The Costco Tip To Score Bakery Items For Way Less

If you had to pick the most irresistible section of Costco, the bakery area would probably be at the top of the list. Where else can you find 4-pound pies and 2-pound collections of Italian cookies? All those carbs can add up, however, at least when it comes time to check out. One of those huge pies can set you back as much as $40 a piece, for example, and a big tray of cookies can cost as much as $70. Big price tags at the bakery are no reason to skip the baguettes and sweets, however; you just gotta know how to shop for treats like a Costco insider. 

If you want to save a couple of bucks on your next office-sized sheet cake, check the bakery's freezer section before you buy anything sold at room temperature. A lot of Costco's most loved bakery items are available frozen and cost a fraction of the price of their baked brethren. Most of the time, all you have to do is bake the food yourself, which is easy, and you can have your favorite goods baked fresh and ready any day of the week while saving a few dollars to spend on a giant cookie at the food court on the way out of the store.

Grab and go, or order ahead

When you first step into the bakery section of Costco, it's easy to get dazzled by all the choices. A 24-pack of cannoli might sit on one table with a braided apple strudel, while 12-count bags of dinner rolls beckon from another. It's no mystery how Costco can keep all that good stuff in one place, however. It would take the store's staff working around the clock to keep up with customer demand if employees were making all of those baked goodies from scratch, so a lot of Costco's basic baked goods are made at a central facility and frozen before they're baked. When the goodies get to your local store, the staff simply thaws them and bakes them. This is good news because it means you can buy pretty much anything that the store gets frozen, such as cookies and pastries. A lot of the frozen treats are stacked up in the freezer section so you can grab them and be on your way.

If you have a specific item in mind, however, and you haven't seen it in the frozen section of the bakery, you can usually order frozen baked goods a few days ahead of time. Since these frozen items are unbaked, you'll still get a cheaper price than you would if buying them fully baked. Just fill out a form at the bakery counter for a later pickup.

You'll save money on waste

Shopping in Costco's frozen section doesn't just save you money at the checkout, either. Although it might be tempting to eat a whole brownie assortment tray in a matter of days, the truth is baked items tend to get stale pretty quickly, and then are often thrown in the trash (remember, Costco doesn't use preservatives). Wasted cookies and stale bread are a tragedy at any price, but it's doubly compounded if you paid for a bulk batch only to toss half of your haul away. If you buy your baked goods frozen, however, you'll be able to take a few cookies — or even a dozen — out of the freezer when you need them, and the rest will be kept safely in your freezer for weeks. Think of a freshly baked croissant on a Sunday, or a single slice of tiramisu when the mood strikes.

Just make sure you have enough space at home before you fill your cart with Costco's frozen bakery goodies, however. Even though a box of frozen cookies might be a good deal, it's only a saving if you can fit it in the freezer.