Costco has a massive selection of foods. It can be incredibly overwhelming to shop there, especially if you don’t know what you’re shopping for. Yes, it’s cavernous, but as any Costco devotee or Costco-shopping parent can tell you, it’s actually a treasure trove of bulk item best buys.
The Daily Meal has combed the internet to see what top foods Costco fans rant and rave about, from the food court to the freezer aisle, and combined them into a list for you. Of course, we included Costco’s pizza, hot dogs and fan-favorite chicken bake. You will also find familiar Costco items like croissants and sheet cake.
However, there are a few cult-favorite foods on our list that Costco super shoppers spilled their secrets about that you might not know unless you’re an experienced Costco shopper, and we can’t wait to share them with you.
Upgrade your Costco run with a selection of snacks, baked goods, and prepared foods that are not just foods you should always buy at Costco, but absolute fan favorites for being the best Costco food items out there.
Formerly the trendiest milk around, almond milk has now become super accessible thanks to Costco. Costco members can buy a crate of three half-gallons of the milk alternative for about $7. That’s a total steal!
These adult ices made with premium charcoal-filtered vodka and a splash of vermouth are labeled as bar favorites such as “Cosmopolitan,” “Watermelon Lemonade,” “Appletini,” and “Lemon Drop” inside your Costco store. At only 100 calories, they’re less caloric than a frozen banana or a dish of ice cream. Plus, at 8 percent ABV, they only have about half a shot worth of alcohol each, meaning you can chill with your Skinny Freezer poolside without worrying about turning your pool situation into a lit-uation.
Costco shoppers can snag a big bag of super popular Sheila G’s brownie brittle for super cheap at Costco. The crispy thin brownie snack is $7, which is less than you’ll find it for anywhere else.
Millennials may be killing the canned tuna industry, but Costco is helping canned salmon thrive. It’s a cult favorite at Costco because it’s cheap and an easy protein addition for salads and other dishes.
Those chicken bakes (seriously, can you find those things anywhere else on Earth besides a Costco food court?) are actually pretty easy to make: Roll out some pizza dough, spread Caesar dressing on it, add grilled and sliced chicken breasts, mozzarella, bacon, and green onion, roll it all up, top it with some more Caesar dressing and shredded Parmesan, and bake. That Caesar dressing gives it a salty, creamy kick, and as it’s the same dressing that you get with the Caesar salad, you can ask for a packet on the side if you want extra.
Costco’s bakery selection is awesome, especially their croissants. They’ve developed a cult following for how light and flaky they are, but also because you can buy a bunch of them at once.
These are an absolute Costco-must when you see them. They’re chocolate-covered potato chips! What could be better? Plus, they come in large tubs, so if you’re eating them “like potato chips” you won’t run out as fast.
Costco sells about 100 million hot dogs annually in the food courts at the front of their stores, which is four times more franks than are sold at Major League baseball ballparks all season. The low price is one of the reasons why so many sell, and the chain does everything in its power to keep the prices down. In 2013, Costco switched to selling all Pepsi products after Coca-Cola increased prices, and in 2009, the chain switched from Hebrew National to Kirkland Signature (its private label brand) in order to avoid raising prices as well.
“This pesto is delicious, high quality, priced right and I would buy it again,” wrote a Costco reviewer. Costco’s basil pesto also comes in a large tub, so it’s perfect for dinner parties.
If you’re tired of shelling out for 100 percent pure maple syrup at the supermarket, Costco sells the cheapest maple syrup around.
Whether you’re loading up a care package for your college student or creating a back stock of soups for when someone in your family is home sick, you can’t go wrong with these Nissin Chicken Cup Noodles. You might be thinking: “But they’re only $1 at the grocery store!” Well, Costco sells a 24-pack for just $7.29. That’s huge savings.
If you’re nuts for nuts, Costco is the best place to get them. Costco carries various varieties of nuts and nut mixes in huge containers for a decent price. If you’re into snacking or creating your own trail mix, Costco’s nuts are ideal.
“Found out about this snack during a course I was taking. It is awesome, and I never liked peanut butter on anything before. The salty and a little bit sweet combination, crunchiness and bite size are all perfect. This is not a flimsy little snack, these are bite-sized and filled with awesomeness, a lot better than Snyders types of pretzels. Try it out, especially with coffee, and you will enjoy it,” wrote a reviewer of Costco’s peanut butter-filled pretzels.
Costco has around 400 locations in the United States, and with all but a few selling pizza at their food courts, this officially makes it the 15th largest pizza chain in America in terms of number of units, with more locations than chains including California Pizza Kitchen, Fox’s Pizza Den, and Jet’s Pizza. Costco’s pizzas are marvels of technology. First, balls of dough are lightly hand-stretched and run through a sheeter. Then, they’re spread out on a tray and docked for even cooking. The trays are then placed onto a machine that evenly applies sauce, cheese is added, and finally they’re baked. What's great is you don't have to wander down any frozen aisles to find them.
If you find yourself feeding a birthday party or needing to provide for a large family, Costco’s pre-made Kirkland Signature macaroni and cheese is super delicious, not too expensive, and big enough to feed 10 people.
Costco’s pumpkin pies only cost $5.99! When you consider the size of each pie, it’s no wonder that people love to buy these pumpkin pies. Even if you were to make your own from-scratch pumpkin pie, you’d be hard-pressed to make a pie for less than $6, which means the Costco pumpkin pies could easily be one of the foods you should always buy at Costco.
Kids and parents love Quaker’s Chewy Granola Bars. They’re an easy snack to pop into a lunch bag or a purse. Plus, they come in a bunch of tasty flavors. Luckily, you can get an enormous variety pack of 60 bars at Costco for less than $10.
The 3-pound (minimum) rotisserie chicken at Costco is always $4.99 across the board, which makes it the cheapest you’ll find anywhere. The closest competitor, Wal-Mart, sells birds for a dollar more, and the chickens they use are smaller! Costco would rake in 30 to 40 million more dollars annually if they raised the price by a buck, but they’re sticking with it, and we’re grateful for that.
Savvy shoppers are well aware that you can buy a 3-pound bird for $4.99 at Costco instead of paying a dollar more for a bird half the size at a supermarket. Plus, Costco has strict standards when it comes to hot lamps: Birds under the lamp for more than 2 hours cannot be sold.
One of Costco’s best-kept secrets is their sheet cake. It’s unbeatable for birthday parties. First of all, it’s huge. You can easily feed an entire classroom of children with one cake. Secondly, it’s totally customizable with names, decorations, flavors, and fillings.
If you’re a Skinny Pop devotee, Costco sells massive bags of their popcorn for fairly cheap. Instead of getting a bunch of regular sized bags and spending a ton, buy two massive ones from Costco that will last you a lot longer (but still take up a ton of space in your pantry).
Love to bake? Bakers prefer getting their vanilla extract at Costco because they sell a humongous bottle for a reasonable price.
Costco fans know that Costco sells some of the best vanilla ice cream. Humboldt Creamery exclusively supplies Costco with fan-favorite “Conventional Vanilla” ice cream. For some more ways to get more bang for your buck when it comes to groceries? These are the best ways to stretch your food dollar at Costco, BJ's, and Sam's Club.
More From The Daily Meal:
Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Supermarket
26 Trader Joe’s Products That Save Weeknight Dinners
Ways to Stretch Your Food Dollar at Costco, BJ's, and Sam's Club
The Best Family Restaurants in America
20 Quick Dinner Dishes You Can Make Completely Out of the Freezer