3 Pantry Staples This Costco-Obsessed Nutritionist Swears by for More Flavor

updated May 12, 2021
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Over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten really good at cooking out of my pantry — and I’m sure I’m not the only one. One way I kept things interesting amidst all the beans and rice? Having a few key secret ingredients that I load up on every time I make the trip to Costco.

Here are my top 3 pantry staples that help me ensure that, no matter what I’m making, no matter what randomness I’ve pulled out of my freezer, it’s going to be good. They’re what help me elevate my home-cooked meals time and time again. Ready? Here goes.

Credit: Heather McClees

1. Kirkland Signature Balsamic Vinegar, $6 for 33 ounces

Balsamic vinegar is my favorite way to add flavor to meals without adding sugar or fat. It adds a tangy-yet-slightly sweet flavor, and this one in particular is one of the best I’ve tried. I use it on salads and to finish soups or stews, and I even drizzle some on top of strawberries for a nice, light dessert. 

Credit: Heather McClees

2. Kirkland Signature Saigon Cinnamon, $3 for 10.7 ounces

I use cinnamon on just about anything and can easily go through a big container like this in a couple of months. It’s legitimately good and costs about the same as other bottles that are a fraction of the size. I love sprinkling this on oatmeal and whole-grain cereal, roasted veggies, and my coffee.

Credit: Heather McClees

3. Kirkland Signature No-Salt Seasoning, $4 for 14.5-ounces

I’ve raved about this seasoning before and, now my whole family uses it too. If you’ve ever tried Mrs. Dash, this offers a similar (although not identical) flavor. It’s perfect on steamed or roasted veggies, whole grains like rice or quinoa, grilled fish, or salads. Or honestly, any time you’d reach for salt but don’t want/can’t have the excess sodium! 

Have you tried any of these at Costco?