28 Ingredients Bobby Flay Always Has On Hand - Tasting Table (2024)

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28 Ingredients Bobby Flay Always Has On Hand - Tasting Table (1)

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BySara Klimek/

Every home cook should be able to find some joy and serenity in their pantry. For celebrity chef and food media personality Bobby Flay, a pantry and the refrigerator should be a source of inspiration for entertaining, staple dishes, and everything in between."I love my pantry, it's a place that opens up lots of ideas when it comes to cooking," Flay explained in a pantry tour shared on Instagram.

A seasoned chef like Bobby Flay must be able to use the ingredients in the pantry as tools across multiple dishes— not just one-hit wonders. After all, not everyone has the space to keep every type of exotic chili pepper, imported flour, and rare piece of produce they can find. Check out some of the ingredients Bobby Flay always keeps on hand to elevate the flavor and texture of his recipes— which are bound to become staples for any home cook.

1. Anchovies

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One of Bobby Flay's favorite ingredients to spice up any dish with a little bit of fishy flavors is canned anchovies. He puts it in almost everything, especially seafood dishes."I crush up a bunch of anchovies, put it in the sauce," Flay explained in a video posted on Instagram. "It just enhances it so much more."

Adding fishy ingredients to your sauce is an easy way to boost up the umami profile and add a salty undertone. To tone down the saltiness of the dish, you should consider rinsing off the tiny fish filets before crushing them in a sauce or swiping in a Caesar salad bowl.

2. Calabrian chilis

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There's one spicy ingredient that pops up more often than not in Bobby Flay's recipes. Calabrian chilis are the unique red chili Bobby Flay constantly uses on "Beat Bobby Flay."

These spicy peppers, originating from the Calabrian region of Italy, have a Scoville heat reading similar to that of cayenne pepper— and more than a jalapeno. Flay uses these peppers, which are a pantry staple, for recipes including his own seasoned cooking oil, in a Spanish seafood paella, and in an amped-up tomato sauce.

3. Vinegar

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Bobby Flay keeps an array of vinegar in his pantry whenever his recipes need it. Besides making a DIY salad dressing, Bobby Flay uses it for poaching eggs. He notes that adding a splash of white vinegar to the water will help coagulate the egg whites, which creates a more visually stunning breakfast recipe.

Although white vinegar is a must-have, his pantry also includes apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar for an entire array of flavors. These can be used for salad dressing, Asian recipes, and to add a tangy element to sauces.

4. Coconut milk

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Coconut milk is an ingredient all eaters should have in their pantry. It's one of Bobby Flay's favorite ingredients to transform into a curry. But the uses of this ingredient are much more diverse.

You can use coconut milk to transform your desserts into dairy-free favorites, like flan or whipped cream. Or, use the ingredients to make DIY Thai takeout tom kha soup or use it as a marinading liquid or sauce component for chicken or beef.

5. Salt and pepper

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Although Bobby Flay loves to play around with heat and firey flavors, he keeps his burger recipe simple. Flay only uses two basic seasonings on burgers: salt and pepper. He uses an 80% lean burger— seasoned with just salt and pepper— as his go-to recipe.

Flay skips any other type of herbs or onions in his recipe because he wants to keep it simple and let the flavor of the beef shine through. Salt and pepper are also essential ingredients to elevate the flavor of other savory recipes for both beginners and master cooks.

6. Potato chips

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While we may not know too much about Bobby Flay's snacking habits, we know that he has a way of incorporating snack foods into his culinary repertoire. Potato chips are the snack food that gives Bobby Flay's burgers a signature crunch.

The "Crunchburger" is a staple at Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace restaurants— where diners can add a layer of potato chips to their burger free of charge. This snack makes the burger, whether diners choose a beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie option, because of the salt and the impressive consistency.

7. Piquillo peppers

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Although most people's go-to peppers are bell peppers, Bobby Flay takes his pepper a step further with seeded, roasted piquillo peppers from Spain. He noted in a video shared on Instagram that these peppers often come in oil and are the perfect vegetal ingredient to keep in your pantry.

Flay prefers this type of pepper over a standard bell pepper because it has a smokier and more floral flavor. Although the traditional use of these peppers is salt cod and goat cheese, you can also transform these peppers into a flavorful aioli with garlic.

8. Amarena cherries

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Canned maraschino cherries are a staple ingredient for sundaes and co*cktails. But Boby Flay uses special Italian cherriesto take his cooking to a new level. These Amarena cherries are from southernItaly and have a unique tartness not shared by the more common maraschino. Since Amarena cherries are difficult to find in the standard grocery store, it's best to see if you can source them via online retailers.

Flay takes special notice of these fruits for his cherry blinis or for cherry margaritas, where the dark red hue of the fruit shines through against the dullness of other ingredients. He's also use these fruits for his Manhattan or Old Fashioned co*cktails or on top of gelato with chocolate sauce.

9. San Marzano tomatoes

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There's no ingredient as timeless as San Marzano canned tomatoes. These fruits have a DOP label, otherwise known in Italian as a Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, to signify their quality and regional connection.

The tomatoes are endemic to a specific region in southern Italy and have a thicker flesh with less acid and seeds than other types of tomatoes. The sublime flavor of these tomatoes is why Bobby Flay keeps them around in his pantry."You gotta have these for sauce," he shared in a video posted onInstagram.

10. Pre-made tomato sauce

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Flay's go-to brand for tomato sauce is Simply Sugo. "It's like the sauce is already made for you, and then you can embellish upon it," he explained in an Instagram video.

Flay notes that this ingredient is a staple canned ingredient to keep on hand because it allows you to put dinner on the table relatively quickly. Not only can you use the sauce straight from the jar, but you can also dress it up with a bit of fresh basil and oregano (or his favorite Calabrian chilis) and serve it with pasta. It's ready in under twenty minutes, which is perfect for a busy chef like Flay.

11. Barbecue sauce

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While you can make your own homemade barbecue sauce, Bobby Flay recommends always having a store-bought bottle on hand. Flay's go-to Bone Suckin' Sauce is the store-bought barbecue sauce Bobby Flay stocks up on.

He uses two tablespoons of Spicy Bone Suckin' Sauce for his burgers, smothered on each side of the bun, with some fresh jalapenos and coleslaw. Although this ingredient is key for making a Bobby Flay-approved burger, the uses of this sauce also expand into pulled pork, barbecued chicken, and succulent baby back ribs.

12. Tortilla chips and crackers

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Bobby Flay is not just a good cook but also an entertainer. He always has a bag of tortilla chips or crackers in his pantry, per a video posted on Instagram. One product he specifically has on hand is buffalo butter crackers, also called Al Burro diBufala, which he notes have a distinctive tang but are not easily found in grocery stores. These snacking ingredients are critical to Flay's cheese plates— or whenever the mood strikes.

13. Dried chili powder

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Heat is an important element in Bobby Flay's kitchen. If he doesn't have access to fresh chili peppers, his go-to's include dried chili peppers, like Southwestern and Mexican blends.

In a video shared on Instagram, Flay shows off his collection of chili pepper powders, including Guajillo peppers and smoky chipotle. Not only can you add this simple powder to take your tomato sauce to a new spice level, but you can even incorporate it into your favorite desserts for a savory, complex profile.

14. Hot sauce

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There's no convenient condiment quite like hot sauce. And Bobby Flay is probably at the level of "hot sauce connoisseur." His pantry features not one type of hot sauce but at least two: Frank's Red Hot and Cholula.

Not only does Flay add a squirt to any food that needs a little bit of heat, but he'll also use it as an easy sauce ingredient for his chipotle-honeychicken wings. He pairs a chipotle-hot sauce like Cholula with sweet honey and aromatic cilantro for a wing sauce with a bit of a bite.

15. Canned beans

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Flay explains that chickpeas are a must-have ingredient in the pantry for making homemade hummus. He combines the cans of chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, water, and a bit of heat from chili oil. After all, we couldn't expect anything less from the king of heat. This spread is delicious, full of plant-based protein and fiber, and perfect for serving guests or as an easy snack with some pita chips.

16. Mustard

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Bobby Flay might have the most impressive mustard collection of any celebrity chef we've ever met. Not only does he have the standard yellow variety in his pantry, but he also stocks up on Dijon, whole-grain mustard, old-style mustard, honey mustard, and the classic yellow mustard for people who don't want to eat a more flavorful spread on their hot dog. Flay uses these mustards for tons of recipes, including his heavenly mustard aioli grilled potatoesand salmon with brown sugar and mustard glaze.

17. Dried pasta

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One of the most impressive things about Bobby Flay's pantry is his pasta collection. In a video shared on Instagram, he shares the diversity of pasta shapes he has.

Flay's selection of pasta is vast, and includes spaghetti, bucatini, elbows, and squid ink pasta, which has a strong, briny flavor perfect for seafood dishes, along with a mysterious dark hue.The celebrity chef shares that he purchases a lot of pasta from Italy because he likes the superior taste of the flour, but we think he's just a pasta snob in disguise.

18. Red and green curry paste

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If you are a fan ofThai or Indian cuisine, you'll want to take the word of chef Bobby Flay and stock up on red or green curry paste. The chef explains that he adds one type of curry paste, toasted in a pan, to coconut milk to make dinner in less than half an hour. Flay recommends putting the curry concoction over a protein, like chicken or salmon. "It has so much flavor, and it's so easy," he explained in a video posted on Instagram.

19. Gochujang

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Although Flay jokes that this Korean chili paste is difficult for him to pronounce, that doesn't mean he skips over it in the grocery store. He explains that he has an appreciation for the ingredient and uses it in Asian-flavored dishes like his Korean grilled chicken. The celebrity chef adds the paste to a marinade with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and aromatics like ginger and garlic, and reserves some of it to dip his cooked chicken into.

20. Cooking oils

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Bobby Flay keeps an array of cooking oils in his pantry, including extra virgin olive oil and canola oil, as well as flavoring ingredients like his famous chili oil. Bobby Flay uses avocado oil when cooking pasta saucebecause it has a more neutral flavor and higher smoke point than olive oil. He admits that he rarely cooks with olive oil because there are much better options that have a more nuanced flavor, like canola oil, for high-heat cooking.

21. Capers

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In a video shared on Instagram, Flay notes that he always keeps a container of capers in his pantry for piacatta in a pinch. This recipe, which can be made with protein ranging from chicken to salmon, is made of salty Juniper berries, lemon juice, and copious amounts of butter. How could you not love it?

Picatta isn't the only recipe Flay reserves his capers for. He makes a delectable grilled tilapia with orzo; the capers highlight the otherwise nuanced flavor of the fish. He also pairs turbot (a Meditterenan flatfish) filets with white wine, decadent brown butter, and briny capers for a wholesome dish that will excite any tastebuds.

22. Mushrooms

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Bobby Flay loves improving his recipes with mushrooms.Not only does he keep dried mushrooms in his pantry— which he can easily rehydrate for a pasta or a rice dish— but he also frequently keeps a container of fresh fungus in his fridge.

He upgrades the key ingredient in his Salisbury steak by swapping out the recommended type of mushroom for whatever variety excites your tastebuds. Although the recipe often suggests using white button mushrooms, Flay amps up the flavor by adding cremini mushrooms, flavorful shiitake, or meaty portobello mushrooms to the mix.

23. Pickling liquid

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We rarely think twice about how we can use pickling liquid, like the type leftover in a pickle jar, to upgrade other dishes in the kitchen. It's the double-duty secret ingredient in his Texas potato saladto help balance out the creaminess of the dressing and add an acidic punch.

Flay pours a few tablespoons into the vinaigrette base of the salad and scoops in both Dijon mustard and stone-ground mustard for extra flavor. He uses one of his other favorite ingredients, pickled red onions, to add a bit of crunch without overwhelming the flavor of the salad with red onions.

24. Greek yogurt

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day— and that's no exception for celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay. Greek yogurt is Bobby Flay's go-to breakfast staple because of its versatility in the kitchen and unique tangy flavor.

The chef has been known to start his day with a bowl of the dairy product along with pomegranate molasses, fresh berries, and honey. On some mornings, Flay will switch it up and make a breakfast smoothie with yogurt as a thickener, along with fresh blueberries and currant juice.

25. Browned butter

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We will always be fans of browned butter, and it's comforting to know this ingredient is also Bobby Flay-approved. The chef uses browned butter containing nutty, toasted milk solids to amp up his favorite recipes. It's the versatile ingredient he keeps stocked in the fridgefor everything from pasta to chocolate chip cookies. Flay notes that you can make browned butter ahead of time and store it in the fridge whenever you need to use it.

26. Pomegranate molasses

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Pomegranate molasses is an ingredient unfamiliar to many home chefs. This thick syrup is made by cooking pomegranate juice down, which maintains a sour, tangy flavor with a sweetness that is less evident than with maple syrup or honey.

It's the secret ingredient Bobby Flay uses in salad dressings because it adds a subtle, sweet element and complements the floral ingredients in the recipe. You can also add a drizzle of the syrup to your Greek yogurt in the morning as Flay does, or save it for your Mediterranean spreads.

27. Breadcrumbs

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Most people keep breadcrumbs in their pantry— and for good reason. It's the ingredient Bobby Flay adds to pasta for a bit of crunch. And we're not talking just for baked macaroni and cheese, either. Instead, the celebrity chef adds panko crumbs to a skillet with butter, garlic, aromatics, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. He keeps this breadcrumb mixture in his pantry for when he needs to elevate his pasta with a novel texture.

28. Saffron

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Saffron isn't a spice many people have in their pantry, but for Bobby Flay, it's a must-have for making Spanish paella or a flavorful broth. He keeps a container of these threads in his pantry for the few dishes where the spice provides a floral, bright flavor to the other ingredients. One of his recipes where saffron shines is in a rice salad, where it complements the spicy Spanish onion, rice, red peppers, and cured olives.

28 Ingredients Bobby Flay Always Has On Hand - Tasting Table (2024)
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