Ted Allen Has a Stash of Secret Ingredients

Leave the truffle oil at the kitchen door! Ted Allen, host of the hit show "Chopped," shares his picks for kitchen staples that can dress up many dishes.

View as Slideshow

You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!
If there's one message about cooking that Chopped host Ted Allen would like to get across, it's this: "You can do it." With a little time, desire, and his picks for secret ingredients—really, everyday items from alcohol to spices—you too can cook like a pro.


A little-known flavor-booster might be sitting on your home bar. "When we think tequila, a lot of us think of frat parties and over-indulgence. But tequila is an excellent flavor to use in food," says Allen. "Tequila has notes of vanilla, and it’s very sweet." So instead of deglazing a pan with wine or chicken stock, add a splash of tequila for an unexpected note.

Smoked Paprika

Smoked Paprika
Check your spice rack for this flavor front-runner. Add a dash of smoked paprika to chili, deviled eggs, soups, or vinaigrettes, suggests Allen. "Use it in anything where you just want to add a subtle hint of smoke," he says. "It gives depth to anything."

Content continues below ad

Grapefruit Zest and Juice

Grapefruit Zest and Juice
You probably see lots of recipes calling for lemon zest, but the other citrus fruits on your counter offer intriguing flavors and aromas as well—especially grapefruit. Allen cooks the juice down to concentrate the flavor, then uses it in place of lemon juice in his tangy vinaigrette salad dressing.

Homemade Caramel

Homemade Caramel
You, make homemade caramel? Yes indeed, promises Allen, who is adamant that this 10-minute sauce makes any dessert better.  "All you have to do is put sugar in a dry pan and cook over low heat until it melts and browns," he instructs. Add cream and butter, and you have the secret sauce that elevates ice cream, pie, cake, or even store-bought cookies to restaurant quality.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

2 thoughts on “Ted Allen Has a Stash of Secret Ingredients

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy