14 Things You Should Think Twice About Buying From The Costco Bakery

Shopping at Costco is a great way to save money when buying bulk items, especially food. If you're hosting a party, Costco's most beloved holiday items can save you both money and time. Bakery samples are frequently available to help you choose the perfect item that will have your guests singing your praises. Whether looking at breakfast favorites, everyday sweets, or seasonal treats, the Costco bakery has you covered.

There are some items you should think twice about before buying, however. For example, buying in bulk can be hazardous for some fresh-baked items. While some of these delicacies may taste good, the ingredients are not always the healthiest. Calorie counts can be astronomical, serving sizes may be too big or too small, and recipe changes can upset even the most avid Costco fans.

If you want to shop at Costco's bakery, you should keep in mind who you are shopping for, whether it's a large group, your family, or just you. That will help you make the best choices for your dollar. 

1. Bagels

Like essentially all its goods, Costco sells most of its bakery items in bulk sizes. That means getting a lot of freshly baked items for a great price. It also means that your purchase can spoil quickly. Costco bagels have long been a fan favorite, but recently, there have been some problems. Buyers have complained that the 24-count packs of bagels get moldy within one or two days of purchase, even in climates that are not humid.

Mold is usually not a problem with heavily processed foods. Such items often contain preservatives that allow them to sit on the shelf for a long time. Because of that, some Costco fans view the mold issue as a good thing. To them, it's a signal that the bagels are baked fresh and made with higher-quality ingredients. Customers believe the bagels would last longer if they contained a lot of chemical-laden preservatives.

If you love Costco bagels, don't worry about spoilage too much. Simply take steps to keep them fresh. Slice them and store them in your freezer, then pull them out to toast when you are ready to eat them. If you have a lot of people to feed, you can freeze one pack and use a breadbox to store the other.

2. Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a good cheesecake? If you're seeking a delicious dinner finale, Costco cheesecake is one of the best desserts they carry. There are reasons to beware of this creamy treat, though. Some experts give this cheesecake low marks as far as its nutritional value goes. Yes, it's decadent and delicious. That tasty goodness comes at a price, however. Just one slice has between 400 and 550 calories, 57 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of fat — including 13 grams of saturated fat. Furthermore, each portion only has 5 grams of protein!

Based on that information, this treat can eat up a hefty portion of your recommended daily calorie allotment. Regardless, you can still have your cheesecake and eat it, too. Rather than buying a bigger cake to ensure everyone can have a slice or two, simply thin out your slices. The 10-inch round cheesecake serves 16 people, and the 8-inch serves 12 using suggested serving pieces. Feel free to trim those slices down instead of buying a bigger cake. Be sure to cut them evenly.

If you've served an indulgent feast to your guests, your guests will thank you when they go home satisfied rather than stuffed. 

3. Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Costco's chocolate chunk cookies are an easy and fun treat for every age. Bakery-fresh and loaded with chocolate, this timeless favorite is filled with chewy, gooey deliciousness. When warm and enjoyed with a dairy or dairy-alternative beverage, it doesn't get much better.

While these are delicious, they are one of Costco's unhealthiest cookies. They're oversized, measuring about 3 ½ inches in diameter and ⅔ of an inch thick. That means the serving size is a single cookie, and for good reason! Each one contains 210 calories and 16 grams of sugar. Each cookie also contains 120 milligrams of sodium. You might want to re-think this purchase if you have trouble stopping yourself at just one cookie.

The ingredient list is typical of most Costco bakery items, but these cookies also contain artificial flavors. That's not extraordinarily unusual, but we think you'd do just as well buying chocolate chunk cookie dough and baking your own.

4. Plain Croissants

Buttery, rich, and a great accompaniment to a good cup of coffee, Costco's plain croissants are flavorful. Kirkland Signature Croissants are sold in a 12-pack and are baked fresh at the store. That means they're best eaten within a day or two of purchase. We don't recommend freezing them unless you can toast, or better yet, air fry them. However, this is not the traditional way to serve a warm croissant. They may not have the same high-end taste as a fresh French bakery croissant after being frozen. Alternatively, you can use them for breadcrumbs if you have to discard them.

Unfortunately, they have 11 grams of saturated fat and are devoid of whole grains or even much fiber — only a single gram! This is one breakfast item at Costco's bakery that you'll want to reconsider.

The good news is that these croissants are made with real butter. However, that also makes them high in sodium, 330 milligrams per serving. We recommend buying Costco croissants only for special events, such as when you are serving French cuisine, hosting a brunch menu, or want to create a unique dessert by dipping them in melted chocolate. Skip them as an everyday breakfast treat.

5. Double Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate lovers never pass up on double chocolate muffins. If you're looking for that deep, rich chocolate flavor, Costco's Double Chocolate Muffins may not be your best choice. Loaded with chunk chocolate, they look more decadent than they taste. In fact, other Costco muffins, like almond poppy or coffee cake, have a deeper, richer flavor. They don't even have a chocolaty scent until you get up really close.

This is a shame because the chocolate chip chunks are weaved into the muffin top, giving it a mouthfeel that's more like a frosted cupcake than a muffin. Some reviewers even reported that these muffins are too dry compared to other Costco muffins. The taste is more comparable to Dutch chocolate than the expected Devil's food flavor, which will disappoint chocolate fans.

We advise you to try just about any other Costco muffin first, but we know some of you still won't be able to resist trying this one for yourself.

6. Danish

Many shoppers are obsessed with Costco's Danishes, but opinions vary. Some are loved, and some are hated. In support of detractors' arguments, some Costco Danish options have their downsides.

First off is the Kirkland Signature Lemon Cream Cheese Danish. If you love lemon, these will be disappointing since the flavor is subtle. They are very cheesy, so if you like a cheesier Danish with just a hint of flavor, go for it. Beware that these are truly stuffed with filling, making the texture more soggy than crisp. If you like more intense flavors, Costco's Apple or Strawberry Cream Cheese danishes pack more of a punch.

One fan favorite in this category is Kirkland's Signature Almond Danish. The flavor is absolutely drool-worthy, but the nutrient list might put you off. This little slice of heaven contains a hellish 750 calories with 47 grams of fat, 380 milligrams of sodium, and — brace yourself — 31 whole grams of sugar!

Fans are always excited to see the return of long-awaited bakery favorites like the Cherry Danish. But not everyone is happy. Costco has repackaged this treat, forcing customers to buy a two-pack. Many are concerned about the larger size spoiling, but fortunately, you can freeze this item. You'll get fewer crunches than when it's freshly heated, but that's no reason to miss out on this welcome return.

7. Braided Apple Strudel

Kirkland Signature's Braided Apple Strudel is a hit with bakery fans. Many compare it to McDonald's apple pies at a similar price, believe it or not. You can dress up these handhelds, too, by heating them in an air fryer or toaster oven and then topping them off with vanilla ice cream and caramel. 

While that sounds awesome, you should know that these little strudels can be fattening. Slicing these pastries into smaller portions might be a better option. This is an excellent way to serve guests. Spear the slices with skewers and whip up a delicious caramel dipping sauce for guests. There's yet another reason besides their calorie count that people have strayed from this selection.

You might expect most of Costco's bakery items to be created on-site, but that's not true of the Braided Apple Strudel. It actually arrives frozen — not what you want from a bakery. Still, the Braided Apple Strudel is winning over Costco fans everywhere.

8. Strawberries and Cream Bar Cake

Fun, summery, and delightfully named, Costco's seasonal Strawberries and Cream Bar Cake is heavy on promise but short on delivery. The taste is not the problem, though. Bakery fans, for the most part, love it. This cake is layered with icing reminiscent of fresh whipped cream rather than standard sugar icing, giving it the hallmark of a real bakery cake and the buzz of Costco shoppers everywhere.

Another bonus is that it doesn't contain artificial flavors. Instead, beetroot juice is used to dye the confections that decorate the top, and the cake itself uses natural strawberry puree between the layers.

Despite all there is to love, not everyone is happy with this delicious confection for one simple reason: there are no actual strawberries in it! The strawberry puree is all well and good, but fans were disappointed that Costco didn't go the extra mile to add fruit to make it mimic real-deal strawberry shortcake.

9. Costco Sheet Cakes

If you think the Costco bakery is an ideal place to purchase a sheet cake, you're right. A half-sheet of cake serves up to 48 people, making this an incredible bargain for gatherings or large parties. Their standard sheet cakes are available in vanilla cake with cheesecake mousse filling or chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, both topped with buttercream. Unfortunately, even with these limited options, Costco's pre-made sheet cakes are such a good buy that they often sell out pretty quickly.

But no worries, you can always order a custom cake ... just pick up the phone, right? Nope. Costco does not take customer cake orders over the phone. A few stores can handle a fax request, but that's usually not a user-friendly option. If you need a custom sheet cake, your best bet is to go to Costco and complete a cake menu order form. To ensure timely delivery, place your order two to three days ahead of time. The good news is that their custom cake options have more variety, and you don't have to worry about them selling out!

10. Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

Tasting more like a muffin than a cake, Costco's Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf is not that bad unless you really like a robust lemon flavor in your muffins. Just like its Lemon Cream Cheese Danish, the lemon flavor here is no more than a hint. (What's the deal with Costco cakes and lemon flavor? Both items use real lemon juice, so it's a mystery why there's not more flavor!)

In fact, most of the lemon flavor is in the frosting, which is far too sweet and thick. You actually might improve your slice by scraping it off. The cake itself is light and springy, making it tough to stick to a single serving. Another issue is that one serving is only 1/22 of the whole loaf. At that size, a piece has 230 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 17 grams of sugar. Of course, you'll knock quite a bit off those numbers if you remove all or most of the frosting before eating.

11. Double-Crust Apple Pie

Autumn at Costco means the return of fall favorites. For 2023, Costco brought back an item launched in 2022, the Double-Crust Apple Pie. Instead of a traditional lattice topping, this pie features a full-sized crust on top, just like the bottom. One thing we love about this pie is that, according to the label, it's made with organic apples and seasoned with cinnamon.

This bakery treat sounds delicious! The downside? At over 4 pounds, this apple pie weighs the same as a Macbook Pro Laptop. That weight is likely caused by the heaviness of two thick crusts. Walking it to your neighbor's holiday event may be a workout!

With a pie this thick, it might be challenging to divide the pie evenly. Using a professional pie server set is the best way to ensure even, neat slices.

Some fans are divided over this apple pie, feeling that double crusts are too indulgent. The original Costco lattice pie had plenty of fans who are now disappointed. But if you love piecrust, this dessert is a must-have item for your fall and holiday gatherings.

12. Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Topped by a delicious crumble, Costco's Pumpkin Streusel Muffins are a nice, cozy treat to go alongside a cup of coffee or tea by the fire. Another high-caloric indulgence, the biggest problem, is that the serving size is just half a muffin because the nutritional facts for that small serving are daunting. Half of a muffin contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of fat. If you eat the whole muffin, those values double, so always check the serving sizes of Costco bakery items before eating.

Despite this, some fans were upset when their local stores did not bring back these muffins as quickly as other locations did. Costco rollouts depend on location, availability, and other supply chain logistics. Still, it's no fun watching people enjoy your favorite treat on Instagram and being unable to dig in! Eventually, all stores stocked this coveted treat — patience is a virtue when you shop for seasonal treats at Costco.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins come in two packs containing six muffins each for a total of 12 muffins or 24 servings. This makes them an excellent choice for crowds and events. Slice them in halves or quarters for serving. Otherwise, we recommend individually wrapping the leftover muffins and freezing them. Defrost them one at a time to enjoy.

13. Apple Fritter Loaf

Another recent addition to the Costco bakery is their Apple Fritter Loaf. This item may not be the best Costco bakery treat to serve guests. Even though it's fully baked, the look and feel of this loaf may have you questioning whether it's undercooked. The taste doesn't seem to compare to their other apple-based bakery items. Instead, this one smacks a bit of artificial flavor.

We suspect the reason for this problem is the ingredient list. The added cinnamon blend is primarily made of sugar. Additionally, multiple artificial flavor ingredients and several preservatives are high on the list. The position of ingredients is important because they are listed in order, from most to least. In other words, the Apple Fritter Loaf contains a lot of additives that impact the flavor.

Apple fritter fans will likely be disappointed in this one, but there are plenty of other perfectly yummy apple desserts at the Costco bakery.

14. Caramel Apple Mini Cakes

The great thing about a new season is that it means new items from Costco, which are usually incredibly mouth-watering. That's true of Costco's Caramel Apple Mini Cakes, which are actually cupcakes but are decadent enough to earn the mini cake label. These consist of a caramel-flavored cake topped with frosting made with condensed milk. The confection is then topped with caramel syrup and apple pie filling.

This incredibly delicious treat is baked fresh at Costco. Unfortunately, the ingredient list is a mile long and filled with artificial flavors and preservatives, which is not uncommon for Costco mini cakes. We're happy that the buttercream icing is made with real butter instead of oil, like other Costco cakes. Regardless, these treats still contain artificial flavors, corn syrup, and palm oil.

These apple mini cakes come in a six-pack, which seems reasonable. The caloric content for each of these cakes is 380, and the sugar content is a whopping 34 grams. This treat is pretty messy to split up, too, so you'll probably be tempted to eat the whole thing in one sitting. Don't feel too bad; these look so good we'd probably do the same.