15 Top Local Food and Drink Brands from H-E-B to Fill Your Shopping Cart
Upgrade your next grocery trip with this list of must-try items found at Texas’ favorite superstore
Despite its longtime reputation as a local favorite, H-E-B has seen some serious growth in recent years, evolving from a humble grocery store into an entire shopping and dining experience. From opening its first multi-story megastore in Austin to amassing more than 320 locations across the Lone Star State, the giant has continued to garner a legion of fans and set a new standard for supermarket shopping.
Aside from the ease of access to delicious and unique items, one of the best things about this Texas powerhouse is how it gives back to the communities it inhabits.
A prime example can be found at H-E-B’s annual Quest for Texas Best competition. For 10 years, a team of experts have combed through more than six thousand locally-based products to find hidden gems and give deserving business owners a valuable space on their shelves.
After many months of deliberation, this year’s finale returned on August 6 to Fair Park in Dallas. Out of 10 incredible finalists, Houston-based PhoLicious was selected as the Grand Prize Winner for their Authentic Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup. Along with the prestigious title of “Texas Best,” founders Joseph and Anh Trousdale also received $25,000 and a year’s worth of free groceries. Verdegreens’ Farmstand Salad Dressing took home First Place, Sweets With L&L’s Cotton Candy and Sparkling Agua Fresca from A’HUA! tied for Second Place and Armagh Creamery’s Organic Yogurt won Third Place.
“We recognize the important role small businesses play in our industry and welcome the opportunity to support their journey,” said H-E-B Sr. Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Supplier Diversity James Harris in a recent release. “Not only are we supporting small business in Texas, we’re also expanding our selection of innovative, diverse and quality products our customers expect.”
However, community brands aren’t the only exciting thing to browse. Nowadays, if you can think of it, there’s probably an H-E-B product for it, and we think that’s something worth celebrating. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of our go-to picks and new discoveries for food and drinks! Make your taste buds happy and add these unmatched items to your cart on your next grocery excursion.
1. No grocery run is complete without some H-E-B Bakery Flour Tortillas. The warm and pillowy soft flatbreads are made in-store each morning and are guaranteed to be in your cart every visit. From whole wheat to burrito-sized to buttery (our personal fave), the flavor stays fresh and actually stands out among other powerful fillings and sides. As a bonus for the truly tortilla-obsessed, take home one of the store’s Flavor Favorites Butter Tortilla Scented Candles to fill your space with the same craveable aroma.
2. Founded in Lockhart in 2020 by siblings Deborah and Glenn Nease, Wella is a family-run operation that puts an emphasis on each ingredient they use, making delicious products that also check important nutritional boxes for kids and adults alike. That’s why Wella’s Grain-Free Cereal has been named as a finalist in this year’s Quest for Texas Best competition. The innovative bowls come in varieties like Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice and Snickerdoodle, but boast half the sugar as other oatmeal brands by relying on superfoods like coconut, dates, chia and flax seeds. The brand philosophy is to “Make it Fresh, Keep it Real,” and Wella has succeeded in just that, offering a healthier grab-and-go experience that doesn’t compromise on satisfaction.
3. Look, there may be some other pretty iconic ice cream brands from Texas, but H-E-B’s own frozen treats have quickly joined ranks with the best of them. With no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, we’ll always have a pint of Swoon by H-E-B’s Banana S’mores in our bag, filled with smooth banana ice cream and rich chunks of fudge, marshmallows and a graham cracker swirl. But honestly, each of the 20-plus flavors are delightful. H-E-B is also behind the Creamy Creations brand. Make sure to keep an eye out for their Limited Edition versions featuring temporarily available combinations you’ll be craving year-round. Trouble with lactose? Don’t worry. There are plenty of Non-Dairy options too, so you can get your hands on some Cookies Over Texas without any regrets.
The Destination for Dips
4. First thing’s first: Guacamole. But not just any old mix — we’re talking H-E-B’s freshly-made Spicy Guacamole. Although it won’t last too long in the fridge after opening, it’ll likely be gone long before then. The balanced blend of salt, lime, creamy avocado and heat from serrano peppers make it a refreshing dip or fajita topper.
5. Pro tip: the store’s Meal Simple section is a game changer for quick and easy dishes that feel much closer to something homemade than your usual freezer aisle culprits. Ideal for any kind of gathering, the Tex-Mex Brisket Queso Dip is filled with pice de gallo, queso blanco, Tex-Mex cheese and succulent pit-smoked brisket and can be heated in the oven or microwave. It’s a Texas staple!
6. Calling all pickle lovers! We came across this little gem at the Texas State Fair in Dallas a couple years ago and still can’t get enough. PickleSmash Pickle Salsa is based in Austin and created with passion by Liz and Brian White. Made with absolutely no tomatoes, the tangy dips are bursting with flavor and free from sugar, carbs and fat — perfect for those balancing gluten-free, Keto, Paleo or vegan-friendly diets. Just be warned, the PickleSmash Hot isn’t playing around and will leave your taste buds buzzing in the best way.
Drink It In
7. H-E-B knows how to start your morning off right with their inviting varieties of Cafe Olé coffee. The “Taste of” series is especially charming, highlighting the distinct flavor profiles conjured by different Texas towns. And while our love for Austin runs deep, we’re happy letting our cup take us on a day trip with Taste of San Antonio. Containing a fragrant mix of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla flavors with medium roast Arabica beans, each sip evokes images of an ideal morning spent at The Guenther House.
8. Explore bold tasting notes and uncover new go-to bottles without leaving the wine aisle. This supermarket’s selection offers a great glimpse into the versatile and renowned local wineries scattered throughout the Hill Country, intentionally sourced by some of the best wine stewards in Austin. We recommend sampling reds and whites from Becker Vineyards, Pedernales Cellars, Messina Hof and William Chris, which have outposts in Fredericksburg, Stonewall and Hye, Texas.
9. Did you know Twang — the maker of those sour and salty seasonings found on drink rims around the country — is actually from San Antonio? Started by Roger Trevino Sr. from his garage in 1986, the family-owned business has expanded to include a range of products and has solidified its legacy as “The Original Beer Salt.” Spice up your next sip or transform your favorite snacks with Michilada, Lemon Lime, Mango Chile, Pickle and more latino-inspired flavor enhancers.
Sweet & Savory Snackables
10. Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle was a Quest for Texas Best first place winner in 2019 — and for good reason. Started by Courtney Ray Goodson two years prior, the business was inspired by her beloved Uncle Ray’s recipe, which he had spent decades perfecting. Each southern treat is hand-made with gourmet ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup, and are memorable way to make wonderful new acquaintances.
11. Wait, spicy crackers exist? Leave it to H-E-B to surprise you with an upgraded twist on a reliable classic. Their Jalapeño Saltines have parsley, onion, garlic powder and jalapeño flavor baked right in to deliver a satisfying but not overpowering pop of heat in each bite. Stack with charcuterie for a DIY Lunchable, dip into chicken noodle soup or have by themselves for a simple and savory snack.
12. As the only Austin-based finalist in this year’s Quest for Texas Best competition, Funky Mello’s Sweet N Salty Dippsterz are a fantastic new addition to the local snacking scene. Launched in 2020 by husband-wife duo Delisa and Zach Harper, the brand’s plant-based dips and cremes are free from tons of common allergens while remaining deliciously indulgent. Although the Dippsterz currently only offer a Sweet N Salty option — including pretzel sticks and a scoop of their signature Vanilla Marshmallow Creme — if the array of bold Creme flavors are any indication, there will likely be much more to come from these pint-sized snack packs.
Saucy Seasonings & Seasoned Sauces
13. We’re obsessed with H-E-B’s Bagel Not Included Spice Blend. Inspired by the classic toppings on a (you guessed it) everything bagel, it’s an especially fun ingredient to experiment with. The crunchy kosher mix of sesame seeds, garlic, onion and poppy seeds packs a punch and turns average bites into “everything.” Keep an eye out for other varieties including Everything + Citrus Sriracha, Everything + Romano Asiago, Everything + Ranch and more.
14. Along with selling award-winning products at its beautiful farmstead in Fredericksburg, you can also find iconic specialty food brand Fischer & Wieser at your local H-E-B. From jams and jellies to sauces and glazes, there’s a tempting amount of types to try. If you’re unsure of where to start, go for the Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. For over a decade this handcrafted condiment has been recognized globally for its unforgettable taste that delivers a harmonious blend of sweet, smokey and spicy goodness.
15. While H-E-B’s That Green Sauce comes with its own loyal following, we have to shine a spotlight on Salsa El Gallo’s Green Jalapeño Salsa. Hailing from the southernmost city of Brownsville, it’s one of the best sauces you’ll find in the store and a deeply personal endeavor for founders and brothers Juan and Jamie Lopez and their families. The jalapeño-based formula brings the authenticity of a taqueria to your dining table and will enhance any dish, whether you use it to top your tacos or as a marinade for cooking meats.