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German - American Cooking Glossary

This glossary evolved from my finding myself confronted not only with the need to adjust to metric measures, but also to new ingredients, to the difficulty or impossibility of finding "common" ingredients like vanilla extract, brown sugar or all-purpose flour, to following recipes written in German. I've also shared some American recipes with German friends of mine.

This glossary is by no means exhaustive, but has developed from the ingredients in the specific recipes I've come across or wanted to share. There is an American-based version for those trying to cook in a non-American environment and a German-based version for those who are either in a non-German environment or simply would like to have some fun with American recipes. There are many recipe sites online, but of the ones I've visited, the only one that was translated was done by machine (with predictably hysterical and unintelligible results).

The alphabetical order follows the English names of things in the American version and the German names for things in the German version. Separators are done in the English style in both versions, so 1,000.00 is one thousand.

One other thing I ought to mention is that at some point in time, I noticed that my newer cup measures, which I believe I bought in the States, seem to be trying to stretch the US standards so they are more easily transposed into metric measures. I used these for several years without realizing these cup measures did not all share the same base. I've never noticed any particular problems in cooking or baking, but I'm not a professional in such matters. What this says to me is that my chart below, made with painstaking care before this discovery, is accurate to a degree that may be unnecessary. My little cup measures round up to the simplest quantity: 250 ml for one cup, 125 ml for 1/2 cup, but use a base of 240 ml for the smaller measures of 1/3 and 1/4 cup (80 ml and 60 ml for the mathematically challenged).


Maße und Gewichte / Weights & Measures

 Deutsch  American  Equivalent Measure
 1 Kilogram (kg)  2.2046 lbs.  1000 g
 1 Gram (g)  0.0352 oz.  1/1000 kg
 1 Pfund  1.1023 lbs.  1/2 kg; 500 g
 1 Liter (L)  1.0567 quarts  1000 ml
 1 Milliliter (ml)  1/5 tsp.  1/1000 L
 1 Deciliter (dl)  6 2/3 Tbl.  100 ml
 Teelöffel (Teel.)  teaspoon  5 ml
 Eßlöffel (Eßl.)  tablespoon  15 ml
 1 Zentimeter (cm)  0.3937 inch  1/100 meter
 Prise  pinch, dash  
 1 Päckchen Gelatine  1 envelope of gelatine  9 g

Temperaturen / Temperatures

If you're in the States, you can buy an oven thermometer, which will probably have both Fahrenheit and Celsius on it (like mine). Or you can just enter your temperature in the converter below.

Temperature Converter



Zutaten / Ingredients

 Deutsch   American
 Apfelmus  applesauce
 Backpulver  baking powder
 Back-, Bratfett; Pflanzenfett,  shortening; vegetable shortening
 Backpflaumen  prunes
 Blaukraut  red cabbage
 blaue Zwiebel  red onion
 brauner Zucker  unbleached sugar
American recipes translated into German sometimes use this as a translation for "brown sugar" but it's not correct**
 Butterschmalz  clarified butter
 Chicoree  endive; Belgian endive
 Chinakohl  Chinese cabbage
 Couverture, Kuverture (Milchschokolade, Zartbitter)  sweetened baking chocolate; comes in milk (Milchschokolade) and dark (Zartbitter); chopped up into small chunks, it makes a good substitute for chocolate chips if you can't find them
 Dickmilch  clabber; junket; soured, curdled milk; cultured milk; thick milk (literal translation from the German)
 Ei(er); Rührei, Spiegelei, hartgekochtes Ei (8 Min.), weichgekochtes Ei (4 Min.)  egg(s); scrambled egg, fried egg (sunny side up), hard-boiled egg (10 min.), soft-boiled egg (2 min.)
 Endivie  chicory, escarole
 Frischkäse (körniger)  Cottage cheese
 Frischkäse (doppelrahmstufe, so wie Philadelphia)  Cream cheese
 Graupen  pearl barley
 Grünkohl  kale (curly)
 Hartweizen  Durum wheat
 Hirse  millet
 Kaiserschoten (auch als Zuckerschoten oder Zuckererbsen oder Mangetout angeboten)  snow peas
 Johannisbeeren  currants (fresh)
 Kandis (braun oder weiß)  rock candy (brown or clear)
in Germany, served with tea
 Korinthen  currants (dried)
 Kürbis: Zierkürbis  squash, pumpkin; gourd
 Mangold  silver beet; stock beet
 Mangetout (auch als Kaiserschoten oder Zuckerschoten oder Zuckererbsen angeboten)  snow peas
 Maracuja  passion fruit
 Mohn  poppy seed
 Natron oder Speise-Natron (Natrium-Hydrogen-Carbonat)  baking soda
 Naturjoghurt  plain yogurt
 Nr. 405 Weizenmehl  most common German flour, good for cakes, but absorbs less liquid than all-purpose flour; American cake recipes will likely need to be adjusted*
 Quark  a fresh cheese, similar to Greek yogurt in texture, eaten as is or with fruit and used in German cheesecake recipes; available in the US by special order in some health food and specialty stores or you can make your own using buttermilk
 Paprika  bell pepper
 Pfifferlinge  chanterelle mushrooms
 Puderzucker  confectioner's sugar; powdered sugar; icing sugar
 Romana (Salat)  romaine (lettuce)
 Rosinen  raisins
 Sago  tapioca (small pearl)
 Sahne; Schlagsahne, Schlagrahm  cream; heavy or whipping cream
 Sahnesteif, Sahnefestiger, Sahnestandmittel

cream stiffener, cream stabilizer
this is a German specialty item, used to make cream stiff so that it can support a bit of weight (such as a layer of fruit or a thin layer of cake); it's also used to keep whipped cream from going runny quite so fast in summer

 Salat, Kopfsalat  lettuce (head of)
 Schale  peel; skin (noun)
 Schälerbsen  split peas
 Schokoladentröpfchen  chocolate chips
 Schweineschmalz  lard
 Semmelbrösel  bread crumbs
 Speisestärke  starch
 Staudensellerie; Sellerieknolle  celery; celery root
 Sultaninen  golden raisins
 Tomatenmark  tomato paste
 Teig  dough
 Traubenzucker  glucose
 Weizengrieß  semolina
 Zuckerrüben-sirup  sugar beet syrup
very similar to American molasses
 Zucchini  zucchini
 Zucchini (gelbe)  summer squash, yellow squash
 Zuckerschoten (auch als Zuckererbsen oder Kaiserschoten oder Mangetout angeboten)  snow peas

*All-purpose flour doesn't exist in Germany. I'm not any sort of expert baker, but I do have a cookbook (and general food guide) for Americans living in Germany. It has an excellent chapter on baking and the various types of flour available in Germany. Called Beyond Beer & Bratwurst, it was produced by the American Women's Club of the Taunus. They now have a web site where their book can be ordered, though it's nearly sold out and you may have to wait for the new one.

**American brown sugar has molasses in it, which gives it a whole other flavor and makes it quite prone to hardening like a rock over time, if left exposed to air.



Kräuter und Gewürze / Spices & Seasonings

 Deutsch  American
 Basilikum  basil
 Bockshorn, Bockshornsaat  fenugreek, fenugreek seed
 Bohnenkraut  summer savory
 Curcuma, Gelbwurz  turmeric
 Estragon  tarragon
 Ingwer  ginger
 Kerbel  chervil
 Knoblauch, Knoblauchzehe(n)  garlic; clove(s) of garlic
 Kreuzkümmel, Cumin  cumin
 Kümmel  caraway seed
 Lorbeerblätter  bay leaves
 Marjoran  marjoram
 Muskatnuß  nutmeg
 Nelken  cloves
 Petersilie  parsley
 Piment  allspice
 Rosmarin  rosemary
 Salbei  sage
 Thymian  thyme
 Vanillin-Zucker, Vanille-zucker  vanilla- or vanillin-flavored sugar
(1 packet of Vanille-zucker equals
1 - 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
 Wachholderbeeren  juniper berries
 Zimt  cinnamon
 Zitronenschale; Orangenschale (geriebene)  zest (of a lemon or orange)


Kochvokabular u. Hilfsmittel / Cooking Terms & Utensils

 Deutsch  American
 abschmecken; nach Geschmack  flavor, season; to taste
 abtropfen  drain
 aufkochen, zum Kochen bringen  bring to a boil
 abkühlen  chill
 Auflaufform  oven-proof dish
 abschöpfen  skim
 anschwitzen  sweat; soften without browning; sauté or glaze over a low fire without browning
 auftauen  defrost, thaw (out)
 Backblech  baking sheet
 Backform  baking pan, baking tin
 Backpapier  parchment (for baking)
 braten  fry (in der Pfanne); roast (im Ofen)
 Bratpfanne  fying pan, skillet
 Bratenspritze  baster
 dämpfen  steam
 dünsten  stew; steam
 eindicken  reduce
 einfetten (der Form)  butter or grease (a baking pan or dish)
 entkernen  seed (remove seeds)
 entsteinen  pit (remove pits)
 füllen; Füllung  stuff; stuffing
 Gemüsedünster  vegetable steamer
 Gugelhupf-Backform  Bundt pan
 Gußgeschirr (Gußtopf, Gußbratenpfranne, etc.)  cast iron cookware (pot, pan, skillet)
 kannelierte  fluted
 kneten  knead
 Küchenmachine  food processor
 lauwarm  lukewarm
 Masse  mixture
 mahlen (fein/grob)  grind (fine/coarse)
 mehlieren  coat with flour
 Mörser mit Stößel  mortar and pestle
 Moulinette o.ä.  food processor
 pellen, schälen  peel (verb)
 reiben; raspeln  grate
 rühren  stir
 Schneebesen  wire whisk
 Tee-/Gewürzsieb  tea infuser
 Teigschaber  spatula
 Topf  saucepan
 unterheben  fold in
 verdünnen  dilute
 vermengen  blend
 Wasserbadtopf  double boiler
 würfeln; würfeln fein  cube; dice
 Zahnstocher  toothpick
 Zitronenreißer, Zestenreißer  lemon zester, zester

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