Alex Guarnaschelli's Favorite Spices Are Surprisingly Simple

Alex Guarnaschelli is a busy woman. From being a judge on Food Network's "Chopped" to winning the title of Iron Chef and everything in between, Guarnaschelli is a busy professional. But she always has time to offer tips and suggestions to at-home cooks like us to help make cooking more enjoyable, especially when it comes down to sharing what spices she keeps on hand in her own spice drawer. After all, the right seasoning and spices add that je ne sais quoi that keeps our taste buds coming back for more, and when you consider that every spice has its own personality and adds its own unique mouth popping taste to different foods, you realize they are pretty essential.  

Spices have been around forever and have a rich and savory history. In fact, if you visit the McCormick Science Institute's history of spice page, you will discover we've been using spices as far back as when we were hunter-gatherers, wrapping meat in leaves and reaping the benefits of the flavors they infused into it. Fast forward to the present day, and there are a lot of spices at our disposal to create and enhance our foods. It's both awesome and overwhelming. That's why we really appreciate Guarnaschelli's willingness to share her favorite spices with us.

Guarnaschelli has two favorite spices

In a 2019 Instagram post, Guarnaschelli commiserated with her followers noting, "Navigating the spice aisle at the grocery store can be intimidating. Take a peek into my spice draw for some of my favorite spices to keep on hand!" Using a little tongue and cheek in the video, Guarnschelli proclaims herself a "spice therapist" as she shares with her colleague that ground cinnamon, ground mustard, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano are among the essentials she recommends for those who may not cook as frequently as others. But when it comes down to the spices she swears by as go-to favorites, the cookbook author shared two surprisingly simple spices, revealing to Food Network, "It's a tie. ... ground ginger ... [and] Aleppo pepper."

If you are a true Guarnaschelli fan, those two spices may not be so surprising. Her love affair with Aleppo pepper is well-documented. She uses their sweet heat on her pressed cheese sandwiches (via Cooking Channel), when she is roasting eggplants (per Instagram), and even shared on her Go Ask Alex forum they are part of her favorite meal, saying, "I would say my favorite comfort meal is a roasted (whole) chicken with roasted corn on the cob with Aleppo pepper and some yellow cake with chocolate frosting?" She also uses ground ginger in many of her recipes, like her sesame cannoli with ginger, according to Food Network. Guarnaschelli has proven herself a true fan and advocate of this peppery but sweet spice.