Professional Chefs Share Their Weirdest Tips for Grocery Shopping

  • And who doesn't need tips from the professionals?

From the people who cook for the people who eat, (and try to cook for themselves,) here are some of the weirdest tips for grocery shopping.

A List

This is the number one must have of a professional chef for a part-time home cook for going to the grocery store, make a list. It’s just that easy, but at the same time, just that hard. First off, don’t forget your list (a digital phone list could be best for the not forgetting part.) Having an idea and plan is the best way to ensure success with your shopping trip. Not only will you spend less cash, but it also ensures that you will get the things you need for those new recipes! Or the old ones, or snacks because, at least in my house, snacks are life.

Frozen Meats

Already frozen meat can be a huge time saver if you keep it on hand. All you have to do is thaw it out and you’ll be ready to go. Chefs say that buying pre-made frozen protein options on the other hand, should be avoided. Think marinated shrimps or already stuffed chicken breasts. Not only will you save calories, and you can make your chicken exactly how you like it, but you will also save a lot of money! Raw products for your own creations is also by far the best bang for your buck.


Rice is such a great side dish, an easy carb to add to almost any protein and vegetable, and cheap to boot. It’s a great filler, warm for the winter months, and easily added to soups, main courses, or even made sweet in a Rice Pudding. Rice stays fresh for a really long time, and it has saved a phone or two of mine from severe water damage. Rice for the win!


Read: beans, lentils and peas. Chefs recommend that you always have legumes on hand. If you buy them dry, they are inexpensive and will keep for next to forever in your pantry or cabinet. Like rice, you can add legumes to almost any meal, and assuming you don’t throw them away, they’re a smart purchase and healthy eats too, for that matter.

Pre-Cut Produce

Ready to go produce might seem really tempting, but you should really steer away. Really. The thing is, pre-cut produce are very pricey, as all of the tedious leg work has already been done for you. These cut up items won’t stay good for as long and may not even be fully ripened yet. Buying your fruits and veggies fresh, and taking the time to cut them up yourself is the way to go, promise.

Flavored Oils

Chefs say one of their weirdest but best tips is to not buy flavored oils. I repeat, do not buy the flavored oils. Reason being, you can easily make them yourself! This way, you can splurge a little on the good oil and flavor it to your liking! Whether you’re adding garlic, hot peppers, or a seasoning blend, it’s worth your time and money and tastebuds to do it yourself.


When it comes to tomatoes, they’re all good according to the chefs. Tomatoes are good fresh, and better canned. You can use fresh tomatoes raw for whatever dish you want to or canned tomatoes for sauces or soups. Make sure to buy brands with little to no sugar added, that way you can control that aspect of the ingredient as well.

Check Your Fridge

I know, I know. It sounds silly. But just like the age old advice of not going shopping hungry, you know, unless you want to buy the whole store, make sure to check your fridge before your shopping trip. This advice from chefs is along the same lines as making a list but it goes without saying, checking the fridge is a vital part of the grocery experience. Make sure you’re not low on your favorites, that you throw away anything old or funny looking, to make room for the new and fresh, and also, to be sure you aren’t double or maybe even triple buying items. This can help cut down on waste and extra spending, too.

Making a list is probably the best tip on the list, what do you think? And what kind of flavored oil do you want to try?

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