When you think of shopping at Costco, you might picture endless aisles of over-sized condiments, giant boxes of diapers and trunk-sized packages of toilet paper — not exactly a place you'd go to do all of your grocery shopping. But Costco isn't just a place to buy household items in bulk, as the big box retailer has a huge selection of fresh food items, too.
As shoppers prepare to feed the masses this Thanksgiving, Costco truly is "one-stop shopping" for everything you need to serve a complete holiday meal. From prepped fresh veggies to pre-cooked turkey to extra seating for guests, shopping at Costco for your Thanksgiving meal will save you a ton of hassle. Here are 15 ways to save time and pay less by hosting a Costco Thanksgiving.
1. Serve Frozen Appetizers
In addition to fresh ingredients for cooking, Costco also has an enormous frozen food section that features dozens of pre-cooked appetizers. This way, you can quickly put together some hot bites to keep your guests satiated while you're busy preparing the main dishes. You can go with something classic, like Hebrew National franks in a blanket, or something non-traditional, like chicken and vegetable pot stickers. If you've got foodies in the family, Costco also has miniature crab cakes, quiche assortments and coconut shrimp with chili sauce that will impress them.
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2. Create an Artisanal Cheese Plate
Pick up some artisanal cheeses from Costco and create a cheese plate for another quick and impressive way to feed a large group. Costco sells cheese individually or by the collection, which is an easy way to go if you aren't sure which cheeses to choose. For example, the Sid Wainer & Son global cheese collection feeds 26 people and showcases 5 different cheeses from around the world. Costco also sells Carr's Table Water crackers, mixed nuts and fresh fruit to complete the presentation.
3. Include Some Pre-Cooked Turkey Breasts
If you're hosting a small group or you're short on oven space or time, consider purchasing a fully cooked 4-pound turkey breast from Costco instead of a whole bird. Even if you plan on cooking a whole turkey, which Costco also sells, having an extra breast or two can ensure you have enough food for the day and plenty of leftovers for sandwiches later. You can shop even smarter with these Costco saving tips.
4. Serve Alternatives to Turkey
Not everyone loves turkey, and there's certainly no rule against serving a different kind of meat for Thanksgiving dinner. Costco has fully cooked honey hams, fresh whole duck (can you say turducken?), pork tenderloin and their famous roasted chickens, which are only $4.99 a piece. Costco's whole filet of wild sockeye salmon is also a popular choice, and cooks in a fraction of the time of some other meats.
5. Load Up on Washed, Prepped Veggies
Costco sells a huge selection of veggies that have already been washed, trimmed and in some cases, sliced and diced for you. Costco has Brussels sprouts in 2-pound bags ready to go; just pick up some applewood smoked bacon to throw in there, too, and you have an easy side dish. The pre-cut, cubed butternut squash will save you the trouble of peeling one on your own, and the fresh green beans are stemmed and ready for green bean casserole. You can even score a bag of Fresh Gourmet crispy onions to top all those sides.
6. Let Costco Do the Mashing
You don't need to work up a sweat strong-arming a vat of mashed potatoes this year — let Costco do the work for you. Costco's deli sells completely cooked and seasoned mashed potatoes ready for serving, complete with pats of butter on top just waiting to be melted.
Costco also sells pre-cooked mashed sweet potato, which can be served plain, or you can grab some pecans and maple syrup for sweet potato casserole before you check out. And if you really have your heart set on mashing those potatoes yourself, Costco sells giant bags of both russet and sweet potatoes you can peel, cook and smash all on your own.
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7. Indulge in Real Bone Broth
Adding bone broth to your stuffing, gravy and other side dishes will really step up your Thanksgiving meal game without adding any extra prep time to your day. In Costco's refrigerated section you can find real beef bone broth from the Pressery, which is USDA-certified organic and slow simmered with turmeric. Costco also sells organic chicken stock in resealable cartons and big jars of organic Better Than Bouillon chicken base.
8. Buy Wine in Bulk
Costco is always a good spot for great prices on alcohol, especially wine. Whether you want to serve red, white, port or something in between, Costco sells a variety of wines from around the world at great prices. Since the selection is always changing, buy a case before it's out of stock. Alcohol is always a must-have item to stock up on at Costco.
9. Pick Up Fresh Baked Goods
Costco's bakery section has every baked good you'll need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. If pie is on your menu, you can choose from classic pumpkin, lattice apple, pecan, cherry and even key lime. There's also cheesecake, fruitcake, chocolate cake and coffee cake. If you need fresh bread to go with dinner, you can choose from country French, demi-baguettes or artisan country round loaves. In addition to fresh-baked goods, Costco also has other staples like Hawaiian sweet rolls and sandwich bread, which you will definitely need for leftovers.
10. Load Up on Sides and Sauces
In addition to frozen appetizers and prepped veggies, Costco also sells pre-cooked Thanksgiving side dishes. For example, artisan food company Fra'mani recently partnered with Costco to bring their small scale, handmade prepared dishes to members' tables. The items are limited to specific regions, but look for some of their signature sides like organic creamed spinach or corn, organic cranberry sauce, wild mushroom risotto and holiday dressing with sausage and sage. If your local Costco doesn't carry these items, keep an eye out for Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce, Peter Luger creamed spinach, Stove Top stuffing or organic Boudin sourdough stuffing mix. Costco's house brand Kirkland is also well-known for its high-quality product offerings.
11. Don’t Forget the Holiday Decor
Costco has already started selling holiday decorations, so you can get everything you need to create a festive Thanksgiving scene at the same time you're picking up the food. You'll find garlands and wreaths, fresh flowers, outdoor decorations and even Christmas trees, if you're ready. For the table, Costco has holiday-themed candle holders, flameless LED candles and paperwhite lilies in birch pots. Pro tip: Costco has an unwritten price adjustment policy where members can get a price adjustment if an item is marked down within a week or two after purchasing it, so keep a close eye on any seasonal items you buy this Thanksgiving season.
12. Stock Up on Food Storage
Costco also has everything you need to send your Thanksgiving guests home with leftovers. Pack up food to go with a variety pack of Ziploc bags or an inexpensive set of Rubbermaid food storage containers. Costco even sells a vacuum sealer to store extra food in your freezer that's an especially good deal. At the very least, handy staples like aluminum foil and plastic wrap can get the job done in a pinch.
13. Find Extra Glassware
When you're wining and dining a crowd, you need plenty of glassware for all those extra guests. It's a lot easier to grab a case or two of backup glasses while you're shopping for your Thanksgiving staples, and they are so cheap that you won't be too upset if you break one or two. Costco sells a set of stemmed wine glasses for less than $5 each, tall and short glasses for a few dollars apiece and crystal drinkware for just over $3 each. Make sure you save the boxes for easy storage until your next big party.
14. Make Setting the Table a Breeze
You don't have to bring out the china and fancy glassware this Thanksgiving dinner — paper products make it easy to feed and clean up after a crowd. But not just any paper plates, cups and other disposables will do. Thanksgiving dinner is a hearty meal and you'll need products that can stand up to the test. Costco has durable clear plastic Chinet dinner and salad plates, as well as Masterpiece white plastic plates with a silver rim that resemble fancy china. The retailer also sells clear plastic cutlery from Kirkland and silver plastic flatware from Reflections. Make sure you also pick up a pack of three-ply Vanity Fair Impressions dinner napkins and Masterpiece plastic party tumblers to complete the setup.
If you're shopping a lot at Costo, it only makes sense to apply to the Costco credit card, which offers extensive benefits.
15. Prepare for a Crowd
If you regularly host Thanksgiving dinner and other family events, consider investing in some extra seating for your guests. Costco sells six-packs of stackable chairs and four-packs of folding chairs. The retailer also sells a 6-foot table that folds in half for easy storage, or you can purchase a 5-piece folding card table set with chairs. All these items fold or stack for easy storage later and can be used for all kinds of occasions.