“It’s so hard to find outside of North America. I learned that the hard way.”
If you’ve ever walked into a grocery store overseas, you know the selection can be quite different from what you’re probably used to in the United States. So redditor u/pogmoshron asked, “What are some kitchen must-haves that I can buy when I’m in the US that can’t be bought in Europe?” Here’s what people had to say.
“All Mexican ingredients like little hot sauces or canned chipotles in adobo sauce.”
“I’m from Connecticut and have lived in England for a few years. For me, it’s the classic New England fall dishes like apple cider donuts and all things pumpkin. It’s a very American concept.”
“Maple syrup. It’s so hard to find outside of North America. I learned the hard way when I was trying to plan an American-themed breakfast for a dinner party in Brazil.”
“Ranch dressing. My friend just moved to Dublin from the US, and he brought a ridiculous amount of ranch dressing with him. Europe has no market for this beloved condiment.
“American pancake mix, especially the simplest possible canned versions where you just add water.”
“Cottage cheese. In Japan, it’s almost impossible to find, and I really miss cottage cheese!”
“Sweet cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I asked my sister to bring me a few boxes when she visited me in Madrid. The cereal selection in Europe just doesn’t compare.”
“Cornbread. It’s rare to find it in the UK. The only place I saw it was at Whole Foods, and even there it was cold, below average and not as comforting than the American version.”
“Pop-Tarts. You can usually find them in a few specialty ‘American’ shops, but they’re usually three times the price markup, so I buy a few cheap boxes when I can.”
“Old Bay Seasoning. I couldn’t find it in Europe. I’m from Maryland, and I miss it so much that I make mine from a copycat recipe and always have it on hand in my food.”
“Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I used to bring back Buffalo sauce when I visited the United States, but then realized how easy and tasty it is to make it from scratch. But Frank’s Red is the key.”
“Celery seed. I live in Finland, and personally couldn’t find it here. I don’t know how common it is in other countries. IMO, celery seed really gives Coleslaw, potato salad and other dishes that have real “American” flavor.
“It’s not quite a food product, but American measuring cups. It makes tracking recipes so much easier since you don’t have to convert the measurements.”
“Dried chiles. If you like Mexican cooking, it’s worth getting some in the US. You can find some overseas, but they’re much more expensive and less common.”
“Barbecue sauce in small quantities. There are so many great regional barbecue sauces in the United States, and it’s definitely worth buying some while you’re in the United States.”
“Trader Joe’s Spices. Everything But Bagel Seasoning is my favorite. Mushroom & Company All-Purpose Umami Seasoning, Green Goddess Seasoning, and Everything But Elote Seasoning are great too.”
“Tajin Seasoning. It elevates just about every type of fruit, and it’s so hard to find outside of the United States.”
“My sister lives overseas and she always complains about how hard it is to find tinned pumpkins. Every time I visit I always stock up and bring some to her.”
“Bourbon! Whenever I go to the United States, I bring home as much bourbon as I am allowed. Abroad, there are very few types of Bourbon sold, and they are incredibly expensive.”
“When I lived in the United States, I used to bring Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix and make an onion dip. My Indian friends loved it so much they fought over who got to lick the bowl. .”
“Dr. Pepper. Every time we travel overseas, my husband almost loses his mind going a week or two without it.”
“Any peanut butter product. I’m an American living in Scotland, and good peanut butter exists here, but only in tiny, expensive jars. Things like Peanut Butter Cookies, Reese’s Puffs and I miss peanut butter filled pretzels.”
“Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup. The American version is just different from the version you can buy overseas.”
“Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. My God, I miss it.”
“I’m an American expat living in Germany, and every time I come home I bring back Annie’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I often make Mac ‘n’ Cheese from scratch, but there’s something something special about that thing in the Kraft blue box.”
“Stone ground corn grits. At least in England they are almost impossible to find. You can get your hands on some Quaker Oats corn grits, but that’s about it.
If you live abroad or have traveled abroad, what “American” ingredient is really hard to find? Tell us in the comments below.