A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The 18 Things Chefs Buy at Costco

We all know how great the deals can be at Costco—so it should come as no surprise that professional chefs love it, too.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

1 / 19
ETOBICOKE, CANADA - DECEMBER 18: Costco Wholesale sign on December 18, 2013 in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. Costco operates a chain of membership warehouses, carrying merchandise at lower prices.

From pantry staples to premium meat, chefs know how to find quality products at a good price. That’s why chefs from home kitchens to your TV screen are fans of Costco. For example, Floyd Cardoz, the winner of the third season of Top Chef Masters and chef at the Bombay Bread Bar in New York City, says he goes to the warehouse club at least twice a month to stock up, Kitchn reports. While availability can vary from club to club, here are some of the items chefs make sure they leave with in their carts.

2 / 19
Barbecue Entrecote Steaks on old Metall Sheet

Waygu beef

USDA Prime meat is a big deal at the Prime + Proper Steakhouse in Detroit. That’s why executive butcher Walter Apfelbaum supplies the chefs there with Waygu beef he buys at Costco, according to Food & Wine. “Costco sells some of the most beautiful prime beef I’ve seen out of the restaurant industry,” he says.

3 / 19
Roasted pork steaks, cutlets with bones and thyme on black baking sheet, top view.

Pork chops

Chef Julie Yoon, who runs an online cooking show called Bits & Pieces, buys a big pack of bone-in pork chops at Costco. She’ll wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a Ziplock bag to freeze for future use.

4 / 19
Bacon slice being cooked in frying pan. Close up.
Volodymyr Krasyuk/Shutterstock


Cardoz likes the heft of Applewood-Smoked Thick Cut Bacon. Yoon, meanwhile, opts for Farmer John Classic Bacon. She gets a four-pack, then freezes three packages and uses it in spaghetti carbonara and grilled cheese. Speaking of essentials, find out more things at Costco you shouldn’t be without.

5 / 19
Fresh broccoli on a black wooden background. Top view. Copy space.Fresh broccoli on a black wooden background. Top view. Copy space.
YARUNIV Studio/Shutterstock


Costco is known for its selection of fruits and vegetables. Yoon’s haul at Costco typically includes baby carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, grapes, avocados, and lemons. And don’t forget Mexican limes. They’re not always available at Cardoz’s Costco, but when they are, he likes to pick some up for margaritas. 

6 / 19
Pouring olive oil onto frying pan on stove

Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Samin Nosrat, the author of the bestselling Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, is a big fan of this affordable olive oil, according to Refinery 29. Cardoz likes it too, for marinades, salads, and cooking. Olive oil has plenty of health benefits, which is why it’s one of the 15 foods nutritionists always buy at Costco.

7 / 19
Two hamburger, cheeseburger and sauce on dark surface with copy space, top view


Cardoz has been a fan since he got some premade burgers for one of his son’s birthdays. He recommends the unfrozen kind in the meat section. This is why chefs never touch the microwave “defrost” button when preparing food.

8 / 19
Sliced steak Ribeye with grilled onions and cherry tomatoes on cutting board on wooden background
Lisovskaya Natalia/Shutterstock

Spinalis Steak

This juicy cut has lots of flavor. “You usually have to special-order this from other butchers,” Cardoz told Kitchn. Surprised that Costco sells all this high-end meat? These are more bizarre things you didn’t know you could find at Costco.

9 / 19
Delicious grilled shrimps, closeup
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Kirkland Raw, Tail-On Shrimp

Yoon likes to keep a bag of these frozen shrimp in the freezer. Low in calories, they’re easy to defrost by placing them in a bowl of cold water for ten minutes, she says.

10 / 19
Flat lay of lying organic wine bottles with empty labels and green vine on gray concrete background
Chursina Viktoriia/Shutterstock


You may find a wine you really like at Costco, then find that the warehouse doesn’t stock it anymore. Cardoz likes to get “Italian varietals, rosés, and gewürztraminers” there when he can. These are the wine terms you should really know by now.

11 / 19
Roasted chicken with rosemary served on black plate with sauces on wooden table, top view
Larisa Blinova/Shutterstock

Rotisserie chicken

A favorite of many Costco shoppers, the rotisserie chicken also makes Yoon’s list of Costco staples. But there’s probably plenty you don’t know about the secrets behind Costco’s rotisserie chicken.

12 / 19
Pouring Maple Syrup over a Spoon

Kirkland Signature Maple Syrup

This pantry staple is not only organic, but Cardoz says it tastes good and lasts a long time. The affordable syrup is one of 10 Kirkland items you should always buy at Costco.

13 / 19
Whole wheat bread on a black stone plate
Piotr Tomicki/Shutterstock

Wheat bread

Yoon likes Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat Bread. Since the loaves come two to a pack and the bread can get moldy quickly, she sticks one loaf in the fridge and the other in the freezer. This is the one place you’re forgetting to check bread for mold.

14 / 19
Close-up of a large amount of peeled salted peanuts in a basket

Kirkland Signature Super Extra Large Peanuts

Not only are they extra large, but they also don’t get stale, which is why Cardoz is a fan. Peanuts are one of the foods you should get at Costco, but you can also save on filling your car. Gas is also one of 15 things you aren’t buying at Costco, but should.

15 / 19
Roasted boneless skinless chicken thighs in lemon and thyme dressing served in vintage cast iron skillet, frying pan

Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

It’s not easy to find chicken thighs that are organic, Cardoz says. He likes to get a big pack and use them in curries. This is how long cooked chicken is good for in the fridge.

16 / 19
Heap of black pepper peppercorns over old black iron texture background. Top view, copy space. Square image
Natasha Breen/Shutterstock

Tellicherry Peppercorns

Chefs use lots of pepper, and Cardoz says this brand remains “fresh and fragrant,” Kitchn reports.

17 / 19
close up on fresh sliced honey ham

Deli meat

Yoon packs her husband’s lunch every day. For deli meat, she goes for a pack of Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast and Honey Ham from Hillshire Farm. To accompany it, she buys Belgiorno Provolone cheese. Here are a few ways Costco tricks you into spending more money.

18 / 19
honey and maple syrup with chocolate sprinkles
Gaus Alex/Shutterstock

Agave syrup

Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave is reasonably priced, Yoon says. She likes to use it as a sweetener in her recipe for shrimp with lime. Yoon has shared her favorites, but there are plenty of tips frequent Costco shoppers keep to themselves.

19 / 19
Breakfast setting with frosted wheat cereal on background
Tiger Images/Shutterstock

Frosted Mini-Wheats

The beauty of a warehouse store is that you can also find plenty of items that aren’t necessarily gourmet. Yoon picks up her cereal at Costco as well. Now that you know what to get on your next Costco visit, get the inside scoop with these 25 secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.

Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery covers money, tech, products, health and safety for Reader's Digest and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.