This list of the best things to buy at Costco is gold! Meats, frozen foods, fresh veggies, and staple items – Costco is a GREAT place to save money on healthy food!
Costco is practically a household name. It’s the go-to place for families with kids who eat all the snacks! Or shoppers who want to find the lowest prices on bulk items.
I started shopping at Costco when I quit using coupons. I wanted to buy healthy ingredients and coupons don’t exist for many healthy foods.
Using my price book, I learned that the best things to buy at Costco were nearly identical to regular grocery store sale prices. I can get low prices on many of the items on my shopping list!
The Best Things to Buy at Costco
Before you run over to your local Costco, you may want to determine if a Costco membership is worth the cost for you. I also recommend utilizing your own price book to see if the items you need are the best deal.
I did not include prices in my list below since prices can vary so much region by region, although I have compared Costco prices to Aldi in this post.
The items in each list below are in no particular order, either. Unless you count the way Costco designs the layout of its warehouse. 🙂
What to Buy at Costco for the Best Deals
The best deals at Costco are items I almost always buy when I’m there. We use these items often and keeping them on hand helps me cook from the pantry and spend less money at the grocery store.
- Almonds. Almonds can be pricy and the way we use them can add up quickly! A bulk bag of almonds saves us a ton.
- Jasmine Rice. We love Jasmine rice for most dishes like Instant Pot Yellow Rice and Instant Pot Lemon Rice.
- All-Natural Peanut Butter. The term “all-natural” is not regulated and has no official meaning, so it’s up to us as consumers to read the ingredient label and decide for ourselves whether it’s truly natural or not. Kirkland Signature brand all-natural peanut butter contains just peanuts and salt.
- Vanilla Extract. Vanilla has significantly gone up in price. Homemade Vanilla Extract is a good way to save too.
- Active Dry Yeast. Buying in bulk saves a ton over buying individual packets.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Tuscan EVOO at Costco is pure olive oil and the best we can get at an affordable price.
- Chocolate Chips. Although these do not have the cleanest ingredient list (soy lecithin is not preferred), they do the job for the occasional treat.
- Old-Fashioned Oats. Oatmeal and oat flour help our budget go much further. Old-fashioned oats are the least processed option of oats besides steel-cut.
- Kerrygold Butter. Kerrygold’s butter is grass-fed and is the yellowest butter I have ever found. It’s only a bit more per pound than organic butter, but incredibly more affordable than buying it at another local store!
- Cashews. These are salted, but they’re our preferred nut for Homemade Protein Bars.
- Fresh Mozzarella. Homemade Pizza isn’t the same without fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Granulated Sugar. Organic sugar isn’t worth the expense in my book since we don’t use it very often. The sugar at Costco is a good deal for us.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes. We love these tomatoes in our Greek Salads, and this is just a mere fraction of the cost in other stores.
- Kalamata Olives. Like the sun-dried tomatoes, this is a must for our Greek dinner nights!
- Coconut Oil. I use this for almost all cooking and it’s a good buy at Costco!
- Almond Butter. If you have peanut allergies, almond butter is a good staple to have on hand.
- Baking Soda. Baking soda is pretty cheap in most places. If you have room for a bulk bag, it is an excellent way to save at Costco.
- Mixed Nuts. Kirkland Signature is a good option!
Organic Best Buys at Costco
I don’t always buy organic food since it’s not always what it seems. But when the price is the same as conventional and it’s just as easy to pick up, I’ll go for it.
- Organic Maple Syrup. I use a lot of maple syrup for baking. And while “organic” isn’t a must on this item, I will buy it since it’s usually the same price as regular.
- Organic All-Purpose Flour. Most commercial flour is enriched, meaning there are synthetic vitamins and minerals added to the flour after the berries have been ground. The only way to avoid this is to buy un-enriched and un-bromated flour or go organic.
- Organic Cheese. Here are more ways to save on cheese.
- Organic Ketchup. Organic ketchup contains sugar, but it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. Ketchup is another item that we don’t eat as much of as we used to, but when we buy it, it’s always from Costco.
- Organic Quinoa. It took a while for me to get on the quinoa train, but once I learned to make it in my Instant Pot, I needed it in bulk!
Costco Best Items I Sometimes Buy
These are the things to buy at Costco when I don’t see a better deal at my other local stores.
- Flour Tortillas. We love Homemade Tortillas, but when time is tight and I need to pick some up, Tortilla Land flour tortillas are my go-to.
- Organic Frozen Fruit. When fresh fruit isn’t in season, frozen is a great option for us. We use a lot of fruit in smoothies, Baked Oatmeal, and treats.
- Apples. In-season apples are cheaper at the Farmer’s Market, but most of the year, apples are good deals at Costco.
- Honey. If my local honey person is out of honey, then Costco honey will work.
- Lemon Juice. Fresh is best, but the taste of lemon juice from Costco isn’t bad for baking.
- Coffee. Our favorite blend is the organic San Francisco rainforest, which occasionally goes on sale. If it does, we stock up!
- Greek Yogurt. We usually buy this when we’re about to make our own yogurt, but it’s also on the list when we’re needing a lot of yogurt or planning lots of meals using it. It’s a good bang for the buck since it’s thick already – perfect for homemade dressings and sauces.
- Bacon. I always double-check local sale prices on bacon before I buy at Costco.
Costco Gluten Free Must Buys
Some of these items are gluten-free by default (Alaskan Salmon does not contain wheat! LOL) But for those with more severe allergies, cross-contact can cause problems. These items are certified gluten-free and good to have on hand.
- Almond Flour. For gluten-free/grain-free bakers, almond flour is a staple item in the pantry. This is our favorite almond flour Thumbprint Cookie recipe.
- Coconut Flour. I don’t use as much coconut flour as I used to, but this is a great grain-free ingredient for gluten-free bakers.
- Essential Baking Multigrain Bread. Homemade gluten-free bread can be difficult to master if you’re new to gluten-free baking, so this is a nice addition when you’re just craving a sandwich.
- MiRancho Corn Tortillas. Corn Tortillas are a must-have in our house for taco night. If we’re not making our own, this brand is good.
- Short Grain Brown Rice. Rice is a staple in many gluten-free homes, and certified gluten-free brown rice can be pricey elsewhere.
- Luke’s MultiGrain & Seed Cracker or Mary’s Gone Crackers. Sometimes you just need a good cracker to dip in your Hummus!
- Luke’s Organic Brown Rice Chips. Again, those crispy snacks do have their place in a whole-food diet.
- Late July Organic Tortilla Chips. I’ve made Homemade Tortilla Chips, but when I have a crowd we like this brand.
- Pure Ancient Grains Bar or KIND Variety Pack. Double-check the labels on these two. They have both gluten-free and some with grains.
- Nutiva Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds are incredibly high in protein, and another excellent alternative for those with nut allergies – especially since they have a nutty flavor! We use them to make Protein Smoothies and Hemp Crusted Pork Chops!
- Nutiva Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition and protein and are often used in recipes as a binder. Plus, a little bit goes a long way!
- Qia Superfood Cereal. Similar to granola, this is a good one to add to the mix for our Friday breakfasts.
- Pink Wild Alaskan Salmon. I still find it funny that salmon needs to be certified gluten-free, but if you need it, you need it!
- Wonderful Pistachios. We LOVE these for snacking on!
Costco Products I Don’t Buy
I don’t have anything against these items, and I would probably buy these items if I needed to. However, I can either make these foods at home super easily or find a better price locally.
- Chicken Stock. Organic chicken stock is decently priced at Costco, although this homemade method is my favorite.
- Organic Whole Milk. We don’t drink milk as a beverage and only use it in some cooking. I usually bake with almond milk.
- Organic Strawberry Preserves. I usually make this No–Cook Strawberry Jam or Apple Butter.
- Salsa. We drink salsa by the gallon and making it at home is better on our budgets.
- Frozen Veggies. While we do eat a lot of vegetables, the quantity in a frozen bag of veggies is too much for us at once.
Costco sells other items too that I don’t typically buy, such as dog food and books or clothes. Although it’s worth looking into if you have a pet or want to see what else they have.
Costco offers a lot of toiletries too. The brands they carry are not brands we prefer; however, the toilet paper and paper towels are often a great deal!
Take a look at the Costco Insider.
This monthly flyer sent via snail mail contains all of the monthly deals. And as a bonus, it includes coupons! You don’t have to have it with you when you shop, but it does give you a heads-up if something you like to buy at Costco is on sale or not.
For example, anytime dried cranberries or contact solution is on sale, I make a point to go to Costco that month to take advantage. Those $4 coupons add up!
Questions About Costco
Is a Costco Membership worth it?
It depends! I dig deep into this question in this post. But the short answer is if your savings are greater than the cost of the membership, go for it!
Are Costco prices really good?
I found Costco prices typically match the sale prices at local grocery stores. It’s still best to do a comparison and watch the sale cycles. I use my price book to help!
Can I find healthy food at Costco?
Yes! My mission is to buy healthy food on a budget to feed my family well. Costco has helped me achieve that many times!
More Helpful Shopping Guides
- The Ultimate Guide to Shopping at Trader Joe’s
- Which Is Cheaper: Walmart or Aldi
- Is a CSA Worth It?
- Ultimate Guide to Shopping with a Farmer’s Market Budget