Ina’s Tips for When Store-Bought Is More than Just Fine

updated May 1, 2019
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever used a store-bought product over a homemade one. Now raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty about not making your own fill-in-the-blank (pasta sauce, pastry dough, mayonnaise). Us too.

Well, Ina Garten is here to absolve our collective guilt.

Ina thinks store-bought products are just fine — even more than just fine, according to a recent interview with Today. The reigning queen of the home kitchen shared the store-bought products that she encourages people to buy.

Ina’s Tips for the Best Store-Bought Foods

Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is at the top of Ina’s list. It’s so arduous and time-consuming to make, while picking up a pack at the grocery store is no sweat (and nearly as good).

Vanilla Extract

Garten confesses that she does make her own vanilla extract, but she says there’s no reason to avoid store-bought variety so long as it’s pure, not imitation.

Pasta Sauce

Jarred pasta sauce from the store gets the okay from Ina as well; Rao’s is her favorite brand and we agree.

Ketchup and Mayo

When it comes to your basic condiments, Ina uses Heinz ketchup (she’s just like us!) and and calls Hellmann’s mayonnaise “fantastic.”

Peanut Butter

Finally, there’s this pantry staple. Ina says it definitely is possible to make at home, but when the store-bought stuff is so good, “why bother?”

If you’re wondering if there are certain things Ina thinks you should make from scratch, as long as you have the time, energy, and resources, there are two biggies: chicken stock and lemonade. Also, she says, it’s worth it to grate your own Parmesan.