‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Likes Store-Bought Foods And Recommends A Few More Than Others

Mention “Barefoot Contessa” to just about anyone and they will likely equate the Food Network program and star, Ina Garten, with made-from-scratch everything in the kitchen.

'Barefoot Contessa' Ina Garten
‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Not so. The home cook surprisingly uses and encourages regular, store-bought kitchen items. You might be surprised at the short cuts Garten takes.

There’s no need to get fancy! Here are the store-bought foods Garten says are A-OK.

The Ina Garten brand

Garten’s newest admirers and most ardent fans love her for how effortless she makes the good life look. Dinner for a party of ten? She’s got that. Brunch for a friend’s college buddies? No problem. But as much as the 72-year-old can bring a meal together seemingly with a wiggle of her nose, she really doesn’t do it all from scratch and doesn’t mind short cuts when they make sense and don’t take flavor and quality away from the final product.

“I think what interests me hasn’t changed at all, but my insistence on flavor has gotten more intense,” Garten told Epicurious. “When I make a recipe that I used to make in 1980, I’ll think it’s interesting, but it probably took longer than it needed to because I know how to do things simply now.”

“For example, one thing I’ve learned over the years: . . . I’ve found if you roast chicken breasts with the skin on, and then take off the bones and the skin when it’s done, you end up with really delicious, well-flavored chicken for chicken salad. It’s a much easier process, and the chicken tastes better.”

What Garten insists on with her ingredients

While the Barefoot Contessa cook has gotten less picky about having every last dish or side being made from scratch, one thing she does have to have are fresh ingredients, because it’s important to, as she says, “respect the ingredients.”

“Buy things in season,” she continued in her conversation with Epicurious, “and then only do what you need to do to make [food] taste as good as it can taste. . . “

“If you add coffee to chocolate, it gives it a depth of flavor. And vanilla—it gives chocolate a depth of flavor. . . That’s what fascinates me.”

The store-bought foods she says are A-OK

Hearing that the Hamptons resident really doesn’t make everything from scratch is kind of a surprise, when she seems to do just that on her Food Network program.

The following store-bought foods are her go-to items for when she doesn’t have time, or just doesn’t want to, make it from scratch, as she told Today in 2019.

Mayonnaise – “It’s not so hard to make yourself,” Garten said, “but I don’t know, I think Hellmann’s in the east and Best in the west is fantastic.”

Ketchup – She’s strictly a buy-it-in-the-bottle gal. “It’s very complicated to make yourself, and store-bought is just fine. I use Heinz.”

Marinara sauce, under special provisions – “Of course it’s always good to make it yourself,” she states, “but I find Rao’s is fantastic, so store-bought’s good, too.”

For puff pastry, she swears by store-bought – “Don’t even bother making it yourself. It takes forever,” she said.

Read more: ‘The Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Confesses This is the 1 Dish She Can Never Get Right