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BySamantha Maxwell/Jan. 14, 2023 6:45 pm EST
Many of us cook at home on a regular basis. But when it comes to baking? Not so much. Baking can be tricky if you don't have a talent for it or you're not too experienced with the oven, which can scare some off of baking entirely. Luckily, when you shop at a store like Costco, you can take advantage of its bakery section. Although some grocery stores have limited selections when it comes to their bakery options, you won't experience that issue at Costco. In fact, there are so many different items to choose from, you may not know what to pick up.
That's why we're here to give you the scoop on some of Costco's most popular bakery treats. We've compiled a list of some of the most-loved bakery selections at the bulk store and ranked them, starting with our least favorite and making our way to the best of the best. But don't take our word for it — if something on this list sounds good to you, give it a try. You may just be surprised at what you find at your local Costco's bakery section.
15. Pumpkin pie
Listen, we know that some people are absolute pumpkin pie evangelists, and if that's you, know that we support you fully. But on the pie spectrum, pumpkin pie doesn't even come close to our favorite pie flavor out there. Perhaps that's why we're just not too interested in Costco's pumpkin pie. It's not exactly a bad dessert, but it's just so boring that there's no way we can bump it up in the ranking. If you're in a rush and need to pick up a dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, this pie will probably suffice. But if you're actually looking for a top-notch pumpkin pie, you can probably do better than what Costco offers.
Keep an eye out for Costco's pumpkin pie in the fall. It's available from September through December, but you won't be able to find it outside of those months. If you ask us, though, that's probably for the best.
14. Braided apple strudel
If you're looking for a dessert that will feed a crowd, then you might consider snagging the braided apple strudel from Costco's bakery. The dessert incorporates a sweet apple filling surrounded by a flaky, slightly crispy crust. It may sound delicious, but we have to admit that it's not our favorite dessert available at the bulk store's bakery section. The apple filling tastes sort of artificial, and it's so packed with sugar that it can actually make your teeth hurt. The texture of the crust is nice, but it can't compete with the overwhelming sweetness of the filling.
According to a Redditor who claims to have worked for the company, the braided apple strudel comes to the store frozen, and it's then thawed before it's put on display. That makes sense — it doesn't exactly taste fresh. The braided apple strudel doesn't taste terrible, but we wouldn't go out of our way to spend money on it.
13. Fudge brownies
We all love digging into a good brownie from time to time, so it's no surprise that Costco delivers on the brownie front. The store made headlines in 2021 with its massive brownie that offered enough fudgy goodness to feed an entire party. And the bakery's tiny brownie bites are the ideal indulgent snack for when you just want a little taste of chocolate in the middle of the day.
All that being said, Costco's brownies aren't the best that the bakery offers. The donuts tend to be too dense. Take one bite, and you'll feel like you're already filled up before you're even satisfied by the taste. The flavor is good, and the brownies are nice and rich, but that density can be a real turnoff if you don't want to feel too full. Ultimately, the brownies at Costco are good — they're just not something we'd want to pick up on the regular.
One of the most beloved pastries of all time, the croissant is hard not to love. Layers of fluffy, buttery pastry offer both a crunch and a softness that's perfect for breakfast ... or any time of day, really. If you're in desperate need of some croissants and you happen to be planning a trip to the Costco bakery, you're in luck — you're going to find them there. That being said, we think you should keep your expectations in check. The croissants certainly aren't bad, but they're far from what you'd be picking up from a French boulangerie.
Our other complaint? You get way, way too many croissants when you buy them from Costco. They come by the dozen, and because they don't stay fresh forever, you have to use them up relatively quickly. This can be a challenge, particularly if you have a small household. So, no, you're probably not going to get the croissants from the Costco bakery if you're really craving them, but if you're looking for a top-notch croissant, you'd be better off searching elsewhere anyway.
11. Apple pie
There are few desserts as beloved as a traditional apple pie. When it's done right, it's a transcendent dish, a slice of pure joy sprinkled with cinnamon. But all too often, apple pies miss the mark and become nothing more than a mess of gooey, apple-flavored sugar without much substance to them. If you ask us, the best apple pies are almost always handmade. When you buy them from a grocery store, you probably shouldn't expect the best of the best, and that's the exact problem we have with the apple pies from Costco's bakery section. They're just fine.
Admittedly, Costco's apple pies are better than most other grocery store pies out there, but that's still a pretty low bar. We wouldn't mind grabbing one of these pies at the last minute if we were in a rush to prepare for a dinner party, but it's definitely not a pie we would go out of our way to pick up.
10. Mini chocolate chip cookies
Average-sized cookies from the Costco bakery section? They're fine. If you want to get the best possible chocolate chip cookies from Costco, though, you're going to have to snag the mini chocolate chip cookies. We don't know if these actually have a different recipe or if there's just something about their size that makes them so appealing, but they're a fun treat to pick up when you want to keep the pantry stocked with something sweet.
For grocery store bakery chocolate chip cookies, these things are solid, and we love that they're the perfect size to have just a bite or two. But in the grand scheme of the cookie landscape, there are definitely better cookies out there. If you have the time, you might just want to grab some of the ingredients you'll need to make your own homemade cookies at home. But if you're in a pinch (or you just hate baking), the mini chocolate chip cookies from the Costco bakery are a suitable alternative.
There are few things in life as beautiful and as wholesome as a freshly cooked bagel, which is why we love the fact that Costco makes them fresh in their bakery. If you're used to buying packaged bagels from the bread aisle in your grocery store, Costco bagels are almost definitely going to be a massive step up for you. The plain bagels, which are water-boiled, have a bit of sweetness to them that's complemented by a distinct saltiness. The extra bit of flavor makes every bagel topping taste that much better.
However, for the bagel evangelists out there, these bagels may not make the cut. They don't have the bouncy and crisp exterior you expect from the very best bagel shops out there. You're certainly not getting fresh New York-style bagels from a superstore like Costco, so just keep your expectations in check. In addition to the plain bagels, you can also get your hands on everything, toasted sesame, cinnamon raisin, and Parmesan bagels as well, according to Costco Food Database.
8. Cinnamon pull-apart bread
Sometimes you just need to indulge, and sometimes you want to do that indulging at breakfast. After all, certain days call for a fruit smoothie while others require something a bit more exciting — something like the Costco bakery's cinnamon pull-apart bread. There's a reason this bakery offering is so popular: The delicious, gooey rolls are sprinkled with sugar and then blessed with a layer of frosting that makes every bite feel incredibly decadent. It's certainly not something we could eat every day, but it's perfect for a special occasion or a cold winter morning when you're looking for something that'll help warm you up.
We love how easy these things are to pop in the oven, whether you're just preparing one piece of the treat or you're reheating the entire thing to share. Naturally, if you're not into sweet breakfasts, you're probably not going to love this pull-apart bread — it's really, really sweet. But if your sweet tooth is always on a rampage, this cinnamon pull-apart bread is likely to become one of your new favorites from the Costco bakery.
7. Almond danishes
Are you someone who despises desserts that are too sweet? Are you looking for a slightly sweet way to start your morning without being overwhelmed by two full days' worth of sugar? Then look no further than the Costco bakery's almond danishes. Danishes that are filled with jelly can often be too sweet for those who don't like to eat a ton of sugar first thing in the morning, but you won't have to worry about that with almond danishes. They have a subtle sweetness to them that makes them appetizing, but their relative lack of sugar makes them feel more elevated and sophisticated.
These danishes have a lovely crispness to them that's only enhanced by the slight sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. Inside, they're doughy and flaky, and they have a distinct butteriness to them that keeps us coming back for more. The almond danishes at Costco may not be anything wild or out of the ordinary, but they make for a special albeit humble breakfast when you want to start your day off with a sweet-ish bite.
6. Raspberry crumble cookies
Perhaps you're on the hunt for something different from the Costco bakery. If so, look no further than the raspberry crumble cookies. This isn't the kind of dessert you'll find at just any grocery store. It's a Costco specialty, which is probably why these cookies have become such a hit amongst Costco shoppers. These butter shortbread cookies are complemented by a luscious raspberry filling and then accented by a sprinkling of sugar on top. It's the ideal mix of flavors: the fatty, buttery cookie, the sweet but slightly acidic raspberry, and the crunchy, textured sugar on top. It's a dream come true for all cookie lovers who are looking for something more exciting than the average chocolate chip cookie.
We love these raspberry crumble cookies, but we have to warn you that they're definitely indulgent. We can have one before we feel like we're overdoing it on the sugar. It's a sweet treat we love having on occasion, but we'd probably have constant cavities if we always kept these cookies stocked in our pantries.
5. Ham and cheese pastry
When you think of the foods on offer in the Costco bakery, you probably think of all the sweet offerings. From cakes to pies to cookies, there is no shortage of desserts from the bulk store's bakery section. But what if you're more of a savory person? If you fall into the salty-over-sweet camp, you have to try the ham and cheese pastry. This breakfast bite features a super-flaky crust that encases both ham and mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Put one in the oven in the morning to heat it up, and you have just about the easiest savory breakfast you could ever want. The mozzarella and provolone melt into the ham nicely, offering the perfect ham-to-meat ratio. That crisp crust brings it all together in a carb-tastic package that's undeniably tasty.
Take a bite, and the first thing you'll notice is an unmistakable crunch that lets you know you're in for a treat. Just be sure to heat these things up before you eat them — they're just not the same when you eat them cold.
4. Butter pound cake
Is there anything more decadent and heartier in the dessert world than a traditional butter pound cake? The butter lends it a rich, heavy quality that is accompanied by a surprisingly light flavor. It can be eaten on its own or with a variety of toppings (including even more butter), and its versatility means that most people find it to be an appealing dessert. So, how's the butter pound cake at the Costco bakery? It's actually one of our very favorite options there. Pound cake tends to be simple, but that doesn't mean it's not easy to mess up. Even still, Costco's pound cake hits every mark.
And if you're like us and you can't get enough of the goodness that is Costco's butter pound cake, you'll be delighted to know that you can snag a three-pack. If you don't think you can eat it all before it goes bad, don't worry — it's easy to freeze the extras so you can have a decadent breakfast or dessert whenever the craving hits.
3. Plain cheesecake
If you ask us, cheesecake may just be the world's best dessert. It's sweet but not too sweet, it's creamy, and it has just the right amount of texture with its crust. And although we love a flavored cheesecake, we have to admit the plain stuff is fantastic too. Making your own cheesecake can be a hassle, so you may want to check out the bakery section at your local store. There are plenty of grocery store cheesecakes that taste just okay, but when you get the plain cheesecake from the Costco bakery, you can rest assured that you're getting something special.
First of all, we love how big it is — there's definitely enough there to make it easy for you to share the cake with the crowd. Second of all, we love the subtle decoration around the edges of the cake. But the real magic comes down to the flavor: The first thing you taste is cream followed by a slight sweetness. It's not overwhelming, but it perfectly complements the cake's ultra-creamy texture. Whether you're throwing a party or you just want to treat yourself, the Costco bakery's plain cheesecake is totally worth a try.
2. Tuxedo cake
It can be exceedingly difficult to find a decent grocery store cake, and that's why we were so surprised the first time we tasted the Costco bakery's tuxedo cake. This cake really is among the very best products sold at the store, and it doesn't even taste like it's coming from a grocery store. The bottom layer is a rich, moist chocolate cake, and a brownie-dotted mousse sits on top of it. Then, there's another layer of cake, and topping it all off is a thick layer of chocolate ganache. On top of the cake rest chocolate nibs that add texture and decoration.
You may be thrown off at the size of this cake, but don't be. It packs a ton of flavor despite its small size, and because it's so decadent and rich, you'll only need a thin slice. If you want to experience one of the best desserts the Costco bakery has to offer, you need to get your hands on a tuxedo cake ASAP.
1. Cherry and cheese pastry
You already know that there's a variety of danishes to choose from at the Costco bakery, but if you're looking to switch it up and want to try something new, you've got to try the cherry and cheese pastry. The pastry itself is super soft and just a bit flaky, which is exactly the texture you'll want in a pastry like this. The top of the pastry is scored, allowing you to see the cherry and cheese filling within. That filling offers the perfect ratio of cherry to cheese. The cherry jam is sweet but with a hint of tartness and actually tastes like real cherries. The cheese cuts through that intense sweetness and adds just the right amount of creaminess to the equation. Add the subtle glaze to the top of the pastry, and it should be clear why this is our all-time favorite Costco bakery item.
If you're wondering what you should try from the Costco bakery first, we wholeheartedly recommend the cherry and cheese pastry.