The expression I am looking for is something like this:

Rather than putting the whole mixture of spices at one while cooking something, put a part of it in various steps/rounds separated by a regular interval.

Is using rounds correct, or should I use something else?

Basically, what I want to know is what word I am supposed to use to mean I am doing something in distributed steps rather than all at once.

7 Answers 7


Your original sentence is unclear to this extent: Do you mean that each spice should be put in separately (one spice at a time) or that they should all be mixed together into something like a curry powder and then added in equal fractional parts?

I'll assume the former (it's more rational for cooking for a couple of reasons).

You can say it this way:

Rather than adding all (of) the spices at the same time while cooking something, put them in one at a time at regular intervals, for example, every 2 minutes.

You can also say:

... put them in (separately) step by step, ..."

There's no need to clutter the sentence with unnecessary terms like "rounds" and "steps".

  • Actually it is latter, what I want to know is that, if I am doing something repetitive like reading a particular chapter of a book but not doing at once, but doing it in several steps, what will I call that, Feb 3, 2013 at 11:27
  • @johnmconore - Reading a book - "you are reading it in parts"?
    – Mohit
    Feb 3, 2013 at 11:50
  • yeah, not reading it all at once, reading some part today some tomorrow some over the weekend. Hope this helps Feb 3, 2013 at 11:57
  • 1
    @johnmc: You can say that you're reading the book "chapter by chapter", "a few pages at a time", "piecemeal", "in 15-minute chunks": whatever best describes what you're actually doing. A more general description might be "in {manageable / digestible / bearable} parts". You can read a play or a screenplay "scene by scene", a textbook "chapter by chapter" or "topic by topic", etc. We don't have a more general description, except, perhaps, "part by part" or "a little at a time".
    – user264
    Feb 3, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    @johnmconore If you need to be exceptionally pompous - if an editor or professor presses for a more formal expression - you may say "incrementally" or "in increments of [quantity]". But try to resist. Feb 3, 2013 at 13:37

A typical way of saying this is I followed the recipe step by step, or I followed the steps in order.

I don't know a good single word for the process, although gradually, used in context, comes close. It still needs a verb to make sense.


"Incrementally" means "do things in steps".


There isn't a common noun that comes to mind that means this, but several adjectives.

Periodically or gradually probably expresses what you mean the most succinctly:

Rather than putting the whole mixture of spices in at once while cooking something, periodically add part of the mixture while it cooks.

Rounds or steps refer to a process, not a thing.

The first thing that comes to my mind with the word round is a game of some sort. A situation where there are multiple people (or other entities) and everyone/each thing is taking/receiving a "turn". There is an implication that everyone gets a turn, but no implication on the time that may take. You only have a single thing (the dish) receiving a single action (adding spices) that is desired on a defined time frame so the word round is not suitable.

Steps means distinct actions to take to accomplish something. It does not by default suggest a single repeated action over time, but rather various different actions that must be completed in sequence. So in my opinion this word is not entirely suitable either.


In this case, I would say:

Put the spices in over time, while you're cooking.


This is a stuffy term, but "seriatim" might do it if all else fails. "...seriatim is one after another, in order; taking one topic or subject at a time in an order; sequentially." - Wikidiff

  • Is "seristum" used anywhere outside of legal proceedings?
    – ColleenV
    Sep 15, 2017 at 15:36

"Rather than putting the whole mixture of spices at one while cooking something, add it in several batches."

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