Members of America's leading warehouse club can take advantage of wholesale deals to load up on tons of baking basics in big quantities, along with exclusive low prices on specialty products.
These 14 must-have baking staples will elevate all your cakes, cookies, and pies. (Note that items can be regional, so some products may differ in availability and price.)
Pure Vanilla Extract
Seasoned bakers can tell the difference in taste between imitation and pure vanilla extract. This flavoring may as well be liquid gold, as a single ounce will typically run you around $3 to $4. Before you resort to sourcing your own vanilla beans to make the extract yourself, consider Costco's five-star Pure Vanilla Extract, which costs just $16.99 for a 16-ounce bottle. You do have to buy two bottles minimum, but then you'll likely be set for the next few years of confections.
Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
Some fans on Reddit call Nielsen-Massey "the Champagne of vanilla." The family-owned company offers Costco members a chance to buy its vanilla bean paste for about half the price as other retailers. For an eight-ounce jar, it's only $36.99 online. If you look out for sales, sometimes you can snag an even sweeter deal. For a limited time last year, Costco slashed the online price by $10.
How do you use vanilla paste? It's not a substitute for regular vanilla extract, but a scoop of this premium paste from Madagascar will import a richer vanilla flavor and add the telltale flecks of vanilla beans to your frostings, custards, and cakes.
Maldon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes
For a gourmet touch on cookies, caramel, and brownies, Maldon is the finishing salt of your dreams, but you'll usually pay a pretty penny for the English-crafted spice. That is, unless you buy it at Costco.
"I was blown away when I saw 1.25 pounds of Maldon salt for $7.79 today at my California store," wrote one West Coast shopper, after spotting a tub of the pyramid flakes at the warehouse this past August. "I just bought an 8 ounce pack for $8 at World Market earlier in the week. If you've never had Maldon finishing salt.. get it NOW!" Costco hasn't listed the elusive item on its website, but if you give a call to your warehouse, you can find out if it's coming to a store near you soon.
Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon
Out of all the types of cinnamon in the world, this organic Vietnamese-based spice is the most potent and aromatic, and it's been well-loved by Costco shoppers for years. "This is by far the best Cinnamon I've ever had," wrote one reviewer. "I put a pinch in my coffee every morning. I tried other brands but nothing can compare." It comes in a pack of two 10.7-ounces containers for $19.99 online, which may be enough to last you over a decade, according to some Reddit users.
Kirkland Signature Grass-Fed Butter
When it comes to pastries, the quality of your butter can make a noticeable difference in taste and texture. So, skip the standard spread and try this 95% grass-fed New Zealand butter from Costco's store brand Kirkland Signature. The popular private label is well known for its high-quality, low-priced products. Kerrygold is often the gold standard for premium butter among Costco shoppers, but according to All Recipes, the Kirkland version is a solid substitute that saves you $1 per stick of butter, at around $10 per box.
Kirkland Signature Almond Flour
Almond flour is a key component for certain gluten-free treats, but it can cost almost $10 per pound at other grocers. Costco sells this three-pound bag of superfine almond flour for $12.99. The flour contains only one ingredient: blanched almonds. Experienced bakers say it doesn't act as a replacement for regular flour in all cases, but they can vouch for the quality of this Kirkland ingredient in recipes that call for the alternative.
"I use it all the time for banana bread. It's amazing!" wrote one fan on Reddit. It's a hefty bag, though, so you might want to stash it in your freezer to keep it fresh for longer, according to another Reddit user.
Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa Powder
You're not going to find a better deal on 100% cocoa than this premium baking cocoa powder. The specialty chocolate is Dutch-processed, which neutralizes the natural acidity of cocoa, making the color darker and the flavor richer and smoother. Costco members will pick this 25-ounce bag up for only $8.49. At Walmart, the same product costs nearly three times more.
Kirkland Signature Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
If your chocolate chip cookie cravings kick in around this time of year, you can stock up on semi-sweet chocolate chips in a 4.5-pound bag for $11.99 online. Customers are fond of the "red bag" because it contains milk fat and cocoa butter in the recipe. Some say these chips are just as good as name brands, but with better value. "Comparable to Ghirardelli. My husband and I are picky as hell when it comes to chocolate chips and those are literally the only two brands we will buy," commented one fan on Reddit.
Kirkland Signature Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Did you know that you can substitute butter or cooking oil with equal parts coconut oil? The next time you're cooking for a big crowd, you might want to test it out with this tub of high-quality, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil for $17.99 online. Your vegan friends especially will thank you. And, if you're concerned this giant 84-ounce container will go to waste, there are plenty of ways to use coconut oil besides baking.
Kirkland Signature Organic Sugar
You can't really have dessert without sugar. If you can find a place to store a giant bag of it, the best deal you can find is Costco's private label Organic Cane Sugar and Organic Brown Sugar. A 10-pound package of the cane sugar costs $10.99 online and a 7.5-pound package of the brown sugar is less than $10. Both are made from organic sugar cane. That should hold you over until January, and then some.
Red Star Active Dry Yeast
Make sure you have all the rising action you'll need during the holidays with this two-pound bag of active yeast for $8.99 online. It's probably going to take a lot of baking to use this up, so keep the unused yeast in an airtight container in the freezer to keep it usable for years.
Ardent Mills All-Purpose Flour
Nearly everything in baking requires flour, and that's a good thing if you have 25 pounds of it ready to go. That's how much is in this bag of bleached and enriched all-purpose flour from Costco. For $11.99 online, the bulk package will have you looking for more baked goods to put in your oven just to get through it.
Kirkland Signature Walnut Halves
Not only do walnuts do wonders for your heart health, they can also take your chocolate fudge brownies to the next level. You'll be hard pressed to find a three-pound bag of walnut halves this cheap anywhere else. It's yours for just $8.99 online.
Kirkland Signature Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia and white chocolate are a match made in heaven. You're halfway there with these 24 ounces of roasted macadamia nuts with sea salt, priced at $21.99 online. Try them in cookies, brownies, blondies, or simply enjoy them alone as a healthy snack.