Sunny Anderson's Ultimate Secret Ingredient

Shortly after Sunny Anderson landed her first solo hosting gigs on the Food Network in 2008, she shared the simple objective she had for those tuning into her programs. "I want to show them that they don't have to rely on the same two or three variations all their lives. I try to bring some variety and make it easy and fun," she explained to The Times and Democrat a year after the debut of her first show, "How'd That Get On My Plate?"

These days, Anderson is quite the familiar face on Food Network, most notably as a frequent guest judge on "Beat Bobby Flay" and, of course, as a co-host of the long-running talk show, cooking show hybrid, "The Kitchen." Throughout her tenure, she has demonstrated a number of simple and delicious meals that are easy to replicate at home, as well as some of the key ingredients she likes to keep on hand for her own home cooking. One of her favorite pantry staples? Sambal olek chili paste. "If I'm making gravy, or soup, or eggs, anything like that, I scoop some out to add a little heat," she explained to The Kitchn.

Adding a touch of heat seems to be one of Anderson's go-to methods for stepping up some otherwise simple dishes. In fact, the celebrity chef revealed to Food Network that her ultimate secret ingredient falls in the spicy food family, as well.

Sunny Anderson loves adding pickled jalapeños to her cooking

In keeping with her original goal of showing Food Network viewers how to amp up familiar dishes in easy ways, celebrity chef Sunny Anderson calls upon a fairly common ingredient to elevate her food: pickled jalapeños. "This jar of love stays in my fridge 24/7 to add zip, heat, and sweet to so much," she told Food Network of the secret ingredient that is a favorite of model-turned-cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, as well.

You have likely enjoyed these bad boys at least once on top of a towering pile of nachos, but for those not familiar with the taste of Anderson's go-to additive, they are described by PepperScale as packing a vinegary and acidic punch along with their heat, making their taste wildly different than the "fresh and grassy flavor" of fresh jalapeño peppers. 

For the former radio show host, this makes an excellent addition to a wide variety of dishes including, but not limited to, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and salad dressings. Anderson likes to get the most out of her jar of pickled jalapeños by not only using the peppers themselves but the juice they come in, as well, which is a key component to her popular skinny slow-cooker chicken chili.