Grocery prices are still at record highs, which means many of us are seeking more affordable alternatives to pick up essentials for the fridge and pantry. While the Dollar Tree may be best-known for party props, cleaning supplies and inexpensive housewares, the store also carries a wide variety of the familiar food brands you can find in any Walmart, Kroger or Publix. In fact, they even boast a range of specialty items to accommodate more specific cooking and baking needs — all priced competitively at the chain's signature $1.25 per unit.
After a recent perusal of the shelves, we've rounded up 14 products we were pleasantly surprised to find. From gnocchi and tamarind soda to egg noodles and guava nectar, Dollar Tree is a one-stop shop for a good portion of your grocery list (the chain doesn't sell fresh produce and many refrigerated items). Even better, these budget-friendly products are also conveniently available online for same-day delivery.
This potato-based pasta is sold in 17-ounce packs and happens to be one of the most affordable on the market, according to dozens of five-star reviews in the comments section. Fry up and toss with your favorite sauce, from Marcella Hazan's brilliant Tomato Sauce With Onion and Butter to fresh pesto.
Light and airy yet perfectly crunchy, these breadcrumbs will elevate any dish that could use a crispy touch (creamy lemon spaghetti, anyone?) and make an A+ homemade mac and cheese topper.
Here's a little secret: Pumpkin pie spice will save you additional money since it's already a blend of common aromatics like cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Instead of buying them separately to make seasonal desserts, opt for the solo shaker and go to town. Mix a teaspoon into your morning oatmeal as well and you can enjoy the tastes of fall year-round.
If you like a little tang, you'll appreciate the sweet-sour notes of this tamarind-flavored soft drink — made with 100% natural sugar — from popular Mexican soda brand Jarritos.
Love 'em or hate 'em, Dollar Tree's got sardines. Eat them straight from the tin or use them as a base to your favorite briny salad dressings (they also make a great pantry staple to survive any impending zombie apocalypses).
6. Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are endlessly versatile—starring in everything from soups to stroganoffs—which is why we loaded our cart with a couple of these 12-ounce bags.
This simple, crunchy-sweet snack is great to keep stashed in a car, purse or office desk drawer when hunger strikes at a moment's notice and you need a quick energy boost to get you through the day.
8. Guava Nectar
While it's going to be a touch too sweet to sip on its own, add a splash of this tropical nectar to smoothies, sparkling water and most importantly, cocktails (margaritas, to be specific).
When it comes to snacking, we're strong believers in eating whatever you're in the mood for. And if that happens to be a spicy, pickled sausage, then you now know where to get it.
10. Cornbread Crisps
Similar to a pita chip — only sweeter and slightly more coarsely textured. But like pita chips, these can also stand up to thick dips like hummus to chunky salsas. They're simply delicious on their own, too.
Nothing beats slurping a freshly shucked oyster, but smoked oysters make wonderful additions to pastas, soups and stews. You can also serve them, as is, with a splash of hot sauce and a butter cracker for any cocktail hour.
While you can certainly make your own pie crust at home, it's good to know that Dollar Tree carries a pre-made version for any last-minute baking snafus. This is something to keep in mind during the holidays when grocery stores are jam-packed with last-minute shoppers.
13. Crispy Jalapeños
Toss these delightfully crunchy, peppery jalapeño crisps on practically any dish to add some subtle heat. And we do mean anything: soups, salads, grilled meats, dips and even casseroles as a zippier alternative to fried onions.
Skip delivery and concoct your own cheesy creation with these ultra-thin crusts. In fact, you can even build a homemade pizza for about $5 if using Dollar Tree ingredients (cheese, sauce and spicy pickled sausage included).