What you need to know about Kirkland protein bars

A chocolate chip cookie dough candy bar isn't exactly the type of food that would fall under the "diet-friendly" category. Except these aren't candy bars — they're protein bars, and they're incredibly popular. Per Costco's website, Kirkland brand protein bars have a 4.6-star rating out of nearly 2,000 reviews (as of December 2019), and Twitter seems to love them, too. Comments like, "I'm addicted to Kirkland Protein Bars" abound on the social media platform.

In a market where the choices are practically endless, what makes Kirkland protein bars so good? And can a protein bar with "real chocolate" actually be relatively healthy?

How do Kirkland protein bars taste?

The chocolate chip cookie dough version — which lists unsweetened chocolate in its ingredients — is just one of the flavors that Costco offers with its Kirkland protein bars. The brand also carries chocolate brownie, cookies and cream, and chocolate peanut butter chunk. Both the chocolate brownie and chocolate peanut butter chunk protein bars are also made with real chocolate, but as far as customer preference, cookies and cream seem to be the least popular with the fewest reviews and lowest rating.

According to Reddit, the protein bars were at one time also available in cinnamon roll, but alas, that flavor seems to have vanished from Costco's website.

Alright, so a protein bar can certainly look appealing on the packaging and lure customers in with the promise of "real chocolate," but do these things actually taste good? Obviously, taste is subjective — one person on Twitter compared them to eating bark — but a lot of people rave about their flavor. "I hated the peanut butter ones. Like the chocolate brownie, and LOVE the chocolate chip cookie dough," one Redditor said.

Others on Reddit also pointed out that the protein bars could be a little tough to chew and recommended warming them up in the microwave or even leaving them on the dash of your car window on a sunny day. 

How much protein do Kirkland protein bars really have?

Costco markets its protein bars as a "healthy snacking choice" but it's important that you do your homework before scarfing down a box of them. All of the protein bar flavors are gluten-free, though some have slightly more carbs and a little less protein than others. Cookies and cream, for example, has two grams of sugar and 22 grams of protein, while the chocolate brownie has just one gram of sugar and 21 grams of protein. For the most part, though, their nutrition is very similar, and each flavor is between 21 and 22 grams of protein.

The keto diet blog, Savage Fuel, commended the taste and texture of the protein bars, but found that their calorie count was a little too high when compared with other keto-friendly protein bars on the market. At 190 calories per bar, though, opting for a Kirkland's chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar is still going to be a wiser choice than reaching for a stack of chocolate chip cookies.