9 Grocery Items You Should Be Buying At Big Lots

Sneer all you want, but Big Lots has some great grocery deals.

To the untrained eye, Big Lots might seem like a weird, yellowish warehouse that sells clocks and garden hoses, and it certainly is that—but this discount chain has a lot of great grocery finds, too.

If you've been to a Big Lots before, you've no doubt asked yourself, "What's that musty smell?" That's the smell of savings, friend. Big Lots doesn't blow you away with flashy products, sleek end cap displays, or signs indicating where the bathroom is. No, this place is all about utility, and if you can look past all the furniture for sale, this retailer has a ton of snacks and cooking essentials worth checking out. If you're smart, you'll walk out of Big Lots having stocked your pantry for next to nothing, with enough cash leftover to buy this weird lawn gnome car.

No judgment if you've written off Big Lots your whole life. I was once like you. I get my groceries from the grocery store, I used to say. But Big Lots isn't all gazebos, umbrellas, frog statues, and rugs. Here are nine foods you should be on the lookout for.

Peanut Butter Pretzels

Fresh Finds is the Big Lots house brand you'll see throughout the food aisles. Like Walmart's Great Value products, Fresh Finds items are cheap and aggressively basic. However, some of those private label products are a delicious steal. Such is the case with Fresh Finds Peanut Butter Pretzels. This 44-oz. container costs $7.99, a few bucks lower than both Costco and Target. There's nothing "fresh" about them, technically speaking, but when it comes to something as simple as peanut butter pretzels, why not go cheap?

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Tinned Salmon

You always want to avoid the bland, watery, bottom-tier tinned fish like Starfish and Chicken of the Sea, but there are a few brands of canned fish worthy of picking up at Big Lots. One of those is Polar Salmon Filets. I love this tinned fish because it's tender, clean, and fatty. It tastes like it's been sous vide or something. Great to throw on a salad or just eat with some crackers. It tastes less fishy and more indulgent than those big cans of shredded salmon you buy at the grocery store.

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Cheese Puffs

The Fresh Finds cheese puffs are absolutely stellar. They have a considerable more amount of fat and saturated fat than Cheetos, meaning they're really bad for you and taste really good. The build on these things is also unique; the entire corn mixture is covered with cheese dust throughout, whereas Cheetos only coats the outside of each puff. It's not just that the Fresh Finds cheese puffs are cheap and tasty—they're some of the best cheese puffs you can buy, period.

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Pasta

You'll occasionally see a good pasta deal at Big Lots, but one that's consistent is La Molisana, a brand I've written about before due to its uniquely coarse texture and wonderful chew. It's an Italian imported brand that's better than anything you'll find at Kroger or Walmart. Oh, and Big Lots sells this awesome pasta for a dollar. Not every Big Lots store carries it, but use your store locator to find out if one near you does. In my estimation, there's no better deal for dried store-bought pasta anywhere.

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TGI Fridays Snacks

TGI Fridays branded snacks are everywhere at Big Lots. It's rare because usually I only see one or two different types of Fridays brand chips at a convenience store or in a vending machine. At Big Lots, though, you can see three or even four types at once. One location I went to stocked Fridays Buffalo Ranch Party Bites, Crunchy Fries, Extreme Heat Crunchy Fries, and Mozzarella Sticks (a cheese puff product which was recently the subject of a lawsuit). I've also seen the Fridays Potato Skins chips here on occasion, too.

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Trail Mix

Fresh Finds strikes again with an assortment of cheap nuts like cashews, peanuts, and almonds in bulk—but Big Lots' trail mix game is super strong. Varieties include Sweet Monster, Blueberry Chia Nut Crunch, and these almond pecan clusters. The Fresh Finds brands are all very cheap for trail mix and are usually of the sweet variety (the best kind).

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Spices

Sick of paying out the nose for spices? Big Lots has some great alternative options. This dude online found some really cheap Himalayan Sea Salt for three dollars. He goes on to say that he wouldn't buy any of the other spices at Big Lots because they're "inferior," but I don't know, man, $1.29 for some garlic salt and dried oregano is a pretty good deal. Personally, I'd buy a ton of dried spices and make a pungent and herby ranch dressing out of it.

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Baking Products

Big Lots has a ton of items for all of your baking needs, too, including flour, sugar, cake mix, and cooking spray. I was actually blown away by the selection of cooking sprays; this store's got Pam for days, and it seems to even have its own shelf at the location in North Hollywood. The biggest steal in the baking aisle, though, is Bob's Red Mill flour. Bob's is a quality brand, and you'll find almond flour, semolina, coconut, and all purpose flour while perusing the Big Lots shelves.

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Dried Fruit

Big Lots has a deep section of dried fruits that you'll want to take advantage of. It makes a lot sense that Big Lots would carry dried fruit—it's the type of old timey grandma snack you'd expect to find at this kind-of-for-old-people retail store. There's a whole shelf dedicated to dried fruits of all kinds, including figs, bananas, cherries, apricots, mango, and even chili mango. Great to snack on whether you're advanced in your years or not.

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