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16 Canned Goods You Should Always Stock Up On At Costco

Costco storefront
Costco storefront - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

It's no secret that inflation has hit grocery store shelves hard in recent years. That weekly food budget doesn't stretch quite as far as it used to, making the reality of cooking nutritious meals every night of the week seem like a mere daydream. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies out there to help you save on that grocery tab, like stocking up on canned goods.

An underrated money-saving hack, canned goods are a wallet-weary cook's best friend thanks to their long shelf life and versatility. If you're looking to load up on quality canned goods without breaking the bank, Costco is the place to be. A combination of bulk purchasing power and a streamlined distribution model makes the big box store a treasure trove of canned delights at prices lower than other retailers, all without sacrificing on quality.

By stocking up on canned goods at Costco, you're not only saving money but also making meal prep a breeze. From veggies and fruits to soups and proteins like tuna and chicken, you'll have everything you need for quick and easy meals right at your fingertips. We recently scoured the shelves at an Atlanta-area Costco to find the best and most cost-effective cans we could get our hands on. The verdict? When hitting up Costco for your next grocery haul, stock up on these 16 canned goods to fill up your pantry without breaking the bank.

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Prices are as of the date of publication and may vary based on region.

Read more: 16 Worst Canned Foods You Can Buy

Kirkland Signature Wild-Caught Alaska Pink Salmon

Kirkland Signature pink salmon cans
Kirkland Signature pink salmon cans - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Nutritious and flavorful canned salmon makes a tasty alternative to the classic canned tuna. And thanks to that trusty Kirkland Signature label, you can bet that this six-pack of tinned fish is a quality product priced at a fraction of the cost of other market offerings. At $14.99, the multi-pack breaks down to less than $3 per can, while other store-brand offerings typically run around $4 to $5 apiece.

Not only is Kirkland Signature wild-caught Alaska pink salmon budget-friendly, but it's also versatile and delicious, making it a pantry staple that you'll want to keep on hand. There are seemingly endless ways to elevate canned salmon, from a light snack on crackers to a protein-packed salad topper. For a simple weeknight dinner, whip up some salmon patties by popping open a can and combining the flaky fish with breadcrumbs, eggs, and your seasoning of choice before frying them to golden brown perfection.

Kirkland Signature Chunk Chicken Breast

Kirkland Signature canned chicken breast
Kirkland Signature canned chicken breast - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Don't underestimate the versatility of canned chicken. Kirkland Signature is one of the best canned chicken brands on the market for its meaty consistency and juicy bite, not to mention its affordability. When you buy in bulk, you not only save a bundle (the cost breaks down to about $0.17 per ounce), but the shelf-stable variety keeps for far longer than fresh chicken breast — it's a budget-friendly win-win.

While the ingredient has its virtues, it still needs a bit of doctoring to elevate canned chicken to mouthwatering status. Canned proteins can lose their texture over time, so the best way to bring out the best in Kirkland's chicken breast is to add toothsome ingredients like toasted nuts and fresh grapes to homemade chicken salad, mix it into a flavorful soup or pot pie filling, or smother it in cheese and buffalo sauce for a winning game day dip.

Cento San Marzano Tomatoes

Cento San Marzano tomatoes
Cento San Marzano tomatoes - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Imported San Marzano tomatoes are a cut above the average canned tomato in both texture and flavor. The highly sought-after ingredient is prized by chefs across the globe and has inspired its fair share of impersonators. While plenty of canned varieties claim to be "San Marzano-style" tomatoes, there's really only one way to tell if they're the real deal. Authentic cans of San Marzano tomatoes bear an official DOP (Denominazione d'Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin) label — a label you can likely find at your local Costco.

A three-pack of certified San Marzano tomatoes will run you around $12 (or $0.14 per ounce) at Costco, which is a steal compared to most local chain grocery stores. Make the most of your gourmet find by whipping up a big batch of homemade tomato sauce that you can freeze in order to enjoy rich tomato flavor all year long.

Kirkland Signature Organic Tomato Paste

Kirkland Signature tomato paste
Kirkland Signature tomato paste - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Whether you're a beginner cook or a kitchen veteran, you should always have a can of tomato paste in your pantry. The extra concentrated flavor of tomato pulp packs a punch in just about any tomato-based recipe from pasta sauce to bloody mary mix. While tomato paste in a tube is certainly easier to store, it's hard to pass up a 12-pack of canned organic tomato paste for less than $1 per can at Costco. The savings speak for themselves and are worth the effort of coming up with a few additional ideas to use up that leftover tomato paste.

Mix leftover tomato paste into a marinade for meat or go the semi-homemade route by adding a tablespoon to store-bought tomato sauce to brighten up its flavor. If you just can't use it all up in one go, you can always freeze tablespoon-sized portions in ice cube trays to pop into soups, stews, and stir-fries in the future.

Season Sardines In Olive Oil

Season sardines in olive oil
Season sardines in olive oil - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Hop on TikTok's tinned seafood train with these juicy (and affordable) sardine fillets found among the canned goods at Costco. Not only are they certified sustainably wild caught, but they also come boned and skinned so you don't have to worry about whipping out a pair of tweezers to remove those pesky pinbones before use.

An underrated and budget-friendly protein source, canned sardines are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids — a nutrient that might also help to boost brain function. As with most nutrients, omega-3s are best consumed from whole foods like fish rather than pricy supplements. Thanks to the Season brand's shelf-stable multi-pack of the tinned fish packed in olive oil, you can embark on a health journey without breaking the bank. Squeeze in those nutrients with a side of flavor by elevating canned sardines in no-cook recipes like avocado toast or sardine salad, or low-effort dishes like fish tacos or seafood pasta.

Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn

Canned Del Monte corn boxes
Canned Del Monte corn boxes - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

At just under $1 per can, this 12-pack of Del Monte whole kernel corn is a must-buy during your next Costco haul. Canned corn is the perfect pantry staple for its unbelievable versatility and years-long shelf life, and it's well worth stocking up on when you're trying to stretch that weekly grocery budget.

Of course, you can just add canned corn as is to a myriad of soups, salads, and slow-cooker meals, but there are plenty of more creative ways to incorporate canned corn into your culinary repertoire. Corn adds a toothsome texture and earthy flavor to classics like corn pudding and twists on tradition like Mexican street corn casserole or corn fritters. If you really want to unlock its flavor potential, you'll want to start roasting your canned corn. About 10 minutes in the oven results in lightly charred kernels that taste fresh off the cob no matter how long they've been lingering in a can.

Bush's Organic Black Beans

Bush's canned black beans box
Bush's canned black beans box - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just a taco Tuesday fan, black beans are a pantry staple worth stocking up on for their nearly endless uses. This eight-pack of 15-ounce cans of Bush's organic black beans will run you around $9 at Costco, which breaks down to less than a penny per ounce of nutritious goodness that you can spread throughout your weekly meal prep routine. The fact that these canned black beans are organic is a huge benefit for health-conscious shoppers who aren't trying to spend Whole Foods money on groceries.

Rich in protein and fiber, black beans are a quality substitute for meat in veggie burgers, vegan chili, and, of course, tasty tacos. Even if you're not going meatless, black beans help to stretch more expensive proteins without sacrificing on flavor or texture. Add black beans to burrito bowls or nachos to help feed a crowd on a budget, or whip up a big batch of black bean soup for a hearty and comforting lunch all week long.

Bush's Organic Chickpeas

Box of Bush's canned chickpeas
Box of Bush's canned chickpeas - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Hummus lovers, rejoice. Thanks to Costco's cost-saving structure, you can stock up on your favorite dip's signature ingredient at a fraction of the cost of the store-bought stuff. Grab a case of Bush's organic canned chickpeas and get ready to whip up creamy homemade hummus in no time — and with major savings. A case of Bush's organic canned chickpeas will run you roughly $9 for eight 15-ounce cans, or about the equivalent of two tubs of grocery store hummus.

Not a fan of hummus? There are still plenty of tasty reasons to pick up a pack of canned chickpeas during your next Costco run. The protein-packed legume makes a solid meat substitute in vegetarian twists on tuna and chicken salad or meatloaf, and it provides a toothsome texture to curries, chili, and chunky soups. For a light yet filling snack, try tossing your canned chickpeas in the air fryer until crisp and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning blend.

Spam

Box of canned low-sodium Spam
Box of canned low-sodium Spam - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Don't laugh. Spam is actually a cheap and easy way to add a dose of desirable umami flavor to everything from fried rice and mac and cheese to breakfast biscuits. As an added bonus, this low-sodium variety happened to be on sale during my visit for $14.89 for a pack of eight 12-ounce cans. That breaks down to just $0.15 per ounce of (admittedly highly processed) protein that won't take up valuable space in your fridge.

When used in moderation, Spam is a shelf-stable secret weapon best used in any dish that could benefit from a salty, savory bite. Try using leftover spam as an additional protein source in your breakfast meal prep routine — the salty ham pairs well with eggs in make-ahead breakfast burritos or fried up fresh alongside a morning scramble. Toss cubed Spam and diced bell peppers into a skillet with potatoes and a little butter for a quick and easy one-pan meal that can be enjoyed any time of day.

Snow's Chopped Wild-Caught Clams

Snow's chopped clams cans
Snow's chopped clams cans - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Costco makes it easy to dive into the world of canned seafood thanks to offerings like Snow's chopped wild-caught clams. But what exactly does "wild caught" mean? It simply means that the clams are harvested from their natural habitat rather than being raised in captivity. This results in a generally more environmentally friendly product as well as richer flavor and texture.

This shelf-stable offering provides the convenience of a canned good without sacrificing on quality. While you wouldn't want to serve these babies up on a raw bar, canned clams can be substituted into just about any recipe in which you would use fresh specimens at a fraction of the cost. Clam chowder, for example, is a lot more budget-friendly when you use canned clams, and there's really no difference in the flavor of the final dish. But canned clams are no one-trick pony. Make the most of your budget-friendly seafood find by deep frying them, adding them to pizza, tossing them into pasta, or simply serving them with crusty bread for a high-class, low-cost appetizer.

Le Sueur Sweet Peas

Le Sueur sweet peas cans
Le Sueur sweet peas cans - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Like little bites of sunshine, canned sweet peas are the underrated vegetable you'll definitely want to stock up on during your next Costco run. While fresh peas are only in season for a short period of time, the canned variety is harvested at peak ripeness and canned quickly to preserve that sweet flavor and vibrant color. And thanks to Costco's bulk-buy model, you can grab eight cans of these sweet delights for just $12 per pack.

Ready to use right out of the can, sweet peas are an easy way to add a pop of color to salads and stir-fries, but with just a little love, they can be transformed into the star of a swoon-worthy side dish. All it takes to elevate the flavor of canned peas is a bit of bacon and onion. Sauteed together, the aromatic mixture takes on a blend of smoky, sweet, salty, and savory goodness that you won't believe started with canned peas.

Giorgio Organic Sliced Mushrooms

Canned Giorgio organic mushrooms
Canned Giorgio organic mushrooms - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

While mushrooms certainly aren't for everyone, those who love the earthy taste of fungi should get in the habit of cooking with the canned variety. Easier to store than their finicky fresh counterparts, canned sliced mushrooms are a culinary multitool that can be used in everything from sauces and soups to sensational risotto.

Before heading out on your next Costco run, clear out some space in your pantry to make room for this 12-pack of Giorgio organic sliced mushrooms. These flavorful morsels are packed in convenient 4-ounce portions, so you likely won't have to worry about storing leftovers. There are tons of ways to elevate those canned mushrooms into mouthwatering dishes, but the best hack might also be the easiest. After a quick drain and dry, toss those canned mushrooms into your air fryer with a dash of seasoning to enjoy a moist and meaty side dish that's ready in 10 minutes or less.

Stagg Steak House Reserve Chili With Beans

Boxes of canned Stagg chili
Boxes of canned Stagg chili - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

The best meal-prep hack is one that requires no cooking at all. On this recent Costco run, I stumbled upon cases of canned Stagg Steak House Reserve chili with beans, a one-pot meal that just calls for a can-opener. This six-pack of 15-ounce cans retailed for $15.99, which prices out to roughly $1.33 per serving — not a bad line item in your weekly budget. Thanks to those extra beans, each serving of chili boasts 20 grams of protein to help you feel fuller for longer after your lunch break.

While you could definitely just eat Stagg's chili straight from the can, you could also be a little more creative with your meal prep. Pour the piping hot chili over a baked potato, serve it over tortilla chips for some low-effort nachos, or top it with a layer of cheese for an MVP-worthy dip.

Kirkland Signature Roast Beef

Kirkland Signature roast beef cans
Kirkland Signature roast beef cans - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Don't turn up your nose at canned meat. Kirkland Signature canned roast beef is a prime alternative to fresh beef or even the pre-pulled stuff off the grocery store shelf at a fraction of the cost. And if pinching pennies is a priority, you should pay attention on your next visit to Costco. While this particular item isn't always in stock, it's one you'll want to keep an eye out for thanks to its wallet-friendly $0.41 per ounce price point.

If you do happen to find it among the Costco canned goods, stock up and prepare to be surprised. While it's not recommended to eat it straight out of the can — it's been described as bland on its own — Kirkland Signature's canned roast beef makes a meaty addition to quesadillas, enchiladas, nachos, or even smothered in barbecue sauce for a semi-homemade pulled beef sandwich. Basically, it'll work just about in any beef-based dish as a time-saving shortcut.

Wild Planet Wild Tuna Quinoa Salad

Wild Planet tuna quinoa salad
Wild Planet tuna quinoa salad - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

This Costco find is proof positive that not all canned meals are created equal. Planted among the endless cans of typical tuna, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon what appeared to be a fresh(ish) and flavorful prepared salad from sustainably sourced seafood brand Wild Planet.

These individually portioned tins are perfect for a grab-and-go lunch that you can feel good about eating. Each 5.4-ounce can is packed with 16 grams of protein plus a blend of nutrient-rich quinoa, organic sweet corn, zucchini, and peas, all of which makes for a well-rounded meal. Ringing in at $14.99, the six-pack of canned tuna salads breaks down to a budget-friendly $2.50 per serving. Not only will your wallet thank you for stocking up on this canned tuna salad, but so will your conscience — Wild Planet uses only sustainable line- and pole-fishing methods to source its quality catch.

Safe Catch Wild Ahi Yellowfin Tuna

Safe Catch tuna cans
Safe Catch tuna cans - Sarah Bisacca/Tasting Table

Those looking for classic canned tuna without the side of guilt that comes from industrial fishing methods should head to Costco. On this recent visit, I was lucky enough to stumble across several cases of Safe Catch yellowfin tuna, a sustainable alternative to your typical tinned fish options. The wild, sustainably caught seafood brand mercury tests all of its fish to meet standards more rigorous than even the FDA's. The company is so sure of its quality standards that it proudly prints the catchphrase "lowest mercury of any brand" on the label of every single can.

While you may expect canned seafood of that standard to cost an arm and a leg, Safe Catch's six-pack of wild-caught ahi yellowfin tuna actually retails at Costco for $12.99, or roughly $2 per can — not too shabby for high-quality, low-mercury tuna. Stock up on the sustainably sourced seafood to enjoy guilt-free tuna sandwiches, casseroles, and salads without breaking the bank.

Methodology

Cart in front of Costco
Cart in front of Costco - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Coming up with this collection of must-buy canned goods was a fairly straightforward endeavor. This Atlanta-based writer visited a local Costco to scour the shelves for hidden treasures, taking price, item quality, shelf-life, and versatility all into consideration in order to compile the most comprehensive list for the budget-conscious shopper. Instead of just grabbing whatever canned goods I could find, I sought out labels like "organic," "wild-caught," and "safe catch" over conventional items that are easily found at your local grocery store.

Practicality was also taken into consideration. I skipped over items like evaporated milk — which, while sold at a great price at Costco, aren't worth taking up room in your pantry unless you're an avid baker. Instead, I opted for simple proteins and veggies that can be used in a wide variety of applications, from no-cook and low-effort dishes to more inventive recipes. While actual offerings may vary by location, consider this list a starting point for stocking up on quality canned goods at Costco.

Read the original article on Tasting Table