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Costco vs. Sam's Club: Which Has the Best Chocolate Soft Serve?

You can enjoy a cool chocolaty treat at both warehouse clubs, but one is much better than the other.

Whether it comes from a truck, a fast-food joint, or a proper ice cream parlor, soft serve is a widely beloved refreshment, especially during the summer heat.

And if you find yourself slogging through a bustling big-box store this season, then a cool cup of creamy, sweet, soft serve probably sounds like a deserved reward.

Perhaps that's why both of America's largest warehouse clubs, Costco and Sam's Club, offer the frosty dessert in their respective food courts. Like the proverbial light at the end of an overcrowded, fluorescent-lit tunnel, the concessions are often conveniently located directly beyond the checkout area.

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Costco recently gave its shoppers an exciting new reason to make the post-checkout pitstop, dishing up chocolate soft serve ice cream for the first time since 2018. The newly reinstated flavor replaced the food court's popular strawberry ice cream, eliciting both cheers and boos from the retailer's highly vocal online commentariat.

No matter your flavor loyalties, the chocolaty comeback now provides yet another point of comparison between Costco and its chief rival, Sam's Club, which has steadfastly continued to serve its own chocolate soft-serve frozen yogurt all the while.

I recently sampled the frosty, chocolaty flavors from both retailers, each located in the same New Jersey town, to see which wholesale club is the true chocolate soft-serve champ. Here's how the two varieties compare.

Sam's Club

A cup of chocolate frozen yogurt from Sam's Club
Photo: Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!
Chocolate Frozen Yogurt (Per Container)
Calories: 350
Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 3.5 g)
Sodium: 210 mg
Carbs: 68 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 54 g)
Protein: 10 g

Sam's Club offers an array of snacks in its café, including three options of yogurt cups: vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. You can also choose from two different sundae varieties. A 10-ounce cup of the chocolate fro-yo costs just $1 plus tax at Sam's in Edison, N.J.

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The look: Immaculately pulled from the machine with a perfect curl up top, as if it were done in a legit ice cream shop. The yogurt was a tan shade of light brown. The surface looked shiny and smooth.

The taste: Bittersweet upon first bite. The strong flavor immediately reminded me of Hershey's chocolate syrup, though the potency mellowed the more I kept eating. The texture was smooth and creamy and I found it overall quite soothing on a hot afternoon. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better tasting version for just a buck pretty much anywhere else, at least in this part of the country. Even McDonald's charges more for its soft serve.


A cup of chocolate soft serve ice cream from Costco
Photo: Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!
Chocolate Ice Cream (Per Serving)
Calories: 570
Fat: 28 g (Saturated Fat: 18 g)
Sodium: 260 mg
Carbs: 67 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 59 g)
Protein: 10 g

Like Sam's Club, Costco now also provides soft serve in both vanilla and chocolate flavors. Whichever you choose, it'll cost you almost twice as much, compared to the competition. A 10-ounce cup is priced at $1.99. You can also add chocolate or strawberry sauce to either flavor and call it a sundae for $2.49.

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The look: Less artfully presented than Sam's pristine version, but not unappealing. The ice cream came in more of a mocha color and looked slightly more melty than its rival.

The taste: Though it packs more sugar into a single serving, the Costco soft serve somehow tasted less sweet than Sam's fro-yo and more cocoa-forward. The rich flavor instantly reminded me of the old-school Jell-O Chocolate Cook & Serve Pudding, which I loved as a kid. The texture was more airy and light, as well, making it hard not to consume the whole cup within minutes. 

The Verdict

It all comes back to that age-old idiom, "You get what you pay for." Sam's Club's fro-yo is an incredible deal for the price but certainly tastes like a cheap dessert, whereas Costco's version costs more but fittingly comes off like a higher-quality indulgence.

If you have the extra buck to spend—and don't mind the added fat and calories—I bet you'll find Costco's chocolate soft serve twice as enjoyable, too.

Chris Shott
Chris Shott is the Deputy Editor covering restaurants and groceries for Eat This, Not That! Read more about Chris