Filipino spaghetti tupperware

Filipino spaghetti tupperware

Some chefs swear by getting food containers at dollar stores.

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  • Insider spoke to chefs and bakers about some of the best products to buy at dollar stores. 
  • Budget retailers are a great place to get spices, like cinnamon, for cheap. 
  • You can also score discounted nonperishables such as canned vegetables, pasta, and peanut butter.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Stocking up your pantry and upkeeping your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. 

Here are some things that chefs and bakers recommend buying at dollar stores. 

You can restock your spice cabinet at the dollar store.

spice rack shelves

Spices are a kitchen staple.

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Nicole Pomije, a professional baker and the creator of The Cookie Cups, said she regularly restocks her spice supply at the dollar store.

“Sometimes you can find really good spices, like different kinds of cinnamon,” she told Insider. 

If you can find honey for a buck, you might want to stock up.

honey jars shopping market

It may not be fancy, but it’ll work just fine for certain recipes.

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Pomije said she also recommends buying honey at dollar stores, especially if you need it for a recipe.

As of January 2020, honey retails for an average of $8.03 per pound. A typical jar of honey is 12 ounces, or 3/4 of a pound, so getting a jar for a buck is a great deal.

Just keep in mind that the honey you get at a discount retailer may not be more diluted than or not as rich as the higher-end stuff. 

You can stock up on canned vegetables and sauces, which can lead to some low-cost meals.

Canned FOod

Canned goods, such as vegetables and sauces, are useful to keep in your pantry.

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Pomije said you can usually find things like tomato sauces, pizza sauces, and canned corn at the dollar store.

Since they often have far-off expiration dates, these sorts of items are great to store in your pantry for last-minute meals. 

Plus, there are plenty of ways you can take canned products to the next level by adding your own spices and seasonings.

Other nonperishables such as pasta and peanut butter are also a bargain.

pasta

You might be able to find pasta in boxes or bags.

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Claudia Sidoti, the principal chef at HelloFresh, said the dollar store can be “a little bit of a wild card” because of how often the stock can vary and change, but she’s had luck finding deals on various pantry staples, like imported pasta or peanut butter.

Some of the pros stock up on storage containers for food.

meal prep chopped vegetables tupperware containers

Storage containers can be used for meal prepping.

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Sidoti said she also recommends buying food-storage containers at the dollar store.

Discount retailers oftentimes have containers in a range of shapes and sizes, which is perfect for if you’re looking to store pantry staples or trying to efficiently meal prep. 

Toothpicks and skewers are handy for cooking.

toothpicks

You can use toothpicks to test the doneness of your baked goods.

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Chef Tariq Nasir said he’ll often purchase disposable products, like toothpicks and skewers, while at the dollar store.

He said they can come in handy for cooking — whether you’re testing the doneness of a cake or preparing kebabs — and there’s no reason to pay extra for them. 

“I tend to buy things at the dollar store for cost savings in areas where there is very little difference to buying full-priced items in the market,” Nasir told Insider. 

You can also find low-cost plastic bags, parchment paper, and tinfoil at a dollar store.

tinfoil parchment plastic wrap rolls

Of course, it could be cheaper to buy these items in bulk if you use them often.

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Although it is often cheaper to buy things like foil or parchment paper in bulk, those with limited storage space or who don’t use these items often might want to head to the dollar store.

Nasir said he usually purchases plastic bags, parchment paper, and tinfoil during trips to the dollar store — but he always checks to make sure he’s getting a great deal. 

“A lot of the products are made especially for the dollar store by major manufacturers,” he explained. “Therefore, you want to be aware of the weights and numbers of items to ensure you are getting the deal you hoped for.”

You can find great deals on standard dishes or unique glasses.

restaurant server plates

Oftentimes you can score plates for just a few bucks.

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Chef Melissa Eboli of Via Melissa said the glassware and dishware at dollar stores are often a great bargain.

In particular, she said she’s picked up classic, white square plates and colorful dishes for just a buck each, even though they would normally cost $4 or more a pop somewhere else. 

“I’ve also purchased unique glassware that are great for client events and food photoshoots as well,” she added. 

Disposable pans are perfect for potlucks and large gatherings.

lasagna oven disposable foil pans

Disposable cookware makes it a cinch to clean up, especially if you’re bringing food to a potluck or family gathering.

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Food blogger and home chef Jim Mumford said that you can find disposable pans at the dollar store that cost “a fraction of the price” of ones you might find somewhere else. 

So if you’re attending any potlucks or family gatherings or are making large batches of food, you may want to stock up. 

Many dollar stores sell cleaning supplies that will help keep your kitchen spotless.

cleaning products

Dollar stores often sell a few varieties of cleaners and sprays.

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“Cleaning supplies are a great value at the dollar store,” Mumford told Insider, noting that they’re often available in smaller quantities than you would find at the supermarket. “The selection may surprise you.”

Some low-cost finds include basics like dish soap, kitchen sponges, and table-top spray cleaners. 

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