My family tried 15 of Costco's premade meals, and we'd buy almost all of them again


My family tried Kirkland Signature prepared meals from Costco to find the best options.Ted Berg

My family reviewed and ranked 15 prepared Kirkland Signature meals from Costco.

Surprisingly, we weren't huge fans of the super-loaded chicken pot pie because it was too rich.

The comforting and flavorful meatloaf and mashed Yukon potatoes with glaze came out on top.

As a busy dad, finding the time to prepare, cook, and clean up dinner can be challenging. So when I saw how many prepared Kirkland Signature meals were available at Costco on my most recent trip, I figured it might be time to see how good they actually are.My family ate and ranked 15 Kirkland Signature meals to see which was the tastiest and easiest to prepare.Here's how they stacked up, from our least favorite to our top pick. The Kirkland Signature mac and cheese looked promising.The mac and cheese was covered with a layer of cheddar.Ted BergI figured the macaroni and cheese would be the safest bet of the meals I took home, and nothing about how it looked changed my mind.It was bright yellow and seemed amply portioned. My kids usually love mac and cheese.The prep was straightforward, as I covered the tray in foil and threw it in the oven for 45 minutes.However, the mac and cheese disappointed us all.I didn't expect the Kirkland Signature mac and cheese to be so rich.Ted BergIn my opinion, the mac and cheese was way too rich. There was a lot of cheese and a lot of sauce, and it was unpleasantly gooey and thick.I ate a few bites before the grease started working on my stomach. Even my kids turned it away, deeming it "too cheesy."It was the only Kirkland Signature meal we didn't eat to completion, and the sauce was so thick that I practically had to chisel out the refrigerated leftovers to recycle the tray. The bright-yellow tortillas and sun-dried-tomato spread made the Tuscan chicken wraps with sauce look exciting.I was curious to see what the flavors in the Tuscan chicken wraps with sauce would be like.Ted BergThe Tuscan chicken wraps with sauce looked like something I might pack for an on-the-go lunch. The wraps, which came with a sun-dried-tomato spread, seemed like reasonably sized alternatives to similar options at a deli.  There were a lot of different elements inside the yellow tortillas — Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken, spinach, bell peppers, olives, cream cheese, and red-pepper pesto — but I was disappointed in how little chicken I found in the wraps I brought home.I didn't love the meal's strong flavors, though the sun-dried-tomato spread was a hit.I wasn't sure if I liked the combination of olives, peppers, and cream cheese in the Tuscan chicken wraps with sauce.Ted BergThe most prominent flavors in this wrap were the salty olives and oily red peppers. My first bite contained almost entirely olives, which turned me off slightly.I thought the cream cheese and red-pepper pesto made the wrap a bit too soggy on the outside and goopy on the inside. The spinach inside the wrap was also wilted, so it didn't offer any crunch.Though I ate the wraps the day I bought them, I thought they tasted like the flavors had started to meld together — like a meal that had been sitting in the refrigerator for a while. Still, I liked that the wrap was pleasantly sweet and didn't fall apart under the weight of its ingredients. The sun-dried-tomato spread also had a nice, almost cheesy tang and worked well when I repurposed it for other sandwiches. But overall, I'd skip this meal the next time I'm at Costco.We figured we'd enjoy the shepherd's pie.The shepherd's pie was made with ingredients we knew my family enjoyed.Ted BergThe shepherd's pie was filled with meat and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes. My family already loves pie, so the novelty of mashed potatoes and pastry immediately appealed to my kids.I removed the pie from its plastic container, placed it onto a baking sheet, and put it in the oven for about 45 minutes until golden. Individual pieces of pie fell apart as I served them, which wasn't surprising.We weren't fans of the shepherd's pie.The shepherd's pie looked OK, but each component tasted dry.Ted BergI thought the mashed potatoes were mealy and dry, the vegetables were mushy, and the filling was overseasoned and too sweet.The filling was stew-like, but the ground beef was dry and crumbly. I thought I noticed pieces of steak, but these were just hunks of ground beef resembling burger meat.Overall, my family wasn't a fan of the meal.The Kirkland Signature Southwest wrap with rotisserie chicken seemed like a good on-the-go option.The Kirkland Signature Southwest wraps came with a sauce.Ted BergThe Kirkland Signature Southwest wraps were the only meal that required no prep whatsoever, making it a good option for on-the-go eating.They came with a pinkish chipotle sauce. When I unwrapped a wrap to put the sauce inside, I saw that the employee who made the meal sealed the wrap with a tangy, creamy spread.The Southwest wraps were moist and flavorful.The Kirkland Signature Southwest wraps were made with rotisserie chicken.Ted BergI thought the wraps were good because they tasted fresh, and the spread that glued them together helped prevent dryness.There was ample chicken, and the seasoned mix of corn and beans reminded me of a burrito from Chipotle. The pinkish chipotle sauce tasted like a Buffalo sauce to me, but that's not something I'd ever complain about.Each wrap made for a viable lunch, and at less than $4 each, they're way less expensive than takeout. I could imagine buying them again when I need a lunch that saves time and money.The chicken pot pie was huge.The Kirkland Signature chicken pot pie seemed large and stuffed to the brim.Ted BergAt nearly 6 pounds, I thought the Kirkland Signature chicken pot pie was huge and surprisingly heavy.Some of the latticework on top of the pie broke in transit, but it was only cosmetic damage.The instructions called for at least an hour of baking time, which I thought sort of defeated the purpose of making it as a quick weeknight meal.Nevertheless, I baked the pie until it was golden brown, which took about an hour and 10 minutes.The chicken pot pie felt a little too heavy after a few bites.The Kirkland Signature chicken pot pie's filling was creamy and very rich.Ted BergThe first bite of the pie was great.The pie crust was sweet, flaky, and crisp, the hunks of rotisserie chicken were huge, and the pea-heavy cream and vegetables were rich and salty without being mushy or overcooked, as they sometimes are in pot pie.But in subsequent bites, the initial richness became a goopy sort of heaviness that didn't sit well, and the whole pot pie started to taste a little too salty.At the very least, the crust was good enough to make me want to try one of Costco's dessert pies.The Kirkland Signature beef bulgogi Korean BBQ seemed like a meal my kids would enjoy.The Kirkland Signature beef bulgogi Korean BBQ came with raw meat and onion slices.Ted BergThe Kirkland Signature beef bulgogi Korean BBQ is one of the more bare-bones options among the meal selections at my local Costco. The container had a large portion of thinly sliced raw beef and white onions drenched in brown bulgogi sauce.My kids don't have much experience with Korean-inspired food, but I thought the meal would appeal to them because it's sweet, tender, and gooey.The meal was too sweet, and the beef fell apart while cooking.The stew-like beef bulgogi wasn't appealing to my kids.Ted BergI figured I'd cook the meal in a skillet over medium-high heat until the beef was browned. However, I quickly realized it was difficult to tell when the beef was cooked through because all sides of the meat were covered in a dark-brown sauce.I went by instinct, stirring frequently to make sure it cooked evenly. Some slices fell apart due to the constant stirring, but the dish seemed fully cooked after five minutes.Unfortunately, the small pieces of meat made the bulgogi look more like a stew, and its appearance alone turned off my kids.We thought the meal was tasty but too sweet, as the sauce's flavor overwhelmed the beef. I'd prefer this dish if the beef came in thicker pieces that I could remove from the sauce before cooking.I was impressed with the portion size of the Kirkland Signature meatballs with rigatoni.The Kirkland Signature meatballs with rigatoni and sauce could be used for multiple dinners.Ted BergThis meal, which included rigatoni and six enormous meatballs, cost $20 and was enough to feed my entire family twice.Unfortunately, we thought the meatballs and rigatoni were underwhelming.I wasn't a huge fan of the flavors in the Kirkland Signature meatballs with rigatoni and sauce.Ted BergThe meatballs were a little spongy in texture, and something about how the ground-beef-and-pork mixture was seasoned tasted more like sausage than I expected (though that's hardly a bad thing).The rigatoni held up surprisingly well after 50 minutes in the oven — not quite al dente but not at all mushy. However, the sauce was a bit too sweet and seasoned for me.My kids liked the pasta but not the meatballs. I also thought the shredded cheese on top seemed like an afterthought, and I could've gone for more.The Kirkland Signature udon-noodle salad with dressing and peanuts came together easily.The Kirkland Signature udon-noodle salad with dressing and peanuts came with many great-looking ingredients.Ted BergThe Kirkland Signature udon-noodle salad was extremely easy to assemble — it already came with a shredded-vegetable slaw, peanuts, lime wedges, and a miso sauce.I tossed all the ingredients into a bowl and served the finished salad alongside some chicken wings. The salad was fine, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.I didn't love the Kirkland Signature udon-noodle salad with dressing and peanuts, but it would be a satisfying meal in a pinch.Ted BergThe dressing was sweet and tangy with a strong miso flavor, but I thought the udon noodles were a bit mushy. I also wished the vegetable mix of shredded bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots was crisper to balance out the noodles' softness.Overall, the salad wasn't too heavy or saucy, so it would likely be a nice, no-cook option for a quick meal or picnic.The Kirkland Signature chicken quesadillas looked pretty large.The Kirkland Signature quesadillas came with eight wedges.Ted BergThe Kirkland Signature quesadillas came with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.The instructions on the packaging called for heating them up in a frying pan with some oil, so my first batch got a chimichanga-esque crunchiness I don't always expect from quesadillas.I thought it was a big portion, as there were eight wedges, and two of them felt like more than enough for an adult-sized meal.The chicken quesadillas were quite satisfying.I dipped my quesadillas in salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.Ted BergIt was sort of the perfect meal to suit my family's quesadilla needs.The chicken was seasoned but not spicy, and there was tons of cheese without being too greasy.The salsa, a sweet, fresh, restaurant-style dip with jalapeño, was the surprise star for me. The Kirkland Signature quesadillas were my wife's favorite of all the meals. The yakisoba stir fry with seasoned chicken was actually packed with veggies.I didn't prepare a salad or side for the Kirkland Signature yakisoba stir fry.Ted BergThe Kirkland Signature yakisoba stir fry was a fun and easy-to-prepare dinner.I heated the meal in a Dutch oven because I didn't have a wok or a large enough frying pan. Per the instructions, I heated up oil and first added the vegetables, then chicken, then noodles, and then sauce.It was ready in less than 10 minutes. And because there were plenty of vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, onions, peppers, and snow peas, I didn't have to prep a side or a salad.The yakisoba stir fry with chicken was really tasty.Costco's yakisoba stir fry was a comforting meal.Ted BergWe thought the yakisoba noodles were warm, comforting, and satisfying, with tender hunks of chicken and some nice texture from the fresh vegetables.It was a bit sweeter than I usually like, but a hit of hot sauce helped balance out the sweetness.If I bought this again (and I would buy this again) I'd use only one container of sauce. My kids liked the noodles, and we finished most of the portion in a single sitting.My kids were excited about the ravioli lasagna with beef and pork Bolognese sauce.The Kirkland Signature ravioli lasagna with beef and pork Bolognese sauce has a hearty cheese topping.Ted BergI figured — correctly — that something called ravioli lasagna would appeal to my kids, who love a novelty.The ravioli were stacked in twos and topped with a meaty Bolognese sauce and mozzarella. It was easy to prepare, as all I needed to do was cover it with foil and bake it for an hour.At the end of the hour, I deviated from the instructions and gave it five more minutes uncovered in the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly on top.The ravioli lasagna was a pretty tasty, easy pasta dish.The cheese melted and bubbled in the oven.Ted BergThe lasagna was good. The Bolognese sauce was hearty and sweet and my kids appreciated that the ravioli were glued together with melted mozzarella.It was about a dinner and a half's worth of food for my family, though it felt like a smaller portion than a traditional lasagna made in an equivalent pan size.The Kirkland Signature gyros came with a lot of ingredients, which impressed me.The gyros came with pitas, meat, tzatziki, feta, and various veggies.Ted BergThis dish came with many components, which made me appreciate Costco's attention to detail and how much goes into prepping a gyro.Only the gyro meat and the pitas needed to be heated, but the meal also came with a cucumber and tomato salad, red onions, feta cheese, and tzatziki.Unfortunately, I needed to find my own hot sauce.The finished gyros were delicious.The Kirkland Signature gyros were well-balanced.Ted BergI thought the gyros were delicious. If there was a weak link in the sandwich, it was probably the gyro meat itself, which was a little heavy on the onion powder and heated up to a scrapple-like consistency.That being said, the assertive seasoning on the meat was mellowed by the sweetness and crunch of the veggies and the tangy creaminess of the tzatziki and feta.It wasn't better than a gyro I might get from a street cart, but the price was right, and there's no street cart inside my apartment.I thought the container of Kirkland Signature chicken Alfredo was surprisingly heavy.The Kirkland Signature chicken Alfredo was topped with cheese.Ted BergMy first impression of the chicken Alfredo was that it was heavy. The label said it was a little over 4 pounds, and though it might not sound like much, it was a lot of food for my family.There was an impressive amount of chicken but I expected a higher ratio of noodle-to-meat. Like the macaroni and cheese, the whole tray was covered with foil and baked in the oven.The chicken Alfredo wasn't too overwhelming or rich.The Kirkland Signature chicken Alfredo was full of flavor.Ted BergThe chicken Alfredo was better than I expected.Alfredo sauce is often a bit too indulgent for my tastes, but I thought Kirkland Signature's version of the creamy, cheesy sauce wasn't overwhelmingly heavy. The chicken was also moist and flavorful.My kids liked it even though they normally prefer their chicken and their pasta separated. Alongside some steamed broccoli, the chicken Alfredo stretched to two full meals for my family with little effort on my part. The Kirkland Signature chicken street tacos came in a hard-to-carry package.I was a little confused by the long container the chicken street tacos came in.Ted BergFor whatever reason, the chicken street tacos came in a longer container than the other meals.I thought it was vaguely festive but difficult to fit into a shopping bag or a refrigerator. Like the gyros, the street tacos came as a kit.I heated the chicken and tortillas and topped them with cheese, shredded veggies, salsa, cilantro-lime crema, and a squeeze of fresh lime.The chicken street tacos were one of our favorite meals.I had the chicken street tacos with some lime that came in the kit.Ted BergThe chicken street tacos were excellent. The chicken was smoky with a chipotle flavor but not too spicy for my kids, the veggies were fresh and crunchy, and the sauces were tasty. I think the salsa was the same kind that came with the quesadillas.If I were at a restaurant and got these tacos, I'd be more than satisfied with my purchase. I was skeptical of the meatloaf with mashed Yukon potatoes and glaze.I'm not usually a big fan of heavy meatloaf.Ted BergI'm normally not a big fan of meatloaf, and my kids' exposure to it has been limited. It's often grayish and covered in a dark red goo that looks like ketchup.I'm also not much of a mashed potato guy and, in my experience, they never keep well.By the time I put the Kirkland Signature meatloaf and mashed potatoes in the oven, they had been sitting in my fridge for a few days so I wasn't sure what to expect.I didn't expect it, but the meatloaf was our winner.I served the meatloaf and mashed potatoes with broccoli.Ted BergLike almost every one of these meals, the meatloaf and mashed Yukon potatoes were surprisingly good.It was heavy (but of course, most meatloaf is), and I don't think I'd usually choose it over tacos. But my family ate the meatloaf on an unseasonably cold day when I was hungry, and the sweet, juicy, and beefy dinner hit the spot.My son, who's normally hesitant about unfamiliar foods, took to it like he was a paid spokesperson. "I'm very happy with this," he said.I thought the mashed potatoes were just a touch mealy, but overall, they weren't bad.Overall, the Kirkland Signature meals surprised us.We enjoyed almost all of the prepared Kirkland Signature meals.Ted BergI normally cook for my family and, for whatever reason, prepared meals like those from Kirkland Signature have never been part of our dinner rotation.But aside from the mac and cheese and rigatoni with meatballs, every one of the meals we tried was better than I expected it to be, and my kids enjoyed them more than I would've guessed.Now, I'll likely regularly buy some of the Kirkland Signature meals when I don't have much time for meal prep.This story was originally published on October 27, 2023, and most recently updated on July 1, 2024.Read the original article on Business Insider

Food, features, lifestyle, food, review, costco, freelancer, evergreen-story, family, dinner, easy-dinner, kirkland-signature, freelancer-le