7 Canned Foods You Need To Look Out For At Aldi

Grocery cart moving through store aisle
Grocery cart moving through store aisle - defotoberg/Shutterstock

With grocery prices on the rise, I like to be on the lookout for canned foods at Aldi. Canned foods are typically affordable and also come with the added benefit of a long shelf life, which makes it easy to stock up on them. I try to load up on canned foods that are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. This approach allows me to keep things interesting when it comes to making different home cooked meals while also keeping costs low.

A number of factors were taken into consideration to select the canned foods showcased here. Most important among these was cost. Let's face it: Above all else, buying canned food is a practical and economical choice. As such, the price of canned food is often a major deciding factor before purchasing. Taking price and quality into consideration, most of my selections only cost about a buck or two. Each of the items on this list are canned foods that I have purchased and tend to use on a regular basis.

Read more: 12 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

Dakota's Pride Pinto Beans

Dakota's Pride pinto beans
Dakota's Pride pinto beans - Dakota's Pride

There are a lot of reasons to keep canned pinto beans on hand in the kitchen. For starters, pinto beans have a mild and buttery flavor that's delicious and easily adaptable into different recipes. Simmered with onions, garlic, and spices, pinto beans are the perfect addition to dishes like all-American chili and tacos, or for turning into a batch of creamy refried beans. Aside from their tastiness and versatility, pinto beans are also a healthy way to pack in some low-fat protein. Just half of a cup of cooked pinto beans delivers 8 grams of protein. The same serving also has a nice dose of fiber along with antioxidants and plenty of other nutritious benefits. Including plant-based proteins like pinto beans into your diet can also help control blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

Aldi sells large cans of Dakota's Pride pinto beans, which weigh almost two pounds and cost under a couple bucks. This is a great price for that amount of pinto beans so it's worth every penny. These beans are tender right out of the can, so they don't take very long to cook, which also makes this a great ingredient to use for a weeknight dinner.

Baker's Corner Sweetened Condensed Milk

Baker's Corner canned condensed milk
Baker's Corner canned condensed milk - Baker's Corner

Sweetened condensed milk is one of my secret weapons, so this is another canned food that I always try to keep in stock. Aldi's sells cans of Baker's Corner sweetened condensed milk that has a nice flavor and consistency along with a fair price. One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a rich and delicious iced coffee that's been mixed with a little sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is typically cheaper than flavored coffee creamers, and it's also quite thick, so a little goes a long way and it can be stretched out to last a few days. It's creamy and sweet and similar to caramel (but a bit more subdued) which makes it great to sweeten coffee, as it balances the coffee's bitterness and adds some flavor without overpowering its natural taste.

Sweetened condensed milk can also be used to make easy and surprisingly delicious homemade ice cream that doesn't require any special equipment. All it takes is folding fresh whipped cream into some sweetened condensed milk along with your preferred mix-ins (I tend to use chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups) and then freezing it overnight until it solidifies. Score a few cans of this sweetened condensed milk for all kinds of easy homemade treats.

Pueblo Lindo Chopped Green Chiles

Pueblo Lindo canned chopped green chiles
Pueblo Lindo canned chopped green chiles - Pueblo Lindo

Canned chopped green chiles are another ingredient that can easily add some instant flavor to a wide variety of dishes. These canned green chilies from Pueblo Lindo are deeply flavorful without being overly spicy. I love adding them directly to beans, chili, and tacos. I also mix these with shredded chicken for easy chicken quesadillas.

Perhaps my favorite way to use these, though, is in homemade queso. Creamy and cheesy, there's no better way to enjoy some crispy tortilla chips than by dipping them in a warm bowl of queso. One of the best ways to kick that queso up a notch is by cracking a can of green chiles open and stirring them into the cheese sauce and letting them simmer for just a few minutes. The smoky and peppery flavor of the chiles infuses into the cheese to make the queso even tastier. You can also try mixing a spoonful of these chiles into omelets, tuna salad, or burger patties — the possibilities are practically endless. And since these cans are under a buck a piece, they're easy to stock up on.

Sweet Harvest Mandarin Oranges

Sweet Harvest mandarin oranges
Sweet Harvest mandarin oranges - Sweet Harvest

Mandarin oranges are easily one of my favorite fruits. They are small and easy to peel, many varieties are seedless, and the flavor is sweetly delicate with just a touch of tanginess. I try to buy them fresh when they're in season, but when they're not available, I opt for these canned mandarins from Sweet Harvest.

These mandarin oranges are packed in a light syrup and the cans are non-BPA. Despite being canned, the fruit is still impressively firm and colorful. I like adding mandarin oranges to fresh salads. Mandarin oranges are also great to make sticky glazes for stir fry, like take-out style orange chicken. Of course, you can also use them for sweeter applications, like fruit smoothies. Try adding these in a blender with some Greek yogurt, frozen banana, and a drizzle of honey — also, be sure to add some of that citrusy mandarin orange syrup in the can.

Happy Harvest Stewed Tomatoes

Happy Harvest stewed tomatoes
Happy Harvest stewed tomatoes - Happy Harvest

Canned stewed tomatoes are excellent to form an easy base for all kinds of soups, curries, and sauces. When I make tomato sauce for pasta, I never buy the pre-jarred stuff, which is full of preservatives and usually way too sweet or way too salty. Instead, I prefer making tomato sauce with canned tomatoes so that I can season it to my liking. It really doesn't take much extra effort and canned tomatoes are often just a fraction of the price of premade pasta sauce. These stewed tomatoes from Aldi have a great flavor and they're the perfect size — all it takes is a quick pulse in the blender to make a chunky sauce.

Some canned tomatoes can be extra tangy, but these have a natural sweetness to them that can help balance more assertive ingredients like garlic in pasta sauce or jalapeños in salsa. Pureed until smooth, these canned tomatoes can also be simmered with a touch of salt, pepper, cream, and basil for a delicious tomato soup. Top your soup with shredded parmesan and serve with grilled cheese for a cheap and comforting meal.

Northern Catch Chunk Light Tuna

Northern Catch chunk light canned tuna
Northern Catch chunk light canned tuna - Northern Catch

There are so many benefits to buying canned tuna. Tuna is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Canned tuna also has a long shelf life, often lasting for several years. The price of tuna can vary greatly; fancier brands — particularly, those sold in jars like Tonnino — can cost upwards of six or seven bucks each. Delicious as many of those options are, I tend to purchase them less than the canned variety. These cans of chunk light tuna from Northern Catch are under a buck and the fish makes a perfectly good tuna salad. I like mixing mine with mayo, lemon juice, red onions, grated garlic, and diced celery.

When I take the time to make tuna salad, I almost always go the extra mile to turn it into a tuna melt. Pro-tip: Before you brown your tuna melt in a pan, try spreading a little mayo on your bread instead of butter. Mayo spreads more easily and the fat content in it will produce some amazing toasting on the bread.

Baker's Corner Evaporated Milk

Baker's Corner evaporated milk
Baker's Corner evaporated milk - Baker's Corner

Baker's Corner evaporated milk has a similar taste and texture to just about every other canned evaporated milk I've worked with, but for the low price of a buck and change. To be totally honest, I mainly use evaporated milk for one thing: macaroni and cheese. Sure, it can be used in plenty of other ways, but for me, evaporated milk's primary purpose in life is providing a shortcut to lusciously gooey cheese sauce — which is ideal for mac and cheese.

Because excess liquid in evaporated milk has been, well, evaporated in production through heating (which burns off around 60% of the milk's water content), the end result has less moisture. In essence, this stuff is basically reduced milk that's been pre-simmered for you, removing an extra step in the cooking process that can save you time.

The next time you get a craving for mac and cheese, try making the cheese sauce by mixing and slowly simmering evaporated milk, leftover starchy pasta water, and freshly grated cheddar. These three simple ingredients will knock that powdered and pouched cheese stuff out of the water.

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