HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


What can you not live without from Costco?

Never bought them before, but after seeing prices for dried mushrooms in Italy, I'm thinking that tub of them at Costco is calling my name.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Those large plastic jars of nut meats; pork ribs; coffee; artichoke hearts; baking powder (when it's available) and tasting everything they offer at those sampler stations.

    1. Aceto basalmic vinegar and organic extra virgin olive oil and org. spinach. Not to mention, Costco has the best bread in Juneau, AK- how sad is that? Sorry Silverbow.

      1. sundried tomato jars
        big rolls of plastic wrap and sandwich bags
        organic butter (just a bit cheaper there)
        brown eggs
        chicken stock cartons and canned tomatoes
        dried nuts during the holidays
        cases of beer when i have a get-together

        1. Never shop there, never will.
          Now if you were to ask the same of Trader Joes, the answer would be EVERYTHING. I do 85% of my grocery shopping there!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Salty_Loves_Sweet

            It's not an "either / or" between Costco and TJ. We shop both for different thing and love them both.

            1. re: dpan

              Couldn't agree more. Both have their place in our household. Our dogs would turn on us if we ever stopped getting those big bags of chicken jerky strips.

            2. re: Salty_Loves_Sweet

              "Never shop there, never will'

              Really? I'm curious why not?

              I'm on my way tomorrow to buy the big bags of lemons...
              Big blocks of Tillamook cheese
              Bags of pinenuts that I keep in the freezer
              Bags of dried cherries/cranberries
              Sunsweet dried plums
              Kirkland brand fruit and nut medley....great for hiking.
              Of course the Hebrew National hotdog and drink at the end of my shopping.

              1. re: latindancer

                I've got one of the 50-oz bags of dried plums (FKA prunes) right here in my office. Great as part of a healthy snack.

                NB: This is one of the products that has Kirkland above the well-known name brand.

            3. Oh, let me count the items that I love from Costco.....

              red meat, especially for grinding into hamburger
              lamb chops butchered in house
              steak tips
              prime rib eye steaks

              Greek feta cheese
              Parmesian and Romano chunks
              Swiss slices for sandwiches
              That triple cream which I can only buy when there will be tons of people in the house so I don't eat it all by myself.

              Great prices when in season for Haddock and Wild Alaska salmon. Eat one meal and then smoke.
              Smoked salmon when it isn't salmon season

              Those bags of lemons and limes. Great price; if we can't use them before they start going bad, I juice and freeze them in ice cube trays

              Other stuff
              olive oil
              pacific chicken broth for those lazy days
              5 lb bags of spinach
              toilet paper
              paper towels
              prescription drugs
              window blinds [still have 12 windows to go]

              And then the occasional treats:
              Stacy pita chips
              Sabra hummus
              la vache qui rie cheese

              1. Boneless Ribeyes
                Bonless/skinless chix thighs
                Tail-off cooked shrimp
                Artichoke hearts
                Kalmata olives
                Sun dried tomatoes(big jar)
                Frozen Italian meatballs
                Daily-Multi vitamins

                1. HARK! The preceding posters must never have tried the Roasted Garlic Loaves in the instore bakery, or they'd be first on your lists. Beautifully mellow, caramelized cloves liberally stud what seems like a sourdough loaf although the ingredients don't so indicate. Their multigrain cousin is also great, I do wish they had mix&match for their breads, which come 2 loaves per package.

                  Dog kibble (highly rated in a nutritional analysis study of dry dog food)
                  Dog beds and blankets

                  ....re those dried mushrooms. I noticed that they are packed domestically but it does not say they are grown here so I assume they are imported. I recently soaked a remaining half-jar to make soup, which also contained onion, marrow beans, and chicken broth. There was a bitter undertone to the soup. Now, I've never had the Rancho Gordo marrow beans before - they are supposed to taste like bacon, but not to me. It is possible that the metallic bitterness was from the beans, but I used some from the same bag in other dishes and didn't notice, so I am pretty suspicious about the mushrooms. I added a lot of Stonewall Farms Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam to counteract it. Maybe I should have chucked the soup but I am loathe to waste food, and have bought dried mushrooms in Asian markets for many years (they have great prices for these) so I figure if the'yre contaminated, I'm long since poisoned.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    I don't really care for the Gourmet Dried Mushroom mix. I have about half of a plastic container left, but can't bring myself to eat them or throw them away. And you are right. I have not tried the Roasted Garlic Loaves. I will remedy this on my next visit.

                    1. re: smtucker

                      I once purchased a GIANT bag of dried shiitake mushrooms at Costco (this was before they started offering the tub of mixed dried mushrooms). I used them twice - once to make a broth and once in a risotto - and thought they had a strange flavor both times.

                      1. re: FlyerFan

                        And they are pithy in the middle and slimy on the outside no matter how you cook them, those were my first and last time with those. Gave the leftover 2/3 of the bag to the food bank.

                        1. re: FlyerFan

                          Dehydrated mushies are much more earthy tasting than fresh mushies and can't be used in most recipies calling for fresh. You should check out Food Network for recipies.

                          1. re: cstr

                            I've used dried mushrooms before and have loved the results - just wasn't happy with the results from the Costco mushrooms in the same recipes.

                            1. re: FlyerFan

                              Same here. I would never consider buying a half gallon jug of dried mushrooms if I had never used a dried mushroom before. This is the only item I have ever purchased that hasn't made me happy. And I love dried mushrooms as a general rule.

                    2. There's not a single must have item that I couldn't do without from Costco. And I've been shopping there for years.

                      1. These items aren't unique to Costco, but they have good prices on them:

                        Sabra Hummus
                        Kirkland Toilet Paper

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mrfood16

                          Yes to Costco's hummus, altho I prefer the Oasis brand w/pine nuts: firmer than TJ's, more flavorful than stuff I've bought in natural food stores.

                          1. re: mrfood16

                            Kirkland toilet paper is their #1 selling item.

                            1. re: monku

                              I think I remember hearing in an interview or TV provile that it's not just their #1 item, but it's their #1 item worldwide. Like in each country where they open a store, the bathroom tissue MOVES!

                          2. tri-tip steaks -- I marinate them and then cut up for fondue
                            chicken thighs
                            ground beef chuck -- the 1-lb. chubs
                            the five-packs of bacon

                            Around the holidays, their prime rib roasts are the best

                            1. Kirkland brand Marcona Almonds...we go through two cans per week.
                              only buy Gruyere' cheese there...such a good deal
                              Tillamook Cheddar logs
                              Ling-Ling pot stickers
                              big containers for strawberries

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: grouper

                                Agree about the Tillamook. Until Costco started carrying it, we only had it around when we visited my family in WA.

                                1. re: grouper

                                  Those Marcona almonds are great at a great price. Now if they would only offer some flavored with rosemary, like Trader Joe's has...

                                2. About the only thing I get at the mega-mart is fresh herbs, everything else comes from Costco where I enjoy the cash back and saving some dough!

                                  1. Prime beef
                                    Fosters Farms frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
                                    Interesting cheeses
                                    trash can liners
                                    Jalepeno stuffed olives
                                    last minute frozen party food

                                    1. prescriptions
                                      Foster Farms 8 pack (4 in each pack) chicken thighs
                                      Kirkland multi grain bread (2 pack)
                                      Kirkland butter
                                      Knudsen Cottage Cheese
                                      No sugar added hot chocolate mix
                                      liquid laundry soap
                                      trash bags
                                      lunch bags
                                      paper goods

                                      1. Baby back ribs (If you ask at the counter for a case you get another 25% off).

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: duck833

                                          duck833, what counter are you referring to????meat counter ot the service counter up front for the 25% discount??????

                                          1. re: mutti

                                            At the meat counter.... if you buy a case of many meat cuts, they discount the meat even further. My Costco has the case prices posted way up above the windows that look into the meat processing area.

                                        2. "Prime" graded NY strips.
                                          Lamb loin chops and rack of lamb.
                                          La Brea Bakery breads as my fall-back position when the real local bakeries have closed.
                                          Vilafonte 2004 series C
                                          Pine nuts in the bulk bag.

                                          1. Ito-En green tea bags are really the only thing i *have* to have from there - my mornings just wouldn't be the same without them.

                                            i also like the Kirkland toilet paper, large bottles of balsamic vinegar, and organic dried basil, but i've gone without those and it hasn't been too painful.

                                            1. The big (2lb, 5 lb?) bags of dried mango. I think the brand is something like Philipina? I'm not a Costco member myself but my parents are and I periodically beg them to send me mangos. I can go through a bag in two days. Love them

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: mjhals

                                                it's not Mariani? that's the brand of dried fruit i always see in ginormous bags in my parents' cabinet when i go over there. my father's a Costco nut.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Nope, definitely not Mariani (my parents grow for them, sometimes, when Sunsweet isn't buying all their crop). The mangos come in a white bag w/ blue and orange script. Same type of bag as the ginormous Mariani ones though, wide bottom w/ a zip seal top. The mangos are wonderfully sweet and more tender than any other dried mangos I've had.

                                                  1. re: mjhals

                                                    I've bought those mangoes before. I wish they weren't coated so heavily in sugar.

                                                2. Cold milled Flax seed,
                                                  muir glen organic canned tomatoes,
                                                  feta cheese,
                                                  olive oil,
                                                  greek olives,
                                                  fruits and berries,
                                                  best foods mayonnaise,
                                                  vine-ripened tomatoes,
                                                  Costco already made spinach salad, yum!
                                                  my wonderful King sized bed
                                                  So much more!!!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      It is ground in a special cold mill that preserves its freshness better than any other pre-ground flaxseed I have seen. I don't have a grinder at home and this one actually has really good flavor. I can hardly tell the difference between this and fresh ground. It also stays even fresher in the freezer.

                                                      1. re: DishDelish

                                                        Agreed on the flax seed. Good texture and not too expensive.

                                                  1. My Costco is very close by:

                                                    Coastal English cheddar
                                                    Primos margherita pizza
                                                    organic canned tomatoes
                                                    whole organic milk
                                                    Brownie Bites
                                                    Ruta Maya organic coffee
                                                    Veggie Straws
                                                    Stacy's Pita chips
                                                    organic ground beef
                                                    organics boneless chicken breasts
                                                    Liptons Diet green tea
                                                    Whole grain bread
                                                    salmon burgers
                                                    paper towels
                                                    Uncooked tortillas
                                                    organic spinach
                                                    prescriptions drugs
                                                    rice crackers snack mix

                                                    1. Their organic salsa is strangely addicting. And it is very slow to spoil.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: NewDude

                                                        I bought it and it spoiled within a couple weeks. I left my hubby to visit family in Minnesota for a couple weeks last year and he went to open it when I was gone and it exploded everywhere. Now I just make homemade because it lasts longer. I guess we may have had a bad batch though.

                                                      2. chanterelles, when they have them. i will buy a box whenever i see them, as i'm always excited when they are in stock.. as they were yesterday. roasted ome for an accompaniment to pork loin tonight....pasta tomorrow!

                                                        1. Mixed nuts - we LOVE them!!!!!! What's interesteing is the way they actual varieties of nuts in the mix keeps changing...

                                                          1. I can't believe that no one has mentioned the Rotisserie Chickens, $4.99/3lbs. I use it for so many things and always make my chicken stock for soup with the carcass'. I use two at a time (freeze to keep them).
                                                            Refrigerated Pesto (section and freeze), lasts forever
                                                            Steak, filet mignon when they are small pieces
                                                            Bagels (I know they aren't authentic), but 1 dozen for $4.99, they go in the freezer great.
                                                            Cream Cheese, 3lb block
                                                            Flash frozen Scallops
                                                            Flash frozen Tilapia
                                                            Flash frozen Salmon
                                                            fresh fruit, depends what is in season, most is a lot cheaper and great tasting
                                                            Champagne Mangos, heavenly (I know it's fresh fruit, but it deserves a shout out)
                                                            Fresh Baby Bellas (I pan sear and freeze), yum
                                                            Frozen Tiramisu (exceptional for 9.99)
                                                            Kirkland Coffe beans, columbian - silver bag with a tiger on front
                                                            And all fall into summer, I buy Compari tomatoes, let sit on the counter and they ripen

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: mcel215

                                                              I got addicted to their Frozen Tiramisu last summer. I was upset when they were out of stock one visit. I really like their pies and cheesecakes but I have learned to freeze half immediately. My friend and I enjoy their breaded tilapia in the prepared foods section. Their meats are great too. I still have so much to try from Costco and I've been a member a whole year now.

                                                            2. No doubt I love costco. However, over the past few years, it seems like there are less selections available. They got rid of ivory and dove soap, no j&j baby shampoo, no honey bunches of oats (without the almonds).

                                                              Not sure if is a national costco trend.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Soup

                                                                They are like TJ's in that they discontinue at will--I believe that if they don't like the price of something they simply stop carrying it.

                                                                1. re: Soup

                                                                  It's all about revenue per sq/ft. If it doesn't sell it goes, pretty simple.

                                                                2. No one has mentioned the goat cheese logs. At Costco you can get a full pound of chevre for what you'd pay for 4-6 ounces at most places.

                                                                  Plenty of other winners in the cheese aisle. I second the various fetas -- both the big squares of President and the smaller rectangles of Dodoni. There might be a big tub of crumbled feta too.

                                                                  Also in that area, the smoked salmon. The Kirkland brand is very good.

                                                                  I must say, we love the Kirkland stuff now. The canned tuna is great.

                                                                  The only Kirkland brand products I refuse to buy are the shirts. That just screams "dork" to me. Apologies to anyone who buys those shirts. LOL

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                    I always bought the goat cheese logs pre TJ's arrival in the Motor. TJ's smaller size at a good price to me makes more sense as it gets eaten before it gets gummy.

                                                                    You're right though, the cheese aisle overall is a wealth of good stuff at good prices.

                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                      Yes, I should have added the caveat about the big goat cheese logs at Costco is that they have a shorter refrigerator shelf life than most cheeses. But if you can use it in a timely manner, it's a great value.

                                                                  2. Nobody's mentioned the Kirkland vanilla ice cream, so I will. It's abso-friggin-lutely fabulous.

                                                                    And I'll second the pesto recommendation - it's so good I no longer feel I need to make my own from scratch.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: azveggieguy

                                                                      I like that vanilla ice cream too. /waits for them to also offer chocolate.

                                                                    2. I love having a Costco card with me when traveling out of state. It is so much fun to be in Hawaii, for instance, and be able to buy the tourist stuff in bulk. My hubby bought 100 % pure Kona coffee there for only 20 dollars in July, and all of the yummy macadamia nuts and a huge thing of ling hi moi powder.

                                                                      1. Dave Sedaris launched his latest book tour (earlier this year?) in a North Carolina Costco. So, both of my favorite things combined!

                                                                        Everyone has mentioned toilet paper and paper towels and the $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

                                                                        I also heart:

                                                                        boneless chicken thighs
                                                                        chicken thighs
                                                                        towards Christmas or Thanksgiving, they come out with the prime rib! (tastier than Safeway)
                                                                        the tempura shrimp in the freezer section (You just bake it in the oven and it's ready to go!)

                                                                        The one thing I've gotten from Costco that I will not get again is their pesto sauce. It had a sort of metallic tang, I don't know why!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: batchoy

                                                                          Costco no longer sells Freybe's canadian bacon. That was on my list of Costco musts. We just had some from the local grocery this morning and it didn't come close!!

                                                                          We are currently just 2 home with the 2 kids away at college. When they are home, the bagels are on the list, but I always buy bread, those Arnold lite hamburger rolls, nuts, meats, pellegrino, eggs, tp, and paper towels. I freeze what we won't use and make a lot of use of the Talia Food saveer. Also, I buy enough that with the Executive Membership, I get a rebate check annually which basically pays for the next year's membership.

                                                                        2. yesterday, i just bough a 35.3oz tub of Fage Total 0% for $6.50!! it's the first time i've ever seen it at costco, and what a deal! it looks twice as big as the largest supermarket size which is usually like $4.50. Yay.

                                                                          1. Right now, I'm kind of hooked on:
                                                                            Amy's frozen Palak & Mattar Paneer entrees - 4 to a pack - in a pinch, a nice cheap meal

                                                                            Shrimp Wonton Soup (frozen) - Chicken of the Sea brand (?!) - sounds gross, but actually pretty tasty -- hate the excess packaging, but I add a little pepper, garlic, green onion, corn -- not bad at all and 100 calories

                                                                            Aidell's Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Meatballs - these are really yummy - just as is, in soups, pasta dishes

                                                                            I also like all the sausages, but I try not to eat them all the time.

                                                                            Sabra hummus - the roasted garlic...love it

                                                                            Honeycrisp apples - wow!

                                                                            Roasted, mixed nuts - these are crack.

                                                                            Almond Butter - not bad and the price is right

                                                                            Smoked trout -- excellent

                                                                            Free Range Chicken Broth (yes!)

                                                                            Rotisserie Chicken - sorry, this was way too salty and fatty - tastes like it's been injected with more than one hormone

                                                                            Dolmas - like that they're veggie, but they have an overly tomato flavor instead of mint

                                                                            Amy's canned soups - just bland and taste more like salt than anything else

                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: melisky

                                                                              If you have any health concerns about salt, you might want to check the label on the Aidell's meatballs....

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                I've the sodium levels in most of Aidell's products, as well as other sausage companies' products to be scary. But I hoping the gods of good health won't ding me too hard for eating the stuff just once in a while. :)

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Thanks for the heads up. On that same note, I checked the sodium content on the Shrimp wonton soup and not surprisingly, it was through the roof! Just checked the Amy's frozen entrees --- also, not a low sodium product. Need to stick with the apples and almond butter... ;)

                                                                                  1. re: melisky

                                                                                    I was looking for organic almond butter in my TJs but couldn't find any. Is it just my store or do they not carry it?

                                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                      I have not seen organic almond butter, only "natural" almond butter. I think Costco may have organic peanut butter, though. I'm not sure as I've been buying my organic peanut butter at Trader Joe's, which is excellent.

                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                        I'm in LA - we eat that organic almond butter every day. They have raw creamy or crunchy - we eat the creamy; roasted/no salt creamy or crunchy, and roasted w/ salt creamy or crunchy. While I really like this product, I have noticed an increase in almond shell bits as I'm eating the product.

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                          i noticed the shells too! i'm glad it's not just me.

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            I reported this to the store manager - hopefully we will see some improvement on this issue.

                                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                              i just saw this now! i'll be curious to hear if the issue gets better, because i haven't been buying TJ's almond butter since i discovered the ginormous, cheap jars of Maranatha at Costco!

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                I'll have to check out our local Costco for this product. The issue with almond shells in TJ's brand only seems to have gotten worse. Thanks for mentioning this...

                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                  Maranatha was my preferred brand anyway before i switched to TJ's, and you abslutely can't beat the price. they sell 26-oz jars for $5.99. i honestly thought i was hallucinating when i found them. regular supermarkets sell the small *eight*-ounce jars for more than that!

                                                                                                  i'm just thankful they don't sell the Dark Chocolate Almond Spread or i'd be in serious trouble ;)

                                                                                2. So I just joined the Costco that opened in Manhattan and went to its opening yesterday. Has anyone tried their prepackaged sushi? The price was outrageously good, but any opinions on how it taste? TIA.

                                                                                  1. Stuffed grape leaves in the refrigerated food sections. Just as good as most restaurants, but we heat them up in the microwave first, despite the package not saying to do so.

                                                                                    The trail mix that has only nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds), cherries, and cranberries. I hate raisins and am not interested in dried bananas and apricots.

                                                                                    Giant tub of Almond Roca for insanely cheap (may only be at Xmas time, but they have them now)

                                                                                    Fiji and Voss water, good prices on both

                                                                                    I was SO happy when I saw that they had my English Cotswold (cheddar with chives) it was such a great price, but after that first time, I never saw it again. :(

                                                                                    1. The coffee that is roasted fresh, in house, daily. To get such fresh cofee for $3 or $3.50 a pound - inredible!

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: happybaker

                                                                                        I haven't seen any coffee that is fresh roasted daily in Costco. What does the bag look like? Thanks.

                                                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                                                          One of the Costco's that I go to, in So. CA, has fresh roasted coffee daily, Seattles Best or Seattles something, really good $8.50 for 2.5 lbs and a really good value. Another Costco has a gelatto stand, three scoops for $1.50, about 1/4 the price of gelatto shop in the area.

                                                                                          1. re: cstr

                                                                                            Which Costco do you go to that has the gelato? I am in So Cal also but haven't seen any that has that in the food court.

                                                                                            1. re: monkuboy

                                                                                              i just Googled, and apparently they have it at one of the locations here in SD (Morena Blvd), and in Seattle, WA.

                                                                                              1. re: monkuboy

                                                                                                The one on Morena in SD, off the 5. The fresh roasted coffee is in the one in Vista.

                                                                                              2. re: cstr

                                                                                                It's "Seattle Mountain Coffee" in a blue.gray bag. I love it and for the price, the quality can't be beat. I get it at the Burbank Costco - the Los Feliz store does not roast on-site.