- Any time someone mentions New York City on the show, expect everyone in the scene to yell "NEW YORK CITY?!"
- This reference is turned on its head in "The Big Chili", where "Grumpy Gus" (Alton Brown dressed up as a cowboy) mentions buying a salsa "made in New York City, so you know it's good".
- Alton used the "Is it saaaaaaaafe?" line from Marathon Man on several occasions.
- "I told you not to cross the streams!" (Of glowing, yellow "frosting"/flocking)
- "This is America! Goose sat behind Maverick!"
- In "Tamale Never Dies", while talking about the contributions ancient civilizations made to corn, Alton says "Without the Aztecs, we wouldn't have the Alien vs. Predator films, now would we?" It's a reference to the film's ancient Predators using ships that looked like Aztec and Egyptian pyramids to reach Earth.
- The "Wing and I" episode features a segment where Alton is offering free samples of hot sauce to the boyfriend of a passing couple (to provide an example of a study conducted that showed the eating of spicy food had connections to mating rituals). The girlfriend first calls her bravado-filled boyfriend "Pumpkin", which seems relatively normal. After he rushes off to find sour cream and Alton explains why the boyfriend downed the hot sauce, the following dialogue ensues:
Girlfriend: You mean... he really loves me?
Alton: Well, I wouldn't call it—yeah. He loves you.
Girlfriend (chasing after boyfriend): Pumpkin! Honey Bunny is gonna make it all better!
- The entire scallop episode is a parody of Jaws.
- In "Porterhouse Rules", Alton depicts the enzymes in steaks as bunch of cogwheels that stop spinning, and when they do, Alton, as a factory worker, leaps on top of one and starts tightening the bolts.
- The Sugarplum Fairy in the hour-long Christmas special seems to owe most of her characterization to the Ghost of Christmas Present from Scrooged.
- In "Pretzel Logic", Alton drops a pair of movie references when explaining the pH scale.
(points to the Skull-And-Crossbones poison warning on a bottle of lye) No, this doesn't mean Johnny Depp gets a percentage off of every bottle.
- The beginning of "Dill-icious" features Alton re-creating Darth Vader's conversation with dorm at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
- Pantry Raid V contains multiple references to Animal House, as the introduction to ramen takes place in, appropriately enough, a dorm.
AB: A PLEDGE PIN, ON YOUR UNIFORM?!
- Alton often refers to a Eureka Moment as "a Monkey-Touch-Monolith moment."
- A chicken (actually a plushie) comes in after knocking on his door, and thus so he goes to "Fry Some More".
- In the pomegranate episode they bring the fake doctor bit back and Alton cheerfully describes a jell-o dish he made as, "A dessert that even Nurse Ratched could love!"
- In the Power Bar episode, Alton has questions about the ingredients in a protein bar being marketed as health food. (These Unfortunate Ingredients included high-fructose corn syrup, large amounts of sodium, and palm kernel oil.) He consults with Cocoa Carl, who is in a maximum security prison a la Hannibal Lecter.
- Alton reacts with "Oh bother" as a Running Gag, usually whenever the Food Police show up.
- Alton would occasionally poke fun at other Food Network personalities, especially Emeril Lagasse and his "BAM!" shtick. After Emeril left FN, Alton seemed to prefer tweaking Rachael Ray instead. There's also been a few instances of the show referencing itself, usually by quoting older episodes in the context of whatever the newer episode is doing.
- *Alton holds up a pizza peel* "This is my favorite peel, Emma."
- Thing is said to be a relative of Thing from The Addams Family.
- From the episode about pomegranates—in the segment about grenadine syrup's use in cocktails, Alton demonstrates by making a Tequila Sunrise. When he's done, he proudly presents it with the comment "There you are—an Eagles concert in a glass!"
- Many if not most episode titles are puns based on a reference to something or other, but "Pretzel Logic" didn't even need that.
- In the episode on bread pudding, he yells out that "you can't get your pudding if you don't eat your meat!"
- The entire Season 12 episode "Oh My, Meat Pie" is one huge Sweeney Todd shout out, along with all the unfortunate implications about the meat used in that episode. It also had an Edward Scissorhands Shout-Out when Mr. Todd is chopping up vegetables.
- His character of "The Waffler" in his waffle-making episode was clearly inspired by the same named recruitment-reject character in Mystery Men... except without the burny parts. His outfit seems closer to Crow T. Robot's Willy the Waffle Sprite costume from Mystery Science Theater 3000. He's even got a W cut out from a waffle on his head. Plus he has a little puppet theater called the Mystery Food Science Theater complete with little opening doors.
- Several are to Monty Python:
- On several occasions, AB has asked people to name things that float, and once he did the list himself. "Ducks", "small rocks", and one time, "witches". In his book Good Eats: The Early Years, Alton openly admits that the opening of "What's Up Duck?" is a nod to Holy Grail.
- The Egg Files 2 had this little segment involving quiche made with spam.
Alton: *rattling off ingredients, ending with spam*
Male Chorus: "Spamspamspamspamspamspamspam..."
- The animations featured in later-season episodes are done in a pastiche of Terry Gilliam's style. They even used the Liberty Bell march as BGM on more than one occasion.note
- In the Season 13 episode "Feeling Punchy":
- When Alton says that one of the classic elements of a good punch is spice, his assistant intones "He who controls the spice controls the universe!". Alton tells him to lay off the sci-fi, to which he replies "The spice must flow!"
- In the same segment, he plays the commanding officer of a EITC ship who dunks a Dutchman in icy waters to get ice for his punch recipe. Alton apologizes to him, saying "Sorry about your ship, just business, nothing personal, you know."
- "Tamale Never Dies" is a play at James Bond, and during the episode Alton's fridge has Alton himself drawn as Bond, complete with stylized title. The episode, however, contains a parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Raising the Bar" featured an appearance by James Bond in "person", where Alton took his signature drink order ("Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred") then proceeded to make the drink with gin and stirred it (with reasons for both steps). "Bond" loved the drink.
- The dark chocolate special is named "Turn On the Dark", and in order to illustrate the old adage "Good things come in small packages", Alton pulls out the actual Noisy Cricket prop from Men in Black. Later in that same episode, Thing holds up a seltzer sprayer, causing Alton to respond "Go ahead, skin it! Skin that smokewagon and see what happens..."
- When presenting different types of cutting boards, he expresses a particular dislike of glass boards (glass is actually exceptionally hard, making it rough on knives), calling it "Dark Lord of the Sith" bad.
- "Down and Out in Paradise" (various tropical foods) references both Gilligan's Island and Cast Away.