Costco beckons bargain hunters across the United States with its aisles and aisles of bargains, sales, and supersized everything. The warehouse store makes it easy to stock up on kitchen essentials. And though you will find some foods that are a waste of money at Costco, many others are such great buys that you won’t find a better deal elsewhere. When it comes to value, taste, and versatility, these are the items you want in your Costco cart and on your pantry shelves.
Whether you’re a seasoned Costco shopper or are just beginning to consider whether a membership would be worth it, here are some of the best foods at Costco you should always have in your kitchen.
According to Consumer Reports, one of the best things to buy at Costco is the Kirkland Signature Regular Sliced Bacon. The publication’s taste testers loved this bacon’s crispness and “balance of fat and meat flavors.” Another great reason to like it? A 4-pound pack costs as little as $10 to $12, depending on your location. Consumer Reports explains, “That’s about $1.50 less per pound than what you’ll spend on leading name-brand bacons from our tests, none of which tasted as good.”
2. Organic chicken stock
Another kitchen staple Consumer Reports thinks you should pick up at Costco? Organic chicken stock from Costco’s Kirkland brand. According to Consumer Reports, “Kirkland Signature organic chicken stock served up impressive flavors, and at $12 for a case of six 32-ounce containers, it was about half the price of other top-scoring products from Knorr and Swanson.”
3. Maple syrup
The Huffington Post advises that if you like maple-flavored corn syrup, you should just skip Costco and buy Aunt Jemima on sale. But if you like the real deal, you can’t beat Costco’s organic Kirkland Signature Grade A Dark Amber Maple Syrup. This delicious maple syrup costs about $10.49 for 1.05 quarts — a deal far better than what you’ll find at your local grocery store.
Another sweet (and sticky) item to buy at Costco? Honey. The Huffington Post reports if you use a lot of honey for baking, nothing’s better than Costco’s honey. With many of Costco’s large food items, you run the risk of the food going bad before you can use it all. But honey doesn’t go bad. So if the honey begins to crystallize before you use it up, you can just warm it up to liquefy it again.
Costco offers unbeatable deals on spices and herbs. That makes these items one of the best Costco purchases for people who cook or bake frequently. According to the Huffington Post, a 10.7-ounce bottle of Kirkland’s Ground Saigon Cinnamon will cost you just $2.59. Other delicious and economical spices to consider? Whole peppercorns, Himalayan sea salt, crushed red pepper, granulated garlic, and chopped onion.
6. Vanilla extract
Another baking essential to stock up on the next time you head to Costco? Pure vanilla extract. Even imitation vanilla extract can get expensive at the grocery store. But at Costco, you can buy pure vanilla extract at the same price most stores charge for the imitation stuff.
Nuts make great, high-protein snacks. But at stores other than Costco, they can get pretty expensive. Fortunately, Costco’s Kirkland brand sells almonds, cashews, mixed nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts for a fraction of what they cost at your favorite grocery store. Just bear in mind you probably shouldn’t buy nuts in bulk unless you know you’ll use them quickly. Because they contain large amounts of oil, they can go rancid before you have a chance to use them up.
8. Dried fruit
Another snack-ready health food that costs way too much at the grocery store? Dried fruit. Do yourself a favor, and stock up the next time you go to Costco. Costco’s Kirkland brand sells large bags of dried fruit at bargain prices. And the Huffington Post notes the occasional sale makes Kirkland dried fruit, and dried fruit from name brands, an even better deal.
9. Cooking spray
Sure, cooking spray probably isn’t the most exciting item you have in your pantry. But many home cooks always need a bottle in stock. According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, Costco’s canola oil cooking spray offers the perfect way to get “a year’s supply of cooking spray for under five bucks.”
10. Baby formula
Do you have a formula-fed infant at home? Then, your Costco membership might just pay for itself if you start buying formula at the warehouse store. Costco sells baby formula for about $17 for 34 ounces. That makes it far less expensive than any other store. The Huffington Post notes the savings from four Kirkland-brand canisters will pay for the cost of your Costco membership.
11. Applesauce pouches
Another kid-friendly item to buy at Costco? Applesauce pouches from Costco’s Kirkland brand. The Krazy Coupon Lady reports that “no store beats Costco’s everyday price for applesauce pouches.” Applesauce makes a healthy snack for both kids and adults because it’s a great source of vitamins and fiber. It can even help you lower your risk of developing heart disease or abdominal fat.
12. Organic spinach
According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, one of the very best deals at Costco is on organic baby spinach. At Costco’s prices, you could buy almost 3 pounds of spinach for the price of 1 pound at Wal-Mart — not that we’d always recommend buying 3 whole pounds. Purchasing produce in bulk could end up costing you more money than you save if you don’t use it before it spoils. (Fortunately, we have plenty of delicious spinach recipes to help you use that Costco haul.)
Do you have to start your day with a cup of home-brewed coffee? Then, Costco’s Kirkland brand has some great deals for you. You can get Kirkland’s whole beans or ground coffee for much cheaper than what you’d pay at the grocery store. Or you can take advantage of Costco’s deals on brand-name coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.
14. Organic milk
Costco typically offers good deals on dairy — but not deals good enough that they can beat the sale at your local grocery store. However, the Huffington Post notes you can find a few exceptions. The first? Organic milk. “Like many organic milks, Kirkland organic lasts about three times as long as regular milk, meaning it doesn’t just save you cash on the initial purchase; it saves you additional trips to the supermarket to stock up.” Consumer Reports points out Kirkland’s organic milk is USDA certified. At at $4 per quart, it’s a dollar or more cheaper than what many big brands charge.
15. Organic eggs
Another Costco dairy item you should always have in your kitchen? The store’s organic eggs. These eggs are not only economically priced, but they are humanely raised. They come from chickens who don’t live in cages and don’t get fed antibiotics. Whether you like cooking or baking, eggs are a necessity. And Costco is the perfect place to stock up on them — especially because they cost about $8 for a container of two dozen eggs.
If you want to save money on cheese, you should usually avoid overpriced bags of shredded cheese. (Shredding your own might take more time, but the savings often make the extra 10 minutes worth it.) However, Costco’s Kirkland brand offers bargains on shredded cheese, including cheddar and mozzarella. If shredded cheese isn’t your thing, you can also find great deals at Costco on block cheese and string cheese.
17. Rotisserie chicken
A rotisserie chicken can help you get dinner on the table quickly, whether you want to serve it as is or make a dish, such as chicken pot pie. Costco offers great deals on rotisserie chickens. Costco’s chickens probably weigh more and cost less than the chickens at your local grocery store. The Krazy Coupon Lady found Costco’s rotisserie chickens cost 30% less per pound than the next-cheapest option: Wal-Mart.