150 Words To Describe the Taste of Food (to Children and Adults Alike)

This tastes good! Mmmmmm yummy! What a delicious dish! What a nice chicken! The peas are wonderful!

BLECH! What horrible ways to describe the taste of food, especially to children who are figuring out their own preferences as well as learning language.

As an adult, it bothers me when someone tells me something tastes good. Good to one person may be horrific to another person. I always feel obligated to agree that yes, this food does indeed taste “good” even if I do not particularly care for it. I hate to rain on someone’s taste parade. I much prefer it when someone says something like “this dish is pretty spicy which I love.” This language does not corner me into agreeing, dishonestly, that I like something or admitting that I do not like something then feeling bad about it.

Describing food to children is something parents need to try to be more mindful of. “Good” and “bad” and similar phrasing do not tell children much about the food, only that they are supposed to like it or not like it. Good and bad stifle a child’s ability to form their own opinion about their taste preferences. It also does nothing to expand their vocabulary.

During this holiday season where copious amounts of new foods might be at the ready, experiment with the way you describe food to your children.

Here are 120 suggestions to get your started.

  1. Acidic
  2. Acrid
  3. Aged
  4. Bitter
  5. Bittersweet
  6. Bland
  7. Burnt
  8. Buttery
  9. Chalky
  10. Cheesy
  11. Chewy
  12. Chocolaty
  13. Citrusy
  14. Cool
  15. Creamy
  16. Crispy
  17. Crumbly
  18. Crunchy
  19. Crusty
  20. Doughy
  21. Dry
  22. Earthy
  23. Eggy
  24. Fatty
  25. Fermented
  26. Fiery
  27. Fishy
  28. Fizzy
  29. Flakey
  30. Flat
  31. Flavorful
  32. Fresh
  33. Fried
  34. Fruity
  35. Full-bodied
  36. Gamey (refers to the flavor or strong odor of game, like Elk or Deer.
  37. Garlicky
  38. Gelatinous
  39. Gingery
  40. Glazed
  41. Grainy
  42. Greasy
  43. Gooey
  44. Gritty
  45. Harsh
  46. Hearty
  47. Heavy
  48. Herbal
  49. Hot
  50. Icy
  51. Infused
  52. Juicy
  53. Lean
  54. Light
  55. Lemony
  56. Malty
  57. Mashed
  58. Meaty
  59. Mellow
  60. Mild
  61. Minty
  62. Moist
  63. Mushy
  64. Nutty
  65. Oily
  66. Oniony
  67. Overripe
  68. Pasty
  69. Peppery
  70. Pickled
  71. Plain
  72. Powdery
  73. Raw
  74. Refreshing
  75. Rich
  76. Ripe
  77. Roasted
  78. Robust
  79. Rubbery
  80. Runny
  81. Salty
  82. Sautéed
  83. Savory
  84. Seared
  85. Seasoned
  86. Sharp
  87. Silky
  88. Slimy
  89. Smokey
  90. Smothered
  91. Smooth
  92. Soggy
  93. Soupy
  94. Sour
  95. Spicy
  96. Spongy
  97. Stale
  98. Sticky
  99. Stale
  100. Stringy
  101. Strong
  102. Sugary or sweet
  103. Sweet-and-sour
  104. Syrupy
  105. Tangy
  106. Tart
  107. Tasteless
  108. Tender
  109. Toasted
  110. Tough
  111. Unflavored
  112. Unseasoned
  113. Velvety
  114. Vinegary
  115. Watery
  116. Whipped
  117. Woody
  118. Yeasty
  119. Zesty
  120. Zingy

If you really, really cannot get away from the “good/bad” phrasing, here are 30 alternative ways to say something similar. At least you are exposing your child to a larger repertoire of adjectives.

  1. Amazing
  2. Appealing
  3. Appetizing
  4. Delectable
  5. Delicious
  6. Delightful
  7. Divine
  8. Enjoyable
  9. Enticing
  10. Excellent
  11. Exquisite
  12. Extraordinary
  13. Fantastic
  14. Finger Licking
  15. Heavenly
  16. Lip Smacking
  17. Luscious
  18. Marvelous
  19. Mouthwatering
  20. Palatable
  21. Pleasant
  22. Pleasing
  23. Satisfying
  24. Scrumptious
  25. Superb
  26. Tantalizing
  27. Tasty
  28. Terrific
  29. Wonderful
  30. Yummy
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  1. says

    Yes, thank you! This is another example of how we try to “make” children feel or not feel, like or not like certain things. It’s controlling and it sets them up to not trust themselves.

    It seems like a small thing, but it really is something to be mindful about. At it’s pleasurable once you get in the habit.

  2. tan jolnn says

    thank you so much, it really did help me a lot in my homework. i appreciate your help and kindness.

  3. says

    I am ohhhhhhh so glad that you have this!! For my english class we HAVE to write journal, (if you want to make grades that are Cs and better) and we wrote 2 this paricular week, and EACH journal is worth 5 points and I only wrote one, it was 2 1/2 pages long, and I got a 10/10 so an A+ on it and our journal was: write a journal about a Thanksgiving meal, use vivid words to make it to where you can almost “Taste” the food as you are reading it!! Thankyou sooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!! This was a HUGE HUGE HUGE help!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Jorge says

    Thank you for your personal outlook! I definitely agree and am using some of your descriptive words for a product description I am writing! Thank you!!

  5. says

    Hello –
    thanks for the great post. I have just used it as a resource to create a handout for my ESL students. We will be tasting 10 different kinds of salad dressing, and I wanted them to have more flavor words. I will also ask them to look through the list and mark which ones refer more to texture than flavor. Although both answer the question “how does it taste” :)

    I’ll also be using the list as we continue to introduce more foods to our toddler son and as he gains more language.
    Thanks again!

  6. sam says

    look i don’t know how to say it but… this website saved my ass when coming up with descriptive words for my food tech class, thanks!

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