8 Must-Buy Store-Brand Items from H-E-B (and What You Can Do With Them)

The H-E-B grocery store chain is the pride of Texas, and these 8 products prove just why Lone Star residents feel such strong devotion to these high-quality markets.

The chain's logo hangs over the entrance to an H-E-B superma
Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images

If you ask any Texan to name their favorite grocery store, you're bound to hear one shop named over and over again: H-E-B. This statewide chain first opened in San Antonio at the turn of the 20th century, and it has grown to include over 300 stores in Texas and northern Mexico.

H-E-B enthusiasts rave about the store's low prices and exceptional variety, and H-E-B's impressive array of store-brand groceries and foods made in-house deserve every bit of this fanfare.

We asked eight Texas-based (and Texas-native) food professionals to name their favorite store-brand H-E-B products, and they recommended the following highly-useful (and highly-flavorful) items.

1. Central Market Green Chile Queso

Central Market Green Chile Queso
Courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B also owns Central Market, a smaller Texas chain focused on organic and artisanal products. Most H-E-B stores carry Central Market items, so if you visit the dips section of your local H-E-B, you're likely to find a jar of Central Market Green Chile Queso there.

That's good news for dietitian (and native Texan) Nadia Charif of Coffeeble, who tells us, "I always crave a jar of the Central Market green chile queso. It's down home Texas at its best. It's such a late summer, early fall comfort condiment for me."

Specifically, Charif likes to use the Green Chile Queso as a crudite dip and as a chili garnish, and she says that it "also makes a fiesta salad/grain bowl shine".

Try it with these recipes:

2. H-E-B Multigrain Taco Shells

H-E-B Multigrain Taco Shells
Courtesy of H-E-B

When you're planning a taco night, H-E-B's Multigrain Taco Shells give you the ideal outer structure for these treats, packed with flax, brown rice, and quinoa.

"My wife and I are eating healthier at home these days, and these multigrain taco shells — plus H-E-B brand taco seasoning added to ground turkey — makes a quick, easy dinner at home a little bit healthier. And they tasted great. I didn't even miss the corn shells," chef/owner Chris Shepherd of Underbelly Hospitality in Houston tells us.

Try them with these recipes:

3. H-E-B Fresh Flour Tortillas

H-E-B Fresh Flour Tortillas
Courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B's in-store tortillerias, where you can pick up freshly-made (and, in some cases, still warm) flour and corn tortillas, count among the chain's most beloved features.

"I buy H-E-B's fresh, warm flour tortillas every time I go to the grocery store," insists chef/owner Erin Smith of Feges BBQ in Houston. "They are so delicious it's hard to wait until I get home to eat them! They are so good fresh, but they also reheat easily."

Smith says that she uses H-E-B's flour tortillas to "make a lot of quesadillas and tacos at home for quick family meals."

Fans of classic Texan cuisine will also be glad to know that these soft, flavorful flour tortillas are perfect canvases for that lauded Austin favorite: the breakfast taco.

Try them with these recipes:

4. H-E-B Red Wine Vinegar

H-E-B Red Wine Vinegar
Courtesy of H-E-B

It's a common assumption that generic store-brand vinegars lack the flavor concentration and brightness of their pricier alternatives. Luckily, H-E-B's range of vinegars doesn't compromise on quality, and they can be purchased at very reasonable prices.

"The high quality distilling process H-E-B puts into its vinegars make for the perfect balsamic or red wine vinaigrette dressing," says Justin Schultz, Vice President of Operations Services and Executive Chef of Willie's Restaurants in Texas.

Schultz uses H-E-B Red Wine Vinegar to make salad dressings, but he also considers it a crucial ingredient for his chimichurri sauce, which he calls "perfect for topping chicken or steak."

Try it with these recipes:

5. H-E-B Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

H-E-B Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce
Courtesy of H-E-B

As a general rule, Texas-style barbeque doesn't involve much sauce; most restaurants will offer barbeque sauce to those who ask, but it's not the star of the show. However, that fact doesn't stop H-E-B from selling its own proprietary barbeque sauce, and chef/recipe developer Lori Bogedin of TwigsCafe in Pennsylvania (who is a native Texan) says, "I haven't tasted a better barbeque sauce than H-E-B's own Texas Style Barbeque Sauce. It contains the perfect blend of tomato paste and black pepper to appease my taste buds, and goes well with almost any type of homemade dish."

Bogedin enjoys H-E-B Barbeque Sauce on "barbeque chicken pizzas at home. I can swap the usual tomato sauce I use for this one."

Try it with these recipes:

6. H-E-B Creamy Creations Ice Cream

H-E-B Creamy Creations Ice Cream
Courtesy of H-E-B

"This delight has been my favorite ever since it was introduced," says chef and recipe developer Vicky Cano of Mealfan about Creamy Creations, H-E-B's line of premium ice creams."

Not only does Cano consider Creamy Creations the "creamiest ice cream [available at] H-E-B," but she also points out that it's "made from all-natural flavors and cream with no added preservatives."

In addition to staple flavors like vanilla and chocolate, H-E-B likes to play around with seasonal Creamy Creations varieties and limited releases, so there's always something new to try in this product range.

In Cano's opinion, Creamy Creations tastes best in the context of a milkshake "because it brings a rich and creamy flavor. Just blend a scoop of ice cream with milk, or you could add other sweet confectioneries as well."

7. H-E-B Beef Brisket

H-E-B Beef Brisket
Courtesy of H-E-B

Many Texan barbeque aficionados would argue that beef brisket represents the crown jewel of the Texas barbeque tradition. Being a quintessentially-Texan grocery chain, H-E-B pays close attention to the quality of its brisket.

Executive chef Kévin D'Andréa of FoliePop's in Austin believes that this effort on H-E-B's part is well worth it. "Personally, I would say that H-E-B's brisket is phenomenal. It's the perfect mixture of rich and tender. It's also a great product because H-E-B promotes local businesses and farms and their products," D'Andréa insists.

D'Andréa likes to use H-E-B brisket to make a twist on boeuf bourguignon, which he calls "an amazing Texan/French dinner!"

Try it with these recipes:

8. H-E-B Texas Prime Course Seasoning

H-E-B Texas Prime Course Seasoning
Courtesy of H-E-B

Store-bought seasoning blends don't always pass muster with professional chefs, as they frequently include a great deal of salt, which overpowers the flavors of the other spices and aromatics. However, founding chef and partner Tyson Cole of Hai Hospitality in Austin assures us that H-E-B Texas Prime Course Seasoning is the real deal.

"We love the H-E-B Texas Prime Coarse Seasoning on everything! On fish, chicken, pork or steaks, it's incredible. For example, we might rub it on steaks prior to grilling, or use it to cure fish for an hour or two before grilling as well. Delicious!" Cole says.

Try it with these recipes:

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