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If you stick to just three square meals a day, you’re missing out on the fun and flavor that snacks provide. There’s a snack for every time of day and flavor: fruity midmorning nibbles, satisfying post-lunch crunches, and protein-packed bites to power through the day. In addition to keeping homemade snacks (like granola bars and yogurt bark) on hand, I buy snacks in bulk for easy on-the-go snacking.
It’s probably no surprise that my go-to spot for stocking up on snacks is Costco — after all, I’m a recipe developer here at Kitchn and our unofficial Costco critic. Despite those professional qualifications, the most qualifying credential when it comes to snacking is that I’m a fierce snacker and a mom of two elementary-age (and constantly hungry) kids. We’ve tasted our way through the warehouse, and have narrowed down our list to the 10 very best Costco snacks of all time. Let’s take a look.
1. BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Snacking Cheese, $10.59 for 24 ounces
Mozzarella cheese is a classic after-school (or after-work) snack. I’ve loved the interactive element of string cheese (also available at Costco), since I was a child. Lately, though, I’ve opted for an updated version of the cheese snack: tiny rounds of fresh mozzarella. Creamy, mild, and fun to pop in your mouth, I buy them for snacking, and also add them to green or pasta salads in a pinch. Look for the shrink-wrapped snacking cheese in the gourmet cheese section of Costco.
2. Perfect Foods Organic Protein Bar Variety Pack, $19.99 for 12 bars
Frozen peanut butter balls sweetened with honey were my favorite after-school treat when I was growing up. Today I can give my kids the same flavors with Perfect Foods refrigerated protein bars. Costco sells these organic bars in a variety pack of two flavors: peanut butter and dark chocolate chip peanut butter. The bars are dense, lightly sweetened, and best eaten straight from the fridge. Providing 17 and 15 grams of protein per bar, respectively, they’re a perfect snack for our most active days. Costco only sells the full-size bars (snack-size bars are available at many grocery stores and online), so splitting the bars in half provides a filling snack and keeps the snack stocked for longer.
3. Stonyfield Organic Kids Yogurt Squeezers, $8.69 for 24
I hope the person who first thought to put yogurt in a squeeze tube is living large today. The single servings come in strawberry and mixed berry flavors and are perfect for eating on-the-go. And because they don’t require extra spoons or bowls for serving, adding these to the snack schedule keeps cleanup to a minimum. These fruity yogurt squeezers aren’t just for kids; I love to eat them frozen as an alternative to ice cream.
4. Kirkland Signature Organic Dried Mangoes, $17.99 for 2.5 pounds
It’s time to add dried mangoes to the stash of raisins, dates, and dried cherries you keep on hand for everyday snacking (and baking). At Costco, dried mangoes are sold under the house brand, Kirkland, Signature in a large, two-and-a-half-pound bag. Often dried mangoes contain added sugars and sulfur dioxide (used to maintain color and extend shelf life), but these contain a single ingredient: organic dried mangoes. This dried fruit is sweet and chewy. Think of them like a fruit jerky. Make sure to massage the bag before you buy to make sure that the strips of dried mango are soft and pliable.
5. Schwartz Brothers Bakery Organic Everything Bagel Chips, $8.49 for 15 ounces
Culinary Producer Kelli Foster shared this Costco snack find on her Instagram feed last fall and I have come to agree that this is one of the very best snacks at Costco. The bagel chips from Schwartz Brothers Bakery are super-crunchy and seasoned with a garlicky everything bagel spice. They stay fresh for longer and have a lot more flavor than the crackers and chips they’ve replaced in my pantry.
6. G.H. Cretors Cheese & Caramel Popcorn Mix, $7.99 for 32 ounces
Pick up Cretors G.H. Cheese & Caramel Popcorn when you can’t decide between salty and sweet. The mushroom-style popcorn kernels are huge and fluffy. In true Chicago-style popcorn fashion, half of the popcorn is dusted with sharp cheddar, while the remaining is coated in scratch-made caramel. Pro-tip: If you open the bag and see only cheddar popcorn, give it a shake, as the heavier caramel popcorn tends to sink to the bottom of the bag.
7. Kirkland Signature Organic Tortilla Chips, $6.79 for 40 ounces
I’m a little like Goldilocks when it comes to tortilla chips. The best chips are well-seasoned, but not salty, and sturdy enough to scoop chunky guac, yet thin enough for a sharp crunch. After taste testing tortilla chips from some of my favorite stores, Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Tortilla Chips came out on top. The chips are made of a blend of yellow and white corn, are hearty enough for serious dipping, but are also equally delicious for crunching all on their own.
8. Kirkland Signature Pistachios, $14.99 for 3 pounds
Does it seem like pistachios are everywhere this year? I, for one, am all for it. Costco sells salt and pepper-flavored and shelled pistachios, but I always pick up the classic, roasted and salted in-shell pistachios for snacking. The repetition of removing the salty shells from the nuts is part of the relaxing ritual of enjoying pistachios. Grab a handful from the three-pound bags of Kirkland Signature’s pistachios anytime you want a snack with salty, nutty crunch.
9. Meiji Hello Panda Chocolate Crème Center with Crunchy Shell, $9.99 for 32 (3/4-ounce) bags
These Japanese cookies are made in the shape of panda heads and have playful pandas stamped right on the adorable snack. It’s part cookie and part chocolate, so sweet-lovers can have the best of both worlds. The hollow shortbread cookie is light, crunchy, and not too sweet, and while Meiji sells other flavors elsewhere, the Hello Pandas at Costco are filled with a milk chocolate cream.
10. Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs, $13.39 for 40 (1/2-ounce bags)
Kids and kids at heart can’t resist a cheese puff. Unfortunately, all the adult in me can focus on are the orange cheese-coated fingers this style of snack leaves behind. With Pirate’s Booty, you can enjoy the airy, crunchy, cheddary puff, without the mess. It’s a win-win, making these light and crispy cheddar puffs a pure joy to eat.
Did your favorite Costco snacks make our list? Sound off in the comments below.