31 Ingredients Bobby Flay Keeps In The Pantry

Bobby Flay runs a number of successful restaurants, namely six Bobby's Burgers locations across the country and Amalfi, a restaurant in Las Vegas. He regularly appears in widely watched cooking shows, including Iron Chef America, Boy Meets Grill, and Food Nation. He has taken home several James Beard Awards, including that for Rising Star Chef of the Year, back in 1993. He has also published a series of popular cookbooks, including his latest, "Bobby at Home," released in 2019. In short, he may just be one of the most famous and recognizable celebrity chefs around, so it's probably safe to say he has a pantry worth emulating.

Only one word of caution before we take a peek into this space: it has been reported that Bobby Flay shares his pantry with his cat. That is no small matter. There is a whole section of the pantry dedicated to food for Flay's cat Nacho, and not only that, but this is Flay's own pet food brand called Made By Nacho. Of course, you don't have to include the cat food component in your own pantry, but it's something to think about if you have a pet.

1. Bone Suckin' Sauce

As you may have noticed from his cooking style, Bobby Flay loves barbecue sauce, even the store-bought kind. But it can't be just any barbecue sauce. It has to be high quality and tasty, which is why he'll always have a few bottles of Bone Suckin' Sauce in his pantry. This tangy and spicy sauce can be used in a variety of ways, but Bobby Flay likes to spread it on top of his burgers, along with jalapenos and cole slaw. If you like spicy ingredients, consider adding this item to your pantry, too.

2. Pasta

It may seem like a no-brainer to make sure you have pasta in your pantry, but it needs to be said nonetheless, as no list of pantry items can be complete without the inclusion of dried pasta. The rule is no different for Bobby Flay. In his case, we know specifically that he always has a stock of "different shapes, different sizes, different flavors" of pasta, as he says in his 2022 Instagram post presenting his pantry. This includes elbow pasta he can use to make mac and cheese, and even squid ink pasta.

3. Simply Sugo

Bobby Flay is known for his Southwestern flare, but he's also extraordinarily adept at making Italian food, as evidenced by his Italian restaurant Amalfi in Las Vegas. Another element of proof is the pre-made Italian tomato sauce Flay swears by. Simply Sugo is made by Mutti with 100% sun-ripened tomatoes and can taste delicious on its own, or with a few quick and simple personal tweaks, like adding Calabrian chilies or fresh basil. In fact, Bobby Flay apparently can't stop using this canned tomato sauce, as it's so versatile and easy to transform into new and exciting recipes.

4. Mustard

If you like mustard, you can find a way to make it go with anything. This is the case with Bobby Flay, who recommends using it to take your potato salad to the next level. In particular, his Southwestern potato salad dressing calls for Dijon mustard to be mixed with mayonnaise, scallions, lime juice, chipotle pepper puree, and cilantro. If spice isn't your thing, you could try his German potato salad dressing, which is nothing more than mustard mixed with oil and cider vinegar.

5. Canned tomatoes

Anyone who likes to cook Italian food needs to have a generous stash of canned tomatoes in their pantry. Bobby Flay has this, especially when it comes to the famous and delicious San Marzano tomatoes. As he said about the famed tomato variety in a recent Instagram post, "you gotta have it." It appears that Bobby Flay, like so many other chefs of his caliber, favors the Mutti brand. Use them to prepare anything from homemade pasta sauce to tomato soup.

6. Tomato paste

Tomato paste is another essential ingredient in many recipes from Italy and beyond. One of Flay's best is his Salisbury steak recipe, where the sauce calls for you to combine tomato paste with cremini mushrooms, white onions, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and half-and-half. Other than that, you can use tomato paste to intensify the flavor of many other types of dishes. Just make sure you brown the tomato paste first, as it tends to be tart when raw.

7. Calabrian chiles

This is a chile Bobby Flay uses constantly on Beat Bobby Flay and in his restaurants, and you, too, can use it at home. In particular, Flay likes to use these chiles to spice up his tomato sauces, while he also employs them to infuse olive oil, which he then pours over dishes as a finishing touch for added flavor. For something a little more outside the box, you can even use them to make spicy Calabrian chile honey. Just heat some honey and pour it over your prepared chiles, then let the mixture cool.

8. Curry paste

When you have a bunch of extra vegetables sitting in your fridge and about to expire, the best and easiest thing to do with them is to just toss them in a curry. But to make a good, proper curry, you're going to need curry paste, which is why Bobby Flay always stocks some in his pantry. Flay likes to keep red curry paste, which allows him to make a red curry coconut sauce. If you don't have a recipe, this one for Thai red curry chicken is relatively easy to make and is an unfailing people-pleaser.

9. Chickpeas

If you like to make your own hummus, as Bobby Flay does, then be sure to stock your pantry with plenty of cans of chickpeas. Flay then adds tahini, lemon, garlic, chili, olive oil, and a splash of water. If you have the right equipment, hummus is very easy to make, and the quality of the homemade stuff stands head and shoulders above anything you could buy at the store. For example, in this simple creamy hummus recipe, just blitz the chickpeas and other ingredients in a food processor until smooth, top with your favorite garnishes, and you're done.

10. Piquillo peppers

Another type of chili Bobby Flay likes to have on hand are piquillo peppers, which hail from Spain. They're not as spicy as other types of peppers, so they can be useful in many recipes, including Flay's version of crostini topped with white bean and piquillo pepper salad. Another popular choice is this chorizo with piquillo pepper dip. Here you'll have to blitz the piquillo peppers in a food processor with parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and lemon juice until pureed. Then fry up the chorizo and serve it on the side.

11. Potato chips

As you may have noticed, Bobby Flay makes a lot of burgers, some of which include an ingredient many people have never thought to use for such a dish: potato chips. Now that you know about this trick, you may never go back, which is why you, too, will need to keep plenty of bags of chips in your pantry now. The burger in question is the famous "Crunchburger," which is actually any burger of your choosing, topped with a handful of potato chips for crunch and extra saltiness.

12. Cooking oils

Putting an item directly on a hot pan without first adding cooking oil pretty much always results in major burning and a lot of smoke. This is why any home cook, whether professional or amateur, will always have at least one type of cooking oil on hand at all times. Flay takes it a step further and stocks his pantry with a slew of different oils, including extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, chili oil, and more, sometimes using two or more in a single recipe, which is one of Bobby Flay's best cooking tips for home chefs.

13. Salt and pepper

Many dishes can be rescued with the simple addition of a little salt and pepper. Preparing a dish without them, unless it includes bullion, lots of cheese, or some other ingredient that already contains plenty of salt, might be a bit of a challenge. In particular, Bobby Flay uses a generous amount of these two basic ingredients to season his burgers, which works so well that he doesn't have to add anything else. He simply forms the beef patty, makes an indentation in the center, and seasons both sides of it.

14. Coconut milk

Coconut milk comes in handy for those Thai red curries you can make for your leftover vegetables. But Bobby Flay also uses it to make the perfect side rice for that curry, or for anything else for that matter. In his recipe, Flay chops up some scallions and cilantro and combines it with lime zest before cooking the rice in coconut milk. Finally, it requires frying up the rice in a cast iron pan to add crispiness.

15. Gochujang

Bobby Flay admits to having trouble pronouncing the name of this Korean hot chili paste, Gochujang, but that doesn't stop him from keeping a few jars of it in his pantry. The surprising thing about this paste is that it can be used to great effect in both savory and sweet dishes. It can be added to your eggs in the morning, or you can include it in this Texas sheet cake recipe, heating it up in a saucepan along with the cocoa powder, butter, and brown sugar before incorporating it.

16. Vinegars

Oil and vinegar go hand in hand, so if you have cooking oils in your pantry, you may as well also have plenty of vinegar, as Bobby Flay does. And although he has many varieties of it, including red wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar, one could use almost any type for Bobby Flay's main tip for poaching eggs: to avoid having your poached eggs fall apart in your pot of boiling water, simply add vinegar beforehand. This helps to coagulate the egg whites, keeping the egg more intact as it cooks.

17. Capers

Not only does Bobby Flay have capers in his pantry, but he has tons of capers. He especially likes to use them to flavor fish and to make chicken piccata. To follow his cue, try this upscale chicken piccata recipe by dipping your chicken in flour, then whisked eggs, then a breadcrumb mixture before frying it up. Separately, make a sauce with butter, shallots, and garlic before stirring in the capers, white wine, and eventually, hot chicken broth, more butter, and lemon juice. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken.

18. Anchovies

If you want to step up your skills as a home chef, you have to get over your fear of cooking with anchovies. Bobby Flay, in an Instagram post, admits that anchovies are the secret ingredient he puts in almost everything. That's because this simple, ready-made ingredient adds so much flavor to a dish with hardly any effort at all. In particular, Flay likes to crush the anchovies and add them to sauces for fish dishes.

19. Saffron

Saffron is a pricey, hard-to-find ingredient, but Bobby Flay still keeps some in his pantry for special occasions. He uses it to make paella, for example, which you can emulate with this classic seafood paella recipe. You'll just need to add a pinch of saffron to your fish stock before proceeding with the rest of the dish, which involves frying up chorizo and seafood individually before sauteing onions, red peppers, garlic, and paprika and then adding canned tomatoes, white wine, and the paella rice. At this point, you add your saffron fish broth and cook the rice until done.

20. Dried mushrooms

Bobby Flay always keeps dried mushrooms in his pantry, which he rehydrates and adds to pasta or rice dishes. Another way to use them is to make your own vegetable broth, packing it with dried mushrooms for more umami flavor. You can either throw them directly into your broth along with all your other ingredients, making sure to rinse them thoroughly first, or you can make a separate mushroom broth by pouring boiling water over the dried mushrooms and letting them sit for 15 minutes. Dried mushrooms have so much flavor that you may only need one mushroom for this feat.

21. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is another mainstay in Bobby Flay's pantry. He likes to use the fine variety for cornmeal-crusted chicken, but prefers coarse cornmeal for polenta and grits, "so I can really taste the corn," he says in an Instagram post. To take him at his word, try Bobby Flay's shrimp and grits recipe and caramelize some onions before adding water, salt, and pepper and bringing that to a boil. Then cook the cornmeal until all the water has been absorbed, then stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Top with shrimp sauteed in lemon juice and parsley.

22. Farro

Bobby Flay treats farro as if it were risotto. In fact, rice and farro behave very similarly, but the latter tends to have a nuttier and richer flavor. To test this assertion, consider this acorn squash farro risotto. Roast the squash until tender before scooping out the insides and combining them with Parmesan, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Then saute the shallots and add pre-soaked farro and thyme. From there, the recipe continues along traditional risotto lines: toast the farro before adding white wine and gradually pouring in the chicken stock. To finish, simply stir in the acorn mixture.

23. Flours

Bobby Flay often uses Wondra, a quick-mixing all-purpose flour, to thicken soups and sauces. He also has plenty of all-purpose flour on hand even though the untold truth is that Bobby Flay doesn't excel at baking, or so he says. Rather, he uses flour for things like chicken piccata, or this chicken Parmesan recipe, where a major step requires you to dip your chicken breast in all-purpose flour before drenching it in whisked eggs, and finally, in a breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture.

24. Risers

Despite Bobby Flay insisting he doesn't do much baking, he has a whole section of his pantry dedicated to this activity. The area includes things like baking soda and baking powder, which aren't used all that often outside the domain of baking. One can only guess he uses these ingredients for things like fried chicken, since he suggests that baking powder, when added to whole milk, can be used as a substitute for buttermilk when making a dredge.

25. Ketchup

Ketchup needs no introduction, and it's fairly clear how a burger aficionado like Bobby Flay might use this ingredient. But if you don't know what we're talking about, you can always check out one of Bobby Flay's best burger recipes. Simply prepare your burger and buns, and when it's time to make the sauce, combine the ketchup with mustard, mayo, and smoked paprika. Once your burger is ready, spread some of this sauce on each bun and serve.

26. Amarena cherries

Bobby Flay always has a jar of these sweet, syrupy, special Italian cherries in his pantry. He likes to use them in cocktails, like Old Fashioneds or Manhattans, or on ice cream Sundaes along with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and of course, gelato. For something a little more involved, you can use these cherries to make this classic cheese blintz. Just top the dessert with these cherries along with a dab of sour cream.

27. Nut butters

When it comes to nut butters, Bobby Flay's pantry staples include almond butter and lots and lots of peanut butter. He's been snacking on it since he was a child, but the beauty of this ingredient is that it can be used in many other ways as well. Some delicious but unconventional ways to use peanut butter include making granola bars, spreading it on your s'mores, adding it to oatmeal, or even preparing a peanut salad dressing.

28. Sweeteners

Another telltale sign that perhaps Bobby Flay does bake, at least at home, is his long list of sweeteners, like molasses, honey, maple syrup, and sugar. Sure, the latter three could go in your morning coffee or tea, but molasses? That one just screams baking. For instance, molasses is commonly used in the preparation of ginger snap cookies, where the molasses is added to the butter and sugar mixture along with eggs and maple extract.

29. Tortilla chips and crackers

In an Instagram post, Bobby Flay explains that he always has bags of tortilla chips and packages of crackers on hand, especially for cheese plates. He singled out a unique item he calls buffalo butter crackers, which are not easy to find, but that have a terrific flavor. If you can't find these crackers but want to impress your guests, the safest bet is to follow our tips for putting together the ultimate cheese board, which includes choosing a variety of cheeses and serving them at room temperature, where their flavors are at their strongest.

30. Spices

Bobby Flay is famously fond of paprika, so it's no surprise that he highlighted it in his presentation of his pantry. He keeps it among his vast collection of chili powders, which include southwestern and Mexican-style chilies, Guajillo chili powder, and chipotle powder, which, on Instagram, he simply says "are really cool to have around." Perhaps he meant hot? Either way, you can use several of these spices and more in Bobby Flay's chili recipe with a twist, which calls for ancho chile powder, cascabel chile powder, pasilla chile powder, and New Mexican chile powder, among other ingredients.

31. Hot sauces

Flay is known to use hot sauces in many of his recipes. At home, he always keeps a bottle of Frank's RedHot, a spicy cayenne pepper sauce, as well as some Cholula. For your own pantry, the key is to select a good quality hot sauce like these, and then go to town on whatever dish you want. Another fun hack is to use hot sauce to transform your mayonnaise. Just mix them together in whichever proportion you choose and you have a brand new condiment.