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10 Dollar Store Foods You’ll Definitely Want to Add to Your Cart

Discount stores offer much more than greeting cards and cleaning supplies. Take a look.

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Lady pushing a shopping cart in the supermarket.hxdyl/Shutterstock

If you’re a time-crunched cook wondering how to prepare a quick and satisfying meal while sticking to a budget, make the dollar store your first stop when stocking the pantry and freezer with everyday essentials. With such deeply discounted prices—nearly every item flaunts a $1 price point—it’s a thrifty shopper’s paradise. But don’t load up the cart just yet. We’ll show you how to shop the food aisles at the local dollar store like a boss.

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KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT - April 25, 2017 : Various brands of cake mixture that lined up on shelves in the market. Baking cake for preparation of having it on Eid Mubarak.Shutterstock / Muhammad ZA

Baking Mixes

A ready-made mix is a busy cook’s best friend. Dollar stores offer a treasure trove of breakfast and baking mixes that will make easy work of whipping up a stack of fluffy pancakes or creating a yummy batch of cupcakes for next week’s bake sale. Or enjoy the best of both worlds with Birthday Cake Pancakes. And, yes, cake for breakfast is a thing.

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RAWANG, MALAYSIA - SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 : Row of Ayam (Chicken) Brand Baked Beans cans display on the shelf at hypermarket. Ayam Brand believes only in quality ingredients prepared naturally.Shutterstock / Jaiz Anuar

Canned Beans

A thrifty shopper never met a can of beans she or he didn’t like. Not only are beans one of humanity’s staple foods, they work in a variety of recipes and pack a lot of protein, so they’re popular with carnivores and non-meat eaters alike. Try them in soups, chilis, casseroles, enchiladas or tacos.

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - 18 JUNE, 2017 : Maggi instant noodles. Owned by Nestle, Maggi is an international brand of soups, stocks, bouillon cubes, ketchup, sauces, seasonings and instant noodles.Shutterstock / hilalabdullah

Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles get a bad rap for being cheap dorm room fodder. But with a little creativity, a few extra ingredients and a clever recipe at your fingertips, it’s easy to revamp the drab instant packaged dinner into a delish meal everyone will love.

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - AUGUST 28, 2017 : Massel brand organic style stock on shelf. It is an Australian Organic food and beverage brand endorsed under the Australian Certified Organic program.; Shutterstock ID 719717521; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH Dollar Store buysTY Lim/Shutterstock

Chicken Broth

Chicken broth is a base for your favorite soups and stews as well as a staple ingredient in casseroles, rice dishes and other recipes. But simmering the homemade liquid gold on the stovetop is not always a busy cook’s reality. Rely on store-bought broth as a handy standby when time is tight.

Did you know you can make your own chicken broth? Here’s how.

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Frozen foods on shelves in a supermarket. In North America, consumption of frozen food has increased in recent years, mostly due to people's busy lifestylePhoto: Shutterstock/Niloo

Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Frozen fruits and vegetables are not only budget-friendly, they’re healthy, too. The produce is frequently picked when ripe and then flash frozen to preserve nutrients. In addition, many varieties are salt- and sugar-free, making them ideal alternatives to their canned counterparts. These recipes make frozen veggies taste amazing.

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Portugal, Algarve, Circa 22.10.2013 Selection of pasta for sale in a supermarket in Portugal.; Shutterstock ID 778028962Glynsimages2013/Shutterstock

Pasta, Rice and Dried Goods

Pasta, rice, grains, quick-cooking oats: These are the energy-sustaining foods that humans have consumed for centuries to stay full and fueled. And let’s face it, dishes like lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, rice casseroles and steamy oatmeal are crazy delicious. So why not stock up on these staples at crazy-low prices? And don’t pass by the packaged dinners. It’s easy to turn a ho-hum box of mac and cheese into a new comfort food fave with an easy recipe like this one.

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BANGKOK, THAILAND - JANUARY 27, 2018: Various of tea on shelf of Gourmet market at The Promenade Shopping Center in Bangkok. The Gourmet market is a grocery chain in Thailand.Shutterstock / samritk

Coffee and Tea

We all love our morning fix, but if a $5 cup of gourmet joe doesn’t jibe with a frugal lifestyle, check out the dollar store’s selection of morning pick-me-ups. Most stores offer packages of single-serve coffee capsules in addition to instant coffee and a variety of tea, creamers, sweeteners and syrups. And don’t pass up instant coffee even if it’s not your thing; it adds amazing flavor to baked goods and desserts, including this dreamy indulgence.

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London, UK - December 12, 2014: Shelf view of a Tesco supermarket store. Britain's Tesco supermarket chain is the world's third largest retailer after America's Walmart and France's Carrefour.; Shutterstock ID 237256429Shutterstock / 1000 Words

Condiments and Spices

Condiments and spices are the secret to transforming a plain-Jane dish into something extraordinary. From simple spices to ketchup, barbecue sauce, gravy, mustard, pickles and relish, it’s never been easier to add flavor…or stock up your pantry with the basics. Want to amp up the flavor and texture in a weeknight classic? Give this glazed meatloaf a try.

Do you know the easy way to get ketchup out of the bottle? Discover more crazy facts about America’s favorite condiment.

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Bangkok, TH - FEBRUARY 14, 2017: Potato chips and snack foods in supermarket shelf that are the cause of an increase fat person.; Shutterstock ID 590612882Shutterstock / icosha

Snacks

Craving something salty, crunchy, chewy or sweet? The dollar store has you covered. The wide array of snacks is a gold mine for munchies of all varieties including crackers, pretzels, chips, popcorn, nuts, dried fruits and trail mixes. Whether you are planning a relaxed game-day get-together, need something fun to tuck into a lunchbox or just want to stock up on finger foods that pack a punch, you’ll find all you need and more. Or get really creative and combine a few ingredients into an easy snack mix. Don’t be surprised if your taste buds break into the happy dance.

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Candy aisle at local supermarket Saint Augustine, Florida USA. February 21, 2018; Shutterstock ID 1034449345; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH Dollar Store buysShutterstock / Boofoto

Candy

Cutting costs doesn’t mean giving up your favorite guilty pleasure—candy. Skip the fancy gourmet confectioner shops in the mall and head to your nearest dollar store for the biggest bonanza of chocolates, lollipops, caramels and other candies. Treating the kids to a movie? Save pennies by buying those theater-style boxed treats for $1 apiece. Halloween coming up? You’ll hit the jackpot with the huge variety of trick-or-treat loot found here. Need a fun classroom treat? Use a mix of dollar store candies to decorate a pan of bars the kids won’t be able to resist. Saving money never tasted so sweet!

Discover more secrets to grocery shopping like a boss.

Amy Glander
Amy is a book editor at Taste of Home where she gets to pour her passions for food and storytelling into trade and series cookbooks. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her antiquing, cooking and baking from her favorite vintage cookbooks and exploring Milwaukee’s urban beauty with her digital SLR in hand.

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