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20 Food Names You Might Be Mispronouncing

Ingredient name got you tongue-tied? Here's how to pronounce it the right way.

By Kristine Hansen, Freelance Writer

Magenta background with scattered transparent blue and orange triangles with the words 'Acai' in white letters and 'pronounced ah-sah-EE' below

Emma Kumer


Sometimes food names can be tricky to pronounce. That's because many are rooted in a foreign language (hello, French recipes!) with pronunciations that—unless you've studied the language—are difficult to decipher. Others simply defy all pronunciation rules, period. Here's our roundup of the most commonly mispronounced food words—and tips on how to say them correctly.



Fruit

Acai

Commonly mispronounced as: AH-caye

How to say it: ah-sah-EE

Grown in tropical Central and South America, this superfruit is often added to salads or smoothies. Give your brain a boost with our complete list of superfood recipes.



Vegetables

Crudites

Commonly mispronounced: CRUDD-ites

How to say it: CREW-di-tay

This word describes raw vegetables (often carrots and celery) chopped into sticks and served alongside a dip or vinaigrette. Check out a fun, modern version with our recipe for Dill Vegetable Dip.


Edamame

Commonly mispronounced: ed-ah-MAME

How to say it: ed-ah-MAH-may

Edamame is a term for underripe soybeans. They're best boiled and served in the pod with sea salt seasoning. Try it in this recipe for Edamame Corn Carrot Salad.


Jicama

Commonly mispronounced: ji-CAYE-mah

How to say it: HEE-kah-ma

This root vegetable is loaded with nutrients. When tucked (usually raw) into a salad, for example, jicama provides a refreshing crunch. It's sometimes referred to as a Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip.


Radicchio

Commonly mispronounced: radish-yo

How to say it: rah-DIK-ee-oh

Stemming from Italy, this leafy vegetable is often used as a salad green and boasts pretty, reddish hues. Blend it with baby spinach in this delicious salad!


Tapenade

Commonly mispronunced: TAPE-en-ade

How to say it: TOP-en-ahde

This term describes finely chopped olives that are blended with olive oil, seasoned and spread onto crackers or a sandwich. Tapenade may also feature anchovies and capers. Use it instead of traditional pizza sauce with this recipe.


Yellow background with scattered transparent blue and magenta triangles with the words 'Gyro' in white letters and 'pronounced Yee-roh' below

Emma Kumer


Meats

Boeuf Bourguignon

Commonly mispronounced: bow-uff burr-gweeg-non

How to say it: BEUFF boor-gee-NYAWN

Meaning "beef Burgundy," this is a French classic that Julia Child strove to master (and did!). This slow-cooked dish is made with lean beef, red wine, beef stock, bacon, tomato paste, herbs and more. Try it over noodles, here.


Charcuterie

Commonly mispronounced: CHAR-cut-eree

How to say it: shar-koo-tuh-REE

Currently trending at wine bars in the United States, these cured meats (think prosciutto or soppressata) have long been popular throughout France and Italy.


Prosciutto

Commonly mispronounced: PRAWS–you-toh

How to say it: proh-SHOO-toh

An excellent addition to any charcuterie board, prosciutto is a salted ham that's air-cured. Produced under strict guidelines, the prosciutto-making process can take months or even years.


Gyro

Commonly mispronounced: GUY-roh

How to say it: YEE-roh

For this dish, meat (pork, chicken, lamb or beef) is cooked on a rotissiere and served in a pita with tzatziki sauce and tomatoes. It's one of our favorite Greek-style dinners.


Vichyssoise

Commonly mispronounced: VICH-ee-swah

How to say it: vishy-SWAAZ

Thick and creamy, this French-style soup contains chicken stock, leeks, onions and potatoes and is commonly made in spring and served chilled.



Blue background with scattered transparent yellow and magenta triangles with the words 'Bruschetta' in white letters and 'pronounced BRU-sketta' below

Emma Kumer


Comfort Foods

Bruschetta

Commonly mispronounced: BRUSH-etta

How to say it: BRU-sketta

An Italian antipasto, bruschetta often starts the meal. Small slices of grilled or toasted bread are topped with chopped tomatoes mixed with olive oil, salt and garlic. Try it at home using this simple recipe.


Ciabatta

Commonly mispronounced: Cee-uh-batt-ah

How to say it: CHUH-bott-uh

This crusty-on-the-outside, soft-in-the-middle white bread was developed in Verona, Italy, in the 1980s. Since then, it's become a versatile addition to our sandwich repertoire. Try it out in this Tuna Ciabatta Melt recipe.


Gnocchi

Commonly mispronounced: guh-noch-ee

How to say it: NYAH-key

Small, dense potato dumplings are boiled for a few minutes (much like ravioli or tortellini). Gnocchi is quite versatile; try it tossed with traditional tomato sauce, sauteed mushrooms and herbs, basil pesto or a cream sauce. This Gnocchi Alfredo recipe is a tasty place to start.


Muffuletta

Commonly mispronounced: MOOFE-oo-lett-a

How to say it: MUFF-a-lett-a

A sandwich created by Italian immigrants in New Orleans, the muffuletta layers mortadella, salami, ham and mozzarella or provolone between slices of hearty bread. Make a batch of Muffuletta Subs at your next party and let the oohs and aahs roll in.


Pho

Commonly mispronounced: FO

How to say it: FUH

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle dish made with broth, rice noodles, meat (usually beef or chicken) and herbs. It's typically served hot in a large bowl with chopsticks and a spoon, with lime wedges, bean sprouts, fresh basil and sliced jalapenos on the side.



Desserts

Macaron

Commonly mispronounced: MAC-a-ron

How to say it: mah-kuh-ROHN

These round, pastel-colored, meringue-based sandwich cookies are commonly sold in French and boutique bakeries. To complicate the matter of pronunciation, macarons are commonly confused with their coconut-laden cousins, macaroons. (Here's a macaroon recipe we love).


Mascarpone

Commonly mispronounced: mars-ca-PONY

How to say it: mass-car-PO-nay

This slightly sweet cheese is commonly found in dessert recipes, but it also functions as a decadent addition to soups, dips and pasta dishes. You'll love it as the icing on our Marvelous Cannoli Cake.


Sherbet

Commonly mispronounced: sure-BERT

How to say it: SURE-bit

Fruity, colorful ice creams—or sherbets—can be used in punch recipes or dished directly into a bowl. (Got an ice cream maker? Make Orange Soda Sherbet).



Starches

Quinoa

Commonly mispronounced: QUINN-o-ah

How to say it: KEEN-wah

Relatively new to U.S. consumers, this gluten-free grain has been cultivated in such places and Bolivia and Peru for thousands of years. It's a great substitute for rice and makes a fun base for a hearty, granola-like breakfast bowl. Check out these healthy quinoa recipes for inspiration.

Armed with the proper pronunciations, you'll speak with confidence about the boeuf bourguignon you're planning for your next dinner party or the macarons you picked up on the way home from work. And then, let your palate do the rest of the talking.