Italian Verbs Cucinare VS Cuocere

This post shows you an important topic in Italian grammar: Italian Verbs Cucinare VS Cuocere. Italian has two different verbs for the English verb “to cook“.



preparare e cuocere il cibo

It refers to the (1) steps to the preparation of a dish, cooking it, (2) knowing how to do it, or (3) the way you do it in general.

CUCINARE is cuocere food as it is to be cooked. – Il pollo è buono, ma va saputo cucinare. (Chicken is good, but you need to know how to cook.)

This term derives from the vulgar Latin cocinare, a variant of coquinare: therefore it derives from coquina, kitchen.

Cucinare is a verb of the 1 conjugation. It’s a regular, transitive verb. It serves as an auxiliary. The past participle is Ccinato. The gerund is cucinando.


  1. -> steps – Oggi cucino le lasagne
  2. -> know – So cucinare le lasagne
  3. -> the way – Mia madre è bravissima a cucinare tutti i tipi di lasagne
Italian Verbs Cucinare VS Cuocere

More Examples:

Il tuo pollo ha un aspetto veramente appetitoso: come lo hai cucinato?

A Natale abbiamo cucinato una lasagna buonissima


Refers to what happens to the food so it is ready to eat using fire and heat it.

It means to turn something from the row into cooked/backed.

When we say CUOCERE, we are referring not to the way of cucinare, but to the degree of cooking. – “This dish would be good, but it is undercooked.”

CUOCERE refers to the level of cooking rather than the method of cooking. – Questa pietanza sarebbe buona, ma è poco cotta. (This meal has potential, but it is undercooked.)

CUOCERE follow the second conjugation that is irregular (ere)
It is irregular because it does not perfectly match the pattern of the second conjugation, i.e. there are irregularities in the ending or stem.


  • La polenta cuoce in 30 minuti
  • Cuocere le patate al forno
  • Cuocere in forno per 20 minuti
  • Coprite e fate cuocere piano, per 2 ore
  • Stefano ed Carlo avevano cotto troppo il pesce e si era bruciato.
  • Noi abbiamo cotto molta carne in padella quella sera.
Italian Verbs Cucinare VS Cuocere

What’s next?

You might want to keep learning Italian online with these free resources:

🔗 How to use Italian verbs partire lasciare uscire and andarsene

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