Costco food courts are a prime attraction at the warehouse company.
And so are many of the delicacies put forward by its in-house brand: Kirkland Signature.
Whether you’re looking to grab the chain’s classic $1.50 hot dog-and-beverage combo, visiting international Costcos on a globe-trotting adventure, or grocery shop for your family’s weekly meals, it’s a good idea to gather intel on what tastes good at Costco.
Business Insider spoke to 49 current and former Costco employees about their favorite food offerings at the company. We also trawled the internet for items that members found especially praiseworthy. Keep in mind, prices and food court menus vary between warehouses.
Here are the food options employees and members love at Costco:
Costco’s giant muffins are a good pick, despite the calories
Some Costco members enjoy starting — or finishing — the day with one of Costco’s colossal baked offerings.
Quora user Sue Lassman recommended the warehouse chain’s “huge and insanely good” muffins, despite their caloric heft.
Members love the croissants — and recommend one hack to make them even better
Looking for a warm treat in the morning? Costco members have recommended one hack that’ll take one of the company’s baked items to the next level.
Two Costco members discussed Costco’s croissants in a 2017 Reddit thread.
One member said that the French pastries were “good” compared to most croissants sold in grocery stores, and said, “Where they really shine is freezing and then popping into the toaster oven.”
Another member added that, “Crisping up the croissants in the oven is really great stuff.”
The company’s maple syrup is a ‘steal’
Looking to sweeten up your pancakes without feeling sour about your spending?
One food blogger recommended springing for the Kirkland Signature maple syrup.
“I’ve paid $11 to $14 for small bottles from Walmart and King Soopers,” Hassle Free Savings blogger Kendal Perez told Go Banking Rates. “Yet, Costco sells a 33.8-ounce jug of Kirkland organic real maple syrup for less than that. It’s a steal. Period.”
Kirkland coffee can be quite a pick-me-up for some
Costco is the place to grab everything you need for that cup of morning joe, according to some members.
Quora user Soo Oh wrote that the chain’s “coffee prices” was the best thing about Costco.
“I can buy a 3 lb bag of coffee for $17,” Oh wrote. “Each month, I am saving roughly $13 on coffee alone.”
Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNew, told Go Banking Rates that Costco coffee was a “great buy” for daily coffee drinkers.
“Their Kirkland blends are about $5 per pound, whereas comparable blends will go for about $8 per pound on Amazon,” Sakraida said. “In general, staples like this can be an excellent buy at Costco.”
The massive quantities of blueberries are perfect for some members
A group of Costco employees previously told Business Insider they tend to skip buying produce at the warehouse. The reason? Many of them said they couldn’t finish the bulk-sized orders fast enough, leading to food waste.
But some members find the large quantity of fruits and vegetables just right.
In a Quora thread about the most healthy and convenient options at the retail chain, Costco member Scott Sanders wrote that, when it comes to produce, “sometimes the quantities are just right for what I want.”
“Blueberries, for example, come in large containers at amazing prices year-round, and my wife and I can usually finish a container long before it goes bad,” he wrote.
One member praised the chain’s almond milk
In a recent 2018 Reddit thread about the best Kirkland products out there, one Costco member praised the chain’s almond milk — or “organic unsweetened almond non-dairy beverage,” as it’s labeled.
The user said the drink was “just as good as Blue Diamond” and praised its “convenient” containers.
Variations on the turkey provolone sandwich got a thumbs up from employees
The turkey provolone sandwich is an option at many Costco food courts. Some patrons prefer the classic sandwich, while others like to mix up their orders.
Two Costco employees who spoke to Business Insider praised the turkey provolone sandwich — although one employee said they preferred it with pesto and without the turkey.
The chicken bake is a well-liked guilty pleasure
“My favorite food court item is the chicken bake with a cup of Caesar dressing,” a Costco employee from Washington told Business Insider. “Most of the time, if you ask for a cup of the dressing, they won’t give it to you, but as an employee I tend to be able to get one. It makes it ten times better.”
A Costco member wrote in a 2017 Reddit thread that, “I get the chicken bake the most because it’s delicious — and I enjoy the self-loathing after I eat it.”
The cheese pizza at Costco’s food court is a popular pick among employees…
There’s a reason Costco is technically the 14th largest pizza chain in the US.
“Costco’s pizzas are pretty incredible considering the price,” Costco worker Stefan Winter wrote on Quora. “Crust is yummy, toppings are good quality, what’s not to love?”
Costco’s food courts in the US typically offer up three options for pizza-lovers: cheese, combo, pepperoni, and Hawaiian.
Out of those, cheese pizza was the most popular option among the Costco employees Business Insider spoke with. A total of 2o other Costco employees told Business Insider that the cheese pizza was their favorite food court item.
Fun fact: A Costco cheese pizza pie is made with a pound and a half of a mozzarella and parmesan blend.
… but a number also sprang for Costco’s combo pizza…
The combo pizza sold at Costco is, quite literally, a heavyweight contender among food court options. A whole pie — which is laden with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives — weighs 4.49 pounds, according to a 2011 edition of the Costco Connection.
Three employees told Business Insider that the combo pizza was their favorite food at Costco.
“You get sick of the food after awhile, but the combo pizza is always my go-to,” one Costco employee in Florida told Business Insider.
… while others opted for the pepperoni slices
Still other Costco employees — three, to be exact — said they enjoyed the pepperoni pizza at Costco’s food court.
“I love the pepperoni pizza,” one employee told Business Insider. “It’s very cheesy with nice and juicy crispy pepperonis.”
According to a 2011 edition of the Costco Connection, each pepperoni pizza pie is “adorned” with exactly 60 pepperoni slices.
If you don’t have time for the food court, there’s always Kirkland’s frozen pizza
Kirkland launched its frozen cheese pizza in 2010. Since then, it’s attracted fans alongside its food court counterparts.
“We love the frozen pizzas,” one Costco member and Reddit poster wrote. “They are the best on the market.”
The poster added that their household always has “some in the freezer, in case we ever need to throw one in the oven.”
The classic hot-dog-and-soda combo has been a hit for decades
“The hot dog soda combo for $1.50 is a classic,” one San Diego-based Costco employee told Business Insider.
Two other Costco employees concurred that the hot dog was their favorite food court item. An Oregon-based employee added that it was the best deal in the whole store.
The food court’s bratwurst may be on its way out, much to the disappointment of some Costco employees and members
One Costco employee in Illinois told Business Insider that they liked the bratwurst and felt disappointed when their warehouse replaced the order with chili.
Another worker who’s been at Costco for 12 years told Business Insider that, while they didn’t often eat at the food court, when they did, they opted for the bratwurst.
According to one 2017 Reddit thread, the food court bratwurst may be endangered at a growing number of warehouses, as the chain strives to introduce healthier options.
Italian sausage sandwiches are also a flavorful option at the food court
One Costco employee told Business Insider they preferred the Italian sausages over the other sausage and hot dog options at the food court.
“I think it’s possibly one of the best sausages I’ve ever had, especially for the price,” wrote one Costco member and Reddit user in 2016.
Costco’s outgoing Polish dog will be missed by many…
Members got fired up over Costco’s recent decision to pull its Polish hot dog from its food court menus, Business Insider previously reported.
The longtime food court staple is being swapped out in favor of healthier choices, like acai bowls.
It’s no secret why people are upset. The Polish hot dog is a popular go-to order.
A Costco food court employee wrote in a 2014 Reddit AMA that they preferred the Polish hot dogs over the chain’s standard hot dogs, adding, “There’s more flavor.” And Costco employee who’s worked at the chain for 29 years told Business Insider they have been “eating them since 1989.”
… but the food court’s relatively new chili option has received praise
While Polish hot dog fans may give the food court chili a cold shoulder for bumping out their favorite order, others have had a positive reaction toward the new item.
“I love the new chili and the pizza,” a Costco employee in Ohio told Business Insider, adding that they ate at the food court “every now and then.”
Another California-based employee said that the chili was one of their favorite orders.
Costco’s poutine options are a big draw for Canadian members…
Poutine-smothered fries are a staple at Canadian Costcos.
“And it’s pretty much the best poutine ever,” one Costco member wrote on Reddit.
Another Reddit added in response, “It’s an incredible value… It costs around $5, but the value is over $10.” They added that, while the gravy is thick and the fries are too crispy for their taste, they were blown away by the sheer quantity of cheese curds loaded into the dish.
… and the chain’s French fries are also an international hit…
French fries are native to Canadian Costcos, but the crispy dish also makes an appearance on the menus of food courts in France and the East Coast of the US.
“Best quantity and quality for normal fast food fries, in my opinion,” one Costco member wrote on Reddit. “So disappointing that a lot of food courts don’t have it.”
… as are the bulgogi bakes
A number of Costcos in Taiwan and Japan skip the chicken bakes, and instead showcase Korean barbecue known as bulgogi.
“The bulgogi sandwiches in Costcos in Taiwan are awesome,” a Costco member wrote on Reddit.
The chicken Caesar salad is a good option for salad-lovers
One Costco member and Reddit user recommended that other shoppers should “not leave the store without a chicken caesar salad.”
“It is the perfect lunch for work the next day,” the member wrote. “It will fill up the biggest of appetites, and is healthy and cheap. What more could you ask for?”
Kirkland’s olive oil is a boon to many members
Kirkland Signature Pure Olive Oil is a major buy for a number of members, who favor the item’s size and price.
One Reddit user wrote in 2018 that the chain’s olive oil is “considerably cheaper” than its competitors’ offerings.
In another recent Reddit thread, one Costco member wrote that the olive oil was their favorite Kirkland product.
“It tastes good, at any rate,” wrote another Reddit poster in 2017.
And Costco’s quinoa options allow shoppers to make healthier choices
“A Costco membership is definitely worth it for items like quinoa,” one Reddit poster wrote.
Another poster wrote that Costco’s quinoa sells for “probably the best price you’ll find anywhere.”
One more Costco member wrote on Reddit that, when it comes to quinoa, they “seriously couldn’t justify the cost anywhere else.”
A number of members rely on the company’s chicken stock…
One Reddit user posted that their favorite Costco product is the brand’s chicken stock.
Another member replied that, “My wife uses the chicken stock like crazy. Always tastes great.”
… while the warehouse’s chicken noodle soup is also a favorite…
For one Reddit poster and Costco member, the chicken noodle soup from the warehouse’s deli was the all-time best Costco product.
… and, of course, the chain’s famous rotisserie chickens are a classic meal
The rotisserie chickens at Costco are pretty iconic.
According to The Kitchn: “Not only are they some of the cheapest rotisserie chickens on the market, but they’re also among the tastiest. Rumor has it, the birds are actually loss leaders for the store, which means they don’t make any money on them, but they use them to get shoppers in the door and hopefully buy something else while they’re there.”
In a 2018 Reddit thread, one poster said the rotisserie chickens were their favorite Costco product.
Another poster agreed, adding that the chickens were “the best value in the store. I laugh at grocery store chickens — twice as expensive and half as big.”
One shopper praised the ‘gigantic pork loins’…
Costco has the “biggest deal on meat anywhere,” according to one poster in a 2018 post on the best food deals at the chain.
“The pork loin is a steal,” they added.
… while others swear by Costco when it comes to bringing home the bacon
Craving some bacon? Well, according to one expert, it’s one of the best things you can buy at Costco.
“Bacon at a local grocery store can cost $5 to $7 per pound, depending on what kind you get,” Sakraida told Go Banking Rates. “At Costco, their bacon typically costs about $12.99 for four pounds, which is $3.25 per pound. While that price can still go up — one of our writers says a 4-pound pack (used to) cost $20, but the price has come down again to $12.99 — it’s often much cheaper than a regular grocery store.”
Some members always make sure to pick up some pulled pork
One Reddit poster lauded the Kirkland Signature Smoked Pulled Pork, which they said, “has a very mild flavor, which allows you to ‘spice it up’ as you so desire, whether for BBQ sandwiches, Mexican dishes (carnitas), or anything else that might call for shredded, pulled, or chopped pork.”
“For those who love BBQ, it’s a lot cheaper than getting two pounds from most local BBQ restaurants,” the poster wrote.
Some members like to live on the briny side and spring for Costco’s seafood …
On Quora, Moe Rubenzahl praised Costco’s seafood as being “very fresh.”
Oh also took to Quora to highlight the company’s “wonderful seafood offerings,” writing that “The cod and haddock are both excellent. I also love the mussels and clams.”
… specifically the salmon
Rubenzahl wrote on Quora that Costco’s “salmon is especially good.”
“The individually-frozen salmon fillets are a convenient way to get more fish in your diet,” Quora user Rafael Garcia wrote on the same thread. “I just transfer one from the freezer to the fridge the night before. To cook it, I just add salt and pepper and throw it in the toaster oven.”
And others said that the basil pesto makes everything better
Two Costco members took to Reddit in 2018 to proclaim that they “absolutely” loved the Kirkland Signature Pesto.
Kirkland’s dried blueberries are a healthy snack beloved by at least one member
One Reddit poster wrote that Costco has “got dried blueberries that are really good. The organic are super-pricey, but the non-organic are somewhat reasonable.”
The beef jerky has been described as both ‘worthwhile’ and ‘tender’
“I am a big jerky fan and my girlfriend recently brought home some Kirkland brand jerky,” one Reddit poster wrote in a 2013 post.
The poster added that the jerky put a number of other competitors “to absolute shame, as it is thick cut and extremely tender and delicious.”
“I can’t recall finding a product so worthwhile in quite a long while,” the poster wrote.
Kirkland granola bars are worth biting into
Costco’s bulk-sized packs of Kirkland Signature oft and Chewy Granola Bars “are great — so much better than the Quaker stuff,” according to one Reddit poster.
Another Costco member replied, “I just discovered the granola bars last week. Love them!”
According to some members, Costco makes a mean Irish cream…
One Reddit poster and Costco member wrote that the Kirkland Irish Cream Liqueur is a good deal.
“It’s a giant bottle, about double the size of a large bottle of Bailey’s, but half the price,” the poster wrote. “I bought a bottle for a friend who used to carefully ration her Bailey’s consumption, and she really liked it too. It’s a little different, but not any less good.”
… a party-worthy margarita mix…
A number of Costco members gathered on Reddit to praise Costco’s Kirkland Signature Margarita Mix.
“It’s seriously so good,” one poster wrote.
… standout vodka …
Kirkland Signature Vodka earned a mention in a recent Reddit thread in which posters suggested the best Kirkland products.
Vice reported that the chain’s vodka is made from the same water source as Grey Goose.
… ‘shockingly good’ Scotch …
“The Kirkland-branded liquors are shockingly good for their price point, across the board,” Costco member and Quora user Ian Osmond wrote.
He added that he regularly opted for Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky.
… and their gin is ‘good stuff,’ too
“I’m a huge fan of the Kirkland gin,” one poster wrote in a thread discussing the best Kirkland products. “It’s good stuff.”
Kirkland Signature Gin is also a good option for mixed drinks, according to one member.
“I usually have several gins around, depending on my mood at the moment, but the Kirkland is one I often use for gin and tonics, gimlets, and other drinks that have strong enough flavors that they drown out the subtleties,” Osmond wrote on Quora.
According to one critic, Costco’s wines are also worth a toast…
Costco reportedly provides a good deal for wine-lovers looking to save.
“On average, you can save $5 to $12 per bottle, depending on the original price of the wine,” Kyle James, founder of deal discovery site Rather-By-Shopping, told Go Banking Rates.
James added that the Costco Wine Blog is a great resource, too.
… as is their prosecco
In a recent 2018 thread about the best Kirkland products, one poster gave Kirkland’s prosecco a shout out.
The chain’s sheet cakes are a big deal for some members
“Costco sheet cake is my life,” a Reddit poster wrote in 2018. “I buy one for every birthday and cut it into pieces to freeze.”
Costco’s pumpkin pies are more than just a holiday go-to for some families
Pie fans, listen up.
One Reddit poster noted that Costco’s “pumpkin pie is really good.”
Another Costco member responded that the warehouse chain’s version of the pie was the only one that their children would eat.
“I once got a name brand and tried to pass it off as Kirkland, and my oldest took one bite, scowled, and pushed her plate back, then looked up at me and said, ‘You tried to trick me! This isn’t Kirkland!'” the poster wrote. “She is four.”
The chocolate chunk cookie is a mouthwatering treat for some members
Kirkland has plenty of options for members with a sweet tooth. A Costco member took to Reddit in 2018 to say that their “personal favorite” product from Kirkland was “the chocolate chunk cookie.”
Three employees find the mocha freeze yummy
Three Costco employees noted they went for this new addition to the food court menu.
“The new cold brew mocha freeze — yum,” said one Costco employee from California.
Gelato is a refreshingly icy treat for many food court denizens…
“Regardless of what you eat as the ‘main course’, the pistachio gelato — or any gelato — is to die for,” former Costco employee Robert Lu wrote on Quora.
A Washington-based Costco employee who spoke with Business Insider agreed.
… while some opt for the frozen yogurt…
One Costco employee told Business Insider that they favored the food court’s frozen yogurt.
Costco is swapping out its chocolate frozen yogurt for acai bowls, according to a recent Reddit thread. The food court’s vanilla frozen yogurt, however, is seemingly here to stay.
That being said, fans of both deserts can now enjoy an acai-vanilla swirl.
… and others go for berry smoothies instead
Out of all of the frozen treats at Costco’s food court, the berry smoothies were the most popular among the employees Business Insider spoke to.
Seven Costco employees told Business Insider that they favored the food court’s berry smoothies.
One Arizona-based employee said they used to eat at the food court when they were younger and it was “much harder to gain weight.” Nowadays, they added that they still “drink the smoothies.”
When it comes to dessert, churros are always a fan favorite
Three Costco employees who have worked for the warehouse chain for seven and half, eight, and ten years, respectively, told Business Insider that their go-to food court orders typically included a churro.
“Lunchtime is always a safe bet for fresh food,” a seven-year Costco employee wrote in a Reddit AMA. “When the lines are long, the churros are good.”
One longtime Costco member even shared a churro-related tip with Business Insider: “One thing that is really tasty is getting the churro with an ice cream. Then scoop the ice cream up with the churro instead of a spoon. It’s not too outrageous, but it’s good.”
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.