7 Store-Bought Essentials These Chefs Buy Every Year for Thanksgiving

published Nov 22, 2021
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Cashier scanning items at grocery store
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Whether they’re wrapping their turkey in prosciutto or swapping pie crust with phyllo dough, chefs have some deliciously tasty takes on traditional Thanksgiving dishes and we wanted to know all about them. (In fact, we hosted a whole Thanksgiving Food Fest with five of our favorite chefs to find out what they like to serve during the holiday.)

And we didn’t stop there! We asked professional chefs across the country to share their most trusted store-bought secret ingredients and, wouldn’t you know it, canned goods and frozen finds reigned supreme. Plus, one chef had a unique bread buy for a twist on the standard stuffing. Let’s take a look!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Breakfast Sausage

“I like a basic Thanksgiving stuffing and then I’ll add some small tweaks. I buy turkey breakfast sausage and Craisins, mince, and add it to my basic stuffing. This adds some good flavor to a basic recipe.” — Jeff Stamp, executive chef at Hampton + Hudson in Atlanta

2. Pumpernickel Bread

“I love adding store-bought pumpernickel bread to any stuffing recipe or mix. The unique flavor makes the stuffing more memorable with only a few minutes of effort. All you do is cube the bread, then spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted. Then add those toasted cubes to any stuffing you’re making!” — Jessica Randhawa, head chef at The Forked Spoon

Buy: Pepperidge Farm Jewish Pumpernickel Dark Pump Bread, $3.12 for 16 ounces at Walmart

3. Frozen Rolls

“Frozen rolls are great because there’s no mixing, kneading, or long proof times. I buy parker house-sized rolls (that can fit in most pans) and I use them to make different shapes, including knots, pull-aparts, and monkey bread, etc.” — Jeff Osaka, culinary director of Sushi-Rama and Osaka Ramen in Denver

Buy: Sister Schubert’s Parker House-Style Frozen Rolls, $3.24 for 11 ounces at Walmart

4. Canned Corn

“Canned corn, which is canned at its freshest, becomes irresistible in a flash! Sauté the corn for a few minutes in a bit of butter until it starts to brown and becomes fragrant, then toss in your favorite seasonings for a dish you won’t be able to get enough of!”— Chef Danielle Leoni, James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest

Buy: Del Monte Canned Golden Sweet Whole Kernel Corn, $.98 for 8.75 ounces on Amazon

5. Cranberry Sauce

“I’m just going to say it: I take whole-berry canned cranberry sauce right out of the can, put it into a pretty serving bowl, and zest an orange over it. Viola! It’s an irresistible combination and a far cry from what folks think of as store-bought.” — Leoni

Buy: Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, $3.91 for a 14 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Canned Pumpkin

“For years, I spent way too much time making homemade pumpkin purée until I got introduced to Libby’s. It’s tried and true, and now they have an organic option! I use it for my pies, to spice up coffee for the mornings as we start cooking, and as a filling for galaktoboureko, a popular Greek custard dish everyone loves.” — Katerina Coumbaros, chef/owner at Taverna Opa, in Orlando

Buy: Libby’s 100% Pure Organic Canned Pumpkin, $2.74 for 15 ounces at Walmart

7. Pie Crust

“When I called my very French grandmother to plead with her to share her famous graham cracker crust recipe, her grandmother said ‘I’m happy to share it … make sure you have a pen and paper. Okay now, drive to the store, go to aisle 12, and purchase Keebler Ready Crust.’ I stand by it today!” — Erika Thomas, culinary director/ owner of High Point Creamery and Eiskaffee in Denver

Buy: Keebler Ready Crust Graham Pie Crust, $3.29 for 1 10-inch pie crust at Walmart

Do you use any of these store-bought groceries? Tell us in the comments below!