Our Kitchn Editors Share the One Ingredient They Splurge On

updated May 1, 2019
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You might imagine the life of a Kitchn editor is all fancy sea salts and expensive olive oils or that we have unlimited grocery budgets, but like everyone else we have to choose where to save and when to splurge every week as we feed ourselves and our families.

Here are six of our editors’ favorite ingredients to splurge on for better everyday meals.

Fancy Salt

Kelli Foster, Assistant Food Editor

“I’ve developed a real thing for salt. Basic kosher salt is ideal for cooking, but rounding out a dish with a pinch of really good salt or a flavored finishing salt can make such a powerful difference. I always love Maldon and fleur de sel, and right now I’m really into red lava salt and smoked sea salt.”

Cashew Butter

Lauren Kodiak, Production Editor

“I just bought some cashew butter yesterday and winced in the checkout line. I know I could make my own, but I don’t have a high-powered blender, so I’d rather just splurge for the convenience. It’s smooth, creamy, and mild in a way peanut or almond butter is not. I put it in smoothies or blend it into a savory sauce for grain bowls.”


Sheela Prakash, Assistant Food Editor

“I choose to support local, buying my honey from the farmers market. It costs me, but I feel better about it and it tastes better (and I feel like I am sort of, maybe, helping to save the bees?). Experimenting with local honey varietals is super fun to me. And when I travel, my go-to souvenir for myself is always a jar of local honey.”

Really Good Ground Beef

Ariel Knutson, Culture Editor

“I spend a lot of money on really (really) good ground beef from this tiny butcher in Brooklyn that is probably ripping me off. It makes for the best meatballs I’ve ever had, though, so I continue to go whenever I feel the urge. It’s a trap.”

Get a recipe: How To Make Meatballs


Geraldine Campbell, Managing Editor

“Chocolate. Whether it’s chocolate for eating or chocolate for baking with, I don’t want it if it’s not the good stuff.”

Risotto Rice

Sheela Prakash, Assistant Food Editor

“I go out of my way to buy expensive carnaroli rice from Eataly vs. the arborio at the grocery store. I am convinced it makes for a better risotto. Carnaroli is a variety that’s harder to find, but is less finicky and less likely to overcook; it always cooks up perfectly al dente.”

Parmesan Cheese

Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor

“I buy plenty of inexpensive cheddar, mozzarella, and Colby cheeses for making grilled cheese, quesadillas, and snacks for my two kids, but I splurge on really good Parmesan cheese — even going out of my way to buy a big hunk from our local cheesemonger rather than the grocery store. It upgrades everything from weeknight pasta to our weekly family pizza night with its rich, nutty flavor and it seems to last forever in the fridge.”

What ingredient do you splurge on?