The Big Mistake You're Making With Dried Chiles And Spices, According To Aarón Sánchez

Ever wonder what separates your cooking abilities from a celebrity chef's? Sometimes, it's as simple as seasoning. Like James Beard Award-winning chef Samin Nosrat told Mashed in an exclusive interview, many of us are afraid "to actually have a relationship to salt and fat and acid beyond what is dictated to [us] in a recipe." Not to harp, but "Chopped" host Ted Allen once gave the Twitterverse a stern sermon about the importance of correctly salting food — something you've probably heard judges complain about over and over, and over and over again. If you're interested, check out his Twitter.  

If, on the other hand, you're confident in your salting abilities, move on to spices. No. Not pumpkin spice. (Remember when Anthony Bourdain told The Daily Meal that he "would like to see the pumpkin spice craze drowned in its own blood. Quickly?" He said it, not us.) We're talking about your run-of-the-mill dried spices and chilis. "Master Chef's" Aarón Sánchez has pro tips for you when it comes to these — primarily, you might not be giving them the home they deserve. 

Why you need to keep dried spices in an airtight container

Sánchez, for what it's worth, also has big opinions about salt. "I think that everyone should have a good, finishing sea salt," the "Master Chef" judge told followers in an earlier TikTok video. "Something that's grainy, something that can break up in your hands, that's flaky." There, he agrees with "Top Chef" alum Nyesha Arrington who revealed the secret to perfect scrambled eggs to Mashed in an exclusive interview. Top among her tips? "Using great salt, like very good, nice light flaky salt, is really important," she advised.

But back to spices — because you've got salting down, right? If you don't keep your dried chilis and spices in an airtight, sealed container, you're not maximizing their flavor potential. According to celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez, dried — it turns out — isn't synonymous with perfectly preserved." Just because it's a dried chili doesn't mean that it's not going to get brittle or loose its intensity of flavor," Sanchez reminded his TikTok followers in a recent video. To get the most out of them, Sánchez also encouraged his followers to buy spices whole and toast them and grind them at home.