10 budget-friendly Costco products with cult followings

And rightfully so!

By Joey Skladany

Published March 29, 2022 4:30PM (EDT)

 (Yang Haishi/VCG via Getty Images)
(Yang Haishi/VCG via Getty Images)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

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.


Joey Skladany

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Costco Food Food52 Grocery Stores Kirkland Signature