HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


prepared foods at costco?

  • m

I've always wondered about the prepared foods that Costco sells...a lot of it looks good, but I'm worried to buy those huge quantities and get home and hate it! I know some of the items vary from store to store...but generally it's all the same stuff. Does anyone have any thoughts, opinions, or things I should avoid?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Costco's crabcakes are fantastic! They don't have them all the time but whenever they do I would buy a platter.

    1. b
      Brent Kulman

      The apple pie and chocolate cake are family favorites around our house.

      1. The oatmeal raisin cookies are good, but I don't like their other cookies---concur on the apple pie...their shrimp cocktail platter is okay if you're in a pinch--

        1. A co-worker brought a Costco sushi platter to a potluck. It was delicious and fresh-tasting. I think you'd want to be able to buy it the same day you're going to serve it.

          1. I went to visit a friend in Chicago and they had a party at a sports complex where you book the space but you have to provide your own food. My friend is a lifelong Chicagoan and a pizza snob, so I was shocked to find Costco pizza at this soiree. Then I tasted the pizza. It was awesome. My buddy said he approved and it was as good as any that you'd find in most pizza places close to his home in Lincoln Park. That was good enough for. The only thing I am not sure of is whether the pizza is like this at all Costcos or if it was just catering to the Chicago crowd.

            1. Interestingly (or not), I went to an all-Costco party this weekend where everything was heated up in a microwave or toaster oven because the party was in a barn and not in a house. They served fried mozarella (tasted like all other fried moz I've had), mini quiche (these were kind of dry and tasteless), crab cakes (I didn't try these but mayby I should have as folks were going through them rather quickly), cookies (these were those big thick 3+" suckers, which I just don't like), a crudite tray with pepper ranch dip, etc. (the veggies were reasonable fresh), and a few large pieces of generic brie, cheddar, etc. It's not that folks weren't eating the stuff, they were, but it was dinner time and typically at a party people will eat whatever is put before them. I know that if it were my party I would be making most if not all of my own food. But that's just me. This party was more about not spending too much time or money, convenience, and getting folks together. Costco is perfect for that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ellen

                "...cookies (these were those big thick 3+" suckers, which I just don't like)..."

                Just break them in half and that should do the trick! Kidding. But what does the size have to do with the taste?

              2. We like the rotisserie chickens and spareribs, especially when reheated on the grill.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DS

                  Rotisserie Chicken rocks. I am emberassed to admit that I have served it more than once at a dinner party and taken credit for all of the raves. I make a gravy from the drippings in the container. $5.00 gets you about a 4 pound bird. Our Costco cooks them 100 at a time and you frequently have to wait in line to get them.

                  1. re: DS
                    Brent Kulman

                    I don't know why, but the rotisserie chicken at Costco is superior to both what our local supermarket produces and the local Boston Market.

                    I'd love to know the secret.

                    1. re: Brent Kulman

                      They brine it before cooking. That makes all the difference.

                      1. re: Brent Kulman

                        They brine them, use plumper chickens, brown them coerrctly and them remove from the raoster before they dry out. They also sell them for $4.99 which is almost half the price of an inferior chicken at the local markets aorund here.

                    2. c

                      Had their pumpkin cheesecake two weeks ago. Really delicious. Served a tray of their wraps; tasted fine but was kinda mushey.

                      1. The roti chicken is as good as it gets for a large operation like Costco, and better than most small operations. Beware that sometimes it can be oversalted. Think the ribs are way overrated, though, as they are way too sugary.
                        As Just Larry stated, the grease/butter/whatever in the pan is great for gravy.
                        Find out what nights the store gets deliveries in your area, and buy the product the next day, or at least the closest day to the day of your need. At the one I shop in, they get deliveries on Monday and Friday nights, and thus Tuesdays and Saturdays are the best days for shopping.

                        1. Avoid the spinach salad. Wish I had. I've had better dressing out of random bottles and the vegetables tasted "mashed". Packaged salad in general just never meets my expectations. Why oh why do I even try?

                          The pizzas are pretty ok except that they are SO huge. They don't fit on any pan in my house, including the largest rimless cookie sheet, much less a normal sized pizza stone. (They're fresh so they can't be placed directly on the rack.) I had to cut out a large wedge to bake and then the cheese melted all over the pan. Messy. And then the the problem of how to store the remainder in its giganto box in the fridge. How do other people manage this Costco business? It's all a great deal but sometimes, I just wish that things came a bit smaller.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Kimm

                            I slide mine in right on the rack ....then put it back in the box to cut....Never any left to store

                            1. re: LaLa

                              LaLa - exactly what I do w/ mine. We don't get them often but yeah, they're a crowd pleaser.

                            2. re: Kimm

                              I love the spinach salad...at my store it is always fresh and the dressing is like crack.

                            3. I love Costco and shop there ALL the time. Their roaster chickens are by far better than any of the local grocery stores, and still cheaper at $4.99 for a better than average bird. Yummy!

                              I also love the tub of Blue HIll whitefish salad - it's a rather big container, so do share with someone as it only lasts a few weeks, but it light years less expensive than what I find in the deli department.

                              Have been AMAZED at my recent find -a Pumpkin Marscapone Bread Pudding ($9.99 for 39 oz - a steal!) that you heat up in it's own container. By far a gourmet dessert and with a smidgen of good vanilla ice cream, this will win raves from your guests. I'm going to host a dinner party at my temple with Costco foods. Yum!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: bowildhax

                                That dessert sounds great! thanks for the heads-up.

                                I'll give a big thumbs-up to the rotisserie chicken salad, which is delicious. You'll eat it right from the tub.

                                1. re: Bob W

                                  Palmetto Cheese Co Pimento Cheese, as good as home made blows away most super market brands.

                                2. re: bowildhax

                                  I've been enjoying the lobster salad version. Very good and meaty. I believe it was around $8 for a big container.

                                3. I love the pesto in the refrigerated section and the Salsa. I don't buy a lot of prepared foods there or any place, but the rotisserie is phenonomanel.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mcel215

                                    If it's the same thing we get, it's great.
                                    It's the Cibo brand pesto for, what, $7 or $8? It's three times as much at Whole Foods, same product!

                                    1. re: Jeserf

                                      Thanks, I never looked at the brand. I take it home and spoon out 3 Tblsps. in little baggies and toss them in the freezer. If I want pasta, I just take out two bags, thaw 10 minutes, voila. If I want PW's pesto pizza, I take out 1 bag and spread it on the crust.
                                      When I am down to 1 bag, I buy another jar. $7.99? I agree Jeserf, it's a great product!

                                  2. In the instore bakery, the two-loaf bag of roasted garlic bread is just wonderful. I live alone, so I slice it all when I get home, divide it up, and freeze. I would prefer being able to buy just one loaf, but so be it. The multigrain loaf 2-pack is also great. These are as good as rustic breads in artisan bakeries.

                                    They recently brought back their in-house made garlic bread, which is a halved loaf of rustic Pugliese bread, spread with a mixture of butter, roasted garlic, cheese, and parsley. Bake or broil before serving. A real crowd-pleaser.

                                    They sometimes have 64 oz plastic containers of chicken noodle soup made from their rotisserie chickens. It is chunky and good, though like the chickens, rather salty for someone like myself, who prefers a light hand with salt.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      OMG!!!! YES! the BREAD! I have been known to come home and munch on 1/2 loaf, of course with butter!!! any of the breads!

                                    2. My take is some's good, some's not so hot.

                                      I don't care for the sushi, but in a pinch, it's fresh, and it's sushi, and it isn't bad, just bland. And i'm not a sushi snob either, have never been blessed with the bet of the best sushi.

                                      The Tyson's tequila-lime wings are the best.

                                      DH brought home a jar of pesto- again, kind of bland. Some more garlic and basil would improve it greatly.

                                      Their rotisserie chicken is definitely a high point

                                      Pumpkin pie- really, really, REALLY good!

                                      Chocolate lover's cake is just awesome. I'm not a chocoholic, but when you're gonna go down, go down with the best.

                                      Not a cake snob either or even have it much, but i've never had a Costco chocolate cake that wasn't really delicious.

                                      FWIW- Kirkland vodka is one of the best i've had- very smooth.

                                      They used to have the very best cherry pie I ever tasted, but they haven't had it in a couple of years.

                                      1. R. chicken is the best deal -- same price as Safeway and way bigger.

                                        Also love lemon hoummous, the bumbleberry pie, the roasted red pepper soup. Macadamia nut cookies good too. But very sweet.

                                        In the freezer section, the potato string-wrapped shrimp are the best frozen appi I have ever made, followed closely by the brie en croute (pastry wrapped brie) in the cheese section not freezer. Also really like the vegetarian samosas.

                                        Avoid the shrimp bisque, the hot barbeque chicken wings and all of the frozen sauced barbequed ribs.

                                        1. Their chicken salad wraps are pretty good. They work out to about $2 each and taste fresh and flavorful. Handy for an impromptu picnic or a quick, tasty lunch during a day of chores.

                                          1. I highly recommend their chicken soup. It's made with the rotisserie chicken and is chuck full of carrots, celery and lots of chicken pieces. Very hearty and delicious.

                                            1. My friend and I like the breaded tilapia that you have to cook. I prefer it baked but it is tasty when fried also. I always freeze at least half as soon as I get it home, and even a month later out of the freezer it cooks up real fine.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                Nice to know, since I can no longer find their flash frozen Tilapia in the freezer section...ugh!

                                                I have switched to the flash frozen Mahi Mahi and it's delicious too. But, I do miss the Tilapia.

                                              2. I love the rot. chicken at Costco too. And the roasted garlic breads, etc., too.

                                                And I have tried some of the other items, too, and found them good to delicious.

                                                But, does anyone know~~Are the pies, soups, pizzas, and prepared main dishes made in each individual store?

                                                Because I have found the Chicken Pot Pie at the store in Mason Ohio terribly salty and likewise the 'homemade' soups, a pasta dish, and the a pizza. If they are made store-by-store, maybe I'll try to buy at another location. Maybe the Mason chef is salt crazy!?


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: dumas

                                                  The rotisserie chicken is delicious but has a lot of salt, as I can tell by my swollen feet the day after eating some. Last year I overbought and forgot that one was in the rear of the fridge for a whole week. I pulled it out, expecting that the dogs were going to be extremely happy, but it smelled and tasted just fine. Undoubtedly its shelf-life was extended by all the salt. I've also had the chicken soup, and that was more noticeably salty. My Costco is in Nashua, NH.

                                                  1. re: dumas

                                                    I bought the chicken pot pie for the first time and find it a little less salty than their rotisserie chicken or their chicken noodle soup.

                                                  2. jfood bought a pepperoni pizza the other day for lunch. it was so large it did not fit in the oven so he cut in half and placed each on a rimmed baking sheet. 20 minutes later out of the oven.

                                                    there was a ton of pepperoni on it then some cheese, sauce and the crust.

                                                    The pepperoni was good but too much and you could not taste the cheese, the sauce was way to sweet and thick, and the crust was very good. It would definitely feed 3-4 and for $6 it is a very good deal.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      I haven't tried their pizza, but notice it sells well. My Costco has them prepared and ready to bake in the meat/deli area. They also will cook and sell whole pies in the snack bar area. I'm not sure, but they seem to be different pizza's.

                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                        They are the same - in mine (NH) anyway. Choices are vegetable, pepperoni, or 5-cheese.

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          My choices in SC are pepperoni, 5-cheese and margharita. We tried the pepperoni last week for the first time, and it was good. Our favorite, however, is the margharita, it has fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and large whole basil leaves....yum!

                                                    2. agree with much of what has been said: chicken, pizza, soups, garlic bread - all good. just recently tried the lamb shanks. they are delicious! tender, very nicely spiced. do give them plenty of time to thaw before preparing and make up a nice batch of risotto to go with.

                                                        1. re: robert4444

                                                          I'll have to give the new beef barley soup another go then robert. I bought some and the lid came open and about twenty percent spilled as I was loading it in the car. I was in a hurry so I just took it back and got a refund. I'm glad I have a policy of parking far from the entrance because I hate to tell you what that spilled soup looked like on the blacktop. :)

                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                            I agree that the packaging leaves something to be desired. I just transfer it to a tupperware container as soon as I get home.

                                                            1. re: robert4444

                                                              Good idea robert. I've had no trouble the two times I've gotten the chicken noodle soup. But there was no way I was going to risk driving that soup home with a loose lid. Not with the crazy traffic around my Costco. I was going to try the tortilla soup but I haven't seen it in awhile.

                                                        2. I cannot recommend the bacon wrapped scallops. They are frozen, so not exactly a 'prepared food' i believe, but they just had an off flavor and texture. we're stuck with half the bag left and i will probably just throw it out.

                                                          1. It's been a while, but they used to make a really chicken pot pie.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: cavandre

                                                              That pie is perfect for this time of year. Just be prepared for leftovers as it is gigantic!

                                                            2. My Costco is one of the older ones so it doesn't have an in-store bakery or rotisserie chicken, but it does have a few prepared foods. I've had the pizza and it was okay but not great--the sauce was too sweet for my taste. I like the chicken Caesar salads, though.

                                                              1. Most of the prepared food items that I have tried at Costco have been less than desirable.

                                                                Notoriously bad items were their pizza, I was informed by some youngster after I bought 4 of them for a pool party that “nobody eats Costco pizzas – they suck”, unfortunately they were correct and to add insult to injury my adult son, who was visiting, informed me that anyone who serves a Costco pizza is insulting their guests.

                                                                On another occasion I brought a prepared Indian food item (chicken something, I forget) that got tossed in the trash, it was horrific.

                                                                The good items that I have had are the rotisserie chicken, sushi, California rolls and a two pack of baked garlic bread.

                                                                1. The tubs of rotisserie chicken salad and rotisserie chicken pasta salad with feta are good, but not exactly healthy, especially when you eat multiples of the suggested portion size. LOL

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                    The sushi is awful! At least it was in Salt Lake City.

                                                                  2. Just had the pot roast in the heat and eat refrigerated area. Morton's I think. I love my own pot roast but this was so convenient to have sitting around in the fridge for a few days til I had a night where I didn't feel like cooking. Nuked up the pot roast and gravy and served it with some organic frozen corn from Costco and baked potatoes. Hearty and easy and the gravy is good! I also finally got around to trying the frozen creme puffs. Rather than having them for dessert, I've been enjoying just defrosting two at a time, they are small, and having them as a decadent snack.