16 Costco Brand Prepared Foods You Should Never Buy

Skip these Costco ready-made meals, sides, and salads.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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Costco is known for its bulk buy bargains. However, the warehouse club is also famous for its rotisserie chicken, pizza, and hot dogs.

While these ready-made foodie favorites are hits, some of the discount retailer’s prepared foods are major misses.

From products that don’t live up to their hype to deals that don’t come with the discounts you might expect, you may want to avoid wasting money on these prepared picks.

Editor’s Note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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Roasted Chicken and Swiss Wrap Roll

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz roasted chicken and swiss wrap roll

Price: $6.99/pound

Chicken, swiss, cream cheese, and veggies make these roll-ups an easy option for shoppers planning parties.

But they aren’t exactly practical for everyday meals. At almost $7 per pound, this prepared food bulk buy is less affordable than making your own copycat roll-ups.

Mac and Cheese

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz mac and cheese

Price: $3.49/pound

Costco shoppers aren't unanimous on the merits of the store’s ready-made mac and cheese.

The reviews on this bulk buy are mixed, ranging from bland to the best. While some note that adding their own cheese helped, you might have better luck with a fully homemade option.

Enchilada Bake with Rotisserie Chicken

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz enchilada bake with rotisserie chicken

Price: $5.99/pound

This enchilada bake may not save you money. While shoppers rave about the rotisserie chicken, this Costco-prepared food costs more per pound than one of these bargain buys.

Add a shredded Costco chicken to your own enchilada recipe for a lower-priced version of this ready-made meal.

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Chicken Street Taco Kit

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken street taco kit

Price: $4.99/pound

This kit has everything you need to make chicken tacos: seasoned chicken, cheese, Tortillas, salsa, cilantro lime crema, and even sliced fresh limes.

But, at just under $5 per pound, this ready-to-assemble option isn’t a top Costco value. And if you don’t use the kit ASAP, those sliced limes won’t stay fresh for long.

Potato Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz potato salad

Price: $7.49

Online reviews of Costco's prepared potato salad options say it all. Shoppers pan the ready-made mayonnaise-based salads.

If you’re planning a picnic or backyard barbeque, you may have better luck mixing up a batch of your own.

Gyro Kit

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz gyro kit

Price: $6.49/pound

Gyro fans may feel that this Costco food falls flat. The six-count pre-packaged make-a-meal kit in a container may not have the fresh taste you would expect from an authentic Greek eatery.

And, like some of the other prepared picks, this one isn’t likely to stay fresh for long.

Caesar Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz caesar salad

Price: $4.49/pound

This Costco’s Caesar salad comes with everything you’d expect from the classic. If you plan on eating this immediately, this starter or side is a deal.

However, shoppers who want to buy ahead may find that the ingredients don’t stay crisp.

Chicken Bakes

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken bakes

Price: $15.49

Made by Costco’s signature Kirkland brand, this frozen chicken meal combines rib-meat chicken strips, cheese, bacon, Caesar dressing, and green onions in a crusty dough shell.

The overly cheesy combo is better left to your college-aged kiddo’s microwave snack-loving palate.

Tuscan Chicken Wrap

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz tuscan chicken wrap

Price: $6.99/pound

Costco’s pre-made sandwiches are convenient if you’re in a pinch. These Tuscan wraps include chicken, tri-colored peppers, black olives, and sundried tomato spread.

A DIY version is a more affordable option for the almost-$7 per-pound cost of the rolled meal.

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Yakisoba Chicken Stir Fry Kit

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz yakisoba chicken stir fry kit

Price: $5.99/pound

This Costco kit’s Chinese-inspired ingredients aren’t likely to have the fresh, just-cooked taste you expect from your favorite Asian eatery.

And at nearly $6 per pound, you could save money by ordering takeout.

Udon Stir Fry Kit

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz udon stir fry kit

Price: $4.99/pound

Filled with Asian-inspired slaw and fresh lime wedges, the veggies, and citrus fruit could wilt or go bad before you heat and eat the stir fry.

Skip the kit and shop the warehouse store’s bulk buy boxed udon bowls for a better value. Add your own cooked chicken and vegetables for a fresh main meal.

Chicken Quesadillas

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken quesadillas

Price: $5.99/pound

Quesadillas are best eaten right out of the pan or off the press. But this prepared kit could sit in your fridge for days before you eat it.

This meal-for-two also has less-than-stellar price-related reviews online. With one kit costing upwards of $15, you might pay less for takeout from a local Mexican restaurant.

Chicken Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken salad

Price: $5.99/pound

Mayo and the famous Costco rotisserie chicken aren’t the perfect pairing. The excessive creaminess of this chicken salad may make it mushy, leaving your bread soaked.

Given the affordable price of the rotisserie chicken, you could save money and temper the mayonnaise by making this one at home.

Tortellini Pasta Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz tortellini pasta salad

Price: $5.49/pound

Even though the ingredients may seem like a hit, shoppers sometimes feel that the salad is more of a miss.

From overcooked pasta to a slightly bland taste, reviews of this prepared side are always favorable.

Shrimp Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz shrimp salad

Price: $9.99/pound

Tuna is a seafood salad of choice. But what about shrimp? The crustacean cooked and covered in a creamy sauce isn’t a taste treat for some shoppers.

Add in the almost $10 per-pound price tag, and you may want to avoid this prepared food pick.

Italian Sausage and Beef Lasagna

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz italian sausage and beef lasagna

Price: $18.89

This heat-and-eat frozen meal is a value for the price. While some shoppers enjoy this Kirkland Signature lasagna, others find it runny and too sweet.

Even though the bulk buy is affordable, some home chefs may prefer to make their own recipes.

Bottom line

VK Studio/Adobe angry shopper with furrowed brow

Costco has money-saving deals daily. Between the bulk buys and the deep discounts, you can save more on everyday essentials at the warehouse club.

Even though some prepared foods aren’t top choices among shoppers, you’ll still find plenty of convenient, high-quality, affordable options that are well within your grocery budget.

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Author Details

Erica Loop

With more than a decade of experience writing about everything from e-commerce to pets and parenting, Erica Loop has written for sites such as BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, Tinybeans, Family Education, and Care.com. Erica has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.