How to talk about the kitchen in English.
This is the ultimate guide. Everything you need to know — all the vocabulary and essential key phrases.
Let’s get into it…
What Is The Kitchen?
The kitchen is a room in a house or apartment where food is cooked and prepared.
The kitchen can be a small room or it can be big with space for people to sit down and eat too. Most kitchens in the UK are situated at the back of the house, overlooking the back garden.
A kitchen in an apartment can face out to any part of the building.
How big is your kitchen?
How many people can stand in the kitchen comfortably?
What can you see from your kitchen window?
What Do We Use The Kitchen For?
We use the kitchen mainly for cooking and preparing food.
But we also use it to make tea or coffee. To keep snacks or any other drinks.
People might like to sit in the kitchen and drink tea or coffee together and chat about the day ahead.
There is a common belief in England that people tend to congregate in kitchens during a party. Someone hosts a party and a group of people will stay in the kitchen as a place to socialise and talk together.
What do people do in kitchens in your country?
Do people drink tea in the kitchen?
Or is it only used for cooking and making meals?
Things in the Kitchen
Of course, there are many things in the kitchen that we use for cooking. Other things that we use for storing food and all the kitchen items too.
Let’s take a look in more detail.
Machines We Use In The Kitchen
There are a few big machines that people have in their kitchen. These are also known as white goods — named because they are white in colour.
These machines are often covered in white enamel. This is to protect them from wear and tear and to keep them clean.
Here are six of the most common machines we can find in the kitchen.
A fridge is a machine that we use in the kitchen to keep food cold or frozen. Then we can take the food out of the fridge and cook it.
Expressions with fridge:
- I’ve got nothing in the fridge.
- If you take a look in my fridge, you’ll only see a pint of milk and maybe a rotten apple!
- My fridge is always full. I always have something that I can make for dinner.
- I like to keep lots of fruit and vegetables in the fridge.
A cooker — or stove or oven — is a machine we use to cook food. The cooker can be gas or electric.
Expressions with cooker:
- I prefer to cook with gas so we got a gas cooker.
- I try to clean the cooker at least once a month.
The washing machine is used to wash clothes — or do the laundry. In the UK, we usually keep the washing machine in the kitchen.
Expressions with washing machine:
- In our family of five people, the washing machine is constantly on the go.
- I turn the washing machine on and it washes my clothes automatically.
A microwave oven is a smaller machine or device that we use for heating food.
Expressions with microwave:
- I try not to use the microwave as I don’t like what it does to the food. But sometimes I have to use it for convenience.
- We keep our microwave on top of the fridge so the kids don’t play with it.
- I open the door and put the food inside, then the microwave heats up the food.
A freezer is a machine that freezes food. We can keep pieces of meat or ready-made meals from the supermarket in the freezer.
Expressions with freezer:
- About once every two or three months, we go to the supermarket to stock up on things to put in the freezer.
- We put food in the freezer and it freezes it.
- We take food out of the freezer and wait for it to thaw out. Then we cook it and eat it.
Some kitchens have a dishwasher. This is a machine that washes all the plates, cups and bowls. No need to do the washing up!
Expressions with dishwasher:
- Ever since we bought a dishwasher, it’s made our lives so much easier!
- As we both work all day, we bought a dishwasher. Now we don’t have to do the washing up.
- We put all the dirty dishes and cups inside the dishwasher and turn it on. Then it washes everything automatically.
Do you have any of these machines in your kitchen?
What do you use them for?
Try to make sentences about using these machines in your daily life.
Write your sentences down and then speak out loud.
Take a look at these other useful guides and lesson plans about food and eating.
Sink and Cupboards
Every kitchen has a sink and cupboards.
The sink is used to wash the dishes and wash and prepare vegetables.
Cupboards are used to store crockery — plates, cups, bowls — and cutlery; knives, forks, spoons. They are also used to store some food items.
Let’s take a look at some vocabulary for the sink and cupboards in the kitchen.
The sink is a bowl-shaped item in the kitchen to wash crockery and wash and prepare vegetables. It is usually made of stainless steel. But some old-fashioned sinks may be made of porcelain.
Expressions with sink:
- I hate to come home after work and see the sink piled up with dirty dishes.
- Our sink has a leak — we will have to call the plumber.
- We use the sink to do the washing up. And to wash vegetables or fruit.
Taps provide the water source that goes into the sink. There may be two taps — one for hot water and one for cold — or one tap with a mixer to adjust the hot and cold water.
Expressions with taps:
- I think the tap is leaking. I can hear it dripping at night.
- The taps have really low water pressure in the kitchen. We might have to adjust it.
- I turn the tap on and fill the sink with water.
The plughole is the hole in the sink where all the water pours away.
Expressions with plughole:
- I think the plughole is blocked. Let’s call the plumber!
- When I finish doing the washing up, I pull out the plug and all the dirty water goes down the plughole.
The draining board is the place beside the sink where you place freshly washed dishes and other crockery. The water from the wet dishes drains away back into the sink.
Expressions with draining board:
- Be careful how many dishes you put on the draining board. We don’t want any to slip onto the floor and break.
- I think we need a new dish rack to put on the draining board.
- I wash the plates and dishes and place them on the draining board.
The counter is a kind of tabletop surface that is used to prepare vegetables and food for cooking. It is usually covered in plastic laminate for ease of cleaning. But it can also be made of ceramic tile or stone.
Expressions with counter:
- I have a very long counter in my kitchen, which makes it great for cooking.
- Our counter is made of tiles. But one of the tiles has come loose.
- We prepare all our meals on the counter.
- I keep my coffee machine and toaster on the counter.
Cupboards are storage places in the kitchen. They can be placed above the counter and fixed against the wall. And also below the counter.
Expressions with cupboards:
- We are very lucky as we have so much cupboard space in our kitchen. Plenty of room to store all the cups and dishes. But also lots of room for food and other things.
- One of the doors on the cupboard has come loose. I will have to fix it soon.
- I buy food in the supermarket and put it in the cupboard. I keep all the crockery in the cupboard too.
Shelves are places to put plates, cups — or maybe some foodstuff.
Expressions with shelves:
- I really wish we had some shelves in the kitchen. Somewhere for me to put all my spices and herbs for cooking.
- We keep all our cups and glasses on a shelf in the kitchen.
A kitchen often has some drawers. People usually put their knives, forks and spoons in the drawer.
Expressions with drawer:
- I think we need a cutlery holder in our drawer to separate all the knives, forks and spoons.
- We try to keep all the cutlery in order in the drawer, but sometimes things get mixed up.
Do you have any of these things in your kitchen?
What uses do you have for them in your kitchen?
What do you keep in all the cupboards, drawers, and shelves?
Crockery and Cutlery
Every kitchen has a collection of crockery and cutlery. We use these things for eating meals.
First, let’s take a look at the different kinds of crockery.
These are round, flat dishes where we put the food and meals for eating.
Expressions with plates:
- We eat all our meals off of plates.
- One of the plates is chipped, so we should throw it out.
We use cups and saucers for drinking tea or coffee. These were very common years ago but less used these days.
Expressions with cups/saucers:
- I am a little old-fashioned, so I prefer to drink tea from a cup and saucer.
- I have some very nice bone china cups and saucers.
Mugs are used today for drinking tea or coffee. Most people use mugs for drinking hot drinks these days.
Expressions with mugs:
- Everyone in our house has their own mug. Each one a different design.
This is a round dish with a bowl shape — hence the name. We use them for eating soup or breakfast cereal.
Expressions with bowls:
- I eat cereal from a bowl every morning.
- All our bowls are made of china. They all have the same design.
We might place a salad or some vegetables in a dish. People can help themselves to food for their own plate from the dish.
Expressions with dish:
- Can you help me serve the vegetables on this dish?
- Let’s put the roast chicken on this dish.
- This dish is oven-proof, so we can cook the casserole in it.
- This dish is fine for serving the salad.
A jug could be used for storing water. We might put it on the table and people can help themselves to a drink.
Expressions with jug:
- Please pour some water into the jug, then people can help themselves.
- Let’s put some orange juice in a jug for everyone to drink.
Now let’s look at the different kinds of cutlery in the kitchen. Most cutlery is made of stainless steel.
These are objects we use for cutting food. There are many different knives — some used for preparing food and others used for eating meals.
Expressions with knife/knives:
- Make sure you use the right knife for chopping the vegetables.
- Use this knife to peel your apple.
- Would you like a steak knife to cut your steak?
- I have a carving knife to carve the roast turkey.
- This knife is great for spreading butter on your bread.
A fork can be used for cooking or preparing food, but also for eating meals.
Expressions with fork:
- Would you like a fork to eat your salad?
- Use this fork with your pasta.
A spoon can be used for stirring food for cooking. And also used for eating — especially soup.
Expressions with spoon:
- This is a soup spoon. You can use this to eat your soup.
- This big wooden spoon is great to stir food when cooking.
A teaspoon is a small spoon we might use for preparing hot drinks such as tea or coffee. But also used for measuring ingredients for cooking.
Expressions with teaspoon:
- Use this teaspoon to stir your tea or coffee.
- You can use this teaspoon to add sugar to your coffee.
A glass is used for drinking cold drinks such as water, juice, beer, wine or soft drinks.
Expressions with glass/glasses:
- Don’t use that glass! It is cracked…
- We have lots of tumblers… ideal glasses for drinking water or juice.
- This glass is ideal for drinking wine.
A teapot is used for brewing tea. This is seldom used today as most people use teabags which they place directly in the cup.
Expressions with teapot:
- We have had this teapot in the family for years…
- I don’t know many people that use a teapot these days. Most people make tea with teabags straight in the cup.
- Pour some more tea from the teapot while it’s hot.
A coffee pot is used for preparing coffee. Most people prefer to use instant coffee, which they put directly in the cup.
Expressions with coffee pot:
- My coffee pot is made of stainless steel. I like the look of it.
- He poured two cups of coffee from the coffee pot.
- Clean the coffee pot before you make any fresh coffee.
Do you have any of these items in your kitchen?
What other items do you have for preparing food or cooking?
Do you prefer to use chopsticks? Why?
No kitchen can be complete without cooking equipment.
Let’s take a look at the main things we use for cooking.
This is a metal object with a long handle that we use for cooking. Most pans are made of either aluminium or stainless steel.
Expressions with pan:
- Michael put the pan on the stove to heat up.
- Put some water in the pan and bring it to the boil.
- I’m going to use this pan to make some soup.
This is a flat pan that we use for frying. In England, people may use a frying pan for cooking eggs and bacon. It can also be used for cooking fish or meat.
Expressions with frying pan:
- Use this frying pan to cook eggs.
- Pour some oil into the frying pan and heat it up.
- You can cook the chicken in the frying pan.
A saucepan is a deep pan that we use for cooking soup. But also for cooking vegetables or making dishes like curry.
Expressions with saucepan:
- You can heat the milk up in this saucepan.
- If you want to make some soup, this saucepan is perfect.
A wok is a round, bowl-shaped pan that we use for stir-frying food. It can be useful when cooking food at very high temperatures.
Expressions with wok:
- If you want to stir fry vegetables, you should use a wok.
- Be careful when using the wok as the oil gets very hot.
This is a deep pot, much like a saucepan, but bigger and with two small handles on either side of the pot. We can use it for cooking soup, making dishes like curry or stew or for cooking vegetables or fish.
Expressions with cooking pot:
- I always use this cooking pot when I make curry.
- This cooking pot is very big. Ideal for cooking a whole chicken.
This is a large dish made of china or steel that we can put in the oven. A casserole dish can be used for roasting vegetables or meat. But also for preparing casseroles — hence the name — or pies.
Expressions with casserole dish:
- Cover the lid and then put the casserole dish in the oven.
- I use this casserole dish for baking pies.
- Do you have a casserole dish? I want to make a lasagna.
Which of the above objects do you have in your kitchen?
What do you use them for?
What kind of food do you make with these items?
Do you have any other cooking equipment in your kitchen?
Many kitchens these days have kitchen appliances. These are small electric machines we use to make our lives more convenient in the kitchen.
A toaster is used for making toast from bread. Most kitchens in England have a toaster as English people love to eat toast for breakfast.
Expressions with toaster:
- The toaster is set to high… my toast came out black this morning!
- Can I use your toaster to heat up these crumpets?
- I’m so glad I have a toaster… I always make toast for breakfast in the morning.
A coffee machine is used for making coffee. Some of these machines are very advanced and can make different things such as cappuccino or espresso.
Expressions with coffee machine:
- My coffee machine makes the perfect cup of coffee in the morning.
- Can I make a cappuccino with this coffee machine?
- My coffee machine was a little expensive, but really worth the money!
A blender is a machine for preparing vegetables for cooking. The blender cuts and mixes all the food inside. This can be great for making soups or sauces.
Expressions with blender:
- This blender is great for making soup.
- I use my blender to chop up all the vegetables.
- You can stir the cream in the blender.
A juicer is a machine for making fruit juice. It is much like a blender — it cuts up all the fruit inside and mixes it together as one juice for drinking.
Expressions with juicer:
- My juicer is the best gadget in the kitchen!
- I made some fruit juice with my juicer this morning.
- I use my juicer every morning to make fresh fruit juice.
Do you have any of these appliances in your kitchen?
Do you have any other appliances not mentioned above?
What do you use them for?
And every kitchen has kitchen utensils. These are small hand-held tools we use for cooking and preparing food and meals.
This is a stainless steel object for mixing eggs or making batter for cooking. We might also use it for preparing soup or thickening cream.
Expressions with whisk:
- If you need to whisk eggs, use the whisk!
- You can stir the cream using the whisk.
- Stir the soup slowly with the whisk.
A kitchen might have different kinds of spoons for cooking and preparing food.
Expressions with spoon:
- He served the vegetables with the big serving spoon.
- I can scoop all the potatoes out of the pot with the spoon.
- This spoon is great to use for cooking.
A slice is a flat tool that we might use when frying food. It can also be used for picking up food from a dish.
Expressions with slice:
- This slice is great for making fried eggs.
- If I am cooking with a frying pan, I always need a slice.
A corkscrew is used for opening a bottle of wine.
Expressions with corkscrew:
- Be careful of your fingers when using the corkscrew.
- Do you have a corkscrew? I want to open this wine.
A grater is used for shredding cheese or vegetables into smaller pieces for cooking or eating.
Expressions with grater:
- This grater is perfect for grating cheese.
- Do you have a grater? I want cut this apple into small pieces.
Do you have any of these items in your kitchen?
What do you use them for?
Do you have any other cooking utensils not mentioned above?
People Talking About Kitchens
Take a look at the following extracts of people talking about their kitchens.
Read each extract out loud. Then write your own sentences about your kitchen.
Our kitchen is really small, so we’ve decided to build an extension to make it bigger.
Right now, everything is a mess, but when it’s finished, we will have new kitchen cabinets and counters.
The old kitchen had one counter—and it was really small. But the new one will have two long counters. Lots of space for us to prepare meals. Which is great because we both love to cook.
I have some gadgets in my kitchen that I regularly use. The ones that get the most use are my toaster, the coffee machine and the juicer.
I make coffee most mornings using the machine. It’s great—it can make really great coffee. Before I got the coffee machine, I was just using instant coffee. It tasted okay, but once you go to freshly made filter coffee, it’s hard to go back to instant.
I make toast with the toaster. That’s my breakfast every morning—toast and jam.
And I try to make juice every morning too. This morning I made juice with grapefruit, an apple and some watermelon. I add some ginger to spice it up a bit.
I love cooking, so my wife bought me some really nice kitchen knives for my birthday.
I’m sure they were very expensive—they are made of solid stainless steel. But they are great for preparing food.
Before I got these knives, I had to make do with one or two knives that I used for everything.
Now I have a knife for every different job in the kitchen.
Last night, I cooked some beef, and I used one of the knives to cut the beef. It sliced through it like butter!
We had to call the plumber out last week. One of the pipes under the sink had burst. I think it was because of the cold weather we had.
Luckily, I was able to turn off the water supply. But I had no idea how to fix the pipe, so we called the plumber.
While he was there, he advised us to get new taps for the sink. He said they were too old and could go at any moment.
So we got new taps as well.
We have a set system in our house. I always do the cooking and my husband always does the washing up with our daughter.
They get to spend some time together, chatting and washing the dishes—and I can have a quiet moment to myself.
They always do a good job of the washing up. All the dishes and pans cleaned and put away. And all the counters and floor cleaned too.
It’s nice to come back and see the kitchen spick and span!
Our kitchen is pretty big. We have room for a table inside. Sometimes we eat our dinner in the kitchen—especially in the winter as it’s so much warmer.
And whenever we have people over, we always seem to end up in the kitchen. Everyone sat around the kitchen table drinking wine and chatting.
Find any difficult words or phrases and look them up in your dictionary.
Now write your own introduction to your kitchen. Read it out loud to yourself.
Questions about Kitchens
Describe your kitchen. What does it look like?
Do you spend much time in your kitchen every day?
What do you do in the kitchen?
What do you do in your kitchen apart from cooking or making hot drinks?
What things do you have in your kitchen?
Look at all the items listed in the article above — now talk about all the things in your kitchen.
Do you like the design of your kitchen?
If you could change the design of it, what would you like your kitchen to look like?
Do you use gas or electric for cooking? What do you prefer? Why?
What kind of appliances do you have in your kitchen? What do you need them for? Describe their purpose in your kitchen.
What are the dangers of being in a kitchen?
Are kitchens safe for children to be in?
What do you think kitchens will be like in the future?
I hope this guide is useful to you.
Maybe you need to brush up on your General English skills for the IELTS test. Or maybe you work in a kitchen and need to understand the vocabulary used in English for this.
Whatever reason you have, make sure to practice all the new vocabulary you have learned. Start putting it to practice immediately.
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