From frozen veggies to tasty ice cream treats, make sure you pack your insulated shopping bags so you can stock up.
Lidl storefront
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As the cost of living—and subsequently, eating—continues to balloon up and up with increasing inflation, some of our tried-and-true grocery budget hacks may not be enough anymore. However, the good news is that not only has the grocery shopping experience evolved in the past few years to make stocking the kitchen a bit more transparent and manageable (Hello, online shopping! We see you!), so have our store options. 

For years now, thrifty home cooks have relied on white-label-dominant stores like Aldi, Save A Lot and Trader Joe's for low-cost staples, but years ago I found my personal favorite: German-based Lidl. I begrudgingly gave them a try when they bought out my favorite local chain Best Market on Long Island in 2019, and I quickly became a convert. Lidl offers a soothing, cheery shopping experience that is far more uplifting than Aldi's sterility, but with prices that are on par with Aldi (and considerably lower than at Trader Joe's!). With its affordable organics and produce, and a satisfaction guarantee that promises a refund and replacement for their own branded items, Lidl quickly became my go-to for groceries.

Now, Lidl is on a massive mission of expansion, which has made it even more pleasant to shop in, as many of the stores in my new hometown of Atlanta are new constructions. It's become a top-five U.S. grocer, thanks to all of the above and to its commitment to high quality at low prices. In fact, Lidl just recently announced an East Coast price drop that has impacted over 100 of their high-quality, self-branded groceries, giving us wiggle room in our budget to treat ourselves every shopping trip with their fresh-baked viennoiserie- and boulangerie-style goods–something none of the other private-labeling budget markets have.

But beyond the reliable pantry necessities and seasonal European imports, there's another section of Lidl the everyday shopper should get to know well: the freezer aisle. From the seafood coolers to the "specials" bins to the standard wall of upright freezers, buying frozen items from Lidl is a surefire way to cool down your spending. Here are some of my favorite, best-value freezer finds from this low-cost retailer. 

1. Frozen Broccoli

If I could only ever eat one type of vegetable in the world, it would be broccoli. High in fiber, supportive of heart health and immunity, crammed with vitamin C and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory to boot, these little trees do the work. Plus, broccoli is incredibly versatile. Steamed, roasted, sautéed, mashed into other things, turned into soup, simply salted or covered in cheese, this crucifer is the dinner guest we all need. 

However, with a yield of only one head of broccoli per plant, it's far from invulnerable to rising farming and transportation costs, which makes Lidl's bulk bag a clutch key player. The lowest I ever get fresh crowns for these days is 99 cents a pound, and even those need to be trimmed of excess stem. But at my local Lidl in Marietta, Georgia, I pay $2.24 for 2 pounds of pre-cut, ready-to-go florets. 

2. Frozen Pizza

With food prices rising faster than some pizza crusts, buying frozen pizza can sometimes cost as much as picking one up from a budget fast-food chain. Getting them from Lidl is not one of those times. They can be a little sparse on toppings, but I find them a great way to use up straggling veggies and little leftover portions of meat. 

They offer a big range of different types—including rising, obviously, plus more European stone-baked Italian and Alsatian styles—but the yellow-box Crispy Thin Crust Pizzas are my go-to. I stock up on the White Vegetable when they're on sale for as little as $3 each (they're usually $5),  add some grilled chicken and a lot of that frozen broc and call it a night. The three-packs of slightly smaller Margherita Brick-Oven Style Pizzas for $4.95 are a great budget pick for a tomato base, and weigh in with significantly fewer calories and less fat. 

3. Steamable Veggie Bags

Every basic vegetable in a steam-in-the-bag format is typically $1.25 on sale (and only up to $3 when they're not). They're not going to come in all the sauce and seasoning options of the name brands (the limited selection of these run around $2.50), but plain cut green beans, peas, corn, mixed vegetables and broccoli are under a buck each. The family-size corn and mixed vegetables are literally just around a dollar and a dime a pound. 

4. Frozen Berries

Fresh berries out of season can be an investment. But the health benefits of berries like blueberries, raspberries and more make them worth adding to your eating pattern. Buying them frozen in big bags from Lidl saves me time, money—and from worrying about mold in my morning smoothies. 

They always have frozen blueberries and strawberries in stock and for roughly the same price as on-sale fresh—around $5 for 2 pounds in a resealable bag. Lidl also usually has mangoes for the same general per-pound price, if you have the space.

5. Bulk Frozen Potato Goods

These are great, inexpensive and quick sides for your oven or air fryer. I get big sleeves of hash brown patties, big bags of tater tots and straight-cut fries for less than what I'd pay for the smaller bags of their name-brand counterparts. You can also get overseas styles, like Chunky Chips. 

They're all made with real potatoes, sunflower oil and no hydrogenated oil or artificial ingredients, too, which makes them even more of a steal at sometimes as little as $1 for 2 pounds of these prepped potatoes.

6. Frozen Fish & Seafood

While the shrimp may not always be the best bargain when you break down the per-pound price, the frozen seafood department at Lidl has become my go-to. Seafood is generally a lean protein that's a healthy choice, and can be good for the planet when you shop sustainably, like with Lidl's selection

The perfectly pre-portioned frozen flounder, cod, salmon and ahi tuna steaks are all Marine Stewardship Council certified. They're all properly quick-frozen in plank-like fillets, so they take up minimal space in the freezer.

The Preferred Selection jumbo wild ocean scallops are restaurant-sized and a treat to stock up on when on sale, especially since the price just dropped to $9.99 for 12 ounces. The ones Lidl brings in are also MSC-certified. Or try the smaller bay scallops, also $9.99, but for a full pound. 

7. Ice Cream Novelties

The saying goes, "There's always room for ice cream," and with these sensibly sized novelties, I'd reckon it's true. The Gelatelli Mini Mix Classic bars are just the right size to close out a dinner, and the indulgent quality of Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate makes it feel nongeneric. They also make mini sundae cones, if that's more up your alley, but I love the seasonal Crisp 'N' Cake, which is half chocolate-covered cream and chocolate flake stracciatella and the other half a Lotus Biscoff/speculoos type of cookie. However, for some European decadence, keep an eye out for the Bon Gelati brand, which is actually made in their own factory in Germany.