The way the words "dash of" or "pinch of" refer to adding some ingredient in small amounts, is there a similar (cooking) term for adding large quantities of something?

  • 3
    The terms "dash of" or "pinch of" are used where the amount is too small to require measurement. I think it's unlikely that you'd be adding any ingredient in larger amounts where units of measure (grammes, pounds, cups, spoons, etc.). weren't the best way of expressing volume/quantity. Aug 3 at 17:21
  • Makes a lot of sense... don't know why I thought I've heard such a word, surely misremembering.
    – AVS
    Aug 3 at 17:28
  • to taste maybe? (That might be a large amount for some and a small amount for others.) Aug 4 at 1:37
  • Solid, liquid, powder, goo? Suitable for New York Times recipe or for talking to your mate? Noun, adjective, adverb, or verb? There's lots of vague English terms for large quantities like "ton", "lot", "pile", "hunk", "barrel", "truckload", "shitload", etc, but if you want us to be more specific, be more specific.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 4 at 8:46
  • copious amount(s), bunch(es) Aug 6 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what part of speech you want (a sample sentence would help—see the SWR tag's guidance), but the adjective "generous" and adverb "generously" are often used for this purpose. For example:

When the mixture has browned, add a generous amount of tomato sauce (recipe 6) or tomato paste diluted with water. . . . Be sure to serve the fish nicely covered with a generous amount of the thick sauce it has been cooking in. (Pellegrino Artusi, "Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well," University of Toronto Press, 2003, pg. 330)

Sprinkle generously with sugar and return the cobbler to the oven and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. (Alaska Northwest Books, "The Alaska Homegrown Cookbook," West Margin Press, 2011)

By the way, "dash" and "pinch" may be used to designate precise amounts. However, you can easily find terms for precise large amounts, so I assume that that's not what you wanted.

  • Are "dash" and "pinch" actually often used that way or just historically? Aug 4 at 8:00
  • 1
    "Generous" is probably the best word to use, thanks!
    – AVS
    Aug 4 at 11:06
  • @the-baby-is-you Those terms are definitely often used in recipes, but if you mean to specify precise amounts, I think it's similar to how you might tell someone to boil pasta for 10 minutes: The unit is precise, but usage is open to the cook's interpretation. I'm a terrible cook, though, so others would certainly know better. Aug 4 at 16:04
  • @MarcInManhattan Hard to do statistics when the majority of cases indeed don't specify, but I've seen at least one chef demonstrate "a pinch" with his fingers, holding more than a half teaspoon of kosher salt, contrasting his wife's smaller (but still several times over 1/16 t) pinch. Never in practical use have I heard anyone imply that those specific amounts were intended. Aug 4 at 19:31
  • @the-baby-is-you OK, I've edited the wording. Thanks. Aug 6 at 16:30

Slather is a term meaning to spread thickly. It's not strictly a food word, but may be used to describe how butter, jam, or other condiments are applied to a food.

Another term often found in recipes is to an add ingredient like salt or seasoning liberally, which means you should add an unspecified large quantity.

Heaping is another term used in recipes to describe a quantity that is an unspecified amount more than a certain measured quantity - it may not be a large amount in an absolute sense, but it's bigger than the measured amount. A heaping tablespoon, for example, is a quantity somewhat larger than a tablespoon by a non-specific amount.

  • Actually, a heaping tablespoon is fixed at mounding the spoon up high without leveling it off (the usual way to measure a tablespoon of dry ingredients). Close to an extra 50%, if not quite scientific. Aug 3 at 17:54
  • @YosefBaskin But the amount of heap you get depends both on the geometry of the container, and the properties of whatever you're heaping - a narrow deep spoon can carry almost no heap at all, but a wide shallow one can carry more heap than the spoon itself holds! Heaping describes the process, but not a specific amount. 50% extra is a reasonable ballpark, but I'd say it could even go up to double the amount. Aug 3 at 18:04
  • I meant that a heaping tablespoon of cornmeal or raisins is fairly fixed, not personal. Measuring spoons don't vary much in geometry. Aug 3 at 18:14
  • “Smother” is another word used in cooking, especially at the serving point.
    – Xanne
    Aug 4 at 5:27
  • @YosefBaskin I have a tablespoons that vary in top area by a factor of 2. That makes a big difference in the amount when heaped. Luckily I rarely add solid ingredients by the spoonful, and the recipes I use the most specify level spoons.
    – Chris H
    Aug 5 at 10:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.