It seems like everyone has a Costco membership or is friends with someone who has one that is willing to take them to Costco whenever they need to stock up. There is so much to love about the place, from the ridiculously-big jars of mayonnaise to the sample tables at the end of practically every aisle (who hasn’t sampled a full meal’s worth of food at one point or another?). But one of the most popular sections of any Costco is the bakery. We all love it, but there are some things others know about it that you might not. And because we are as good at keeping a secret as Raj Koothrappali is at keeping a girlfriend, here are the top 10 secrets of the Costco bakery you’ll wish you knew sooner.
10. You Can Freeze The Baked Goods
While we all love the amount of food you get per package at Costco, that bulk can also be a deterrent to purchasing some items because you know you will never finish it all before most of it goes bad. And that can easily be the case with fresh bakery items. And while it is generally understood that freezing baked products isn’t always a good idea (they often don’t unfreeze back to their tasty selves), it appears that that isn’t the case with Costco bakery items. According to various folks online, Costco products actually do freeze well and return to their proper form and taste when thawed. This would make sense given that Costco knows they are selling bulk items. And unless you are a big family or a professional eater, one or two dozen giant muffins, a huge pack of croissants, and so on, aren’t all going to get eaten by the best-before date. So, now you know! You don’t have to stuff your face with baked goods or have a big party in order to make sure you finish everything before they go bad. Just go ahead and Freeze ‘em and enjoy them later. This will also save you a few bucks in the end as you won’t have to throw away stuff that’s gone bad and the need to restock your pantry with baked goods won’t be as frequent either.
9. Buy Frozen or Uncooked
Purchasing the items fresh is the most expensive option when it comes to Costco bakery items. And this makes sense of course because well, it’s the freshest and the most convenient option. Buy them fresh and everything is done for you. You can even start eating them in the car on the drive home if you want (don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all do it!). However, if you can wait until you get home and thaw a few items out, then purchasing the goods already frozen is definitely an option you should be considering (especially if you weren’t going to finish all the fresh items and plan on freezing some of them anyway). Many of Costco’s bakery items are available frozen and as such, they obviously have a much longer shelf life, which even allows you to purchase more of them if you so desire. As one example online pointed out: a container of fresh cookies comes to about 35 cents per cookie – while the frozen option gets you 19 cents per cookie! That’s almost a 50% savings and all you have to do is thaw them out. And because Costco bakery items do generally thaw nicely and warm up just as tasty as before they were chilled, it is even more worthwhile purchasing them already frozen.
8. Are the Sheet Cakes Coming Back
In case you haven’t been to a Costco lately and/or hadn’t heard the sad, sad news, brace yourself… Costco announced, a few months ago, that they were discontinuing their half-sheet cakes. Now, while some of you might wonder why this is even news at all, those of you who have partaken in the sharing of sheet cake will know exactly why this caused such a stir among Costco fans. It was a simple sheet cake, but it was super delicious, it was big and it wasn’t very expensive. There are even multiple examples online of people serving said sheet cakes at their wedding (that’s how beloved they were). Well, maybe we can all stop crying in our bulk-bought boxes of Kleenex because there is some hope that the cakes might be coming back. Near the end of July, less than two months after Costco’s announcement, customers at a few Costco locations in California started seeing the sheet cake order stations again. When news outlets picked up the story, Costco again released the same statement about how the cakes were discontinued (without making any reference to the fact that some stores were taking orders again). What does this all mean? We shall see. But, it looks like a little sliver of hope that the much-adored bakery item won’t be gone forever.
7. Giant Tiramisu
There are some baked goods that are nice and easy to make at home and not worth purchasing when the option of homemade is available – as long as you have even just a little baking ability. However, tiramisu isn’t one of them. Making tiramisu is a time consuming process and the cost of the ingredients alone can also add up – depending on how many people you are looking to feed with your espresso-soaked, mascarpone-layered creation. And even those comfortable in the kitchen might find it a little more complicated than they would like. But did you know that your Costco membership provides you with access to, not only a tiramisu cake, but a giant tiramisu cake! This delicious creation weighs in at a wonderful 2.38 pounds and will easily serve you, your guests, your guests’ guests and still leave you enough left over to throw in the freezer to enjoy at a later date (pro tip: slice it up before you freeze it so you can easily grab a slice whenever the craving hits). Also, with the price tag for this large cake coming in at around $16, the cost per serving is pretty spectacular when compared to a made at home version. Sounds like a win-win to us! And at that price, as long as you have enough room in the freezer, why not buy two?
6. Free Cookies for Kids
Anyone who has done it knows that grocery shopping with children (or any shopping for that matter) can be a lesson in patience and can easily wear down even the most Zen-like parent to their very last nerve. One of the easiest ways to calm a child down as you work your way through the grocery aisles is to give them something to eat. Sure, you can break open that snack box, but if you are at Costco you don’t have to dip into your going-to-purchase groceries because the retailer will give your kid a cookie for free. We aren’t sure if it’s just cookies or any of the baked goods (within reason of course), but all you have to do is ask and your child shall receive. Now, obviously this comes with a bit of a catch-22. While the delicious cookie will probably calm your kid down for a little while, the sugar will probably start kicking in just as you get back to the car – which means the drive home could be a little intense. If a sugar treat isn’t something you want to give your kid, remember that Costco is always giving out free samples of various food items around the store. It shouldn’t be hard to find something your child wants to try (and they usually don’t mind if you come back multiple times for the same sample).
5. Great Place to Buy Bread
When it comes to bulk buying there are certain items that many people skip right past. Bread seems to be one such item. Unless you have a big family or are eating sandwiches for lunch and dinner, there is almost no way to consume all of the bread you could bulk buy at Costco before it went bad. For that reason, most people probably skip the bread section and pick up a loaf here and there, when needed, from their local grocery store, or corner store. But wait! Don’t ignore the Costco bread any longer. The deals and savings are pretty great. In fact, a couple of years ago one cooking website set out to determine who had the best deals on bread between Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. And in pretty much every category, Costco came out on top with the best deals on bakery bread, sandwich bread, rolls and both hot dog and hamburger buns. And while you might be thinking that a deal is great, but not if most of it is going to go to waste anyway, remember that you can freeze a portion and thaw it out in the future when you want it. There are plenty of great tutorials online to help you figure out the best way to defrost bread so that it returns to its full potential of taste and texture. So you no longer have an excuse not to give this bad boy a chance!
4. You Can Order in Advance
So you’re throwing a big party and you’re going to need a whole lotta baked goods, treats and sweets. Well, you could just go to Costco the day of the party, grab everything you need and just leave it at that. However, there are two problems with that. The first one is that you may not be able to find everything you wanted – or at least not as much of it as you wanted – depending on when you go. If you go early in the morning, sure you might be able to get what you need, but if you go later in the afternoon, chances are, you’re going to go home empty-handed. The second problem is that if you do find everything you want and take it all, that means there might not be enough for all the other people who show up to Costco later that day hoping to find their favorite baked goods. So, instead of being “that person”, be the person who orders what you need in advance. It’s as simple as walking up to the counter and letting them know what you need and when you need it (generally they ask that you place your order 48 hours in advance – some locations may ask for 72 hours)! Then when the time comes, you head on down to your favorite Costco and pick it up. You’re happy! Your party guests are happy! And all of the other Costco customers will be happy as well.
3. Costco Delivers
Costco only recently got into the delivery game and it applies to the baked goods as well as many – if not all – the other items in the stores. One reason the retailer was a little slow to start offering delivery is because people tend to purchase more when they are physically in the store and are much more diligent about purchases when ordering online. But in 2017 they started delivering in the United States and the following year Canadians were able to place online orders for delivery as well. In Canada, you can even order uncooked cookie dough from the bakery to make the cookies at home in your own oven. You don’t even have to leave your house to get cookies! Because of their size, oftentimes the closest Costco is a bit of a drive away, so having the ability to just order online and have someone drive the stuff to you is an amazing option. There are some restrictions when it comes to delivery and not all locations offer same-day delivery. However, a simple search on the Costco website will clear it all up and let you know what the options are for your particular location. The one downside to delivery is that you will miss out on all of the in-store free samples, but sometimes there is a price to pay for convenience. So, if you don’t mind missing out on the full ” Costco experience,” switching to delivery can save you a lot of time and trouble!
2. You Can Return Almost Anything
A generous return policy is one of the best ways to keep customers happy and loyal, and Costco is well aware of that fact. So, if you purchase anything at Costco – including from the bakery – and you aren’t happy with it… Just return it! The employees at Costco are instructed to pretty much take anything back that a customer wants to return and do so with almost no questions asked. You bought a box of big muffins, but you decided that you don’t really want them? Return them! You picked up five boxes of cookies for a party, but no one showed up and you don’t want all those sweets sitting and tempting you from the cupboard? Return them! You picked up a large cake for a dinner party but half the people at the party had just started the Keto diet and couldn’t eat it so there’s still half a cake left? Return it! Yes, technically you actually can return a half eaten cake, a half empty bottle of wine, etc… but, do you really want to be “that person, again?” Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And you should also be aware that while employees are trained to be very open to returns, they are also trained to look out for repeat returners who are obviously just out to take advantage of the permissive policy. You can’t just fly under the radar if you’ve returned that same box of cookies 6 times in the last month. They’re going to know and they could even revoke your membership if the excess returns keep on happening. So, try and stick to legit returning only. In the end it will be good for you, and your Costco karma.
1. Costco’s Social Media and Website
While most businesses have a website and a social media presence, not all of them provide useful content for both making it worth a follow or a visit. Well, Costco does! Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – Costco has accounts on all of them and they are all worth a follow if you are at all interested in some cool tips and tricks from their bakery. This includes a few very easy at home hacks to spice up your cakes: like placing a simple jack-o-lantern stencil on top of the cake and sprinkling with cocoa powder to make it a perfect Halloween dessert. Looking for some awesome recipes to make using their bakery items? Visit the Costco website and you will find plenty. Check out some cool breakfast and lunch suggestions, using the store’s croissants and bagels. Want to make dessert kabobs using churros? Well, there’s a recipe for that as well. And since Costco is a great place to purchase bread, buns and the like, the website is also teaming with awesome sandwich recipes, including a Father’s Day Breakfast Sandwich and a Kirkland Signature Sub sandwich. A quick browse of the website before your next trip to Costco will give you plenty of great ideas as you browse the aisles. You don’t need to aimlessly wander the aisles for hours, looking for inspiration on what to eat anymore! All you need is a good internet connection!