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11 Delicious Foods That are Better (and Cheaper) at Costco

By Elizabeth Rollins,


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Members love Costco because it offers great value, and the retailer’s food items — from the food court to prepared foods, baked goods, and packaged foods — are always among the best deals.

Discover nearly a dozen delicious foods at Costco that taste terrific and help you keep more money in your bank account.

Mini carrot cakes

Costco carrot cake has been a party classic for decades for two reasons: it’s delicious and it’s cheap.

When Costco introduced mini carrot cakes, people rejoiced. Longtime fans claim that the icing-to-cake ratio is better with the mini cakes. They’re certainly easier to portion and store than a full cake, and everyone seems to love them, even people who don’t like carrots. And you can get a half-dozen for around $8.

Note: These mini carrot cakes contain raisins, so if raisins are not your thing, you might want to consider a cheesecake or sheet cake instead.

Strawberry cheesecake

As cheesecakes go, the Costco cheesecake is a delicious compromise between dense and light. Not too ethereal but not stodgy, it consistently wins taste tests against specialty cheesecakes that cost twice as much, with Costco’s version going for around $17.

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Sheet cake

Having an event requiring a sheet cake? Go to Costco. You will get a sheet cake that is consistent and delicious, with frosting that’s better than you’d expect, as it doesn’t have that too-sweet, mealy taste of many retail sheet cake frostings.

And you will love the bargain price of around $19. It’s a great cake to celebrate birthdays, retirements, new houses, babies, or anything that calls for cake.

Rotisserie chicken

Costco rotisserie chicken is both legendary and infamous. It’s legendary because it’s so cheap — only $5 — and bigger than rotisserie chickens at other food retailers. It is also bizarrely delicious.

However, the rotisserie chicken also is infamous because the reason it’s so delicious is that it’s injected with a saline solution that makes it extremely high in sodium. If you don’t have to watch your sodium, though, this is the rotisserie chicken to buy.

Get even more value out of it by making stock with the bones.

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Basil pesto

This really big container of delicious imported pesto — 22 ounces — goes for under $12, which is not much money. And it’s packaged in a jar, so unlike plastic tubs with wider openings, it’s easy to store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Organic maple syrup

A quart of maple syrup for under $15 is astounding, and at 33.8 fluid ounces, Kirkland Signature Organic Pure Maple Syrup fits the bill. The fact that it’s organic makes this Costco brand syrup an even better value.

Pancakes can be a midweek breakfast with this much delicious syrup for such little money.

Organic extra virgin olive oil

Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is so good it will turn you into a person who buys 2 liters of extra virgin olive oil at a time.

Fruity but not obtrusive, this is excellent everyday olive oil at the amazing price of around $16 for 2 liters. The price on this olive oil alone maximizes your Costco membership benefits.

Vanilla extract

The pure vanilla extract at Costco is high quality at a low, low price. It’s sold in a two-pack of pint bottles. That might seem like a lot, but the quality is so high that you’ll go through it quickly.

A perennial favorite of professional and home bakers alike, at around $30 for 32 fluid ounces, it’s a strong value.

Parmigiano Reggiano wheel cheese

Kirkland Signature Whole Wheel Parmigiano Reggiano is a wedge parmesan that is so good it easily makes the list of the best Costco finds. And at just over $13 per pound, it’s cheaper than inferior-quality parmesan.

If you usually use the powdered shake cheese in the plastic tube, it’s worth trying this wedge parmesan and grating it yourself just to taste the difference. Save the rind in the freezer and toss it into the broth for extra flavor the next time you make soup.

Twisted churro

Many people swear by the Costco food court twisted churro, giving it the kind of stature usually reserved for churros at the state fair. For just $1, you get a treat that is perfect for when you want a little sweet crunchy something to get you through a shopping trip.


This list started with the famous carrot cakes, and it’s ending with the equally famous Costco food court pizza.

This pizza is so legendary that even people who have never been to Costco respect its reputation. Plain cheese or pepperoni, sold by the slice or the whole pie at prices out of the 1990s (about $2 a slice and $10 per pie), this pizza is crispy, gooey, umami perfection.

Bottom line

This list of the best foods at the best prices at Costco is definitive, but not exhaustive — there are many other famous items that are both cheaper and higher-quality at Costco than at other food retailers.

Costco means value, and the foods on this list arrive at the perfect intersection of quality and price. If you’re not already buying these items, they’re worth putting on the list for your next trip.

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