I’m a chef who shops at Costco. Here are my 12 favorite things to buy.

On the left, a package of Pam. On the right, a bag of quinoa
I regularly stock up on these items at Costco. Lizzy Briskin
  • I’m a professional chef who loves to stock up on some ingredients at Costco.
  • I like to buy staples like kosher salt, pure vanilla extract, and Pam in bulk.
  • Costco sells quinoa and sauerkraut for a great price.
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Pam cooking spray is a versatile staple.
A two-pack of pam in the original yellow and red packaging
Costco sells Pam nonstick spray in a two-pack. Lizzy Briskin
Pam is a great item to pick up at Costco since it really doesn’t go bad and I use it all of the time.

The nonstick spray is always a good idea, whether for lightly greasing a skillet or buttering up a loaf pan.

Plus the cans at Costco are bigger than at the regular grocery store, which means fewer trips and less packaging.

Two 12-ounce (340.19g) bottles of Pam original cooking spray cost $6.99.

I love that this almond butter is so simple.
A hand holding a container of Costco almond butter
This large container of almond butter costs about $6. Lizzy Briskin
It can be hard to find almond butter that’s both reasonably priced and not loaded with sugar or other unnecessary ingredients, but Kirkland Signature’s version is both affordable and simple.

Made from just roasted almonds, it has a delightfully smooth, creamy, and spreadable texture that works for salad dressings, baked goods, and sandwiches. 

A 27-ounce (765.44g) jar of this almond butter costs $5.99.

Costco has a great selection of wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Cases of Costco wine in the store
Alcohol is quite affordable at Costco. Lizzy Briskin
Costco is the largest wine retailer in the United States, and it’s easy to see why.

The store sells a wide variety of wines at reasonable prices, and you don’t even need a membership to hit up the liquor department in some states.

Whether I’m picking up a gift or hosting a party, Costco is my go-to for wine, beer, and liquor. 

Frozen fruit is great to have on hand.
A hand holding a bag of frozen cherries in Costco's freezer section
These cherries are great in smoothies or oatmeal. Lizzy Briskin
I always stroll straight to the giant bags of organic frozen fruit, specifically the sweet-cherry and triple-berry blends.

Most regular grocery stores sell frozen fruit in small pouches for the same price (or more) as Costco’s 4-pound (2kg) bags. Plus the packs will stay fresh for months in the freezer.

I use frozen fruit for colorful smoothies, desserts, and sauces, but you can also sprinkle some on your morning yogurt or oatmeal for extra antioxidants and flavor. 

A 4-pound (2kg) bag of frozen organic dark-sweet cherries costs $9.99.

You can buy pure vanilla extract for a fraction of the price at Costco.
A hand holding a bottle of vanilla extract in costco
Each bottle is 16 ounces (453.59g). Lizzy Briskin
Pure vanilla is in nearly every cookie, cake, and sweet-bread recipe, so I always have a bottle on hand. 

The ingredient can be quite pricey, but don’t be fooled by the cheaper faux-vanilla options. Instead, buy a large bottle of the real stuff at Costco.

Not only will you save serious money, but you also won’t need to restock as often. 

A 16-ounce (453.59g) bottle of Kirkland Signature’s pure vanilla extract costs $15.99.

Kosher salt is a wonderful cooking staple.
Morton Kosher salt on the shelf at Costco
Costco sells Morton’s kosher salt. Lizzy Briskin
If you’re cooking with table salt, do yourself a favor and switch to kosher, which is used in nearly every commercial kitchen.

The kosher alternative has a hollow crystalline texture that’s less salty and gives you more control over the salt content of your food.

Although salt isn’t expensive, you can’t beat Costco’s price of $2.29 for a 48-ounce (1,360.78g) box of Morton’s.

Butter can last for months in the freezer.
A hand holding a pack of butter in costco
Each individual box contains four sticks – or a pound of butter. Lizzy Briskin
Although I steer clear of most giant containers of dairy in Costco’s refrigerator section, I’ll always stop for butter.

Kirkland Signature’s organic unsalted butter is a great deal and will last in the freezer for months. 

A pack of four 1-pound (0kg) boxes costs $11.18.

Sauerkraut is chock-full of flavor and wholesome probiotics.
A hand holding a container of Sauerkraut at Costco
Sauerkraut is good for the gut. Lizzy Briskin
This fermented cabbage condiment is full of natural probiotics, which can aid digestion and keep your gut healthy.

Add a scoop of organic kraut to salads, sandwiches, or on top of crackers for a daily hit of probiotics that tastes like fresh dill pickles. 

A 50-ounce (1,417.48g) container of Wildbrine’s organic sauerkraut costs $8.69 at Costco.

An 8-ounce (226.80g) jar can go for more than $12 at other stores. Plus as long as you keep your kraut sealed in the fridge, it will last for months since it’s preserved in its own brine.

Parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze.
A hand holding a pack of parchment paper at Costco
I use parchment paper to save time on kitchen cleanup. Lizzy Briskin
Whether for homemade pizza or fudgy brownies, save yourself major cleanup time by lining your baking sheets and pans with parchment paper.

Costco sells two 205-square-foot rolls of Kirkland Signature’s parchment paper for $9.99 — a great deal.

I like buying quinoa in bulk from Costco.
A bag of quinoa on the shelf on Costco
Quinoa is a wholesome grain to add to lunch or dinner. Lizzy Briskin
Grains like quinoa are one of the best reasons to head to Costco since you can buy a bag big enough to feed a family of four for several months at a bargain price.

Quinoa can be expensive at regular grocery stores, probably because of its trendy reputation.

Although quinoa is full of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. 

Over 4 pounds (2kg), a bag of Kirkland Signature’s organic quinoa sells for $9.59.

Nuts can stay fresh in the freezer.
A large bag of Almonds at costco
I like picking up almonds at Costco. Lizzy Briskin
Costco offers great deals on nuts — particularly walnuts, almonds, and pistachios — but you’ll want to keep them in the freezer for maximum freshness.

Skip roasted or seasoned options, which have a shorter shelf life, and opt for pre-shelled pistachios since they’re easier to store and come in a sealable bag. 

A 3-pound (1kg) bag of Kirkland Signature’s raw almonds costs $10.49.

Shrimp is a great protein for a variety of meals.
Frozen shrimp on costco shelves
Costco sells frozen raw, tail-off shrimp. Lizzy Briskin
Although fresh tends to be best when it comes to seafood, a lot of the shrimp you find in the US has probably already been frozen, so you might as well save the money.

Raw shrimp has the best flavor and texture, and although shell-on varieties tend to have a more robust taste, not everyone likes to work for their dinner, so peeled shrimp is also a solid choice.

The number on the package indicates the quantity of shrimp per pound, and in turn, their size. 31 to 40 is a good amount for stir-fries, pasta plates, and shrimp cocktails.  

A 2-pound (1kg) bag of Kirkland Signature’s raw, tail-off shrimp costs $15.99.

Note: Prices are based on my local Costco and they might differ from location to location.

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