Kitchn Love Letters

The $10 Costco Dinner Staple I’ve Been Cooking with for 17 Years

published Apr 11, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: a katz/Shutterstock

I don’t remember the first time I tasted pesto, but I know the exact moment I fell in love with it. I was at my childhood best friend’s house in New Jersey when her mom pulled out a massive 22-ounce jar of what can only be described as the most vibrantly green sauce I’ve ever seen. It was chunky and studded with jagged cheese bits, and I’d never seen anything like it.

She dolloped some into a bowl, thinning it out with oil from the jar, and gave it a stir. My friend dunked her remaining fast-food pizza crust in with vigor. I followed suit and savored what ensued — a garlic assault on the taste buds in the best way possible. Twelve-year-old me was enamored and flew back to Indiana four days later, insisting that Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto was God’s gift to humankind, much to my parents’ confusion. 

Credit: Lavanya Narayanan

What’s So Great About Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto?

Where else can you get 22 ounces of basil pesto for less than $10? Nowhere that I know of. Of course, there’s more to this verdant jar than an enticing price tag. It’s hands-down one of the best groceries you can buy at Costco, and rumored to be made by the same folks behind a name-brand favorite.

There’s something so fresh about Kirkland’s basil pesto, despite it being mass-produced. Looking at the jar, I realized the ingredients are almost identical to the homemade pesto I’d make: a base of Genovese basil (which I often don’t even have access to in my run-of-the-mill grocery stores), Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses, pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh garlic, plus ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) and citric acid, which act as a preservative.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

What’s the Best Way to Use Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto?

With this pesto, a little goes a long way. As a growing teenager, I’d often sneak spoonfuls from the fridge and, honestly, nearly 17 years later I still recommend doing it. (Once you try it, you probably will too.) Still, I know that’s not for everyone. 

Luckily, this basil pesto begs to be drizzled, dolloped, and spread — especially in the springtime, when everything starts to look a little greener. Swap it for a classic tomato sauce during your family’s next pizza night or, better yet, toss it with corkscrew noodles in this saucy pasta salad

Dab it on crowd-friendly caprese skewers (or drizzle some over the full-sized number). Add a dollop to your favorite soup, like minestrone or a ciabatta sandwich, to jazz them up a bit. It’s even an easy way to dress up a quick sheet pan dinner

Buy: Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, $9.49 for 22 ounces at Costco

What Costco groceries have you been buying for years? Tell us in the comments below.