10 Budget-Friendly Costco Products With Cult Followings

And rightfully so.

March  3, 2022
Photo by Getty Images (Mario Tama/Staff)

Shopping at Costco is always an experience. Aside from the perks of membership-only deals and a literal warehouse’s worth of every grocery store item you can think of, there’s something to be said about buying the most beloved mainstream food and drink in bulk.

But over the years, less attention and social media fanfare has been placed on tried and true favorites and more on Costco’s own products from its Kirkland Signature line. In fact, many options are so delicious that they’ve developed cult followings, replacing what we once thought to be the best-of-the-best with familiar brands. (Ironically, most Kirkland Signature offerings are actually manufactured by the companies we love, so you’re never skimping on taste or quality to satisfy a specific craving.)

New to Costco or need a refresher on what customers can’t stop talking about? Check out our list of 10 Kirkland Signature items that are more than deserving of a spot in your oversized shopping cart.

Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There is no product on this list celebrated more than Kirkland Signature’s extra virgin olive oil. Cold-pressed, organic, and sourced directly from Greece, this two-liter jug will become a pantry staple with a full-bodied richness that is perfect for dressings, marinades, and sautéeing your favorite meats and vegetables. Treat this olive oil like your salt and pepper—use it daily, buy it in bulk, and never settle for anything less than the highest of quality.

Kirkland Signature Aged Balsamic Vinegar

You’re going to need a vinegar to complement that high-quality EVOO and Costco is not messing around when it comes to its aged balsamic. Made in the condiment’s homeland of Modena, Italy, the depth of oaky and sweet flavors stand up to the olive oil’s robustness. It also makes a fantastic topper to proteins like grilled chicken and canned tuna fish, taking them from bland and boring to craveworthy and coveted.

Kirkland Signature Animal Crackers

Animal crackers in your soup? Only if you’re Shirley Temple. For the rest of us, these are going straight into our mouths (or maybe as a topping to frozen yogurt). The four-pound tub’s play on a childhood classic is vanilla-forward with a smooth surface and delectable crunch. Sure, they’re more animal-stamped than animal-shaped, but the lack of detail just makes them more adult-friendly since we care less about clever gimmicks and more about satisfying a sudden hankering for carbs.

Kirkland Signature Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Parmigiano-Reggiano is delicious, but it's often very, very expensive. Fear not—Costco sells a pound (!) of the shredded delicacy (and even an entire wheel if that craving is ultra intense) for less than $20. Needless to say, your morning omelet just got a serious upgrade.

Kirkland Signature Wild Caught Mahi-Mahi

Sustainable fishing practices are not just critical in protecting the environment, but they also yield a healthier protein. Such is the case with this package of individually-packed, vacuum-sealed center cuts. The hearty filets are easy to grill, bake, and even air fry (once thawed) to make even the most fish and seafood-averse reconsider their dietary preferences.

Kirkland Signature Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola

Nature’s Path is the hot new granola in town. This fiber and protein-packed alternative takes everything you love from the mass market brand but packs in the omega-3s with pumpkin and flax seeds (which also impart a fantastically nutty and earthy taste that makes it seem small-batch, artisanal, and prepared by a cool Brooklyn hipster who ditched a life on Wall Street to open a bakery.)

Kirkland Signature Milk Chocolate Almonds

These should come with a warning label because it’s entirely too easy to eat more than you (and your stomach) ever thought possible. The no-frills snack offers the crunch of an almond with a decadently silky chocolate shell that brings new meaning to the idea of “perfectly sweet and salty.” If you’re looking for balance in life, add these to your list of essentials.

Kirkland Signature Sliced Bacon

Bring home the bacon…literally. Costco’s take on the breakfast classic actually earned top honors in a Consumer Reports taste test. We’re not sure if it’s the hickory smoke or the fact that you get four packs (save room in the freezer!), but it’s absolutely something you’ll want to fry up and crumble in a salad, use to wrap a mini meatloaf, or eat on its own with hash browns and a veggie scramble.

Kirkland Signature Protein Bars

If you’re looking for an alternative to the run-of-the-mill protein bars sold in most places, these are the bars for you. Each serving boasts a whopping 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and only two grams of sugar. And, best of all, they taste like actual brownies! No more holding your nose or gagging as you refuel after a workout or run. You’ll now feel like you’re treating yourself to dessert instead.

Kirkland Signature Organic Dried Cherries

Three cheers for cherries. If you’re pining for something sweet but with a little extra tang, these vitamin C-packed bites are exceptional as a late afternoon pick-me-up or simply an oatmeal or granola enhancer. You can also soak these in Bourbon to garnish any alcoholic beverage of choice. Now that’s what we call adulting.

What's your all-time favorite Kirkland Signature product from Costco? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Maureen Guthner
    Maureen Guthner
  • Catwarner
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    Patricia Blank
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Joey Skladany

Written by: Joey Skladany

Writer/Editor, Personality, Author of 'Basic Bitchen'


Maureen G. March 9, 2023
OXO set of 9 kitchen food storage bins cost me $50, on Amazin a 10 piece set cost $112. Bought 4 sets to do my pantry!
Catwarner March 9, 2023
All of their nuts; pecans, walnuts, pine, peanuts. Excellent and great value.
Patricia B. March 9, 2023
So many great Kirkland products so where to begin? I love their Himalayan Pink Salt 2-pack--great value and amazing taste. And their cashews in any form--whole, cashew clusters with almond and pumpkin seeds and butter toffee are all pantry staples in our house.
Anne B. March 8, 2023
The microwave "movie" popcorn rocks.
Sarita March 8, 2023
Kirkland Kombucha rocks! Tastes great & affordable.
Karen F. March 8, 2023
Love Kirklands Columbian roast coffee. Always consistent flavor and great price.
Connie March 24, 2023
Have a Costco membership just for the coffee!
maya March 8, 2023
Maple syrup!!! The best tasting and the best price.
les C. March 8, 2023
Absolutely should have made the list.
miriam March 31, 2022

So your idea of adulting is having bourbon-soaked dried cherries in your alcoholic drink. That's what I would call adolescenting, if there were such a word.

Even with the best dried cherries, it has nothing to do with taking on adult responsibilities. It has nothing to do with being trustworthy, or having integrity, or respecting the rights of others, or taking care of yourself and those who depend on you without being forced to.

Heving a center of control and moral compass worthy of a full member of society, and having them as a part of you - that's adulting. It has nothing to do with pleasures that are off-limits to children.
Chloe B. February 27, 2023
This is the wildest comment I have ever seen on a lifestyle website.
ustabahippie March 8, 2023
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
les C. March 8, 2023
People like you are what is wrong with our country today. Get lost with that BS and take it somewhere else.
Dimitrialiberty March 8, 2023
I try to understand why the need of a lecture for saying to put dried cherries in a drink.
May you please explain what sets you off?
Thank you Dimitria
ustabahippie March 8, 2023
MacGuffin March 9, 2023
As sanctimonious as that comment was, to label it "what is wrong with our country today" is completely off the mark.
PilarT March 9, 2023
Miriam: Life is a bowl of cherries. 🍒 Fresh, dried, however you want them but if you don’t like how an author describes joyful moments I suggest just scroll away to another page. Righteous rudeness is presumptuous and unnecessary here.
MacGuffin March 9, 2023
I find it puzzling that virtue-signaling shows up as often as it does on Food52. Geez.
Marjorie W. March 26, 2023
You're fun at parties, right?
SJhapamama March 30, 2022
I get better EVOO at a small family-owned Middle Eastern/Eastern European store around the corner, but I do buy the Kirkland light olive oil for general cooking needs (stir fries, baked goods that wouldn't taste good with evoo, etc). Maple syrup, unsalted almond butter, organic egg whites, vanilla extract, and Saigon cinnamon are my household favorites. Oh, and the 4-pack of House tofu is a good bargain as well!
Rebecca K. March 18, 2022
Organic chicken broth, giant nets of Babybel cheese, almonds, pecans, salted cashews. We also buy the 4 lb sleeves of salted butter and salmon filets.
Tammy S. March 18, 2022
Kirkland Sauvignon Blanc!
kathryn J. March 1, 2023
The Pino Grigio is terrific too! Available in boxes!!!
fritter March 8, 2023
Yes!!! It's the best!
Karen O. March 18, 2022
My favorite
Kirkland Extra Virgin Olive oil Toscano
Two new ones:
Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil Terra di Bari Bitonto
Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil Val Di Mazara

All different and so delicious!
Scout1967 March 17, 2022
The Kirkland Signature Peanut Butter is better than any brand I have ever tried.
miriam March 17, 2022
Unsalted American-style butter. Second only to Land O' Lakes.
MStubbee March 17, 2022
UNsalted mixed nuts. Pecans. Maple syrup. Salmon with dill butter. Mashed/scalloped potatoes. Italian olive oil. These are my “go-tos!”
Ruth M. March 17, 2022
I like to mix one tub of unsalted nuts with a tub of salted and thus have lightly salted nuts!
Maureen G. March 9, 2023
What a great idea!!
Dee A. March 17, 2022
Huge fan of the Kirkland Mixed Nuts and the Cattle Drive Gold canned chili.
AlwaysLookin March 17, 2022
I get that the Kirkland Olive Oil is cheap, but do you really want cheap Olive Oil? I want CHEAP when I pick-up my Dry Cleaning, or a Prescription. I want my Olive Oil to be flavorful!! Have you noticed a few years ago the accolades for this product STOPPED by all the reviewers ... buy at your own risk.
Cookie March 17, 2022
Really have to agree with this. If you are used to high quality cold-pressed virgin olive oil, especially from Italy or central California, and you expect to be using it in ways you can really taste (salads, sautés, pasta, bread) you will not be satisfied with Kirkland. I bought one of those giant Kirkland tins because of the rather hyped-up accolades, and ended up using it to pop corn, make the kids' grilled sandwiches, and season my iron pans. Which is fine, but don't expect it to taste like Tuscany or Paso Robles. Not even close.
miriam March 17, 2022
Well, a two-liter bottle of anything is too big for my fridge, so it's a moot point with me. Now if it were a huge jar of pasta sauce, I could use some and freeze the rest.
Sdonatel March 17, 2022
I always keep 2 olive oils, one that will be subjected to heat, like a Kirkland or equivalent. Then I keep a very nice EVOO, that is used cold on anything that would benefit from a splash.
MacGuffin March 17, 2022
+1. A dear friend imports very high-end EVOO. I only buy his stuff and I use it for almost everything that doesn’t require the use of butter or a blander oil (e.g. mayonnaise). I use his balsamic as well. My Costco membership has its strengths but EVOO isn’t one of them.
Cookie March 17, 2022
Yes, it's a lot if you don't use it every day, but don't store your olive oil in the fridge! Taking it in and out of a refrigerator (any repeated temperature change) affects flavor, as does condensation in the bottle. Keep it in a cool place away from light. Shelf life is about two years; once it's opened, 3 to 6 months.
miriam March 18, 2022
True, olive oil is not for the fridge. Based on a recent experience, I was reacting, knee-jerk, to the whole 2-liter idea. But will olive oil keep, even at room temperature, if it is used only, say, twice a week? That too seems too big.
MacGuffin March 18, 2022

Please read, especially, in this case, Truth #6.
MacGuffin March 18, 2022
Sorry, just not true: .
MacGuffin March 9, 2023
One of my friends imports very high-end oil; I enjoy my Costco membership but it's not for EVOO. However, to each his own.
AlainB March 17, 2022
Porterhouse lamb chops are always excellent. Pistachios are a great deal. Buffalo mozzeralla cheese is a no brainer, along with a two-for on Rao's tomato sauce that I eat out of the jar. And the 20 pack of croissants, hate to admit it, are buttery delicious.
kathryn J. March 1, 2023
Croissants are as good as many I've had in la belle France
fritter March 8, 2023
Yep! The Lambchops are amazing; a chef friend of mine was convonced I bought them at a veeery fancy butcher (Mcall's) in LA...;)
Jim A. March 17, 2022
Speaking of bacon, the Kirkland Signature Bacon Crumbles come in a big 20 oz. bag for $10.99 and they are absolutely delicious - real bacon that seems like it was just cooked that day.
Ruth March 17, 2022
Dried mushrooms and parchment paper!