The bakery aisle at Costco is a place of plentitude: bread, pastries, cookies, cakes, muffins . . . they're all at your disposal. But with that comes a myriad of nutritional pitfalls, too, as our hungry eyes can guide us to some unreasonable choices when faced with such temptation. Baked goods usually come with an excess of sugar and fat, so making healthy choices at the Costco bakery is difficult.
"Avoiding excessive sugar intake in baked goods can be easy by choosing baked products with five grams or less sugar per serving," says nutritionist and the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness in Phoenix, Ariz. Kristen Carli. But that can be easier said than done.
To try to keep things as healthy as can be when browsing among the muffins, cinnamon rolls, bagels, and more, Carli adds: "It's always a good idea to find a whole grain product so you will benefit from the added fiber."
Today we are ranking Costo bakery items not in terms of taste—that's an entirely subjective measure that is up to each and every person's palate. Rather we are judging the baked goods in terms of calories, sugar, fats, and sodium per serving. Once you're armed with that information, it's up to you to make the best possible nutrition choices.
We are going by the serving sizes used by Costco, which do vary. Here are the Costco bakery items on the healthier end of the spectrum, all the way down to the worst possible item you can buy. Plus, check out We Tasted 5 Beloved Costco Pastries & This Is the Best.
Kirkland Signature Baguette
This classic French-style baguette is fat-free, it has one gram of sugar per serving, and the calorie count is minute. It's finally a bakery item from Costco you can dig into without concern for anything other than how it tastes.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagel
A Costco bakery cinnamon raisin bagel has just one gram of fat and no saturated fat at all, so the only thing to worry about are the sugars. As for the calorie count, it's right on the money for a breakfast item.
Rosemary Parmesan Bread
This bread is the only item on this list that is free of sugars. It's also low in fat and low in saturated fat and yet still big on taste, thanks to the two ingredients that are right there in the name: the rosemary and the parmesan.
Costco bakery's corn muffins are a good choice if you are watching your intake of saturated fat. They're also not that high in calories compared to many other options, but they still have a fair amount of added sugars—19 of the total 20 grams.
White Chunk Double Nut Cookie
The fact that many Costco cookies are healthier than the store's muffins is illustrative of just how skewed the perception can be when it comes to healthy eating. These cookies are a better bet than many other bakery items you likely consider a standard breakfast food.
If the idea of blueberries in a muffin makes it seem healthier, unfortunately, it's just an illusion. The fact is that blueberries add taste but don't make it a nutritious treat. Though not so bad on the calories or saturated fat, these muffins are still a treat type of food, not a health food.
Almond Poppy Muffin
Rather high in total fat content, but the sugars aren't really so bad, for an American sensibility, and the saturated fat is rather low. Also, the calorie count isn't a shocker.
Coffee Cake Muffin
This is a muffin you could eat regularly without too much guilt or health impact. Hardly healthy, to be clear, it enters the realm of "not so bad," as long as you stick to the serving size, which is 87 g, aka half of one muffin.
How does Costco's Cherry Pie manage to be notably lower than many of its bakery offerings when it comes to fats—particularly saturated fat—but so much higher in terms of calories? That's largely due to the fact that it's weighed down by sugars.
Cookies & Cream Cupcake
While pretty high in sugars, these cupcakes aren't flagrant offenders when it comes to saturated fat or calories. And refreshingly, the serving here is on a per cupcake basis, so the guesswork of carving out just the right portion for the nutrition stats is removed.
Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Bar Cake
With a name like "Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Bar Cake" it's actually rather impressive that this bakery item is so much lower in sugar and calories than many other options, though it's still sky-high in terms of fats.
Braided Apple Strudel
A lot of the flavor in this pastry comes from apples, so while there is a lot of added sugar, there is a lot less saturated fat than you'll find in a bakery item that's heavier on ingredients like dairy.
Decadent Fudge Brownies
The name says it all here, especially the "decadent" part. And the fudge part. These brownies are laden with fat and saturated fat and filled with sugar, though they have less fat and calories than many other items on the list. (But more sugar.)
A little higher than the plain cheesecake in calories, and a lot higher in sugar, this guava cheesecake from Costco has a bit less fat and a bit less saturated fat than the OG version. Plus it has the unique guava flavor.
No one is pretending cheesecake is a healthy food, so it's probably little surprise that, on a gram-to-gram basis, this cheesecake is even worse than some of the earlier inclusions. Per serving, however, it earns this spot.
Lemon Raspberry Muffin
These Lemon Raspberry muffins have a bit less fat than the Mantecada muffins, but they are comparable in terms of calories. And they have even more sugar.
Cream Cheese Filled Danish
While much higher in saturated fat than the Mantecada muffin, per serving this Danish is a bit lower in calories, overall fat, and sugar content. It's still a no-no for healthy eating, of course.
If you were to eat two of Costco's Mantecada muffins, you would be two grams away from your entire daily recommended allotment of fats and well over your daily recommended sugars. Granted, the serving size is larger than with most Costco bakery goods at 142 grams, but this is still a nutritional nightmare.
Almond Cream Filled Danish
Eating an Almond Cream Filled Danish from Costco is almost an inexcusable act for anyone who cares about reaching old age. There is more saturated fat in each one of these pastries than an adult male should consume in an entire day.
Read more about your best bets at Costco: