalea

marinade = marinado, escabeche

to marinate = marinar, eschechar

marlin = marlin

marrow = calabaza  

to mash = machacar

mashed potatoes = puré de patatas

marshmallow = malvavisco  

mayonnaise = mayonesa  

measuring cup = taza para media

medium=sized = de tamaño mediano  

melon = melón, cantaloupe

to melt = derretir, fundir

melted = derretido

melting point = punto de fusión

Mexican chocolate = chocolate that has been flavored with cinnamon, almonds and vanilla; used in moles and other sauces

Mexican hawthorn = tejocote

milk = leche

milkshake = malteada, batido

minced or chopped meat = carne picado

mincemeat = picadillo de frutos secos, grasa y especias usado en pastelería

mince pie = pastelillo hecho con "mincemeat"

minced pork = cerdo picado

mint = menta

mix = mezclar  

mixer = batidora

mixer, electric = batidora electrica

molasses = melaza

monkfish = rape  

mold = molde

to mold = moldear

mortar = mortero or molcajete

mullet = mújol; 

 - red = salmonete

 - striped = lisa

mushroom = champiñón, hongo

mussels = mejillones, choros

mustard = mostaza


nabo = turnip

naranja = orange

nata, crema = cream

nata agria = sour cream

nata montada = whipped cream

natillas = custard  

nectarina = nectarine

nixtamal = dried corn which has been heated and soaked in an alkaline solution to loosen the skin, and to facilitate the release of vital nutrients. Similar to hominy.

nogales = walnuts

nogada = a sauce made from ground walnuts, as in chiles en nogada; often using other nuts

nopal = Mexican edible cactus, either the whole plant or the leaf. Called nopalitos when the leaves are chopped into small pieces. Considered an aid to lowering cholesterol. Called prickly pear cactus in the USA

nuez (plural nueces) = nut

nuez de la India, anacardo = cashew

nuez del Brazil = Brazil nut

nuez moscada = nutmeg





napkin = servillete

nectarine = nectarina

noodles = tallarines, fideos

non-fattening = no engordante

a nosh up = comilona

nourishing = adj nutritivo  

nut = nuez; nuts = nueces

nutmeg = nuez moscada


oja or hoja = corn husk

oliva, aceituna = olive (Aceituna is not commonly used in Mexico except on labels of imported olive products)  

olla = pot (cooking)

olla exprés = pressure cooker

olla podrida = a stew of meats and vegetables

orégano = oregano (Mexican oregano is different.  Click on the link.)

ostión = oyster

ostionería = small cafe specializing in seafood





oats = avena

oats (flakes)= copos de avena

oatmeal = harina de avena

octopus = pulpo

oil = aceite

to oil = engrasar

okra = quimbombó, quingombó  

omelet = tortilla de huevos

onion = cebolla

onion, green = cebolla verde

onion, scallion = cebollita, cebolla verde

olive = oliva, aceituna (Aceituna is not commonly used in Mexico except on labels of imported olive products)

olive oil = aceite de oliva

orange = naranja  

orange juice = jugo de naranja

oregano = orégano (Mexican oregano is different.  Click on the link.)

oven = horno

ovenproof = de horno

oyster = ostión

oxtail = rabo de toro, rabo del buey


paloma = dove, pigeon

palometa = permit (the fish)

palomitas = popcorn

pámpano = pompano

pan = bread  

pancake, panqueque, hojuela = pancake

pan de molde = sliced bread

pan molido, pan rallado  = breadcrumbs 

pan dulce = sweet bread

pan duro = stale bread

pan integral = whole-wheat bread

panecillo, bollo = roll

panela = brown sugar, usually sold molded into small, hard cones. also called panocha and piloncillo.

panocha = brown sugar, sugar, usually sold in small, very hard cones. also called panela and piloncillo.  

panqué, pancake, hojuela = pancake

pan tostado = toast

panuchos = specialty from the Yucatan is similar to a gordita

papa, patata = potato.  La papa = the potato; El Papa = the Pope;  papá = dad, daddy or father; so be careful of the article and pronunciation. 

papas fritas = french fries

papadzules = these are the enchiladas or soft tacos from the Yucatan that are filled with hardboiled egg and topped with both tomato and pumkin seed sauces.

papas fritas, patatas fritas = French fries (Also called papas francesas)

papaya = papaya

papel de aluminio = aluminum foil

papel encerado = parchment paper

papel parafinado = wax paper

paprika = paprika 

parcha = passion fruit

pargo = red snapper

parrilla = a grill, such as a barbecue grill; also a  steakhouse restaurant

parrillada = barbeque 

pasar por cedazo = to sift 

pasilla chile (called chile negro when dried) =  mild to medium hot;  thin, five- to seven-inches long, and dark green; often called by other names is parts of Mexico and the USA.

pasa = raisin

pasta = pasta

pastel = cake, pie

patata = alternate spelling for papa = potato

pato = duck  

pato al horno = roast duck

pavera = roasting pan

pavo, guajolote = turkey 

pecho curado = corned beef

pecho de res = brisket

pechuga = breast as in chicken breast: pechuga de pollo

pejelagarto  = a type of alligator gar

pelado = peeled, skinned

pelador = vegetable peeler

peladura, cáscara = rind, zest

pelar = to peel

pellizcadas = a type of gordita or chalupa that is made by pinching (pellizcar means "to pinch") up the dough around the edges to create a raised border to help contain the filling.  

pelos de elote = corn silk; which can be boiled to make a good tasting medicinal tea; said to be good for reducing uric acid -- kidney stones and gout.

pepinillo = gherkins

pepino = cucumber

pepita = small seed

pera = pear

percha = perch (the fish)

perejil = parsley  

perifollo = chervil

pescado = fish, usually fin fish, shellfish = mariscos

pescado blanco = white fish

pez espada = swordfish

pez vela = sailfish

pibil =  barbacoa pit used in the Yucatan to prepare cochinta pibil, a pork dish

picada = regional name for gordita.

picadillo = filling made of ground meat, hash

picante = hot to taste, chile hot

pichon = pidgeon

pico de gallo = two very different dishes by this name: 1) a relish of chopped tomatoes, onion and chiles; 2) relish of fruit topped with a sprinkle of chile power

pierna = leg, as in leg of lamb

piloncillo = brown sugar, usually found in small hard cones. also called panela and panocha.

pimienta = pepper

  -- blanca = white pepper 

  -- cayena = cayenne pepper

  -- de jamaica  = allspice

  -- dulce = paprika  

  -- inglesa = allspice

  -- negra = black pepper, often without "negra"

piña = pineapple

pinole = a hot corn drink

piñón = pine nut

pipián = a sauce, similar mole, made from ground squash or pumpkin seeds, nuts and garlic.

pitajaya = dragon fruit plant

pitaya = another dragon fruit

pizca = a "pinch" of an herb or seasoning

pizza = pizza

plancha = griddle  

plantaina, plátano macho = plantain, a large, thick-skinned, three-sided banana is used cooked, never raw.

plátano = banana

plátano macho, plantaina = plantain, a large, thick-skinned, three-sided banana is used cooked, never raw.

platillo = saucer, small plate

plato = plate  

plato de postres = dessert plate

plato de sopero = soup plate

plato grande, fuente = platter

plato principal, segundo plato = main course

poblano = a variety of chile used to make chiles relleños and other dishes

pollo = chicken

pollo de leche = fryer  

polvo = powder, dust 

polvorear = to powder, sprinkle (as with sugar, etc)

ponche = a fruit punch usually served hot, especially popular at Christmas time

popote, pajita, paja, caña, sorbete = straw (for drinking) 

porción = portion

postre = dessert

pozole = a soup made with beef or pork, hominy or nixtamal, and chiles; served with a variety of toppings

puchero = stew of meat and vegetables; colloquially "daily bread"

puerco = pork as in tamales de puerco

puerquitos, maranitos = (little pigs)  thick pig-shaped ginger cookies

puerro = leek  

pulpa = flesh or pulp of fruit

pulpo = octopus

pulque = an alcoholic drink made by fermenting aguamiel (the juice of the maguey plant)

punta de jamón = ham end

punto de ebullición = boiling point

punto de fusión = melting point

puñado = handful

puré = purée





pan = sartén

pancake = pancake, panqué, hojuela

paprika = paprika, pimentón dulce

parcha = passion fruit

parchment paper = papel encerado

parsley = perejil  

pasa, uva pasa = raisin

passion fruit = maracuyá, parcha

pasta = pasta

pastry = masa

pastry brush = pincel de repostería

pastry cutter = cortapastas

pastry shop = reposteria

pea = chicharo, guisante, arveja

peach = durazno, melocotón

peanut = cacahuate, mani; sometimes spelled cacahuete

peanut butter = crema de cacahuate, mantequilla de cacahuate

peanut oil = aceite de cacahuates

pear = pera

pearl barley = cebada perlada  

pecan = pacana, often nuez

to peel = pelar

peeled = pelado

pepper = pimienta  

  -- black = pimienta negra

  -- white = pimiento blanco

pepper mill / grinder = molinillo de pimienta

peppercorns = granos de pimienta

pepperpot = pimentero

pepperoni = salchichón

perch (the fish) = percha

permit (the fish) = palometa

pestle (used with a molcajete) = tejolote

pig = cerdo, puerco  

  -- feet = manitas de cerdo  

  -- skins, fried = chicharrones

  -- skins, pickled = cueritos  

pigeon = pichón, paloma

pie = pastel, tarta, torta

pinch (small amount) = pizca

pineapple = piña

pine nut = piñón  

pitcher = jarra

pizza =  pizza

plantain = plátano macho, plantaina 

plate = plato

 - dessert  = plato de postres

 - small, saucer = platillo

 - soup = plato de sopera

platter = plato grande, fuente

plum = ciruela

poached = escalfado  

pomegranate = granada

popcorn = palomitas (de maíz)  

celery seed = semilla de apio

pork = cerdo, carne de puerco, carnitas

 -- deep fried = carnitas

 -- minced pork = cerdo picado

 -- shredded pork = carnitas

 -- tenderloin = lomo de cerdo

portion = proción 

pot (cooking) = olla

potato peeler = cosa para pelar patatas

potatoes = papas, patatas

pour = verter

powder, dust = polvo

to powder, sprinkle (as with sugar, etc) = polvorear

prawns = gambas  

pressure cooker = olla esprés

prune = ciruela (seca)  

puff pastry = hojaldre

pulp (of fruit) = pulpa

pulses = alubias

pumpkin = calabaza ; calabaza en tacha = a pumpkin dessert traditionally served for The Day of the Dead

purée = puré

purslane = verdolage


quelite = "greens" a general name for edible plants; specifically the leaves of the amaranth plant

quemado = burned, burn

quemador = stove burner 

quemar = to burn

quesadillas = are tortillas, corn or flour, that are folded over a filling of cheese, sometimes with the addition of meat or chiles, heated until the cheese melts. 

queso = cheese  

queso añejo = a hard, aged cheese that when coated with chile is called queso enchilado. Also called queso cotija.

queso asadero = a stringy cheese

queso cotija See queso añejo

queso fresco = a fresh soft cheese

queso panela = cheese resembling feta

quimbombó = okra

quingombó = okra

quitar = to get rid of, to remove




quail = codorniz

quartered = cortado en cuatro

quince = ate, membrillo


rábano = raddish  

rábano picante = horseradish

rabo del buey, rabo de toro = oxtail

rajas = strips of poblano chiles 

rallado = grated

rallar = to grate or shred

ramita = sprig

rape = monkfish

rebozar = to coat

receta = recipe

recetario = recipe book

raspada = shaved ice flavored with syrup.

recado or recaudo = seasoning paste similar to achiote.

reducir = to reduce

refresco = soft drink

refrigerador = refrigerator

rejilla = grate or grill.

relleño = stuffing or filling -- chile relleños = stuffed chile

remojar = to soak  

remolacha = beet

repollo, col, berza = cabbage

reposteria = pastry shop or confectionary; the art of making desserts and pastries.

requesón = curd cheese, similar to ricotta

res = beef (as in carne de res)

riñón = kidney  

ristra = a string of dried red chiles

róbalo. lobina = bass 

rociando = basting 

rodillo = rolling pin

romeritos  = similar to, but stronger than, rosemary, often use to make a sauce of the same name, especailly during Lent and Christmas

romero = rosemary

rompope = Mexican style eggnog.

ropa vieja = literally "old clothes,"  a stew made with shredded beef; a Cuban dish

rosbif = roast beef

rosquilla, donut = doughnu

ruda = rue





rabbit = conejo

radish = rábano  

rraisin = uva pasa, sometimes just pasa

raspberry = frambuesa

raw = crudo

recipe = receta

recipe book = recetario

red mullet = salmonete  

red snapper = huachinango, pargo

to reduce = reducir

refried beans = frijoles refritos

to refrigerate = refrigerar

refigerator = refrigerador

to remove = quitar

to rest = descansar

to return = volver

ribs = costillas

rice = arroz

rind = cascara

rinse = limpiar con agua

ripe = maduro

roast = asado

to roast = asar  

toast beef = rosbif

roe = hueva

roll = bollo, panecillo

to roll up = enrollar

rolled up = enrollado

rolling pin = rodillo

roll out = aplanar

rosemary = romero

to rub = frotar  

tue = ruda

runner bean = habichuela

rye = centeno  



sábalo = tarpon (silver king)

sabor = favor, taste, savor, zest

sábana = literally "sheet." Tenderloin steak pounded paper thin and briefly seared on a comal or parilla before being served, often with a sauce and melted cheese.  

saja = soy; perferred spelling is soysal

sal = salt

sal yodada = idolized salt

salada = salty

salado = salted 

salbutes = small, thick tortillas with a variety of toppings; a specialty of the Yucatan  

salchicha = sausage

salmón = salmon

salmón ahumado = smoked salmon  

salmonete = red mullet

salpicar = sprinkle

salpicón = mixture of finely chopped or shredded ingredients.

salpimentar or salpimienta = to season with salt and pepper.

salsa = sauce

salsa de soja = soy sauce

salsa inglesa = Worcestershire sauce

salsa Mexicana = the basic salsa usually consisting of tomato; onion, garlic, chiles, and cilantro

salsa tártara = tartar sauce

saltear, sofreir = to sauté, fry lightly, stir-fry

salsera = sauceboat  

salvado = bran

salvamanteles = table mat

salvia = sage

sandía = watermelon

sangría = a drink of Spanish origin made with fruit juice, fruit and wine, rum or brandy.

sangrita = a combination of orange juice, grenadine, chile and sometimes tomato juice that is the favorite accompaniment to tequila in Mexico.

sardinas = sardines

sartén = skillet  

sazon = seasoning power of many spices like a BBQ rub

sazon de a cocinera (or el cocinero) = "the cook's touch"

sazonar = to season

seco = dry  

serrano chile = very hot, easy to use in salsas because the thin skin does not need to be rmoved

servilleta = napkin

sesos = brains

sidra = cider

sierra = mackerel

semilla = seed

  -- de ajonjoli = sesame seed

  -- de alcaravea = caraway seed

  -- de amapola = poppy seed

  -- de apio = celery seed

sin = without

sobremesa = after dinner conversation, remaining at the table after dinner

sodio = sodium 

sofreír = to sauté, fry lightly, stir-fry

sofrito = lightly fried

solomillo = sirloin or tenderloin steak

sopa = soup. The word caldo (broth) is often used.

sopa seca = dry soup,  Includes rice and pasta dishes; often just "sopa" which leads to confusion.

sopera = soup bowl

sopes = a little bowl of tortilla dough, baked or fried, and filled with various toppings; sort of an open face gordita

suero de leche = buttermilk, whey 

suiza = Swiss, a dish containing cream and or light cheeses such as enchiladas suizas

sumergir = to dip





sage = salvia

sailfish = pez vela

salad = ensalada

salad bowl = ensaladera

salmon = salmón

salt cod = bacalao salado

salt = sal

   - idolized = sal yodada  

to salt = sazonar, echar sal

to salt and perpper = salmpimentar

salted = salado

salty = salada

sardines = sardinas

sauce = salsa; salsa Mexicana = the basic salsa usually consisting of tomato; onion, garlic, chiles, and cilantro

sauceboat = salsera

sauerkraut = choucroute, chucrut, col picada en salmuera

saucepan = cazo

sausage = salchicha

sausage meat = carne de salchicha

to sauté = saltear, sofreir

to scald = escaldar

scale (weighting) = báscula  

scallion = cebollita, cebolita, cebolla verde

scallops = conchas, callos de hacha, venera

scrambled eggs, plain = huevos reveltos

scrambled eggs with shredded dried beef = machacado con huevos

scrambled eggs with tomatoes, chilies and onions = huevos Maxicano 

sea bass = corvina, percha de mar

sea bream = besugo  

seafood = comida del mar, mariscos

seafood cocktail = campechano

seal = sellar

seasoning = condimento

to season  = sazonar

to season with salt and pepper = salpimentar

seeds = semillas, pepitas

sesame = ajonjolí  

sesame seed = semilla de ajonjolí

shallot = chalote, escalonia

shapes = formas

shark = tiburón, cazon

shells = cascaras

sherry = jerez  

shopping list = lista de la compra

shrimp = camarón; prawns = gambas 

shish kabob = brochete, alambre

to shred = rallar, cortar en tiras

side = lado  

sieve = cedazo, pasar por cedazo

to sift = cernir, tamizar

sifter = carnidor

simmer = cocinar a fuego lento  

sink (kitchen) = fregadero

sirloin steak = aguayon

skillet = sartén

skin = piel

to skin = pelar

skinned = pelado

sliced = en trozos

smear = untar  

to smoke = ahumar

smoked = ahumdo

snack = botana, bocadillo

snail = caracol

soak = remojar

soda cracker = galleta salada

sodium = sodio

soft drink = refresco   

soup = sopa; sopa is often used to refer to rice or pasta dishes which leads to confusion.

soup bowl = sopera

sour cherry = guinda

sour cream = nata agria

soya, soja = soy

soy sauce = salsa de soya (soja)

spaghetti  = espaguetis

spare ribs = costillas

spicy = picante

spinach = espinacas  

spine, backbone = espinazo

spoon = cucharada  

to spoon, to ladle  = sacar con cucharear

spoonful = cucharado

serving spoon = cuchara de servir

slotted spoon, skimmer = espumadera

soup spoon = cuchara para sopa 

sugar spoon = sacar con cuchara  

table spoon = cuchara grande

tea spoon = cucharadita, cucharilla 

spices of Mexico click on this link for an overview of the major spices used in Mexican cooking.

sprig = ramita  

spaghetti = espagueti

sprinkle = salpicar

squeeze = exprimir  

squash = calabaza

squash blossom = flor de calabaza

squid = calamar

stale bread = pan duro

stalk = tallo

starch = fécula

steak = bistec  

steakhouse restaurant = parrilla

steamer = vapor

stew, stewed meat = guisado, estofado

stewed fruit = compota de fruitas

to stew = guisar, estofar

stiff = espeso

stock = caldo  

stove = estufa

stove burner = quemador

to strain = colar  

strainer = colaro, cedazo, filtro

straw (for drinking) = popote, pajita, paja, caña, sorbete

strawberry = fresa  

string bean or green bean = judía verde

strips = tiritas

stuff = rellenar, verb; relleño = stuffing as in chile relleño

sugar = azúcar  

to sugar = azucarar 

sugar, confectioner's = azúcar glace

suger bowl = azucarera

suit = manteca de res

summer squash = calabaza

sun flower = girasol  

supper = cena

sweet = dulce

  -- and sour = agridulce  

  -- basil = albahaca  

  -- corn = maiz dulce 

 -- cream = crema dulce

sweetbreads = mollejas  

to sweeten = azucarar, endulzar, dulcificar

sweetener = endulzarte, dulcificante

sweet potato = camote

swordfish = espada, pez espada

syrup = almibar, jarabe


tacos = tortillas wrapped around a filling. They are usually defined by either the type of filling, the type of tortilla (corn or flour) and whether the taco is fried or not.  

tacos a la plancha are made from meats cooked on a comal or griddle.

tacos al carbón a specialty of northern Mexico refers to tacos filled with charbroiled meats.

tacos al pastor are filled with thin slices of marinated pork cooked on vertical spits set beside charcoal, gas or electric heat sources.

tacos al vapor = steamed meat filling, often from a cow or goat's head

tacos de barbacoa = made from barbacoa.

tacos de carnitas = made from carnitas.

tacos de cazuela = filled with ingredients, usually a stew of some sort, cooked in a cazuela.

tacos de maíz o harina = tacos de maíz are tacos made with corn tortillas and tacos de harina with flour tortillas.

tacos dorados = the name of these tacos comes from the golden crisp-fried corn tortilla which encloses them. Usually the filling is of shredded meat.

tacos sudados o de canasta "Sweated or basket" tacos get their name from the fact that they are prepared, often with a stewed, shredded filling, then placed between towels in a basket to keep them warm until they are consumed.  

tallarines, fideos = noodles

tallo = stalk

tamales = the original pre-Hispanic tamales were made by placing some uncooked masa (tortilla dough) on a corn husk, adding a filling of meat, seafood, insects, vegetables or fruit, wrapping the husk into a package and steaming it.  Following the introduction of lard by the Spanish, this fat was added to the dough which makes it much lighter, and more savory. There are over a hundred regional varieties made with almost every imaginable ingredient. Tamales is plural, the singular is tamal -- not tamale.

tamarindo = tamarind

tamizar also cernir = to sift

tapa, tapadera = lid, top

tapar = to cover

tarta de queso = cheesecake

taza para medir = measuring cup

ternera picada = minced beef

taquitos = essentially the same as flautas but are often made with smaller tortillas

tarta, torta = pie

tasajo, cecina  = dried beef or pork, jerky  

tatemar = to roast, peal and deseed chiles or tomatoes

taza = cup

té = tea  

té caliente = hot tea

té helado = iced tea

tejocote = a tree which produces a fruit resembling a crab apple. Used in syrups and punches

tejocote = Mexican hawthorn which is native to Mexico.  

tejolote = the pestle used with a molcajete

telera = a type of wheat-flour

tenedor = fork

tepache = an alcoholic beverage made from pineapple and sugar, or cane juice and other juices.

tequezquite = a substitute for baking power; also used to soften beans and cook nopales and vegetables, so they will keep their natural color.

Tequila = a liquor distilled from the juice of the blue agave, which is not a cactus  

ternera = veal

tesgüino = beer made from corn, principally by the Tarahumara Indians who live in the high mountains of Chihuahua

tetera = teapot, also baby's bottle

tiburón, cazón = shark

tinga, deshebrada = shredded beef in chile sauce typical burrito filling 

tiritas = strips

tlacoyos = similar to tortillas, but thicker, sometimes stuffed

tocino = bacon  

tomate = ?  This is a problem word because it is often used differently in different parts of Mexico -- sometimes meaning tomato and, sometimes, tomatillo.

tomate de milpa = tomatillo

tomatillo also called tomate de milpa, tomate verde and fresadilla, see tomate above.  It looks like a tiny green tomato, which it is not, enclosed in a paper-like husk that is removed before cooking. Used in a variety of Mexican dishes and sauces to add an acidic flavor

tomillo = thyme

toronja = grapefruit

torta = literally a pie or tort but also refers to a Mexican style sandwich (torta Mexicana) usually made by removing most of the insides of a split telera or bolillo, then filling it with everything from various meats and cheeses to a tamal.

tortilla de harina (de trigo)  = thin bread made from wheat flour

tortilla (de maiz) = thin bread made from nixtamalized corn.  Also look here.

tortilla de huevos = omelete

tortuga = turtle

tostada = a fried flat corn tortilla topped with a layer of beans, shredded beef or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado and salsa.  Not at all like the tostada served in most Mexican restaurants the USA.

tostado = toasted

tostador = toaster

tostar = to toast  

totopos = in most of Mexico totopos is the word used to describe the fried tortilla chips served as appetizers and snacks. However, in the state of Oaxaca totopos refer to very large corn tortillas that are often cooked until quite hard.

transferir = to transfer

transparente = transparent 

trigo = wheat

tripa = tripe

trocitos de pollo = chicken nuggets

trozo de rosbif = rib roast

trucha = trout

tuba = alcoholic beverage made from fermented palm juice.

tuna = the fruit of the nopal cactus.





table = mesa 

table cloth = mantal

table mat = salvamanteles

tablespoon = cuchara grande

tangerine = mandarina

tarpon (silver king) = sábalo

tartar sauce = salsa tártara

taste = sabor

teaspoon = cucharita, cucharilla

tea = té

tea, hot = té caliente

tea, iced = té helado

teapot = tetera (also tetera = baby's bottle

tender = tierno

tenderloin or sirloin steak = solomillo

thick = grueso, espeso

to thicken = espesar

thickness = espesura, grueso  

thigh = muslo

thinly slice = cortar en lonchas finas

thoroughly = completamente

thyme = tomillo

tie = atar

tin = lata

tinned = en lata  

toast = pan tostado

to toast = tostar

toasted = tostado  

toaster = tostador

tofu = tofu, queso de soja

tomato =  jitomate and, sometimes, tomate.
                See tomate

tongue = lengua

top, lid = tapa, tapadera

topping = lo que se pone encima de una base

toss = darle la vuelta (en el aire normalmente con creps)

to transfer = transferir

transparent = transparente

trickle = chorrear un poco

to trim = cortar

tripe = tripa

trout = trucha  

tumeric = cucuma

tuna = atún

turkey = pavo

to turn = dar la vuelta

to turn off = apagar

turnip = nabo

turtle = tortuga



ubre = udder as in tacos de ubre

uchepos = a tamal that is a specialty of Michocán, made from fresh rather than dried corn.  

untar = to smear

utensilios de cocina

uva = grape

uva pasa = raisin




udder = ubre sometimes used in tacos

vaca = cow

vaciar = to empty

vainas de vainilla = vanilla beans

vainilla = vanilla

vasija = vessel or container

vaso = drinking glass  

vapor = steamer

venado, carne de venado = venison 

venado, ciervo = deer

veneras = scallops

verter = to pour  

Veracruzana = fish (usually red snapper) cooked with tomatoes and onions

verdolaga = purslane

verdura, legumbre = vegetable

vinagre = vinegar

vino = wine; also often refers to whisky or whiskey



vanilla = vainilla

veal = ternera

vegetable = verdura, legumbre

vegetable oil = aceite vegetal

vegetable peeler = pelador

vegetarian = vegetariano

vinegar = vinagre

vinaigrette sauce = (salsa) vinagreta

veal = ternera  (de animal muy joven y de carne pálida)

vodka = vodka



waffle = waffle

walnuts = nogales, nueces (de california)

to wash = lavar = castaña de agua

watercress = berro  

watermelon = sandia 

wax paper = papel parafinado

wedge = pedazo grande

wheat = trigo

wheat flour = harina de trigo

wheat germ = germen de trigo

whey = suero de leche

whipped cream = nata montada  

whipping cream = cream pare bair

to whisk = batir  

without = sin

whisky, whiskey = whisky; also often vino

white fish = pescado blanco

whiting = pescadilla

whole = entero  

whole-wheat = trigo entero

wine = vino

wings = alas

winkle = bígaro

wild boar = jabalí

to wipe = limpiar

Worcestershire sauce = salsa inglesa

xnipec  = a chile sauce or relish common in the Yucatan whose name means "dog's nose."

xoconostle = a type of cactus tuna



yema de huevo = egg yolk

yemas = yolks

yerba buena = wild mint, fresh or dried

yerba santa = heart shaped leaves for seasoning, with anise flavor; also used as a medicinal herb for caughing and asthma

yuca = yucca



yellow tail = jurel

yolks = yemas  

yucca = yuca

zacahuil = a gigantic tamal, often filled with a suckling pig or whole turkeys, and cooked in a pit. Found mostly along the Gulf Coast in Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz.

zanahoria = carrot

zapote = trees which produce tropical fruits including the zapote prieto and zapote blanco.  

zarzamora = blackberry

zumo, jugo = juice. The word jugo is more common in Mexico. In Mexico zumo often refers to the oil of an orange peel.





zest = cáscara, peladura, sabor

zucchini = calabacín

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