5 Secrets About Costco's Bakery Department
Here's everything you need to know about the warehouse retailer's cakes, cookies, and croissants.
Even as a store widely beloved for its house brand and in-store specialties, Costco's bakery department still stands out as one of its most popular features. The warehouse retailer's fans gush over everyday products like birthday cakes and clamor over the release of seasonal items, all of which remain reasonably priced. But before you go to pick up another fresh batch of cookies, there are a few things you may want to know. Read on for the freshest secrets about Costco's bakery department.
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Your kids may be entitled to a free treat while shopping.
Costco is already widely known for its free samples that make the shopping experience there a uniquely appetizing one. But if you happen to have your kids in tow, they might be able to take advantage of another store freebie with a treat from the bakery section.
"This is something that was common pre-pandemic, so it may not have come back to all warehouse stores yet, but if you're shopping in person and want to treat your little one, don't be afraid to (politely) ask if they can have a cookie," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, tells Best Life. "And if it turns out they're not handing them out, maybe just give in and buy a package of the chocolate chip cookies as a reward for later."
You might be able to get frozen cookie dough.
The baked goods that roll out of Costco may be popular, but one of the store's most coveted items hasn't even seen time in an oven: frozen cookie dough. Unfortunately, however, you might have a hard time locating it.
"Recent reports say this is only available in Canada, but anecdotally I can say that in the last few years, I've seen boxes of Costco's bakery cookie dough for sale on the website as part of the 'cold and frozen' section," says Ramhold. "However, this morning, I didn't see any of it available, so it's kind of a tossup."
If you're desperate, Ramhold says to ask your local store's bakery if you can buy some off of them—but be prepared to be let down. "If that does happen, though, it's well worth just buying their already-baked cookies," she suggests. "The minis are just as good as the full-size ones and maybe even more dangerous because of their bite-sized snackability."
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Costco's cakes are usually cheaper and of higher quality than grocery stores' offerings.
Whether you're a lousy baker or just need a cake in a pinch, Costco offers an excellent option for anyone looking for a quick cake. In fact, Ramhold says the warehouse retailer typically offers cakes that are superior to grocery store chain offerings at an even better price.
"You can get a half-sheet cake for around $25, and they're some of the most delicious store-bought cakes out there," she says. "You can order custom cakes if you want, but you can also pick up blank cakes and decorate them yourself if you feel so inclined."
Still, she points out that Costco will conveniently have plenty of cakes that are pre-decorated in a general manner for whatever your occasion may be. "It makes for excellent last-minute party pickups if you don't want to make your own," says Ramhold.
The store constantly adds new items.
Besides offering items that are hot out of the oven, the warehouse retailer is known for keeping its list of offerings fresh, too.
"Costco has been known for delicious cookies, giant muffins, and Danish pastries as well as all-butter croissants, various types of bread, and more. But they also frequently develop new recipes or release seasonal favorites," says Ramhold.
"Look for pumpkin streusel muffins and pumpkin cheesecake during the fall, while spring may have things like carrot cake cupcakes or the new lemon blueberry loaf and key lime pie tends to return during the summer," she says. To get a feel for what your local store offers, she suggests making it a habit to swing by the bakery section every time you make a run to the store just so you don't miss any potential new favorites.
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Products can disappear in a flash.
As a warehouse retailer, Costco tends to have more items in stock than your average store. But when it comes to popular baked goods, you might not have as much luck landing your favorite things—especially if they're seasonal.
"For example, the pumpkin cheesecake may be around for a very short amount of time during the month of November, so if you see an item you want, it's worth picking it up as soon as it's available," says Ramhold. "Otherwise, you may end up missing out entirely."
If anything, this should serve as a bit of an incentive to treat yourself. "Don't assume that anything new is there to stay, so shop for your favorites while you can," she says.