I'm a Food Writer & These Are the Groceries I Always Buy at Aldi

Staples like pastured eggs, coffee, olive oil and pasta are a steal.

a storefront of Aldi
Photo: Getty Images

My love for great ingredients is only really rivaled by my love of a great deal. That's why I do the bulk of my food shopping at Aldi, where I'm guaranteed to get both.

The discount grocery chain began in Germany in 1961, according to Aldi's website, although the family behind it had been running grocery stores for generations. The first outpost in the United States opened in 1976, and since then the chain has grown to more than 10,000 stores in 36 states.

Aldi keeps their prices low with some innovative tactics. They stock almost no brand names and source some products, like meats, regionally. Stores don't need much staff because shelves are stocked with products still in their boxes. You're responsible for bagging your own stuff after checkout, and Aldi's policy of requiring shoppers to insert a quarter for a cart means that most get returned without an employee having to track them down and put them back.

The prices are always reasonable, but there's actually an even better reason I buy my family's food at Aldi: They offer quality ingredients. For example, they have a commitment to using no synthetic colors or partially hydrogenated oils in their products. They also have a huge selection of imported and organic items.

I could keep listing favorites forever, but these are the Aldi staples—and splurges—I keep constantly stocked in my kitchen.

Butter & Olive Oil

Nearly every meal in my house begins with a greased dish or oiled pan. And since I try to stick to healthier fats, that means grass-fed butter and olive oil.

Grass-fed butter is packed with vitamins and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. It also contains more healthy fatty acids, like omega-3s, than regular butter. Aldi's Irish butter is deep yellow, rich and spreadable, and a fraction of the price you'll pay for grass-fed butter elsewhere.

Blame it on the Italian grandmother who taught me to cook, but I go through a lot of olive oil. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a snob about it, too. Aldi's Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil carries seals from the North American Olive Oil Association and Val Di Mazara P.D.O. (in other words, it's really from Sicily), tastes exactly like good olive oil should and costs under $10.


A great risotto is a labor of love. You stand over the hot stove for what feels like forever, stirring and stirring until the rice absorbs all the stock or your arm falls off, whichever comes first.

When you want risotto without the work, the unlikely solution comes in a packet of risotto from Aldi. Just add water, boil for 15 minutes or so, stir in butter and Parmesan cheese and you've got, if not a transcendent risotto, a really good one.


If there's one thing Aldi is doing absolutely right, it's cheese. I regularly buy reliably good Brie and Parmesan there, but it's the more unusual varieties that'll really knock your socks off. If you like a little tang, there's Borgonzola (its name is a twist on Gorgonzola and Borgo, a legendary Italian cheesemaking family). It's a sweet and creamy soft cheese that might just change the way you think about blue mold.

The seasonal cheese selection includes the occasional miss, but it's mostly a hit parade: I wait all year for the nutty, salt-aged Transylvanian cave cheese that's released around Halloween.

Frozen Mussels in Tomato-Garlic Sauce

If you didn't see me pull them from the freezer, you'd never believe Aldi's mussels were frozen. I always keep a few boxes on hand, and they make the perfect quick-but-elevated dinner. They're already cooked, so I open the package, dump the frozen mollusks into a pan over medium heat, and they're ready in under 10 minutes. They have a light tomato and garlic sauce that plays well with whatever other flavors I'm using, and there's none of the tastelessness or rubbery texture you often find with other frozen shellfish.


If there's something I'm snobbier about than olive oil, it's coffee. My husband and I are parents to a toddler, so we drink a ton of the stuff, and we've tried just about every brand of beans out there. Aldi's single-origin, organic coffee beans make a delicious cup, and they're affordable enough that my caffeine habit never outpaces my wallet.

Pasture-Raised Eggs

I live in a rural corner of Appalachian Pennsylvania, and I have a small flock of free-range hens who produce a nice supply of eggs most of the time. But their laying slows down for a few months during the year, and I go looking for store-bought eggs that taste homegrown. Aldi's pasture-raised eggs fit the bill.

There are lots of benefits to eating pasture-raised eggs. Research, such as a 2021 study published in ACS Food Science and Technology, shows that they're higher in beta carotene, omega-3s and vitamins A and E than conventional eggs. The best part is that amid spiking egg prices at other stores, the cost at Aldi has remained reasonable.

Crab Cakes

I grew up in southern New Jersey, an area known for its crab cakes. And Aldi's Boardwalk Style Crab Cakes are the real deal. They're meaty and creamy with big hunks of crab, onions, peppers and flavorful spices. I throw them in the air fryer for a few minutes and they make a delectable entree on their own or on a toasted bun. At about $5 for a box of two, they're a little pricier than some of my other Aldi staples, but still pretty affordable as crab cakes go.

Bronze-Cut Pasta

If the phrases "bronze-die cut" or "bronze cut" don't mean anything to you, here's a quick pasta primer: Most pasta is made by extruding durum wheat semolina dough through a metal cutter to create different shapes. Lots of factories use dies coated in Teflon, which leaves noodles with a smooth, slippery texture.

The old-school method, on the other hand, uses dies made of bronze. Pasta extruded through the softer metal has a porous, rough texture that hangs onto sauce and has a much more satisfying bite. Listen, just trust me on this—bronze is better. It also has a tendency to be more expensive, but again, Aldi is the exception. The store's bronze-cut pasta selection is imported straight from Italy, and includes lots of shapes for under $2—a total steal.


Aldi's roots are still staunchly European, and nowhere in the store is that better reflected than the chocolate section. Bars in various flavors under the brand names Moser-Roth, Choceur and Schogetten are imported from Germany, Austria and Belgium, and the quality is remarkable. It's much smoother and more flavorful than most American chocolate, but at a comparable price.

Beyond the basic bars, Aldi does all kinds of other delicious things with chocolate, too. Belgian Cocoa Dusted Truffles, a seasonal item that tends to pop up around Christmas, are melt-in-your-mouth amazing, and the chocolate peanut butter cups have a cult following (I'm a member!) for a reason.

"Red Bag" Chicken

The real name of this product is Kirkwood Breaded Chicken Breast Fillets, but devotees like myself know it as "red bag chicken" or, as it's been affectionately dubbed by the Aldi shoppers of Reddit and Facebook, "RBC."

Full disclosure, these breaded hunks of chicken breast are pretty high in sodium and contain some added sugar, but that's part of what makes them so darn good. Pop one in the air fryer or oven to crisp up, put it on a brioche bun with some pickles, and you'll never be tempted by the drive-thru again.

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