The Staples Ina Garten Always Keeps In Her Freezer

Fans of Ina Garten know that she believes in using "good" ingredients to make from-scratch dishes that taste spectacular. However, the entertaining maven is also outspoken about using store-bought items when you need them — she doesn't believe in stressing yourself out when hosting a dinner party, instead of enjoying time with guests. In these cases, Garten reaches for three versatile staples from her freezer: vodka, bread, and vanilla ice cream.

Keeping vodka in the freezer is a common practice, as the liquor doesn't freeze solid, meaning you have an icy-cold shortcut to a classic Moscow Mule or trendy espresso martini. As seen on her TV show, "The Barefoot Contessa," Garten always has a tray of cocktails ready when friends come to her place, so having a cold supply of vodka on hand is a must. And while Garten is more than capable of whipping up homemade bread and ice cream, she believes that pre-prepared versions of these items are just as good. She even has preferred brands of store-bought vanilla ice creams she can't resist.

Some of Garten's bread-based recipes include her grilled cheese with extra-cheesy condiments, tomato bruschetta, and homemade croutons. And while ice cream itself is an instant dessert or cake/pie topper, the Barefoot Contessa also loves using it as a crème anglaise dupe.

What else does Ina keep on hand?

Besides these three ingredients, Ina Garten keeps lots of other items in her kitchen at all times. With 13 cookbooks under her belt, she's obviously a fan of variety, and using versatile, staple ingredients as building blocks can help you whip up delicious dishes with less running to the store. Garten keeps a specific set of essentials in her fridge, which includes organic eggs, truffle butter, and Champagne. When friends show up around brunch time, you could use all of these to make an outrageous plate of soft scrambled eggs cooked in truffle butter, with a glass of Champagne to wash it down. Not all of Garten's go-to ingredients are so pricey, though. 

If you watch her shows or read her books, you'll notice that Garten regularly reaches for things like Olio Santo olive oil, Hellmann's mayonnaise, De Cecco pastas, French fleur de sel, Rao's pasta sauces, and many more "good" ingredients." Some of these items are more expensive than others, but most of her favorite brands strike a balance between affordability and quality. They might make you feel like the Barefoot Contessa herself — minus the Hamptons estate.