UK-US Lingo

There are subtle differences in UK and US English.

The general language used in this blog, is American English. That is to say, I will use chili instead of chilli, fiber instead of fibre and center instead of centre.

The differences do not end there. UK and US English also have very different names for everyday items. I recall looking for rocket in the supermarket (grocery store) in the US, only to realize weeks later it was called arugula! In this blog, I’ve tried my hardest to use both UK and US English terminologies, where possible.

I’ve created this page to help you understand the lingo on both sides. It’s a work in process, and I’ll be adding to it when another word pops into my head.

The list is comprised of the UK English on left, with the corresponding US equivalent on the right, unless otherwise stated.



Vegetables/Fruits (Produce)
Courgette – zucchini
Spring onions – green onions or scallions
Coriander – cilantro
Swede – rutabaga
Rocket – arugula
Aubergine – eggplant
Cos Lettuce – Romaine
Sweet potato – sweet potato/yams
Chinese leaf – napa cabbage
Mangetout – snow peas

Baking/bakery items
Cane sugar – turbinado sugar
Icing sugar – confectioners/powdered sugar
Hazelnuts are sometimes known as filberts
Sultanas – golden raisins
Raisins – currants
Currants – zante currants
Linseed – flaxseed
Plain flour – all-purpose flour
Pastry case – pie shell/crust
Bicarbonate of soda – baking soda
Treacle – molasses
Bap/cob/barm – bread roll 

Jam/preserve – jelly
Jelly – jello
Polenta – sometimes known as cornmeal or corn flour
Corn flour – corn starch
Chick peas – garbanzo beans
Fruit butter (US), as in apple or pumpkin butter, is a jam/spread (UK), but contains no butter
Suet, as in Atora suet (vegetable or beef), does not exist. The US does not use suet for human consumption, but for bird feed
Pancakes (US) can be known as flapjacks

Flapjacks – no real equivalent, but very close to a soft granola bar
Biscuit – cookie
Crisps – chips
Biscuit (US) is almost like as scone, but only savory
Scone (UK) – similar to shortcake, if sweet
Scone (US) – similar to a British scone, but dryer and with more substance 

Double cream – heavy cream (I’ve not found anything that is equivalent to whipping cream)

Mince, as in minced beef – ground
Burger, as in beef burger – beef patty
Back-bacon can be found in some specialized shops, where local farmers produce “British-style” bacon and British import stores. The readily available bacon is streaky. 

Kitchen Equipment/Techniques
Baking tray – baking pan/cookie pan
Frying pan – skillet
Piping nozzle – piping tip
Hob – stove/stove top
Grill – broil

Restaurant Terminology
Main course – entrée
With ice-cream – a la mode (as in apple pie a la mode, is apple pie with ice cream)


7 thoughts on “UK-US Lingo

  1. This is so delicious!! In addition to your ingredients, we used whole wheat penne, sprinkled parmesan cheese instead of feta, kalamata olives,and threw in a half of a left over zucchini as well. Worked just fine.) You saved our night. Thank you & cook on!

    • Hi Marlena, Thanks for visiting. I’m so glad that someone is using these recipes and enjoying them. It’s funny how a few quality ingredients can make such a wonderful dish, right? Keep on cooking my dear!

  2. This is an awesome list! My parents are European and in an effort to recreate family recipes, I’ve sometimes translated both food names and metric equivalents. This is great!

    • Hi there! Thank you for reminding me about British currants, which I have recently learnt are the same as US “Zante currants”. I’ll change this page accordingly.

      • Oh! I see my confusion. Americans call raisins raisins and the smaller variety currants. Thanks for the name Zante currants. I never knew they were called that. There are red and black currents which are common in Europe and they make a beverage out of it, which is what i thought you meant. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s