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And we didn’t stop there! We asked professional chefs across the country to share their most trusted store-bought secret ingredients and, wouldn’t you know it, canned goods and frozen finds reigned supreme. Plus, one chef had a unique bread buy for a twist on the standard stuffing. Let’s take a look!
“I love adding store-bought pumpernickel bread to any stuffing recipe or mix. The unique flavor makes the stuffing more memorable with only a few minutes of effort. All you do is cube the bread, then spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted. Then add those toasted cubes to any stuffing you’re making!” — Jessica Randhawa, head chef at The Forked Spoon
“Frozen rolls are great because there’s no mixing, kneading, or long proof times. I buy parker house-sized rolls (that can fit in most pans) and I use them to make different shapes, including knots, pull-aparts, and monkey bread, etc.” — Jeff Osaka, culinary director of Sushi-Rama and Osaka Ramen in Denver
“Canned corn, which is canned at its freshest, becomes irresistible in a flash! Sauté the corn for a few minutes in a bit of butter until it starts to brown and becomes fragrant, then toss in your favorite seasonings for a dish you won’t be able to get enough of!”— Chef Danielle Leoni, James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest
“I’m just going to say it: I take whole-berry canned cranberry sauce right out of the can, put it into a pretty serving bowl, and zest an orange over it. Viola! It’s an irresistible combination and a far cry from what folks think of as store-bought.” — Leoni
“For years, I spent way too much time making homemade pumpkin purée until I got introduced to Libby’s. It’s tried and true, and now they have an organic option! I use it for my pies, to spice up coffee for the mornings as we start cooking, and as a filling for galaktoboureko, a popular Greek custard dish everyone loves.” — Katerina Coumbaros, chef/owner at Taverna Opa, in Orlando
“When I called my very French grandmother to plead with her to share her famous graham cracker crust recipe, her grandmother said ‘I’m happy to share it … make sure you have a pen and paper. Okay now, drive to the store, go to aisle 12, and purchase Keebler Ready Crust.’ I stand by it today!” — Erika Thomas, culinary director/ owner of High Point Creamery and Eiskaffee in Denver
Do you use any of these store-bought groceries? Tell us in the comments below!