From a whole ham to a big box of king crab legs.

By Stacey Ballis
November 15, 2019
Scott Olson&Getty Images

Costco is saving the holiday season. That is not really hyperbole for me. As someone who entertains nearly weekly during the rest of the year, you can only imagine how much we are hosting during the festive season. I have always relied on Costco for reasonably priced, quality products in sizes to feed a crowd, whether it is bags of lemons and limes to prep the bar with beverage garnish, easy trays of prepped vegetables or cut up fruit, or vats of salsa and guac, there is always something there that can take a task off your plate while saving you money.

But at this time of year? Not only do I rely on the usual suspects, they have some specialty items that are way beyond basic. Whether it is gear for making your holiday cooking and baking easier, ingredients for your special recipes, or already prepped items that you can just serve up, here is my list of treasures to seek out at the nearest Costco to you! 

A Nice Silicone Baking Mat Set

The Miu silicone baking mat set will make all of your holiday baking easier, cookies slide right off and since they are dishwasher safe and reuseable, they are amazing for large batch baking, you can remove one group to a cooling rack, wipe down the mat and load it right back up with the next group. They make rolling out pie crust or puff pastry a breeze. This set is particularly useful because it includes two half-sheet mats and two quarter sheet which will also fit your toaster oven trays. The larger sheets each have two different sizes of guides for spacing cookies or piping things like choux pastry or macarons into perfect circles. The smaller ones have handy rulers on the long sides for helping to measure dough and the like.

A Serious Digital Thermometer/Timer

The Taylor thermometer and timer set includes a digital timer that can set four times at once, terrific when you have two ovens going and multiple items cooking with different timing, as well as a probe thermometer for your turkey or roast or ham, and an instant read for quick checks of smaller items. It’s the holidays, you are spending a ton on expensive ingredients, don’t overcook them!

Watch: How to Get the Most Out of a Costco Membership When You're Shopping for One or Two

Stylish Measuring Bowls

The Mason 5 piece batter bowl and measuring cup set is as lovely to look at as it is useful, and a great gift for the baker in your life. The stoneware vintage-look items are pretty enough to leave on the counter.

A Versatile Serving Set

Baum has a 7 piece stoneware serving set that is super versatile, white two-handled rectangular trays in three sizes, with one large, three medium and three small. You can serve your whole Thanksgiving meal in these, or set up your cocktail party buffet. Even better, all six of the medium and small tray stack neatly into the large one so they don’t take up much storage space.

Classic Cocottes

And if you need a splurge for the Le Creuset collector, they have a set of four of their stoneware round cocottes with lids, 22 ounces each, for $99.99, which is a seriously good deal. At my location they had them in white and red. These are perfect for baking smaller casseroles for one or two people, or individual things like pot pies.

Buy Nuts In Bulk

Costco is always great for things like nuts and other baking essentials. But those items are usually only available in their natural state. At the moment, however, they are currently carrying the holy grail of baking ingredients, roasted, skinned hazelnuts. Be still my heart. A 26 ounce bag is only $11.79, and since they freeze well, I stocked up. Nothing is a bigger pain in the butt than toasting and skinning these babies. Invariably I burn at least one batch during toasting, and the little flakes of skin get everywhere. You can grind these into hazelnut flour for tortes or macarons, puree them into paste to make homemade pralines or Nutella, chop them into pie garnish, stir them into brittle. Magic.

A 10-Pound Case of Crab Legs

Want to have a super luxe dinner this season? They are carrying a 10 pound FULL CASE of frozen wild caught king grab legs and claws for $229.90, all you need is lemon and drawn butter, and you just won the party.

Cocktail Cucumbers

My new favorite thing from their vast produce section are the snacking cocktail cucumbers. Tiny baby Persian seedless cucumbers the size of your index finger, I’m putting them out whole on all of my crudité platters, garnishing bloody marys with them for brunches, and frankly snacking on them out of hand. $5.49 for a pound and a half bag, and likely to potentially get your kids excited about a green vegetable. I hope they stick around after the holidays are over. I’m a sucker for cute food, sue me.

Mushrooms for Cheap

And for another special surprise in the produce cooler, Wild Golden Chaterelles, the king of mushrooms, just $10.99 for a pound. You can make the world’s best mushroom gravy, wild mushroom soup, or sautéed mushrooms with these babies. And if you have a vegetarian coming to dine, make a pot pie with these and some tiny white navy beans and they will have a hearty main dish that even your omnivores will covet.

Pre-Made Pull-Apart Bread

They have two items full of cheesy goodness this year from Tipiak, a pull-apart cheese bread at $10.79 for a pound and a half package, and a box of 32 cheese stuffed gougeres at $10.99. Easy to bake and serve and vegetarian friendly to start your party off right. Add their three flavors of smoked Norwegian salmon at $18.99 for an 18 ounce package, and the $11.69 Del Duca assortment including San Daniele prosciutto, calabrese salame and capocollo, and your pre-dinner nibbles are well-covered. I also swear by their Basha brand hommus, $4.89 for a 38 ounce tub, it is in my fridge year round, and is the smoothest most delicious commercial brand I have ever tasted.

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Whenever You Want

The Pierre Chicken Cordon Bleu in the freezer section is only $12.69 for a six-count box, so that is a very affordable elegant dinner party entrée option, as is the Maple Leaf farms roasted half-duck at $14.99 for a 28 ounce package that will serve four. Pair either with the Main Street Bistro 40 ounce package of scalloped potatoes for $6.49 and a salad, and you will have had a dinner party to write home about.

A Whole Serrano Ham

If there is one thing to buy at Costco for this holiday season, it is the Noel whole 14-pound leg of Spanish serrano ham, which comes on a ham stand with a slicing knife. This thing is like the holy grail of holiday finds. If you are entertaining a lot, you can keep it in a cool dry place covered in cheesecloth and just keep bringing it out for every event. It is the most awesomely impressive gift for any food lover. This super premium product is a dream for both eating au naturel, but has a million genius application for cooking, and when the ham is gone, the bone makes amazing stock, and the ham stand and knife will be at the ready for future legs. I cannot recommend this one enough!

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