Download the Food Idioms List & PDF Worksheets
View the updated web-version of the food idioms list in the table below.
The idiom worksheets and games are also free to download.
- Download and print the PDFs.
- Use the materials for interactive learning activities in class.
- Students can also complete the worksheets to review or for self-study.
Food Idiom Worksheets for ESL Students
Fun Food Idiom Games for the Classroom
39 Idioms and Phrases About Food
*Updated: April 25, 2018
|Idiom / Phrase||Meaning||Example Sentence|
|apple of my eye||an adored person||My precious daughter is the apple of my eye.|
|bad egg||a troublesome person||Bart is the bad egg of the class. He is always throwing paper airplanes.|
|basket case||erratic or panicky||She became such a basket case when she discovered her ex was at the party.|
|be nuts about||really enjoy||She is nuts about her new boyfriend.|
|big cheese||an important person||Where is the director? I want to talk to the big cheese.|
|bite off more than one can chew||take on more responsibility than what is manageable||He was multitasking and getting stressed, so I told him not to bite off more than he could chew.|
|bitter pill||something unpleasant that must be accepted||Awarding the trophy to her enemy was a bitter pill to swallow.|
|bread and butter||necessities or main points||Tell me the bread and butter of the article and explain the general idea of it.|
|bring home the bacon||earn income||My mother has to bring home the bacon for the family because my dad is unemployed.|
|butter someone up||be really nice to someone||You had better butter me up if you want a raise in salary.|
|cheap as chips||very inexpensive||This cup of coffee was only 50 cents. Cheap as chips!|
|couch potato||lazy person||Don't be such a couch potato and do some work for once!|
|cream of the crop||the best||The team has the cream of the crop of draft picks. They will probably win the cup soon.|
|cry over spilled milk||get upset over something insignificant or about something irreversible||I know you forgot your phone, but there is no need to cry over spilt milk. You can live without it for an hour.|
|cup of joe||cup of coffee||Let's get a cup of joe at Starbucks.|
|cut the cheese||fart||Who cut the cheese? It smells awful in here.|
|cut the mustard||meet expectations||George's work ethic didn't cut the mustard, so he got fired.|
|egg someone on||to urge or provoke someone||The hockey player tried to egg his opponent on by dropping his gloves.|
|freeze your buns off||be very cold||You will freeze your buns off in Antarctica.|
|full of beans||energetic||The elementary students are always full of beans.|
|gravy train||high pay for minimal work||Government workers ride the gravy train while sitting at their desks doing nothing.|
|hard nut to crack||difficult to understand or persuade||The criminal was a tough nut to crack. He never revealed any of his accomplices.|
|have a bun in the oven||be pregnant||Mary has a bun in the oven so she can't drink alcohol.|
|have your cake and eat it too||want more than you need||Frank is married but he also wants to date other women. He wants to have his cake and eat it too.|
|heard it through the grapevine||hear a rumor||I heard it through the grapevine that you were getting nose surgery.|
|hot potato||a controversial subject||Trump's last Tweet was a hot potato in the news.|
|in a nutshell||to sum up||In a nutshell, she is sick because she drank too much last night.|
|make from scratch||make with original ingredients||My wife made me a delicious omelette from scratch.|
|my cup of tea||something enjoyable||Musicals aren't my cup of tea. I prefer regular movies.|
|on a silver platter||receive benefits without working||Tom gets everything from his parents on a silver platter. He even got a new car for his birthday.|
|out to lunch||crazy or distracted or confused||That guy is so out to lunch. He is difficult to get business done with.|
|piece of cake||very easy||The final exam was a piece of cake.|
|piss in my cornflakes||to annoy out of spite||She always pisses in my cornflakes because of what I did to her last year.|
|put all of the eggs in one basket||rely on one thing||He dedicated all of his time to baseball. If he puts all of his eggs in one basket, he may not have an alternative career to rely on.|
|smart cookie||an intelligent person||George is one smart cookie. He got 100 percent on all his tests.|
|spice things up||make more exciting||Sara spiced up her room by hanging paintings on the walls.|
|spill the beans||reveal a secret||Who spilt the beans about my brother's surprise birthday party?|
|take the cake||especially good or outstanding||His slapshot definitely takes the cake. It's the best in the league!|
|take with a grain of salt||don't believe it is completely accurate||I always take whatever I read in the news with a grain of salt.|
Extra Examples of Food Idioms in Use
Do you want to read more examples and sentences with food idioms?
Try entering the expressions in a corpus database or language app.
We highly recommend the following corpus resources and tools:
Watch on YouTube: Learn Food Idioms with Papa English
View more Idioms and Phrases on ESL Expat