The 16 Groceries You’ll Want to Stock Up On This Holiday Season

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Pumpkin pie slices with whipped cream lined up on a marble counter
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich

The holiday season is just around the corner, which means we’ll soon be feasting with family and friends. To make your holiday cooking a little less stressful, we spent months testing and tasting our favorite holiday staples for this year’s Kitchn Essentials

You’ll find our favorite turkey and ham, of course, plus other classics, like stuffing mix, canned cranberry sauce, and frozen dinner rolls. We’ve also left room for desserts, like pecan pie and peppermint bark, so you can end the meal with a sweet bite (or two). Planning a festive brunch? We’ve got breakfast and bubbly picks for you. And if gifting is what you need, check out our picks for the best gift boxes for food-lovers. Let’s take a look!

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There's something special about Costco's store-brand smoked ham. Kitchn contributor Meghan Splawn says that even without the glaze it comes with (which you can omit for your own) it's far superior to brand-name hams. Plus, she adds, "You really cannot beat the price!" Not a Costco member? Order through Instacart or use a guest pass.

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When it came time for us to recommend a turkey, we all realized something: Most of us at Kitchn ordered our birds locally, whether directly from a farm or from a favorite regional grocery. So that's our recommendation. Support a local farm or market, and if you can find a pasture-raised turkey, that's even better.

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Canned Cranberry Sauce

Our testers tried a dozen different brands of cranberry sauce to find the ultimate turkey accompaniment. Ocean Spray's jellied sauce dazzled from the moment it slid out of the can the perfect shade of dark red. Our testers found the texture "jelly-firm yet smooth, with none of the graininess we detected in other brands." And they loved its balance of sweet and tart/bitter.

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Frozen Vegetable

Frozen spinach just happens to be the unsung hero of holiday cooking. Associate Food Editor Cory Fernandez uses it for spinach dip in a bread bowl, and Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela Prakash makes a cheesy, creamy spinach gratin with it. The Birds Eye block of frozen greens takes some patience to defrost, but our editors appreciate how finely chopped it is.

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Stuffing Mix

Contributor Patty Catalano tried every grocery-store stuffing mix she could find, and this is the one that came out on top. Why? Bread cubes in a mix of sizes and textures; an herby, buttery flavor; and a 99-cent price tag.

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Dinner Rolls

We'd argue that Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn't be the same without a basket of warm, yeasty rolls, but nobody says you have to make them from scratch. In our frozen dinner roll taste test, contributor Danielle Centoni found this brand was the best shortcut to homemade. And at less than $6 for 36, they're far cheaper than bakery-department rolls.

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Holiday Appetizer
Fly by Jing

Frozen dumplings are a must-have year-round, but they're even more clutch around the holidays. Keep a bag of Fly by Jing dumplings on hand for easy snacks, party apps, and for those nights when you forgot to think about dinner. The tender, succulent pork soup dumplings are perfect for winter get-togethers, or buy a variety pack if you're the kind of person who has lots of unexpected guests (and plenty of freezer space).

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Easy Holiday Breakfast

Who doesn't love waking to the scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls on a holiday morning? Especially when store-bought dough makes quick work of creating that magic! That's why we love refrigerated cinnamon rolls for an easy holiday breakfast. Our pick wins for its truly homemade taste. But for the ultimate holiday breakfast, we insist you try this incredible cinnamon roll hack.

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The Texas Pie Company

If you’re going to buy one pie this year, it should be this one. The contrast between the crisp-yet-crumbly crust; sweet, gooey filling; and crunchy (and glistening) nutty topping is on full display in this decadent classic. Bonus: We also like that the shipping cost is already included in the price.

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Dessert Shortcut

Whipped cream isn't just for the holidays, but finishing a slice of pumpkin pie or a mug of hot chocolate with a dollop of fluffy cream sure does make things more festive — and more delicious. A can of Cabot canned whipped cream is the go-to for Executive Food Director, Nina Elder, because of its extra-creamy texture and hint of vanilla flavor.

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Sugar Cookie Dough

This refrigerated dough scored the top spot in our sugar cookie taste test, thanks to its subdued sweetness; its buttery, vanilla-forward flavor; and its superior soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture. Bake up a batch, decorate your heart out, then bring on the cold glasses of milk!

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Holiday Candy
Williams Sonoma

The custom blend of Guittard chocolate (another Kitchn Essentials winner) and triple-distilled oil of peppermint, the creamy white chocolate, the satisfying crunch of the handmade peppermint candy pieces, the adorable tin! There’s a reason why Williams Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark is its single best-selling food item each year during the holidays: It’s a masterpiece.

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Loison is considered to be one of the top producers of panettone throughout Italy, so you know it's the real deal. The company also collaborates with Slow Food to use native Italian ingredients that are at risk for extinction, like Ciaculli mandarins and Bronte pistachios. For purists, Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela Prakash (who even toured the factory in Italy) says classico is the way to go, and for something a little different, try citrus.

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Of course, you’ll want the right sparkly base for your mimosas. Ca’ Furlan’s Cuvée Beatrice fits all three of Contributor and Certified Sommelier Diane McMartin’s criteria for the classic cocktail: It’s affordable, marries well with fruit, and tastes good on its own (sometimes you just want to nix the juice, even if it is before noon).

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Gift Box
Murray's Cheese

Some gift boxes (and baskets!) can feel pricey for what they are, but this spread from Murray’s is not one of them. Buttery cheddar and Brie team up with nutty Gouda, savory meats, salty snacks, and more in this box stuffed with Slam Dunk Snacks.

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Host Gift

Bonne Maman’s mini jars of joy are really doing the most. The iconic brand behind some of our favorite preserves makes the countdown to Christmas so much more festive (and sweet!) with this advent calendar, which features limited-edition spreads like Chestnut Orange Cinnamon, Mirabelle Plum and Spices, Strawberry Star Anise, and more.