I'm a Food Editor & These Are the 12 Items I Always Buy at Costco

From oils and nuts to choice frozen items that make weeknight meals a breeze, these are the groceries you'll always find in my Costco shopping cart.

Costco Storefront
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I have been a dedicated Costco shopper for decades. I shop there so often that an employee finally pulled me aside several years ago and told me I needed to upgrade to an executive membership. If they sold kale, I could probably do all of my shopping there, but alas, my husband needs his dark leafy greens.

But there are certain ingredients that I almost always buy at Costco. Not only are they high quality, but they also have a reasonable price tag. Some things may be slightly more expensive or the same price as at other grocers, but sometimes that extra cost is worth it so I know I won't run out for a while. From pantry staples like oils and nuts to frozen items that help me avoid expensive takeout on busy weeknights, my fridge, freezers and cupboards are bursting with Costco products. Here are my favorites.

1. Oils

High-quality oils can carry a hefty price tag. That's why I purchase large bottles of avocado and extra-virgin olive oil from Costco. I decant them into smaller, prettier bottles and keep them on my counter so we're not left staring at giant plastic bottles (those I tuck in my pantry so they stay fresh). I tend to buy the 2-liter bottles, and last time I shopped they clocked in at $21.99 for avocado and $13.49 for extra-virgin olive oils—both of which were about half the price as what I would've spent on the same amount at another grocery store.

2. Nuts

We go through a lot of nuts in my house. My husband adds walnuts, almonds and pecans to his oatmeal and chia pudding, plus we snack on pistachios, cashews and mixed nuts. I always get them at Costco because we go through so many, plus they're a crazy good deal. A 3-pound bag of walnuts is about $10, and 2 1/2 pounds of mixed nuts is about $15. You really can't beat those prices. I portion them into large canning jars and freeze what we won't eat in a week or so to ensure that they stay fresh.

3. Frozen Potstickers

My family adores potstickers and dumplings. And they're a great quick meal. A few years ago I started freezing leftover rice in a resealable bag, adding to it whenever I had any left from dinner. Now I use that to make fried rice to serve with potstickers—we eat this meal at least twice a month. I've bought almost every brand Costco sells, but I prefer Bibigo or Ling Ling as they both come with sauce packets. Soups and stir-fries made with potstickers are also delicious. My daughter has even been known to make them for breakfast, and I've cooked some and popped them in a thermos for her lunch as well.

4. Frozen Meatballs

Pasta and marinara sauce are a no-brainer when it comes to quick and easy meals, so why not add some meatballs for extra protein? We also use frozen meatballs to make creamed spinach and meatballs, spaghetti squash casseroles and meatball subs. Until recently, Bove's actually had a restaurant in Vermont where I live, so I'm partial to these. They're made with grass-fed meat and are gluten-free, if that's a concern for you or someone you cook for. I've seen versions made with ground turkey at Costco occasionally as well.

5. Rao's Marinara Sauce

Sorry Bove's, I love your meatballs but Rao's marinara can't be beat. (It was even a top pick in our marinara sauce taste test!) Nor can its price at Costco! If it's a Costco trip kind of weekend, I typically go there first and then to the regular grocery store, just in case they're out of anything I can't wait to get on my next trip. Last time I went, I forgot to get my jars of Rao's and had a bit of sticker shock at the grocery store. At Costco, a 2-pack of 28-ounce jars is about $12—a single 24-ounce jar is more than $8 at my local grocery store.

6. Cheese

We looooooove cheese at our house and go through a lot of it. Plus, most cheeses stay good for a while, so I don't have to worry about them going bad if I buy them in larger quantities at Costco. And despite what you may have heard, cheese is super nutritious and boasts some impressive health benefits. I always get Cheddar cheese (Cabot Mad River Reserve is our favorite), tubs of Kirkland Feta and Parmigiano Reggiano. If we're having pizza night, I'll grab fresh mozzarella as well. And if we're entertaining, I'll grab some more specialty cheeses. They have great artisan cheese options, including Humboldt Fog and cheese from Vermont creamery Jasper Hill.

7. Organic Berries

No matter what the season, the prices of organic berries at Costco are almost always a better deal than the grocery store. They almost always have organic blueberries and raspberries, but sometimes strawberries and blackberries too.

8. Frozen Fruit & Veggies

If you have the freezer space and make a lot of smoothies, it's hard to beat the price of Costco's frozen fruit. They have a really big selection, too, which is nice if you like variety. And frozen fruits and vegetables can be healthier than fresh since they are frozen at peak ripeness. We've even taken to snacking on frozen cherries and mango chunks (the latter was a favorite dessert of mine when I was pregnant). I also buy frozen mixed vegetables and broccoli. Almost all of Costco's frozen produce is organic, too, if that matters to you.

Related: Is Organic Food Healthier Than Conventional? Here's What a Dietitian Has to Say

9. Frozen Fish

I discovered that I eat more fish when I have it in my freezer. And the quality of frozen fish is so good—much of the "fresh" fish you buy at the seafood counter was previously frozen anyway (check the tag next time). I tend to buy wild-caught salmon and cod the most. A few of my favorite recipes to use them in are Miso-Maple Glazed Salmon, Almond-&-Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach, Crispy Cod Sandwich and Dijon Salmon with Green Bean Pilaf.

10. Kalamata Olives

I'm half Lebanese and make a lot of Middle Eastern-inspired meals, like falafel or mujadara served with a big Greek salad. And one of my daughter's go-to breakfasts is kale, feta and olive tacos. I also frequently pack her what I call "Lebanese girl snack," which includes olives, feta and hummus with cucumbers, carrots and crackers or naan dippers in her bento box. All that to say, we go through a lot of Kalamata olives, so buying this big jar makes sense for us. The brine they're packed in is a delicious swap for vinegar in your salad dressing too.

11. Chia Seeds

Both my husband and daughter adore chia pudding. I make a couple for each of them on Sunday and they can jazz it up however they like in the morning when they dig in. I usually add a splash of milk, berries and maple syrup, sometimes a pinch of cocoa powder too, for Lila; Dan likes to add more milk, granola or muesli and fruit. Chia seeds have myriad health benefits, namely they are packed with fiber, protein and omega-3s.

12. Oats

We go through a lot of oats at our house! My husband makes oatmeal a few times a week, I make batches of muesli when it's warmer outside, and we like to bake oatmeal cookies and oat bread too.

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