Inventive Online Cooking Lessons

Online lessons are increasingly popular. If you thought they were just good for conversation or grammar, think again. 

Nicola Field an inventive teacher from IH Toruń actually did a live cooking demonstration with her students.

The aim was that students will be better able to use cooking verbs (to boil, to grate, to stir-fry, to marinate, to slice etc) in a communicative task. (The student’s didn’t cook themselves – they were just watching!) 

Online Cooking Lesson


This is suitable for teens and adults B1 and above. Although you are only demonstrating, we advise not doing with young kids as they may try to copy and there are whole load of health and safety issues with that. 

This is how it worked:  

Learn the Lexis
First, students need to learn lexis to do with cooking in a conventional lesson. (to boil, to grate, to stir-fry, to marinate, to slice etc). Ideally do this a couple of days at least before the “cooking” lesson.

As with all good lessons, the teacher needs to prep. This time, its shopping and preparing the ingredients. A stir fry works well, is quick and easy, so if you’d like to follow that lesson the recipe is at the end. (The other good thing with a stir fry it’s very adaptable, so feel free to add and substitute what you have.) 

The preparation for this lesson was chopping the ingredients and having them all ready to cook.   

Lesson stages

1. Warmer – share the whiteboard (on whatever online classroom platfrom you are using) and play hangman/sharkman with the word ‘recipe’. You can do this easily by drawing dashes on the whiteboard and then eliciting the letters and writing them down as when they come up.

2. Elicit the meaning of the word ‘recipe’ and clarify any possible confusion with false friends (e.g. in Polish ‘recepta’ means ‘prescription’, etc). Tell the class later that they will make their own recipe.

3. Pre-teach some significant vocab like ingredients and procedure.

4. Divide the students into pairs or groups of 3 and put them into Breakout Rooms for 6-8 mins. Once in the rooms broadcast the following questions every couple of mins:

  • Are you any good at cooking? Why? Why not?
  • What is the best dish you can cook?
  • What do you usually eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?Are you a fussy eater?
  • Do you prefer to eat out in a restaurant or at home? Why?

5. Bring the students back into the main room, unmute their mics and have some open-class feedback.

6. Tell them that they will watch the teacher cook a stir-fry. At the same time, they must take notes on which ingredients are used, and the procedure. 

7. Teacher first boils the water. Next slices/grates the vegetables. Then boils the noodles and stir-fries the marinated chicken and vegetables.  Students watch and take notes.

8. After the meal is cooked (should take just under 5 minutes), students compare their notes in breakout rooms and try to re-write the whole recipe. 

9. Students check with original recipe (see below). 

10.  Clarify and drill any new words. 

11. Put students into small groups. Send them the blank recipe template on zoom chat. Students work together and use the new vocabulary from the lesson to write their own recipes. 

12. Before the next lesson, teacher follows the recipes the students wrote and cooks the food. Next lesson tell the students how it went!

Nicola’s Stir Fry Recipe!

•    One packet of chicken
•    Two tablespoons of soy sauce
•    One teaspoon of dried garlic
•    Two teaspoons of grated ginger
•    One tablespoon of honey
•    One carrot
•    One red pepper
•    One red onion
•    Noodles


  1. Marinate the chicken with the soy sauce, garlic, honey and grated ginger for a few hours.
  2. Slice the red pepper and the red onion. 
  3. Grate the carrot into a bowl. 
  4. Heat some oil in a saucepan. When it is hot, you put in the marinated chicken. Fry the chicken until it is golden brown. 
  5. Stir-fry the sliced pepper and onion, along with the grated carrot. 
  6. While you’re stir-frying the chicken and vegetables, boil some noodles in a separate pan. When food is cooked, mix and enjoy!