A kitchen cook is someone who works in a kitchen and prepares delicious food to feed hungry customers. While most kitchen cooks work in restaurants, they can also work in school cafeterias, hospitals, or other places where people need to be fed. They usually follow the direction of a chef, who is the head of a kitchen and creates the menu.

It goes without saying that kitchen cooks need to be good at cooking food. However, cooking in a busy kitchen requires some additional skills than when you're just whipping up a tasty sauce at home. Kitchen cooks need to be able to work quickly in a confined, crowded space to serve many customers. They also need to follow strict safety regulations so that their kitchen doesn't get shut down by government inspectors.

There are many paths to becoming a kitchen cook. Some cooks choose to get a bachelor's degree or go to culinary school. However, most work their way up to this position with practical restaurant experience alone. Cooks only earn an average salary of $26,674 and spend many long hours working on their feet, but for many, the satisfaction of preparing good food for customers is worth the work.

What Does a Kitchen Cook Do

There are certain skills that many kitchen cooks have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed sense of taste and smell, dexterity and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Kitchen Cook does

How To Become a Kitchen Cook

If you're interested in becoming a kitchen cook, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 20.5% of kitchen cooks have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.8% of kitchen cooks have master's degrees. Even though some kitchen cooks have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Kitchen Cook

Kitchen Cook Career Paths

Average Salary for a Kitchen Cook

Kitchen Cooks in America make an average salary of $31,452 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $38,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Kitchen Cook Salary
$31,452 Yearly
$15.12 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Kitchen Cook

The role of a kitchen cook includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general kitchen cook responsibilities:

  • Provides fast, friendly, professional and responsive customer service to culinary team members
  • Sets up and breaks down work stations maintains a clean
  • Trains employees; plans, assigns and directs work; appraises performance; rewards

There are several types of kitchen cook, including:



So, get this - as a cook, you'll spend a lot of your time cooking. Crazy, we know. But that's not all you'll be doing. In addition to the food actually being cooked properly, most people like it to be seasoned. Between the preparation and seasoning, this is where you get to be creative.

When you think of a cook, you probably think of a restaurant setting but in actuality, cooks are needed in a lot of different places, this includes schools, hospitals, and even private households. One thing that is consistent is the inconsistent schedule.

Sometimes you'll work a night shift, other times you'll work super early in the morning. You may even have to work on a holiday. And don't be surprised with a weekend shift. The good news is that formal education isn't really necessary. Sometimes culinary creativity comes naturally.

  • Average Salary: $31,803
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Line Cook


As a sort of in-charge person, line cooks definitely have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. While you might think the head chef does most of the heavy lifting, think again. The majority of the food is prepared by the line cook.

Now, the head chef, or even the sous chef, give line cooks the direction they need to make the food. Typically, as a line cook, you'll have a particular place in the kitchen that you'll look after. Like, maybe you'll get assigned to the grill, and then you'll be in charge of everything at the grill. Or you might be assigned to the veggie prep area.

Wherever you are assigned, you should be prepared to work some crazy hours. Since you're preparing the food, you'll need at least an hour, if not two, to get everything ready. Once your line is prepped, then you're ready to take on your shift. With that extra 1-2 hours, you'll probably be working around 8-10 hours a shift.

  • Average Salary: $32,894
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Prep Cook


Under the direction of a head chef, you'll know exactly what to prepare for as a prep cook. It is essentially your job to make sure the food and kitchen area is prepped for the creation of delicious meals.

Typically, this is a part-time job. But you might be able to find a full-time position somewhere. In your position, you'll be working in a restaurant, hotel, or another establishment that serves food.

As a prep cook, you won't need much education to get by. In fact, the position doesn't require any formal education, but you will need to go through some training, once you're hired. And when we say training, we mean several weeks of on-the-job training. By the end of it, you'll be a sharp prep cook, ready to slice and dice.

  • Average Salary: $32,292
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Kitchen Cook Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active kitchen cook jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where kitchen cooks earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Kitchen Cook Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
8North Carolina2,426$24,746
9New York2,044$33,345
18New Jersey1,286$37,536
21South Carolina1,155$26,856
36New Mexico426$26,830
39West Virginia318$23,336
40New Hampshire260$30,881
44Rhode Island161$31,790
45North Dakota158$33,344
48South Dakota125$29,728

Kitchen Cook Education

Kitchen Cook Majors

20.3 %

Kitchen Cook Degrees

High School Diploma

43.9 %


20.5 %


20.2 %

Top Skills For a Kitchen Cook

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.8% of kitchen cooks listed dishes on their resume, but soft skills such as sense of taste and smell and dexterity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Kitchen Cook Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Kitchen Cook templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Kitchen Cook resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Kitchen Cook diversity

Kitchen Cook Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among kitchen cooks, 34.2% of them are women, while 65.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among kitchen cooks is White, which makes up 58.8% of all kitchen cooks.

  • The most common foreign language among kitchen cooks is Spanish at 58.4%.

Online Courses For Kitchen Cook That You May Like

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Best States For a Kitchen Cook

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a kitchen cook. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, and New Jersey. Kitchen cooks make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $40,182. Whereas in Connecticut and Washington, they would average $39,264 and $38,697, respectively. While kitchen cooks would only make an average of $37,536 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Arizona

Total Kitchen Cook Jobs: 1,550
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Connecticut

Total Kitchen Cook Jobs: 589
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Massachusetts

Total Kitchen Cook Jobs: 1,218
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Kitchen Cooks

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Top Kitchen Cook Employers

Most Common Employers For Kitchen Cook

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
3Bob Evans Restaurants$31,260$15.0336
4Mother's Market & Kitchen$30,884$14.8512
5The Ritz-Carlton Hotel$30,776$14.8012
6Chuck E. Cheese$29,302$14.0938
8Dairy Queen$28,157$13.5427
9Burger King$27,950$13.4489

Kitchen Cook Videos