Pantry Items

116 Kitchen-Tested Ingredients

Tahini
Tahini
Finding the best tahini can be a real grind.
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White Wine Vinegar
White Wine Vinegar
Versatility can seem boring, but it’s an asset for this pantry staple.
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Single-Varietal White Wine Vinegars
Single-Varietal White Wine Vinegars
Some markets now carry wine vinegars made from a specific variety of wine, such as Champagne or Pinot Grigio. We tasted them plain as well as whisked into a vin…
Premium Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Premium Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
High-end extra-virgin olive oils offer a world of flavor beyond grocery-store options. But if you want to trade up, where do you begin?
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Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan mayo can’t be very good, can it? Read on for a shocking surprise.
Almond Butter
Almond Butter
The best almond butter contains more than just ground almonds.
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Sherry Vinegar
Sherry Vinegar
The woodsy yet vibrant taste of sherry vinegar makes it such a standout that it just might become your favorite everyday vinegar.
Beef Broth
Beef Broth
Commercial beef broths contain almost no beef. So what exactly are these products adding to your recipes?
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Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
We tasted five white, and nine multigrain gluten-free sandwich breads to see if we could find a supermarket brand worth buying.
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Supermarket Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Supermarket Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Often dull or even rancid-tasting, supermarket olive oils never seem to live up to their extra-virgin designation. Have new industry standards improved the opt…
Supermarket Balsamic Vinegar
Supermarket Balsamic Vinegar
In recent years, Italy has created a new set of guidelines for mass-produced balsamic vinegar. We wanted to know if these new laws guarantee a better-quality pr…
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Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
Finding a low-sodium vegetable broth worth using is more difficult than it sounds.
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Vegetarian Broth
Vegetarian Broth
More vegetables, better broth? We tasted a slew of products and discovered that, in most cases, the answer is no.
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Apricot Preserves
Apricot Preserves
We tasted five top-selling products plain and in our Cook's Illustrated French Apple Tart.
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Sweet Pickle Relish
Sweet Pickle Relish
Our winner was drab—but only in color.
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Egg Noodles
Egg Noodles
What makes the best egg noodles? The right shape, right amount of fat, and right type of flour.
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Jarred Medium Salsa
Jarred Medium Salsa
Sure, it sells well, but is salsa from the supermarket actually any good?
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Jarred Green Salsa
Jarred Green Salsa
Salsa verde adds tangy zest to tacos, enchiladas, and more. We rounded up five nationally available, shelf-stable products and tasted them plain and with tortil…
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Chicken Broth
Chicken Broth
Just about every broth in the supermarket amounts to a science project of flavor enhancers and salt. Does that have to be a bad thing?
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High-End Barbecue Sauces
High-End Barbecue Sauces
We put four small-batch, mail-order barbecue sauces to the test against our supermarket favorite.
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Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives
Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives
Pimento-stuffed green olives aren’t just for martinis.
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Hottest Hot Sauces
Hottest Hot Sauces
What good is hot sauce so scorching you can't even taste it?
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Grits
Grits
If you're just going to slather them with butter and cheese, does it really matter what brand of grits you buy?
Premium Jarred Pasta Sauce
Premium Jarred Pasta Sauce
Jarred pasta sauces are showing up on supermarket shelves with upscale twists: a dash of wine here, fancy olive oil there. Do these dolled-up sauces really tast…
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Oyster Crackers
Oyster Crackers
Many people enjoy oyster crackers simply for snacking, but they were originally intended to accompany soup. We wondered which brand would perform both functions…
Gravy Enhancers
Gravy Enhancers
Liquid gravy seasonings claim to enhance homemade gravy. We wanted to find out for ourselves.
Ketchup
Ketchup
Responding to public demands, many manufacturers have ditched high-fructose corn syrup for other sweeteners. Do these new ketchups taste better?
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Graham Crackers
Graham Crackers
We tasted three top-selling national brands to see which came out on top.
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Golden Raisins
Golden Raisins
When a recipe calls for golden raisins, your choices are surprisingly limited. But which is the best brand?
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Cornmeal
Cornmeal
We were surprised to discover how much the flavor and grind can vary among different brands.
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Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese
We tasted 25 boxed and frozen versions of mostly clumpy, gloppy, wimpy mac and cheese. Were there any we’d actually eat?
Crunchy Peanut Butter
Crunchy Peanut Butter
Though we don't use it as much as the creamy stuff for cooking purposes, crunchy peanut butter occupies a prime spot in many home kitchen pantries.
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Creamy Peanut Butter
Creamy Peanut Butter
“Natural” peanut butter used to mean an oil slick on top and a texture so stiff you could stand a stick in it. Is the new breed of butters any better? And what …
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Ground Ginger
Ground Ginger
Since ginger is often used in combination with other spices, would it matter which brand we used in recipes like gingerbread?
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Red Wine Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Does aging make a difference in vinegar, or does it all boil down to the grapes you start with?
Pancake Mixes
Pancake Mixes
What’s the secret to the best from-the-box pancakes? Here’s a hint: They don’t mix with water.
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