Definition of bain-marie in English:



  • A pan of hot water in which a cooking container is placed for slow cooking.

    ‘cook in a bain-marie until the custard thickens slightly’
    • ‘If you need to heat something gently and without the risk of burning it, you need a bain marie.’
    • ‘The alchemist experiences death, life, rebirth, witnesses the magical properties of transmutation in the bain-marie as well as her own bodymind.’
    • ‘Here I've got a pretty standard three-pot set-up, meaning I can have three colours at a time. Each pot, sitting in the water below, like a double boiler or bain-marie, contains up to 2kg of wax and 2 tablespoons of sterin.’
    • ‘Pour over the cream mixture and place in a bain-marie for 15-20 minutes.’
    • ‘Although the champagne was served by waiters dressed as Roy Rogers, the lobsters clawing their way out of silver bains-marie seemed to have come to the wrong party and so had many of the guests.’
    • ‘Another week of Australian Idle has been dished up in the lukewarm bain-marie of the television industry's canteen of horrors.’
    • ‘Make a bain-marie by taking a roasting pan large enough to house all six ramekins.’
    • ‘It had that tell-tale floppy texture from having been microwaved, and the meat had that dry, gravelly texture from sitting in a bain-marie for too long.’
    • ‘Do all this over your bain-marie or in the microwave.’
    • ‘Another house specialty is the crème caramel, a smooth egg custard properly cooked in a bain-marie, with a generous layer of maple syrup on the bottom.’
    • ‘A vanilla-flavoured custard is poured in, and the mould is paced in a bain-marie in the oven.’
    • ‘Place the pots in a bain-marie (an oven dish with enough water in it to go half way up the pots) and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the custards feel quite firm on top.’
    • ‘Bake in a bain-marie in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until slightly puffed-up and spongy.’
    • ‘I think this kind of research is vital to understanding the food court as an imagined space of cosmopolitanism; as an encounter with the Other through bland, bain-marie fodder.’
    • ‘You can steam this the old-fashioned way or simply tie it up as usual and bake it in the oven in a bain-marie.’
    saucepan, frying pan, pot, casserole, wok, skillet, fish kettle, pressure cooker, poacher, chafing dish
    View synonyms


Early 18th century: French, translation of medieval Latin balneum Mariae ‘bath of Maria’, translating Greek kaminos Marias ‘furnace of Maria’, said to be a Jewish alchemist.