The Underwhelming Bakery Items You Can Skip At Costco

If you have a sweet tooth, the Costco bakery might be one of your favorite places. As Costco is looking at big changes in the near future, including multiple expansions, there are sure to be new offerings and special baked selections. There are also plenty of everyday baked goods and brunch buffet staples to enjoy, including bread, pastries, and bagels. Many items are made fresh each day in-store by skilled bakers, and the Kirkland Signature brand gets special recognition for its great value and plentiful options. You can find everything from a birthday cake to an assortment of breakfast pastries.


But beware of high calorie counts, large portions, and gigantic desserts that might be more than you need when shopping at the Costco bakery. For most households, Costco bread loaves and desserts are too much food to eat before the delicious treat gets stale or even moldy. Many of the options on our list are just okay in terms of value. Some are so big that customers end up throwing out a large portion of the dessert. Others include some interesting takes on traditional desserts that don't hit all of the favorite notes, like texture or taste, that you've come to expect. While we love the Costco bakery, these are some of the items that you shouldn't feel bad about skipping in favor of another option that works better.


Kirkland Signature bagels

Many customers love the Kirkland Signature bagels, but the quantity makes some pause before putting them in the cart. Kirkland Signature bagels are sold in packs of 12 for around $9, with six bagels in each sleeve. You can mix and match flavors, choosing from plain, cinnamon and raisin, toasted sesame, everything bagel, and a few other seasonal options like blueberry. Costco partners with brand-name retailers to bring the same quality under their Kirkland Signature label. The bagels are good but come in such large quantities that unless you're feeding a bagel-loving crowd, chances are they'll go stale before you get through them all. The sleeves are not airtight, so moisture and the environment can result in mold after a couple of days.


Like many Costco items, they are also very generously sized, so even one bagel will be more than most people want to eat. For most households, the 12-pack of bagels is too much to get through. But if you are buying for a breakfast buffet or feeding a crowd, these bagels are a good option. Pair them with a variety of bagel toppings that you can also find at Costco, such as cream cheese or PB&J. 

Kirkland Signature muffins

Another option that's tough to justify due to their size is the Kirkland Signature muffins. One muffin can easily feed two people and a single muffin has almost 600 calories. The muffins have around a 50/50 ratio of muffin base to top. Because they are so sizable, some customers have noted they can be slightly undercooked. The reaction to this texture can be a matter of personal preference, so some aren't bothered by it, while others aren't so keen. If you are planning to warm the muffins before eating, the texture will keep them from getting too dry.


They are sold in sets of 12, with six in each clamshell. A set of 12 costs around $12, which is considerably less than you'd pay for a similar-sized muffin at a coffee shop or bakery. As with the Kirkland Signature bagels, you can choose two flavors, selecting two six-count clamshells to create your pack. It can be tough to decide between double chocolate, poppyseed, and blueberry, as well as some other seasonal or regional flavors. If you are buying for a crowd, these massive muffins go down well, although you have to make two 12-pack purchases to get a variety of flavors. It would be nice to have an assortment pack with three or more flavors since they come in such large quantities.

Classic Cake tiramisu quarter sheet cake

If you are hoping for traditional tiramisu, this sheet cake isn't going to hit the right note for texture. It tastes like tiramisu but has a cake consistency rather than spongey ladyfinger cookies. It also uses coffee syrup rather than espresso. The presentation, which is normally one of the things people like about tiramisu, also isn't something to get excited about. This cake version comes pre-sliced, taking away from the impressive unveiling of a traditional tiramisu. It is shipped in a tight box and can be tricky to remove without damaging one or two slices.


Unfortunately, Costco doesn't have a traditional tiramisu in the bakery. So, this is the best version that incorporates the flavors of coffee, cake, and mascarpone cheese filling. It makes a nice addition to a dessert buffet but doesn't impress as you might want from a showstopper dish. While it incorporates all the right flavors and ingredients, it doesn't compare to a homemade tiramisu or that made from scratch at a bakery. At around $90 for 14 slices, it's also not much cheaper than tiramisu made at a high-end bakery.

Kirkland Signature loaf cake

Is it a loaf, a cake, or a fritter? This dessert from the Costco bakery tastes good but is challenging to classify. Fritters are fried while loaves and cakes are baked. But there are plenty of options from Costco that include elements of each. The apple fritter loaf cake has a crispy top and soft interior to showcase the apples and spices. It works well as a fall dessert but isn't something customers generally go back to look for time and again. If you like apple fritters and want a version you can eat with a fork, try this cake loaf. It's not available in all Costco stores and is also seasonal, appearing in the fall during peak apple season. 


You can find other loaf cakes, such as the lemon blueberry, in more Costco locations more frequently throughout the year. Each loaf includes 10 servings and costs just over $10. It's a good purchase for the wallet and works for smaller family celebrations in place of a sheet cake. At around 340 calories per serving, however, it might not make the most nutritious breakfast. As long as you know that you're enjoying a dessert that is more cake than loaf, it's worth the occasional indulgence.

The Cake Bake Shop 8-inch cake

This is an online exclusive available to order from the Costco bakery. It has a high price tag for convenience, though, and costs around $160 to feed just 22 people. The Cake Bake Shop bakery began in Indianapolis and now has partnerships with major companies, including Costco. The high price tag is hard to justify, however, simply because the cakes are not made in the on-site bakery. Plus, there is always the chance of damage during the shipping process.


You're better off getting a Costco sheet cake or round cake, which are made by bakers on-site. They are better value, beginning around $15 for a 10-inch cake. Plus, you can customize your cake with different flavors, icing, and decorations. The Cake Bake Shop does have multiple layers, which Costco bakery sheet cakes do not always offer. But you can take home a Costco bakery sheet cake on the same day and do not have to wait or pay for shipping and delivery.

Kirkland Signature baguette

Kirkland Signature baguettes don't always have the thick crust and golden color you'd expect from this type of loaf, although they nail the crispy exterior and soft interior. Each set comes with two baguettes in a single sleeve and costs around $5 for the pair. But it is also a lot of bread for one sitting, which is why Costco customers might think twice before purchasing. The good news is that the baguettes do not contain preservatives. They arrive at the bakery already made and are baked the day they are sold. The bad news is that they go stale quickly, often before most households can finish the set of two.


Part of a baguette's appeal is its long, skinny shape. The Costco baguettes are Costco-sized and larger than you would typically find in another bakery. You'll want to pay close attention to the sell-by date on the package, as you probably have a limited window of time to enjoy your bread.

Kirkland Signature mini cakes

These are typically seasonal items and come in different flavors during the year. The cookies and cream get an enthusiastic welcome when they appear, although red velvet, gingerbread, and carrot cake also fly off the shelves when you can find them. Some flavors are only available at certain times of the year or in limited quantities. The exact nutritional profile varies with each flavor, but each mini cake is typically around 800 calories, and a serving is just half of a mini cake.


Because they are sold in packs of six, there is a lot of cake in one purchase. They are too big to classify as a cupcake but not enough to share, so you'll probably end up with a lot of partially eaten mini cakes if you are serving them to a group. They're not outrageously expensive at around $9 per pack of six, but they still cost more than a sheet cake to serve the same crowd. It's hard to justify spending more on mini cakes when you can feed the same number of people with a less expensive sheet cake, also made in the same bakery and often available in the same flavors.

Kirkland Signature chocolate chunk cookies

These oversized cookies are some of the most popular treats in the bakery. Because they are larger than typical bakery cookies and loaded with sugar and chocolate, even one cookie has more sugar than you might expect. Each one has 16 grams of sugar per serving. But they're tasty, so it's hard to stop at eating just one. The cookies come in a set of 24 for just under $12. Each has plenty of larger chocolate pieces, which are delicious. But they'll melt quickly in warmer environments and create a mess on your hands as you eat.


If you want to enjoy a Costco cookie tray, consider the assortment pack to get a variety of flavors. Also available for the same cost per cookie, this pack includes eight chocolate chunk, eight oatmeal cookies, and eight double-nut cookies. This provides more choices for the same price. If you opt for the assortment, you can still enjoy the chocolate chunk cookies but not be limited to just one flavor.

Kirkland Signature strawberries and cream cake

This cake is one of the lighter desserts from the bakery and is offered in the summer during peak strawberry season. It has layers of cake, whipped cream topping, and strawberry jam inside. The top features three decorative accents in pink and white. The presentation looks nice without any special prep, all thanks to the gold base. Overall, this is one of the lighter desserts in terms of flavor and texture. On the nutrition side, each serving has 320 calories, although you'll have to estimate the actual servings since it comes in a bar cake style. At around $20, it's not the cheapest Costco dessert, but it's still a good deal and large enough for a sizeable gathering.


The main drawback to this dessert is the lack of actual strawberries. It has plenty of strawberry flavor, which pairs well with the cream. But the cake doesn't have any whole, sliced, or cut strawberries, instead relying on strawberry jam to bring that flavor. It would be easy to add sliced strawberries to the layer cake, which is made fresh in the bakery. This simple addition would put it over the top on our list of best Costco desserts.

Kirkland Signature 12-inch cheesecake

This is a decent cheesecake, but the lack of toppings and the piped icing put it further down on the list of Costco's top bakery desserts. You can add canned pie filling or other toppings, but chances are you won't need to buy that in bulk. That means two separate trips for one dessert, which goes against the convenience factor of going to Costco to do all of your shopping in one trip. Instead, you'll need to make one stop at Costco for the cheesecake and another to a grocery store where you can pick up something to jazz it up. Costco occasionally stocks a cherry-topped cheesecake, but it's not a staple in all stores, so don't count on that being available.


The edge has decorative piping made out of icing. That's an odd addition to creamy cheesecake and not always welcome if you want something traditional. The generous size is good for feeding a crowd, however. Each 12-inch cheesecake serves 16 and only costs around $24.

Kirkland Signature rosemary Parmesan loaves

With a strong rosemary flavor, these are not the most versatile bread loaves in the Costco bakery. The rosemary Parmesan loaf is a nice complement to some dishes, such as a rustic stew or a roast chicken and potatoes. But the herbiness can overpower some meals. However, because this is Costco, one purchase includes two loaves of bread. That's a lot of bread, considering it only pairs well with certain meals. You'll get a lot of bread with a single purchase, meaning there's a good chance it will get moldy before you eat it all.


A more versatile option is the Kirkland Signature country French bread loaf. It is the same price and size, but it lacks the strong herb and cheese flavors. You can use this loaf in all of the same ways, adding fresh or dried rosemary and Parmesan to individual slices or chunks as needed. In most cases, you're much more likely to get your money's worth when opting for something without such a strong flavor. Two loaves are around $7.

Kirkland Signature cornbread

If you want traditional cornbread, you unfortunately won't find it in the Costco bakery. The store carries cornbread muffins occasionally and recently added a green chile cornbread loaf to its lineup. Both fly off the shelves, especially when paired with chili or other hearty stews. But these are both specialty styles. The size and added flavors don't replicate a tried-and-true classic cornbread. Unfortunately, the only option at Costco for traditional cornbread is the make-it-yourself option using a box mix or getting all of the ingredients to make cornbread from scratch.


It is generally sweet, which you would expect for a cornbread. The green chile cornbread loaf also has a slight kick, although it doesn't veer into actual spicy territory. Both the cornbread muffins and the loaf are popular with Costco shoppers. The price of each varies based on size, with the muffins generally costing less per serving than the specialty cornbread. The underwhelming part is the lack of available alternatives if you want something traditional. Even the specialty options aren't always available and tend to hit the shelves only in the fall.


Based on personal experience, customer reviews, and nutrition data, we looked at which items didn't get or keep our taste buds singing. Some were good but had too many special flavors to be worth buying in bulk. After shopping at Costco for more than 10 years, we've narrowed down our list to things that make life and cooking more convenient, work well with a variety of dishes, or are a great bulk buy.


Some are not as versatile or economical as other options, while others are best saved for the occasional treat. It's important to look at the nutrition label to make sure that what you are buying, especially if you're buying in large quantities like at Costco, works as part of a balanced diet. Some items work well when serving a crowd at a buffet but aren't the best choices for a smaller household. Cost and convenience were also factors. If we had to buy a lot of extras or visit other stores to find something to pair with the item, that usually meant it wasn't the best choice from the Costco bakery.