8 Chefs Reveal Three Items That Are Always in Their Fridge

Here’s what the pros always have on hand.

fridge with sauces
Photo: Amriphoto/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered what some of the most talented chefs in the world keep in their refrigerators and pantries at all times? We asked a handful of pros to name three ingredients they always have on hand and the responses included flavorful pantry staples, such as specialty olive oil and spices, as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables that can add texture and nutrients to a variety of dishes. Keep reading so you can learn how to stock your kitchen like the pros!

"Chipotles in adobo sauce, ripe avocados, and eggs" -Pati Jinich, chef, host of PBS' La Frontera and Pati's Mexican Table, and author of three cookbooks. Her latest is Treasures of the Mexican Table

"In my kitchen you will always find auyama—a type of pumpkin that I like to use for soup—blue cheese for a creamy white pasta sauce, and coriander seeds for so many things. I just love the flavor." -Chef Noemi Guzman of Jalao, a traditional Dominican restaurant in New York City

"Argentine olive oil, dulce de leche, and seasonal fruits." -Fernando Navas, chef and owner of BALVANERA

"Cilantro: I love cooking with it, it's part of Dominican culture. My mom cooked with it, and I love adding it to my food. Limes: It brightens up the food, and I always like to spray limes at the end on chicken and roasted pork dishes. I'd see limes in the fridge all the time as a kid, it ties me to my mom's cooking. Red onions: I grew up looking into my mom's fridge. In all Latin and African cooking, red onions are prominent and add an extra layer of sweetness and deeper flavor. In the pollo guisado dish, these three ingredients are part of making sofrito." -Chef Nelson German

"As a proud Mexican, onions, garlic, and chili peppers. You need to have those three things! If you don't have them, you're not going to be making anything. I use these ingredients in tacos, salsas, and a lot of different things. " -Gerry Torres, founder of City Tacos in San Diego

"Sofrito, sazon, and tomato sauce." -Illyanna Maisonet food columnist and author of the upcoming cookbook, Diasporican

"Chili peppers (ají panca, ají amarillo, rocoto or ají limo) that we use as cooking bases or spicy flavors; garlic and onions (both are important in Peruvian food), and butter. Fats are the best." -Chef Tomas Matsufuji, of Al Toke Pez in Lima, Peru

"The three ingredients that are always in my pantry are masa harina (dried corn dough), pinto beans, and Key limes. Corn is at the heart of Mexican cuisine, and masa harina is something I cannot live without. I'm able to use it for so many things, like sopes, tortillas, chochoyotes (Mexican dumplings), and even for drinks like tejuino or atole. A bowl of pinto beans topped with diced onion, chopped cilantro, and crumbled queso cotija was a regular meal for my family growing up, so I like to keep these well stocked because they always come in handy when you're tight on money. They're proof you can do so much with the simplest of ingredients. Lastly, my family is from the state of Colima, Mexico, and one of their big exports is Key limes, so I always have a bag of Key limes on my counter. They have a bright fruity and floral flavor, are easier to squeeze, and best with your tostadas de ceviche, or bowl of pozole. They are always a really nice reminder of home for me too." -Esteban Castillo, food blogger and author of the upcoming cookbook, Chicano Bakes

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