What will be a natural way to describe the food that feels a bit rough though it was meant to be smooth? (Like something rough, gritty texture....)

Will it be called "grainy", "gritty"? I mean it might not feel rough to touch but it feels that way. Is there a specific word to describe that?

Edited: Corrected the mistake. (Tastes---> Feels)

  • Coarse, chunky, lumpy, grainy,... Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 15:32
  • @FumbleFingers , can "grainy" be used to mean "something that feels gritty in the mouth" as well or only as it feels when it's touched? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 15:43
  • And won't "chunky" sound as if "chunks are added on purpose "? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 15:46
  • No more than lumpy implies deliberately adding lumps, or grainy implies adding unwanted grains. But you need to give a more exact definition of what you're after. Are we talking about inadequately mashed potato? Apple pie with tough bits of pith/core in it? Inadequately washed leeks containing bits of sand? And many others, I'm sure, but those come to mind as problems that I've complained about on occasion. Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 16:23
  • @FumbleFingers , the problem is that I can't explain it properly. It is about something solid, and it feels like there is something rough (like grit) in the food. (So should it be "gritty"? And does "grainy" imply that the food feels "gritty", i.e. does it imply that "gritty", unwanted rough texture when it is put into mouth? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


It's a bit hard to understand what you mean by "it might not feel rough to touch but it tastes that way." Are you really referring to a taste, as opposed to a subtle tactile sensation? Or do you mean it wouldn't feel rough if you touched it with your fingers, but it feels rough to the more sensitive tissues in the mouth? If the latter, you can say it "has a gritty mouthfeel."


  • No... "I made a mistake". It "feels that way in the mouth ". Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 18:00
  • "Has a gritty mouthfeel" should work well, then.
    – Nanigashi
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 18:00
  • And what comes to your mind when you listen to "grainy"? Does it have the same meaning as "gritty"? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 18:01
  • "Gritty" suggests particles that are smaller and harder than those I imagine when I hear "grainy." (Literally, "grit" refers to fine sand particles.) "Grain" has a wider range of uses, but generally refers to particles or pieces that aren't that hard. (For example, meat that is undercooked and a bit stringy might be described as "grainy.")
    – Nanigashi
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 18:04
  • So it can't be used in my context, right? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 18:05

Take your pick - you have given a few valid example already (though your use of 'taste' in this context is unusual; you are talking about the texture of the food, how 'it feels in the mouth' rather than the way it tastes.)

Which precise word to use will depend on the speaker and their culture, the expectation with regard to the food (are we talking about soup, or a sauce, or ... ?)

A chef might well use the term 'rustic' as a description for food that is less 'consistent' than might have been expected, but more for visual appearance than for texture.

  • Won't "grainy" be used to mean "something that is rough to touch"? Or can it be used to mean something that "feels gritty in the mouth" as well? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 15:40
  • And what will be more likely to be used: "gritty" or "grainy"? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 15:53
  • Both 'gritty' and 'grainy' would work, depending on the circumstances - 'gritty' is perhaps more extreme than 'grainy'. Same with 'bitty', 'lumpy' and a million other words - they each have slightly different connotations.
    – MikeB
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 8:40

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