10 Secret Ingredients That Will Change the Way You Cook

From vibrant salsa verde to spicy Korean hot pepper paste, these under-the-radar ingredients will take your cooking to the next level.

  • Italian Salsa Verde. More a condiment than a chip dip, this Italian version of a green sauce is brilliant on almost anything, from eggs to meatball subs.
  • Gochujang. This Korean hot pepper paste has changed how we cook. It's a spicy fermented condiment made from chiles—we think one day it'll rival Sriracha in hot sauce popularity. Use it as you would use tomato paste in cooking, sauces, or sandwiches for a hit of umami.
  • Creamy Homemade Ricotta. With just one stir of the pot, and a few minutes of wait time you have magically made your own cheese. But bragging rights aren’t the only win here—you end up with one of the best possible refrigerator staples. Spread it on toast, stir it into pasta, mix it into pancake batter for maximum moistness—the possibilities are endless.
  • Miso. Miso isn’t just for soup. You can use it to add depth and flavor to soups, roasted vegetables, salad dressings, and even caramel sauce.
  • Preserved Lemon Aioli. Even a tiny bit of this tangy take on aioli will up your sandwiches to the next level. And your dip game. And everything in between.
  • Torrisi’s Spicy Sauce. DIY sauce in just one step that you can have on hand for pastas, pizzas, and anything else that needs a little extra kick.
  • Mustard Green Harissa. This bold condiment can be used anywhere your food needs livening up. Incorporate  a few tablespoons when cooking couscous and grains, use it as a flavor base for soups, stews, and marinades, or use it in dressings for roasted vegetables.
  • Maple Cream. Nothing but maple syrup and heavy cream get transformed into a light, spreadable cream perfect for spreading on toast, mixing into frosting, or eating straight off a spoon.
  • South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce. This sauce was originally intended for chicken, ribs, or pulled pork, but we think it would be good with almost anything dippable. And you thought yellow mustard was only for hot dogs…
  • Masa de Pimentao (Sweet Red Pepper Paste). Slow-roasting is the key to creating this traditional Portuguese preserved red pepper sauce. Use it to marinate chicken or pork, sauce grilled fish and vegetables, and top pizzas and sandwiches.

Want to be a better cook? Some people would tell you that you need to master complicated techniques and recipes. Others might say you should buy fancy tools and sharper knives. They’re all wrong.

The secret to transforming the way you cook is not radical—it is right in front of you. You can make the same dishes that you’ve been making, but make them better. You don’t need shiny new equipment. You don’t need new techniques. All you need is a few new ingredients.

Click through the gallery above to see all of the recipes for ingredients that will take your cooking to the next level.

  • ADOLF WITZELING

    Thanks for sharing this excellent recipe! I love it and will try this weekend.

  • Mapler

    Maple cream is pure syrup heated to a certain temp and stirred while cooling. It makes crystals smaller than maple candy hence the spreadable consistency, no heavy cream or any dairy for that matter is used. It is one of the most delicious things on earth.

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