9 Costco Bakery Secrets You'll Be Happy To Know

Costco bakery worker with trays of bread
Costco bakery worker with trays of bread - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Sometimes, you find yourself strolling through the vast, cavernous aisles of Costco, mesmerized by towering shelves stocked with everything you could ever need, when suddenly, it hits you — the aroma of freshly baked goods wafts through the air, and you're drawn in, like a moth to a flame. That's the moment when you stumble upon Costco's best-kept secret: Their incredible bakery section. A trip to this hidden gem isn't just about indulging your sweet tooth, though you certainly can. It's about finding hidden treasures, unlocking unbeatable deals, and treating yourself to irresistible pastries without emptying your wallet. Those cookies your kids are reaching for? Free. That mouthwatering baguette? A steal. And that decadent cake you're eyeing for your upcoming celebration? It's a time and money-saving gift from the Costco bakery gods.

So get ready to elevate your shopping game and embrace the delicious world of Costco's bakery section. By the end of this article, you'll be a Costco bakery expert, ready to impress your friends and family with your newfound insider knowledge. From little-known tips that'll keep your kids grinning from ear to ear to freezer-friendly finds that'll have you patting yourself on the back for weeks to come, we're your guide to sweetening the deal at Costco's bakery section.

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Kids Get A Free Cookie

Boy eating chocolate chip cookie
Boy eating chocolate chip cookie - Klebercordeiro/Getty Images

Looking for a way to make your next Costco trip a little more bearable for little ones? Many Costco locations offer a delightful perk to keep your shopping trip a family-friendly affair — free cookies for the kids! Getting in on this fun tradition is as easy as asking an associate in the bakery section as you navigate the store with your kids in tow. They'll hand out a cookie sample to each of the little ones, free of charge.

The kinds of cookies you're likely to receive will depend on the location and what flavors they have available at any given time, so you won't be able to pick a specific flavor. Popular favorites that you might be offered include flavors like gourmet chocolate chunk, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, raspberry crumble, and even confetti cookies, which have sprinkles baked right into them, like funfetti cake.

Now, there are some caveats to know about. For one, not every location offers free cookies, especially since 2020 when all Costco stores stopped offering samples altogether due to the pandemic. While some locations have brought this policy back, you may need to check with your local branch to see if they're offering cookies again. Also, you should only ask for one cookie per kiddo per visit — no going back for sneaky seconds! It's worth keeping in mind too, that you may be offered a cookie with nuts in it, so be aware if you have kids with nut allergies.

You Can Order Your Costco Baked Goods Ahead Of Time

Costco bakery associate stocking shelves
Costco bakery associate stocking shelves - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Costco isn't just a great place to go for cheap bulk products, it's also your party-planning partner. If you're worried about your favorite cake flavor or those mouthwatering platters being sold out on the day of your event, Costco has a solution. In addition to the enticing array of bakery goods readily available on display, you can easily place orders for cakes, platters, or any other baked goods, up to two days ahead of time. Whether you want to create a customer birthday cake, order a beautifully arranged platter of pastries, or create a large bulk order to cater for a massive event, Costco ensures that your special day is a resounding success, and there's no need to leave anything to chance.

Buying is a breeze, even though Costco's ordering process isn't the most modern around. There's no option to order baked goods online, so you'll have to reach out to your local Costco bakery in person, where their staff will guide you through the process and help you tailor your order to perfection. You'll have to fill out an order form while you're in the store and submit it a day or two before your event. You can't order over the phone, either — some customers criticize the idea that you can't check in on your order over the phone, either, but you just have to trust that it will be ready to pick up in time.

You Have Your Baked Goods Delivered To Your Door

Costco delivery trucks and trailers
Costco delivery trucks and trailers - Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's safe to say that grocery shopping looks very different these days for many of us than it did just a few years ago. In response to the changing landscape of grocery shopping, especially in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, grocery chains everywhere have recognized the growing demand for convenient and time-saving shopping solutions like curbside pick-up and delivery services. While Costco is somewhat late to the game when it comes to offering delivery, the chain has made significant strides to ensure that its members can enjoy the benefits of this convenient service.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, then you'll need to visit Costco's grocery website,  or download the user-friendly Costco app, and order your groceries online for delivery. Your order will be delivered same-day (usually within two to five hours) through Instacart, to qualifying zip codes. Make sure to check for yourself if your area is being served! Once on the platform, you can browse Costco's offerings, as well as sales and deals. It's a simple and hassle-free process, and within a few clicks, you can have your favorite bakery treats and other Costco products delivered right to your doorstep.

You Can Buy Unbaked Frozen Bakery Items To Bake At Home

unbaked dough on baking sheet
unbaked dough on baking sheet - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Here's a nifty Costco secret that can make your wallet and your taste buds equally happy. We all adore those irresistible croissants, rolls, and pastries from the Costco bakery, and this tip can be a total game-changer: You can recreate that freshly baked magic right in your own kitchen, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Costco sells frozen versions of some of its most popular baked goods for a fraction of the cost of the freshly baked versions. For instance, you could pick up a 24-pack of Kirkland Signature cookies for about $10-$12 (or about $.50 per cookie), or grab a box of prerolled ready-to-bake cookie dough balls for about $30 — that works out at half the price per cookie! Keep in mind that prices and availability vary by location, so you'll have to ask at the bakery counter.

Some of the many products that Costco offers unbaked include cookie dough, bread dough, pastries, and croissants. Load up on these frozen gems, and whenever the mood for a bakery treat strikes, just pop 'em in the oven. In just a few minutes you'll have that delightful, warm, and flaky experience without ever leaving your doorstep. And if you're worried that they won't taste as good as the versions you pick up from the bakery, no worries! In fact, they may actually taste even better, since they're fresh-baked, right in your home.

You Can Order A Beautiful Wedding Cake For Your Big Day

wedding cake with flower accents
wedding cake with flower accents - Alexander_DG/Shutterstock

There's no denying that weddings are incredibly expensive, so why shell out for an expensive wedding cake when you don't need to? Instead, you can order a special occasion cake from Costco — it will not only look absolutely stunning but also taste like a dream, all for just a small portion of the cost you'd typically find at a traditional bakery. For instance, you can pick up a 2-tier lemon cake filled with raspberry jam and lemon curd and covered in lemon buttercream frosting for only $300. For comparison, according to The Knot, the national average price for a wedding cake was $510 in 2022.

You can also take advantage of Costco's generous sample policy and have your very own free cake tasting! You and your partner can stroll into Costco, try out a variety of delectable cake flavors, and choose the perfect one to suit your taste and theme, without all the unnecessary extra cost of a formal cake-tasting session.

Alternatively, you could consider making your own wedding cake using Costco sheet cakes. Take a few basic sheet cakes and stack them on top of each other, or cut them into round or square shapes. Then redecorate them with your own icing or edible toppings. Or, offer a customized Costco sheet cake to your guests (it costs just under $20 and serves 48 guests) and splurge on a small cake for just the two of you.

Costco Donates Outdated Baked Goods To Food Pantries

Charity volunteers accepting food donations
Charity volunteers accepting food donations - Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

Here's something you probably didn't know about Costco: This warehouse giant has a heartwarming practice that sets it apart from many other grocery store chains when it comes to handling leftover and outdated bakery items. Instead of resorting to the wasteful act of discarding perfectly good, unsold products, Costco chooses to benefit both the environment and the local community. As numerous employees and reports reveal, Costco's approach is to channel these surplus bakery items to local charities and food banks by partnering with Feeding America, a national charity dedicated to ending hunger in the United States. In a Reddit thread, one soup kitchen volunteer noted, "Our largest donations come from Costco." It's a win-win situation that underscores Costco's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

In a world where the issues of food waste and food insecurity persist, Costco's commitment to redirecting surplus bakery goods to those who can benefit from them is not only admirable but sets a powerful example for others in the industry. When most grocery chains have excess food waste, these perfectly edible, if slightly outdated, items often end up in the trash or actively destroyed, contributing to the staggering issue of food waste. Costco's approach not only mitigates this wasteful behavior but also ensures that these products go to good use.

Some Costco Bakery Items Are Made From Scratch

Costco bakery employee packaging bagels
Costco bakery employee packaging bagels - Bloomberg/Getty Images

While we'd love to believe that every baked good offered in Costco's bakery was prepared fresh every morning, that's not quite the case. Costco's approach to its baked goods is a blend of in-house craftsmanship and practical convenience. If you've ever wondered which delicious items are crafted from scratch in their bustling bakeries versus those that are baked from pre-prepared mixes, here's the inside scoop.

According to a dedicated Costco employee who spilled the beans on Reddit, several items are lovingly crafted from scratch within the store's bustling ovens. These include mouthwatering multigrain bread, country French bread, rosemary bread, garlic bread, and cranberry bread, as well as delightful pumpkin, cherry, pecan, lemon meringue, strawberry rhubarb, and peach pies. Additionally, granola and granola nut bread are freshly crafted in Costco's Bakery section, delivering that homemade quality that many Costco shoppers adore.

On the other hand, some items receive the expert touch of Costco's bakers but start with a pre-prepared mix and are then baked fresh in-store. These include the popular fruit custard pie, as well as the ever-popular white and chocolate sheet cakes. The luscious fruit bar cake and cheesecake, alongside dinner rolls, muffins, all-American chocolate cake, and pound cake are also part of this category.

Order A Scored Rosebud Cake For Large Events

Costco scored rosebud sheet cake
Costco scored rosebud sheet cake - He and She Eat Clean

Planning a grand gathering, party, or event and wondering how you'll efficiently serve up a large sheet cake? Costco's here to help with a brilliant solution — the scored rosebud sheet cake. This secret gem takes all the stress out of slicing and serving, making sure everyone gets a perfect piece of cake, and it's a game-changer for your next celebration. You can order a scored rosebud sheet cake for yourself by filling out a Costco bakery order form. A sheet cake will serve up to 48 guests.

So, what exactly is a scored sheet cake? It means the serving squares are already thoughtfully marked out for you. That means no more awkward attempts at cutting straight lines or worrying about portion sizes. This convenience alone can save you plenty of time and effort, making your event a breeze to manage. But Costco's attention to detail doesn't stop at just scoring the cake. You have the option to request that the bakery team decorate the cake with a frosting flower on each square. This isn't just about aesthetics — it's a practical touch that ensures every guest gets the exact same delectable slice, decorations, and amount of icing. No more fighting over pieces with more icing or uneven servings. It's an elegant and thoughtful addition to your event that adds a touch of sophistication to your celebration, without adding any extra hassle.

The Customized Birthday Cakes Are A Steal

Black decorated Costco birthday cake
Black decorated Costco birthday cake - CRW Designs/Shutterstock

While it's true that you can always pick up a pre-decorated birthday cake right off the shelf at Costco, there's an amazing secret that many people don't know — you can order a personalized cake for an absolute steal. To get the ordering process started, head to your nearest Costco location about 48 hours before your special event. You can't place an order over the phone, so make sure you have time to show up in person.

When you're there, you'll be able to fill out a detailed order form to help you get the cake design as close as possible to your vision. You're presented with a couple of cake size options: A 10" round cake for a mere $15.99 or a half-sheet cake for just $24.99. Then decide on the mouthwatering flavoring, choosing between a chocolate cake paired with chocolate mousse or a vanilla cake with cheesecake mousse filling.

But that's not all — you also have a whole menu of designs to choose from. Whether it's a birthday full of roses, balloons, candles, or a theme like rainbows, bears, crosses, or even seasonal designs to match the time of year, Costco's got you covered. To make the cake truly yours, Costco's talented bakers will even write a special message on it in your choice of icing color, if you like. Keep in mind that while these prices and design options are generally consistent, they might vary depending on your specific location.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.