I create easy Costco recipes for over 33,000 followers. Here are 15 of my favorite things to buy.

·8 min read
On the left, hand holding two jars of Rao's marinara sauce. On the right, hand holding a plastic container of costco rotisserie chicken.
I love to meal plan using my Costco buys. Olivia Yi
  • I run the blog Costco Kitchen and create easy recipes using ingredients from the wholesale chain.

  • Costco's pesto and olive salad are both great, tasty additions to pasta dishes.

  • Kirkland's rotisserie chicken and Trident Seafoods' fish sticks make lunch or dinner simple.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Having shopped at Costco for nearly a decade, I've discovered that you can save time, money, and energy by purchasing high-quality ingredients in bulk.

I run the recipe blog Costco Kitchen for over 33,000 Instagram followers alone, using products from the chain to create simple weeknight meals.

With the right items and a little creativity, you can enjoy a variety of delicious, wholesome dishes with minimal effort, so here are some of the best Costco products to keep around:

Kirkland's pesto works well in hot or cold dishes

Hand holding a jar of bright green pesto from costco
Kirkland's pesto is made with pine nuts. Olivia Yi

This is easily one of the best store-bought pesto options, as it uses Genovese basil from Italy and pine nuts instead of walnuts.

Sauté your favorite vegetables and add cooked pasta along with a few generous dollops of this ingredient for a simple meal.

In addition to working great in both hot or cold pasta dishes, pesto also freezes well.

Pesto eggs recently became an internet sensation, and the Kirkland option pairs perfectly with a runny, sunny-side-up egg.

Aidells' teriyaki-and-pineapple chicken meatballs are a delicious staple

Hand holding package of teriyaki and pineapple meatballs from costco
I use these meatballs to make lettuce wraps. Olivia Yi

Sweet, salty, and free of nitrates and preservatives, these teriyaki-and-pineapple chicken meatballs come in packs of two and are fully cooked.

My kids enjoy eating them with rice and vegetables, but I also like to wrap that combo in lettuce and dip it in a homemade peanut sauce.

Hemp and chia seeds are chock-full of nutrients

On the left, a hand holding a green and white pack of hemp hearts. On the right, a hand holding a purple and white bag of chia seeds
These are perfect to add to smoothies or yogurt. Olivia Yi

Easily bulk up any breakfast or snack with hemp and chia seeds, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber and can be sprinkled over yogurt or blended in a smoothie.

You can also make pudding by refrigerating the chia seeds with milk and honey in a jar overnight. Just top the combo with fresh fruit and nuts to enjoy as a nutritious breakfast or a wholesome midday snack.

Kerrygold pure Irish butter is worth the higher price

hand holding gold package of kerrygold irish butter
Kerrygold butter is incredible. Olivia Yi

Once you go Kerrygold, you will never go back. Made with milk from grass-fed cows and available in salted and unsalted varieties, it's noticeably better than the rest.

It's a darker shade of yellow and has a rich, creamy flavor and texture that will make you wonder if you're tasting butter for the first time. It's perfect on a toasted baguette or bagel from the Costco bakery.

Although it's priced higher than the Kirkland butter, it's well worth the extra cost.

Solestado's muffuletta olive salad works great on both sandwiches and pasta

A hand holding a jar of olive salad, which is brown and red
The olive mix contains pickled olives, capers, carrots, and garlic. Olivia Yi

Take basic weeknight spaghetti to the next level by simply adding this olive salad.

It comes in a pack of two nearly 34-ounce glass jars and contains pickled olives, capers, carrots, and garlic in sunflower oil.

Prepare your spaghetti as you normally would with your favorite marinara sauce, then add a few spoonfuls of the olive salad at the end. It provides a satisfying crunch and briny component.

This mix is also great on steaks, sandwiches, salads, and bagels.

Parmigiano Reggiano freezes well and is perfect for pasta

A hand holding a block of Kirkland parmigiano reggiano in the cheese section
Kirkland has some good cheeses. Olivia Yi

Nutty, slightly salty, and aged over 24 months, this giant wedge of Kirkland's Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is worth its weight in gold.

I chop up the wedge into more manageable pieces and store them in plastic bags, keeping one in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer.

Be sure not to throw away the rind, as it can be used in soups to add depth and richness.

Cello cheese flights make charcuterie boards simple

Hand holding a red and white package of Costco cheese flight, with four different cheese
Cello flights come with a variety of cheeses. Olivia Yi

You get over a pound of assorted soft and hard cheeses, including favorites like chèvre and Manchego.

The packaging also suggests wine pairings, making things pretty foolproof. Just pick up some fruit and add crackers and nuts to round out your board.

Krusteaz pancake mix just requires water

A hand holding the blue bag of Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix
The mix maxes some fluffy pancakes. Olivia Yi

This 10-pound bag of Krusteaz mix is a busy parent's best friend since all you need is water to enjoy golden, fluffy pancakes.

Top them with fresh fruit and a drizzle of Kirkland's organic maple syrup.

We like to make a big batch on the weekends and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. Just reheat the pancakes in the toaster or oven and add your favorite nut butter.

Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies

Hand holding a red, white, and yellow bag of frozen mixed fruit from costco
You can buy individual fruit or variety packs. Olivia Yi

There's an ample selection of frozen fruit at Costco, most of which is organic, like strawberries, mangoes, pineapples, blueberries, and passion fruit.

Most of the bags are at least 4 pounds and usually cost under or about $10.

There are also packages of assorted fruit in case you want variety but don't have the freezer space to store multiple bags.

During the summer, we use frozen fruit to make "nice cream" - a more wholesome alternative to ice cream that's made with frozen banana -in flavors like strawberry, Nutella, and pineapple mango.

Taylor Farms' salad kits make for a great dinner side

On the left, hand holding a sweet kale salad kit. On the right, hand holding a Mediterranean salad kit.
Taylor Farms has mixes that are easy to toss together. Olivia Yi

Costco has a variety of salad kits that are downright delicious with components that are washed, chopped, and ready to eat.

The bases can include kale, cabbage, or shredded Brussels sprouts, and the toppings range from seeds, bread strips, nuts, dried fruit, and cheese.

These are perfect for entertaining since you just pour all of the contents into a bowl and serve. You can also add grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs to enjoy as a light lunch.

Trident Seafoods' frozen fish sticks are better than most store-bought options

Hand holding a blue bag of fish sticks from costco
Trident Seafoods' fish sticks come out great in the air fryer. Olivia Yi

Trident Seafoods' fish sticks have a substantial amount of meat that's flaky, buttery, and incredibly crispy when heated in the air fryer.

You can enjoy them with tartar sauce or get creative by drizzling tonkatsu sauce.

We also like to wrap them in a tortilla with cabbage, avocado, and a drizzling of sriracha mayo for easy fish tacos.

Rao's homemade marinara sauce is a great price at Costco

A hand holding a two-pack of Rao's marinara sauce from Costco
Rao's sauce comes in a two-pack at Costco. Olivia Yi

When it comes to marinara, Rao's sauce is top-notch. Plus you can grab a pack of two 28-ounce jars for just $10.59.

This sauce is the best because it only includes real ingredients like Italian tomatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic, basil, black pepper, and oregano.

It's perfect for adding to baked ziti or lasagna in place of homemade sauce when you're strapped for time.

Costco's rotisserie chicken is flavorful and versatile

Hand holding a plastic container of costco rotisserie chicken
You can also buy the shredded breast meat separately. Olivia Yi

Costco's rotisserie chicken is so popular that it's amassed an impressive following.

Unlike many grocery-store rotisserie chickens - which tend to be dry and flavorless - the one from Costco is juicy, tender, and tasty for just $4.99.

You can enjoy this meal by simply heating it up in the oven to get the skin nice and crispy and use the leftovers to make chicken soup the following day.

The rotisserie-chicken breast meat is also sold separately for under $5 a pound, so it's ready to use without having to spend time deboning or carving.

The bone-in chicken thighs are a great, flavorful protein

Yellow and clear packs of organic chicken thighs at costco
Chicken thighs are very flavorful. Olivia Yi

Costco sells chicken thighs prepackaged in perfect portions, which makes storing them so much easier. We usually keep a pack or two in the refrigerator to use within the week and put the rest in the freezer.

Chicken thighs make for the ultimate weeknight dinner since the additional fat and bone make the meat much more flavorful.

I like to whip up a quick marinade with olive oil and a few common spices and cook the meat on a baking tray for a quick weeknight meal.

Make cooking easier with minced garlic and ginger

Hand holding a large container of minced garlic from costco
I keep Kirkland's minced garlic in my fridge. Olivia Yi

I always have a container of minced garlic and a bottle of ginger from Costco in my refrigerator.

Although fresh garlic and ginger is ideal, those extra few minutes you save by not peeling and grating can go a long way. Just simply spoon or squeeze the ingredient into your pan, and you're good to go.

During cold and flu season, I like to squeeze a teaspoon of ginger into a mug filled with hot water, honey, and lemon to make a quick, soothing tea.

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