No one looked twice when I rolled up to the check out with a cart completely full of Costco bakery items and one massive shrimp cocktail (that was for another taste test). Costco rocks. And not just for the lack of judgment. The store’s own proprietary products are usually pretty darn good—and that includes Costco pastries and other delights from the Costco bakery. I took the contents of my aforementioned cart back to the Sporked offices and tasted 11 different Costco baked goods, including cult-favorite Costco bakery cookies, Costco Danish pastries, Costco croissants, and Costco muffins. What’s the best? What’s the worst? What should you definitely buy a full palate of the next time you visit everyone’s favorite warehouse? Find out in this ranking of Costco bakery items, from worst (although, who are we kidding, how bad can a baked good be?) to best.
- Mixed Berry and Cheese Turnovers
These sizable turnovers look great. But the pastry itself is greasy on the outside and somehow still dry on the inside. And the berry filling tastes fake. Still, the sweet cheese in the mix is creamy and good. If I was handed one of these Costco pastries, I would eat some of it and not complain. But I would advise against buying them for your office snack day.
- Caramel Apple Mini Cakes
These mini cakes (aka cupcakes you can eat for breakfasts) are topped with frosting, a scoop of apple filling (fruit means it’s okay to eat one for breakfast), and a drizzle of caramel. The frosting is light and airy buttercream. The cake tastes like salted caramel. There’s a lot going for these—but then you get hit with a weird aftertaste, almost like too much baking soda was used. And there’s just not enough apple. I was hoping for apple chunks in the cake, but they seem to only be on top. Plus, they’re just way too big. No one can or should eat a whole one of these mini cakes and cutting them is a hassle.
- Double Chocolate Muffins
These Costco muffins are massive (as most things in Costco are), but unlike the mini cakes, you can easily slice one in half for a more reasonable portion. Each muffin is studded with chocolate chunks that have a great bittersweet flavor. I am a big fan of these chunks. Sadly, the muffin itself is just a bit dry. But if you take advantage of the two-pack deal on Costco muffins and this is one of the packs, they’ll definitely get eaten and no one will complain.
- Almond Filled Danish
If you eat pastries just as an excuse to eat powdered sugar, then I have the Costco Danish for you. This comes absolutely covered in powdered sugar—like, good luck eating one if you’re wearing dark colors. I totally love almond pastries, so I had high hopes for this one. But the almond paste is too sweet without enough almond flavor to balance out the pure sugar. The pastry itself is tender and buttery and crispy in just the right places, though.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
Costco chocolate chip cookies have a cult following. So there are going to be a lot of people angry at me for my placement of these Costco bakery cookies. Don’t think of it as a ding on the cookie, think of it as a celebration of how extremely good all the other Costco bakery items are that are coming in ahead of it. The cookie is filled with chocolate chunks rather than chips—that’s great. They’re creamy and dark and rich. This is a classic supermarket soft cookie, but it doesn’t have too much of that supermarket cookie aftertaste. It’s a good cookie! It’s a really good supermarket chocolate chip cookie! But there are better Costco baked goods and even better Costco bakery cookies available.
- White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies
I am not a big fan of white chocolate, but the white chocolate in these Costco bakery cookies actually tastes like cocoa butter. Yes, the white chocolate chunks are very, very sweet, but they’re more complex than that. And there’s lots of them. Personally, I also like the actual cookie part of these Costco bakery cookies more than the chocolate chip cookies—it’s chewier and softer and more like a fresh-baked cookie. If you’re a white chocolate fan, get these Costco cookies ASAP.
- Butter Croissants
We got 12 Costco croissants for $5.99—that’s a pretty good deal for some pretty good croissants. They’re not crispy on the outside like fresh-baked croissants, but they taste buttery, the texture inside is chewy, and they are very big. They’re great for croissant sandwiches or you can pop them in a toaster oven to crisp them up a bit for a breakfast treat. They’re not the best Costco pastries out there, but they’re good to have around.
- Pumpkin Spice Loaf
If you plopped this frosted pumpkin spice loaf on a plate and presented it to your family, they would give you a round of applause. It looks incredible with its thick icing and shaved white chocolate twirls. The loaf cake itself is pretty darn good. It’s not as good as my mother-in-law’s pumpkin bread—but it’s not far off. It’s very spiced with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon in the mix. The frosting is soft and sweet and pairs well with the fall-flavored cake.
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Yes, the oatmeal raisin cookie is best of all the Costco bakery cookies we tried. They’re so soft. They are packed with so many oats. The raisins (and there are lots of them) are tender and tart. For a cookie that’s thought of as boring these have such an interesting texture and fun pops of fruit. If you’re searching through the Costco baked goods section looking for a treat that you can pretend is almost healthy (but it’s not—it’s a cookie), pick up a pack of these.
- Blueberry Muffins
These Costco muffins are a real feat of baking achievement. Each massive muffin comes packed with lots of blueberries—and they’re not all sunken to the bottom! They’re really well distributed throughout the tender, sweet, moist muffin. And while the blueberries are not the most flavorful berries in the world, they provide nice pops of fruitiness and tartness. This is cake. This is cake for breakfast. Go for it.
- Cream Cheese Danish
These Costco Danish pastries are a real treat. They are coated with icing like a better Toaster Strudel, so they are so sweet and messy. And the cheese feeling isn’t too sweet; it has a nice tang—it almost tastes like a touch of lemon. The pastry itself is buttery and tender—it’s the best quality of pastry we tasted from all the Costco bakery items. Plus, no surprise, they’re huge. Buy a box of these Costco Danish pastries and be the hero of your office.
Berry & Cheese Turnovers
Caramel Apple Mini Cakes
Double Chocolate Muffins
Almond Filled Danish
Chocolate Chip Cookies
White Chocolate Cookies
Pumpkin Spice Loaf
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Cream Cheese Danish