Food Idioms: 70+ Food Idioms and Sayings with Examples

Last Updated on November 16, 2023

Food idioms are a unique aspect of the English language that can be both fun and confusing to non-native speakers. There are many food idioms in the English language, and they are used in various contexts, including in everyday conversations, literature, and even in business settings. This text will explore some of the most common food idioms in the English language, what they mean, and how to use them in context.

List of Food Idioms and Sayings in English

  • (A) Baker’s Dozen
  • (A) Hard/Tough Nut to Crack
  • (Have) Egg on One’s Face
  • (Put) All One’s Eggs In One Basket
  • (Take It with a) Grain of Salt
  • (The) Icing on the Cake
  • (To Be on the) Gravy Train
  • (To Have) Bigger Fish To Fry
  • A Few Sandwiches Short Of A Picnic
  • A lot on one’s plate
  • Above The Salt
  • Acknowledge The Corn
  • Acquired Taste
  • All Sizzle And No Steak
  • All The Tea In China
  • Apple of One’s Eye
  • Bad Egg
  • Bar Fly (or Barfly)
  • Best (Greatest) Thing Since Sliced Bread
  • Big Cheese
  • Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
  • Bottom of the Barrel
  • Bring Home the Bacon
  • Carrot-and-Stick (Approach)
  • Cherry-Pick
  • Chew the Fat
  • Cook Someone’s Goose
  • Couch Potato
  • Cry over Spilt (USA: Spilled) Milk
  • Cut the Mustard
  • Eat Humble Pie
  • Eat Someone’s Lunch
  • Food for thought
  • From Scratch
  • From Soup to Nuts
  • Hard nut to crack
  • Have a Lot on One’s Plate
  • Have bigger fish to fry
  • Have egg on your face
  • Have One’s Cake and Eat It, Too
  • Be like chalk and cheese
  • Hit the Spot
  • Hot Potato
  • In a Nutshell
  • In a Pickle
  • Like Two Peas in a Pod
  • Low-Hanging Fruit
  • Not Mince Words
  • Nutty as a fruitcake
  • Pie in the sky
  • Piece of Cake
  • Piping Hot
  • Pour (Rub) Salt into (on) the Wound (an open wound)
  • Read the Tea Leaves
  • Red Meat
  • Rotten to the Core
  • Sell Like Hotcakes
  • Simmer Down
  • Slower than molasses
  • Small Potatoes
  • Sour Grapes
  • Spill the Beans
  • Take something with a pinch (grain) of salt
  • Take the Cake
  • The Whole Enchilada
  • There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
  • Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth
  • Tough cookie
  • Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
  • Walk on Eggshells
  • Watering Hole
  • You Can’t Make an Omelet (Omelette) Without Breaking Some Eggs

Useful Food Idioms in English | Image 1

Food Idioms and Phrases | ImagesPin

Food Idioms with Meaning and Examples

Food Idioms

(A) Baker’s Dozen

  • Meaning: Thirteen instead of twelve.
  • Example: The baker gave us a baker’s dozen of bagels instead of the usual twelve.

(A) Hard/Tough Nut to Crack

  • Meaning: A difficult problem.
  • Example: Solving climate change is a hard nut to crack.

(Have) Egg on One’s Face

  • Meaning: Be embarrassed, feel foolish.
  • Example: I had egg on my face when I showed up to the party on the wrong day.

(Put) All One’s Eggs In One Basket

  • Meaning: To risk everything on a single venture.
  • Example: I decided to invest all my savings in the stock market, but my financial advisor warned me not to put all my eggs in one basket.

(Take It with a) Grain of Salt

  • Meaning: To not completely believe something.
  • Example: I take everything my ex-boyfriend says with a grain of salt.

(The) Icing on the Cake

  • Meaning: Something extra that makes a good situation even better.
  • Example: Winning the lottery was the icing on the cake for her already successful career.

(To Be on the) Gravy Train

  • Meaning: To be in a position of easy profit or success.
  • Example: Many people think that being a celebrity means you’re on the gravy train.

(To Have) Bigger Fish To Fry

  • Meaning: To have more important things to do.
  • Example: Sorry, I can’t help you with your homework right now. I have bigger fish to fry.

Food Idioms (A)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with A.

A Few Sandwiches Short Of A Picnic

  • Meaning: Not very intelligent.
  • Example: I think my boss is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

A lot on one’s plate

  • Meaning: To have a lot of work or responsibilities.
  • Example: I can’t go out tonight, I have a lot on my plate with work deadlines.

Above The Salt

  • Meaning: To be in a position of honor or respect.
  • Example: Only the most important guests were seated above the salt at the wedding reception.

Acknowledge The Corn

  • Meaning: To admit to a mistake.
  • Example: I had to acknowledge the corn and apologize for the mistake I made.

Acquired Taste

  • Meaning: Something that is not initially appealing but becomes enjoyable over time.
  • Example: Sushi was an acquired taste for me, but now I love it.

All Sizzle And No Steak

  • Meaning: Something that promises to be exciting or impressive but turns out to be disappointing.
  • Example: The new restaurant had a lot of hype, but the food was all sizzle and no steak.

All The Tea In China

  • Meaning: A large amount of something.
  • Example: I wouldn’t give up my dog for all the tea in China.

Apple of One’s Eye

  • Meaning: Someone or something that is cherished or loved.
  • Example: My daughter is the apple of my eye.

Food Idioms (B)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with B.

Bad Egg

  • Meaning: A person who is not trustworthy.
  • Example: I wouldn’t lend him any money, he’s a bad egg.

Bar Fly (or Barfly)

  • Meaning: Someone who spends a lot of time in bars.
  • Example: My uncle is a bar fly, he spends every evening at the local pub.

Best (Greatest) Thing Since Sliced Bread

  • Meaning: Something that is considered to be excellent.
  • Example: My new phone is the best thing since sliced bread.

Big Cheese

  • Meaning: Someone who is important or influential.
  • Example: The CEO of the company is the big cheese around here.

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

  • Meaning: to attempt to do something that is too difficult for you.
  • Example: I know you want to impress your boss, but don’t bite off more than you can chew by taking on too many projects at once.

Bottom of the Barrel

  • Meaning: the least desirable or the last option.
  • Example: We’ve already hired all the qualified candidates, so we’re down to the bottom of the barrel now.

Bring Home the Bacon

  • Meaning: to earn enough money to support oneself or one’s family.
  • Example: I work hard every day to bring home the bacon and provide for my family.

Food Idioms (C)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with C.

Carrot-and-Stick (Approach)

  • Meaning: to use a combination of incentives and threats to encourage someone to do something.
  • Example: Our boss uses a carrot-and-stick approach to motivate us. He rewards us for meeting our targets and punishes us for failing to do so.

Cherry-Pick

  • Meaning: to choose selectively or to pick the best option.
  • Example: The coach cherry-picked the best players for the team to ensure their success.

Chew the Fat

  • Meaning: to have a relaxed and informal chat with someone.
  • Example: Let’s grab a cup of coffee and chew the fat for a while.

Cook Someone’s Goose

  • Meaning: to spoil someone’s opportunities or to bring about their downfall.
  • Example: The new regulations cooked our goose and ruined our chances of winning the contract.

Couch Potato

  • Meaning: to be lazy and inactive.
  • Example: My brother is a real couch potato. He spends all day watching TV and never exercises.

Cry over Spilt (USA: Spilled) Milk

  • Meaning: to be upset over something that is already done.
  • Example: I know you made a mistake, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk. Let’s focus on how we can fix it.

Cut the Mustard

  • Meaning: to perform well or to meet expectations.
  • Example: He may be young, but he really cuts the mustard when it comes to his job.

Food Idioms (E)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with E.

Eat Humble Pie

  • Meaning: to be humble or to show humility.
  • Example: After realizing his mistake, he had to eat humble pie and apologize to his colleagues.

Eat Someone’s Lunch

  • Meaning: to take away someone’s customers or market share.
  • Example: Our new product is so good that it’s eating our competitor’s lunch.

Food Idioms (F)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with F.

Food for thought

  • Meaning: to provide something to think about or ponder.
  • Example: The speaker’s comments gave us all some food for thought about our company’s future.

From Scratch

  • Meaning: to start fresh or to build something from the ground up.
  • Example: We had to start the project from scratch after realizing our initial plan wasn’t going to work.

From Soup to Nuts

  • Meaning: to include everything or to cover all aspects.
  • Example: The training program covered everything from soup to nuts, so we’re well prepared for our new roles.

Food Idioms (H)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with H.

Hard nut to crack

  • Meaning: to be a tough challenge or a difficult obstacle to overcome.
  • Example: The new software system is a hard nut to crack, but we’ll figure it out eventually.

Have a Lot on One’s Plate

  • Meaning: to have a lot of things to do or deal with.
  • Example: I can’t go out tonight, I have a lot on my plate with work and family obligations.

Have bigger fish to fry

  • Meaning: to have more important things to do or deal with.
  • Example: I can’t worry about that small problem right now, I have bigger fish to fry with this project deadline.

Have egg on your face

  • Meaning: to be embarrassed or humiliated.
  • Example: I thought I was right, but it turns out I had egg on my face when I realized I was wrong.

Have One’s Cake and Eat It, Too

  • Meaning: to have the best of both worlds or to want something that is impossible to have.
  • Example: She wants to have her cake and eat it too by keeping her high-paying job and having more free time.

Hit the Spot

  • Meaning: to satisfy a need or desire.
  • Example: That pizza really hit the spot after a long day at work.

Hot Potato

  • Meaning: This idiom means a controversial or sensitive issue that people try to avoid.
  • Example: The topic of politics is always a hot potato at family gatherings.

Note: This is often used in political contexts.

Food Idioms (I)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with I.

In a Nutshell

  • Meaning: to summarize something briefly.
  • Example: In a nutshell, we need to increase sales and reduce expenses to improve our profits.

In a Pickle

  • Meaning: to be in a difficult or tricky situation.
  • Example: I’m in a pickle because I promised to attend two events at the same time.

Food Idioms (L)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with L.

Like Two Peas in a Pod

  • Meaning: to be very similar to each other.
  • Example: My best friend and I are like two peas in a pod when it comes to our interests and personalities.

Low-Hanging Fruit

  • Meaning: This idiom means an easy or achievable target.
  • Example: We should focus on the low-hanging fruit first to improve our productivity.

Food Idioms (N)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with N.

Not Mince Words

  • Meaning: to speak bluntly or honestly.
  • Example: Let’s not mince words, the project is behind schedule and we need to work harder to catch up.

Nutty as a fruitcake

  • Meaning: to be crazy or eccentric.
  • Example: My uncle is nutty as a fruitcake, he always wears mismatched clothes and tells silly jokes.

Food Idioms (P)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with P.

Pie in the sky

  • Meaning: An unrealistic or impractical idea or plan.
  • Example: The proposal to build a theme park in our small town is just a pie in the sky.

Piece of Cake

  • Meaning: Something that is very easy to do.
  • Example: The math test was a piece of cake, I finished it in 15 minutes.

Piping Hot

  • Meaning: Something that is very hot or fresh.
  • Example: The pizza came out of the oven piping hot, be careful not to burn yourself.

Pour (Rub) Salt into (on) the Wound (an open wound)

  • Meaning: To make a bad situation worse
  • Example: After losing his job, his wife’s comments about his laziness poured salt into the wound.

Food Idioms (R)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with R.

Read the Tea Leaves

  • Meaning: To predict the future or to interpret signs
  • Example: The fortune teller read the tea leaves and predicted that she would meet her soulmate soon.

Red Meat

  • Meaning: Something that is substantial and satisfying
  • Example: After a long day of work, a steak dinner is just the red meat we need.

Rotten to the Core

  • Meaning: To be completely bad or corrupt
  • Example: The politician was found to be rotten to the core after taking bribes from lobbyists.

Food Idioms (S)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with S.

Sell Like Hotcakes

  • Meaning: To be very popular and sell quickly
  • Example: The new iPhone model is selling like hotcakes.

Simmer Down

  • Meaning: To calm down or relax
  • Example: After the argument, we needed to simmer down and talk things out.

Slower than molasses

  • Meaning: To be very slow
  • Example: The line at the DMV was moving slower than molasses.

Small Potatoes

  • Meaning: Something that is unimportant or insignificant
  • Example: Compared to the bigger issues at hand, this problem is small potatoes.

Sour Grapes

  • Meaning: To act as if something is not important because you cannot have it
  • Example: After not getting the job, she said she didn’t want it anyways, but it was clear she was just sour grapes.

Spill the Beans

  • Meaning: To reveal a secret
  • Example: After a few drinks, he spilled the beans about the surprise party.

Food Idioms (T)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with T.

Take something with a pinch (grain) of salt

  • Meaning: To be skeptical of something
  • Example: We should take his promises with a grain of salt since he has broken them before.

Take the Cake

  • Meaning: To be the best or most ridiculous
  • Example: His excuse for being late takes the cake for the most ridiculous one I’ve heard.

The Whole Enchilada

  • Meaning: Everything
  • Example: We need to clean the whole house, the whole enchilada.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

  • Meaning: Nothing is truly free
  • Example: The free vacation package had hidden fees, proving that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth

  • Meaning: Too many people working on a project can ruin it
  • Example: We need to assign clear roles or else too many cooks will spoil the broth.

Tough cookie

  • Meaning: Someone who is strong-willed and determined
  • Example: She may be going through a tough time, but she’s a tough cookie and will get through it.

Food Idioms (W, Y)

List of food idioms and sayings that start with W & Y.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

  • Meaning: To realize the truth of a situation
  • Example: It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, we’re not going to finish this project on time.

Walk on Eggshells

  • Meaning: To be very careful in what you say or do around someone
  • Example: We have to walk on eggshells around the boss to avoid getting fired.

Watering Hole

  • Meaning: A place where people gather to socialize
  • Example: The local bar is the watering hole for many people in the neighborhood.

You Can’t Make an Omelet (Omelette) Without Breaking Some Eggs

  • Meaning: You can’t achieve something without making sacrifices or causing some damage
  • Example: We’ll have to make some tough decisions to achieve our goals, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Food Idioms and Phrases | Images

Useful Food Idioms in English | Image 2

Food Idioms and Phrases | ImagesPin

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