Chefs Love These 6 Frozen Foods From Costco

Time to stock your freezer with the chef-loved favorites.

Frozen foods get a bad rap as unhealthy or less nutritious than fresh food, such as produce, meats, or fish. After all, they're packaged and usually somewhat processed, and amid the "shop the perimeter" movement, there's little space for the frozen food aisles, right?

Wrong. Actually, frozen foods are great time savers in the kitchen and can contain high nutritional value, depending on the ingredients and brands.

In fact, certain fruits and vegetables are better to buy frozen than fresh when they're out of season. The flavor and quality of the fresh version won't be as good as its frozen counterpart, which actually retains more nutrients (yes, more!) and will offer that delicious flavor you desire all year round. The same can be said for seafood, fish, meats, and more.

And if anyone knows which foods to buy frozen at the store, as well as ways to use them in a variety of recipes, it's a chef. Indeed, chefs are magicians at taking ho-hum ingredients, like those in the freezer section, and elevating them to something quite special, from filling soups to delicious desserts.

While any grocery store will offer a good selection of frozen foods, Costco is the best place to score awesome deals and to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk makes meal prepping easy, so you always have what you need on hand and can save yourself a couple of trips to the store.

With all this in mind, we asked chefs to share the frozen foods they buy and love from Costco, as well as a few recipe ideas to help you make the most out of what you buy, too:

front of a Costco store
Allrecipes Images

1. Kirkland Signature Organic Frozen Mixed Vegetables

If you're a plant-based or vegan eater, these frozen veggies make meal planning a breeze. "The frozen vegetable blend is what I usually go for, and I'll use it in different types of side dishes and main courses for meatless meals," says Chef Louie Yu, executive chef at Chalet, a restaurant that's opening in the River North area of Chicago this summer.

"I have a bamboo steamer basket that sits on a pan with boiling water, and I'll place the frozen veggies in there to steam up," he says. After steaming, line a plate with paper towels to let the veggies dry before grabbing a wok for an easy, quick stirfry, he suggests. Or throw the frozen veggies into a stock pot for a hearty soup that cooks on its own during the daytime and is ready to eat when you're back at home.

2. Kirkland Signature Organic Broccoli Florets

Broccoli is high in protein as a vegetable, and it has a good amount of fiber to fill you up. " I love using healthy greens in my home cooking, and frozen broccoli are just a great way to prepare a nutritious and tasty dish on the fly," says Chef Qi Ai at Travelle at The Langham in Chicago. They are already washed, so you can use them right out of the bag and they're also pre-chopped so you can cut down on meal prep time with a knife.

"Because you're not handling a big fresh broccoli piece, your kitchen counter and sink will stay clean," Ai says — a bonus, right? "As for cooking I'd suggest adding them to your casseroles or pastas and green smoothies or to puree them and add to baby food," Ai explains.

3. Frozen Peas

"I love frozen peas because they're sometimes better tasting than the fresh peas that have been sitting on the shelf for a while," says Devan Cameron, chef and owner of Braised & Deglazed, a food-focused website with recipes, tips, and inspiration for the home cook.

They're versatile and nutritious, and because of newer technologies with flash freezing vegetables, frozen peas can sometimes be just as, or even more, nutritious as fresh peas. It's a win-win. "Throw them into soups, grain salads, stir-fries, or fried rice as a quick and healthy veggie boost," he says.

4. Frozen Fruit

It's smarter and healthier to buy many fruits in their frozen form, as they are out of season for a large part of the year and won't taste as ripe or be as nutritious during their out-of-season months. These include berries, mango, and cherries, for example.

"I buy frozen fruit all the time for breakfast smoothies, but you can also use them for dessert sauces, granola, or to make jams," Cameron says. "Just like frozen peas, some frozen fruit can be quite nutritious and they're generally a lot cheaper," he says. You can never go wrong, and you'll cut back on meal prepping if the fruits are already pre-cut too.

5. Wild Alaskan Pollock Fish Sticks

Yes, frozen fish sticks make this list because they make quick and healthy dinners. Plus, these sustainable fish sticks are kid-friendly too! "My seven-year-old son loves them with some ketchup," says Jessica Randhawa, the head chef, recipe creator, photographer, and writer behind The Forked Spoon.

These fish sticks crisp up perfectly in an air fryer or convection oven at home, which helps you cut back on excess oil and calories while still enjoying a "comfort food" dish.

6. Mahi Mahi Frozen Filets

Defrosted mahi mahi is a great fish to grill. Cook at 450 degrees F for a healthy, high-protein meal that also happens to have heart-healthy fats to fill you up and protect your health long-term.

"Simply place each fillet directly on the grill and grill for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side at 450 degrees F— it's fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 137 degrees F," Randhawa says. The mahi mahi from Costco is sustainably sourced from Peru, so it's top-notch.

5. Wild Blueberries

Costco is one of the few places that doesn't charge extravagant prices for wild fruits during their off-season. "These blueberries are naturally grown and have no added sugar," says Icky Cano, chef and recipe developer at

"These are best to use in smoothies and oatmeal," Cano says, as well as for a sweet blueberry cobbler, which personally is a go-to recipe at home.

Try It: Very Best Blueberry Cobbler

6. Spinach & Mozzarella Ravioli

Making pasta from scratch can be a pain, so getting frozen pasta can be a major time saver. "My favorite frozen item to get at Costco is the Spinach and Mozzarella Ravioli from Pasta Prima, as all you have to do is toss it with your favorite pasta sauce for a cheap price," says Grace Woinicz, chef and health and wellness blogger at The Brilliant Kitchen.

This ravioli has a good source of fiber and vitamins and minerals from the greens, and mozzarella adds both flavor as well as protein and calcium. For a pasta dish, this one is pretty healthy and versatile.


Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love