Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying Costco's Pumpkin Pie

When fall arrived this year, many people were just grateful for the cool weather and a few food-friendly holidays on the horizon. But pumpkin pie aficionados know there's another reason to celebrate: September through December is Pumpkin Pie Season at Costco (via Costco Connection). If you don't know, Costco's pumpkin pie is a 12-serving delight that only costs $5.99 and it's so legendary that millions fly off the shelves each year. There's even an entire Facebook page dedicated to its greatness. These pumpkin pies are super handy if you don't have time to bake one at home for your next holiday dinner, or if you're simply in the mood for that sweet taste of fall that comes around every year when the temps start to drop.

But recent chatter among Costco pumpkin pie fans online has revealed a surprising flaw in this beloved holiday staple that may cause you to rethink your dessert plans this year. If you're getting ready to head out to Costco and pick up a pie or two, you might want to read this first. 

Some think Costco's pumpkin pies are gritty

Comments on the coupon and savings blog Hip 2 Save relayed some interesting and unpleasant observations about the texture of Costco's pumpkin pie that are definitely cause for concern. Users were perplexed and dismayed by the presence of grit and sand in the pumpkin pie filling. 

One person stated, "My mom said she didn't like Costco pumpkin pie because it was gritty. I got two pies after that and noticed the grittiness in both of them. It worried me because it seemed to be coming from the filling. What on earth would be gritty in the filling??" Another user chimed in, saying, "I bought one from Costco [last November] and another to take to our daughter's house on Thanksgiving. Same grittiness." So, what's actually going on with this Costco bakery favorite? We did some digging to find out.

Costco has this unfortunate problem in common with a famous brand of canned pumpkin

The pumpkins used in Costco's pumpkin pies are a variety called Dickinson. They come from an enormous facility owned by Seneca Foods in Illinois (via Costco Connection). Each year, tens of thousands of pounds of pumpkins are picked, processed, and shipped off to Costco bakeries, where they are transformed into those mouth-watering holiday pies. The same Dickinson pumpkins happen to be used in the well-known Libby's brand of canned pumpkin (via Epicurious), and that's how we landed on a Facebook post that revealed some unsavory details about the texture of Costco's famous pies.

The original post called out Libby's pumpkin for being gritty, but racked up 400+ comments, with several referencing Costco's pumpkin pies being plagued by the same problem. Folks obviously assume Costco pies are being made from Libby's canned pumpkin, which isn't exactly the case — they merely use the same variety of pumpkin. That doesn't make these pie-lovers' claims of sandy, gritty pumpkin pies from Costco any less true, and they certainly weren't shy about sharing.

Something may be slipping through the cracks at Costco's pumpkin processing plant

Costco pumpkin pie fans may have misplaced their outrage by commenting on a Facebook post aimed at Libby's canned pumpkin, but the results were still illuminating. Several comments mentioned that unwelcome grit and the disturbing texture it imparts to what should be a smooth, silky pie filling, with claims like "... every time I eat a Costco pumpkin pie I get a bit of grit/sand in it!" Another user added, "Every pie from Costco that I get feels crunchy. The most recent one, [it] is like the number one ingredient is sand." A third person noted, "Just had some pumpkin pie from Costco and it had weird sand grain type things too!"

Libby's responded to similar sand-and-grit-themed comments specifically related to their canned pumpkin: "We use multiple washing systems on the pumpkin but, like lettuce, some tiny grit or sand can make it through our washing process." We have to assume Costco's explanation would be along the same lines, and while it definitely solves the mystery of gritty pie, it's still a little gross. None of the Costco commenters tagged the retailer in their posts, though, so we've yet to see a corporate response. Costco has been using the same pie recipe since 1987 and we're sure it never included "sand and grit." In light of these fans' discoveries, you may just want to think twice before buying a Costco pumpkin pie anytime soon.