My mother is a baker, so I grew up making all kinds of delicious baked goods. When it comes to my specialties, like cookies, I hardly even glance at recipes, I either know them by heart or I just wing it. However, I realize not everyone was lucky enough to grow up working alongside my mother, so recipes, measurements and easy-to-understand instructions are key. So, what happens when you are cooking in Spanish?
Cooking and baking measurement terms in Spanish
When I moved to Argentina, my biggest baking obstacle was the cursed metric system. Why the United States refuses to teach us the measuring system that the rest of the world uses, I do not know, but the fact remains, I am a stunted American who was staring at liters and grams and missing my cups and tablespoons. I suggest using an online converter. The vocabulary is easy enough:
Litros – liters
Gramos – grams
Kilos – kilos
Tazas de medir – measuring cups
Taza – a cup
Cucharada – a tablespoon
Cucharadita – a teaspoon
Pizca – a pinch
A ojo – eyeball it
Translations of basic baking ingredients in Spanish
The ingredients are slightly more challenging. Your Spanish classes most likely prepared you to handle very simple food words, probably ones you would use when ordering food, not making it. So you might have azúcar (sugar) and sal (salt) down, but you’re probably lost on the rest of them, especially spices. Here are some helpful words:
Harina – flour
Harina de trigo – wheat flour
Azúcar impalpable, Azúcar flor – powdered sugar
Mantequilla, Manteca – butter
Vainilla – vanilla
Canela – cinnamon
Nuez moscada – nutmeg
Cremor tártaro – cream of tartar
Polvo de hornear – baking powder
Pepitos de chocolate, Chips de chocolate – chocolate chips
Granos, Confites, Grageas– sprinkles
Azúcar glas/glasé/glaseado – icing
Bicarbonato – baking soda
Note: In Argentina, I found that what they called baking powder was what I needed for all my recipes that called for baking soda. Just ask to take a look at the powder first, or buy both and run some tests!
Recipe instructions translations in Spanish
For those of you who have limited Spanish, the instructions may be the most difficult part for you. The key is to treat the instructions like you would any other Spanish reading- do not to try to understand every word and let yourself get stuck and frustrated. If you have prior baking experience and a few key words memorized, you should be able to manage.
Derritir – melt
Mezclar – mix
Combinar – Combine
Líquidos – liquids
Ingredientes secos – dry ingredients
Cortar – Cut, chop
Masajear – knead
Batir – beat
Hornear – bake
Amasar – knead
Cremoso – creamy (Batir hasta que está cremoso – beat until it’s creamy)
A punto de nieve – This is a phrase used to describe beating egg whites until they are thick and foamy
Batidora – mixer
Don’t be scared to bake while abroad. If you find yourself a local friend, it can be a really fun experience. You might feel like a 3 year old as you hold up items and say “¿Cómo se llama?” over and over again, but you will learn a lot and you will get to reward yourself with a tasty treat at the end.
Two words for rolling pin in Spanish
What’s the Spanish word for rolling pin (as pictured above)? Obviously, there’s more than one right answer. In typical Speaking Latino fashion, there are at least two words: uslero and rodillo.
What are other words we completely skipped over and are necessary to whip up your favorite recipe?
Check out these other English Spanish articles.