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Sam’s Club Vs. Costco: Who Has The Best Prepared Foods?

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prepared foods from sams and costco

Do you have a Costco and Sam’s Club nearby?

If you’ve ever strolled by the refrigerated prepared food section at either Costco or Sam’s Club, then you’ve probably noticed the large selection of meals that are already prepped and ready for you to just throw in the oven to cook.

We even did a post on Hip2Save previously about which warehouse club offers the best deals on prepared foods, but this time we’re taking it a step further and I’m having my entire family taste test the similar options from both Warehouse clubs.

It’s Sam’s Club Vs. Costco in our prepared foods taste test!

prepared foods section costco

Take and bake meal options can be convenient and yummy!

In a perfect world, I’d like to cook from scratch, homemade meals each day. However, sometimes that doesn’t happen – and that’s when these already prepared meals are such a lifesaver, especially for busy families like mine! They usually cost less than eating out, and in the end, you’ll get a straight from the oven comforting family dinner.

Sam's Club Vs Costco Prepared Foods on the counter

Today, my family and I will be taste-testing 3 popular Sam’s Club and Costco prepared foods! I’ll be going through the cost, plus the taste and texture differences I notice between the two warehouse versions of the same meal. We will ultimately be picking a winner of the best chicken pot pie, stuffed peppers, and chicken alfredo- YUM!

In case you’re like me and have both a Costco membership and a Sam’s Club membership, I hope this comparison post is super helpful! In fact, last week I discussed which warehouse club had the BEST pumpkin pie through a similar taste-testing comparison, and many of you readers asked for more posts like this.


Sam’s Club Vs. Costco Prepared Foods Taste Test


1.) Pan of 6 Stuffed Bell Peppers

stuffed bell peppers before going into oven

Stuffed bell peppers are one of my favorite meals because they feature a roasted bell pepper as a vegetable, rice as a starch, and ground meat as protein, for a completely balanced meal that’s both delicious and filling. They are topped with cheese, and I love how the bell pepper becomes sweet and tender when roasted.

Hip Tip: Make stuffed bell pepper soup as a quick and easy way to enjoy these same flavors in a warm homemade soup, perfect for chilly weather!

Sam's Club Stuffed Peppers

Sam’s Club Stuffed Bell Peppers:

  • The price is $3.99 per pound, and my container weighed 2.8 pounds for a total cost of $9.98.
  • The bell pepper roasted nicely and was tender.
  • The peppers had about half the amount of filling than Costco’s. This was the biggest difference. One bell pepper wouldn’t be filling as a meal in my opinion.
  • Taste and flavor was good, noticed slightly less spice and flavor than Costco’s.
  • It had a slightly more cheese to meat ratio, which was yummy.

Costco Stuffed Bell Pepper

Costco Stuffed Bell Peppers: 

  • The price is $4.29 per pound and my container weighed 3.48 pounds for a total cost of $14.93.
  • These peppers have twice as much filling than Sam’s Club. In fact, the cook time was also much longer at 60 minutes.
  • The roasted pepper was also sweet and tender.
  • The sauce with the filling was more flavorful, and moist, plus I loved the addition of fresh parsley and herbs.

pan of sam's club vs costco stuffed peppers

Result: Costco is the Winner! 

I love the taste and texture so much! There is so much more meat and rice filling per pepper, so to me it’s definitely worth the extra per pound cost for the Costco peppers! 4/4 of my family members voted Costco! 

It’s worth noting that the Sam’s Club peppers are also tasty, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick the Costco version of stuffed peppers over Sam’s Club.


2.) Chicken Pot Pie 

sam's club and costco chicken pot pies

Chicken pot pie is a classic childhood favorite with a creamy filling of veggies and chicken and then topped with a flaky crust, which most of us know is the best part! It’s pretty much the definition of comfort food, yet it’s a bit labor intensive to make completely from scratch so buying it prepared makes sense for busy evenings!

Both the Costco and Sam’s Club pies have 18 servings and take about an hour to bake in the oven.

Hip Tip: I make an easy Sheet Pan Chicken Pot Pie using puff pastry as a shortcut and it’s delicious!

sam's Club Chicken Pot Pie

Sam’s Club Chicken Pot Pie: 

  • The price is $3.84 per pound and my container weighed 4.11 pounds for a total cost of $17.98.
  • Its filling has more of a creamy white color and thinner texture with frozen peas and carrots.
  • The chicken texture seemed more boiled and soggy, and my slice had a giant thick piece of rubbery chicken skin. Thumbs down on the chicken in this pie.
  • The taste of the filling however was delicious!!! It reminded me more of a Marie Callender’s frozen chicken pot pie, which we are big fans of.
  • The crust was very flaky and buttery, yet noticeable thinner in texture than Costco’s.

costco chicken pot pie

Costco Chicken Pot Pie:

  • The price is $3.29 per pound and my container weighed 5.53 pounds for a total cost of $18.19.
  • The veggies in this pie are larger and fresh – not frozen.
  • The filling in this pie is more of a translucent color, and has more fresh herb flavor. It’s more of a gourmet or grown up tasting pot pie than the Sam’s Club for sure.
  • The chicken pieces are SO MUCH BETTER! There are lots of nice pieces of roasted chicken in here that have lots of flavor.
  • The crust is thick and SO perfect.

Costco Chicken Pot Pie is the BEST

Result: Costco is the winner!

This Costco chicken pot pie was the clear winner with a 4/4 majority vote from my family. It’s interesting too that the per pound cost is a little higher on the Sam’s Club version, but I think the quality of ingredients is higher with the Costco version, and seems more gourmet.

I will say that the flavor of the Sam’s Club cream filling was actually my favorite taste-wise, but I couldn’t get past the soggy tasteless pieces of chicken, and if I had to pick one over the other, I’d go with Costco!


3. Tray of Chicken Alfredo 

Sam's Club vs Costco chicken alfredo

Chicken alfredo is a rich, creamy pasta dish featuring lots of parmesan cheese, butter, and cream. It’s a crowd-pleasing savory Italian dish that my family sure loves. My kids like to order this meal at restaurants, so I was excited to try this take and bake version from both Sam’s Club and Costco!

Hip Tip: You can make homemade chicken fettuccine alfredo right in the Instant Pot! It’s super easy to make using that method!

Sam's Club Alfredo

Sam’s Club Chicken Alfredo:

  • The price is $3.99 per pound and my container weighed 2.8 pounds for a total cost of $9.98.
  • Spiral noodles are used in this version.
  • The ratio of chicken to pasta was much less, meaning it was mostly pasta.
  • I followed directions on the package, but would maybe cover the dish in foil next time to avoid drying out. It was pretty dry.
  • It was tasty, but seemed to lack sauce, which meant it lacked flavor compared to Costco’s.

Costco Chicken Alfredo cooked

Costco Chicken Alfredo:  

  • The price is $3.99 per pound and my container weighed 4.08 pounds for a total cost of $16.28.
  • The Costco version has penne noodles and tons of creamy and cheesy sauce. The sauce itself was very flavorful and appealing.
  • There was also so much YUMMY chicken. I loved that they did not skimp on the chicken and it genuinely tasted great!

bowl of costco chicken alfredo

Result: Costco is the winner!

It’s so interesting that the cost per pound is the same for this dish, yet they are pretty different. Costco’s has much more sauce and chicken, and was overall a better tasting experience. 4/4 of us votes for this Costco version of chicken alfredo!


And that wraps up our taste test!

Costco for the win! 🏆

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments!


On a side note, I may like the Costco prepared foods better, but team member Paige love to shop at Sam’s Club over Costco – here’s why!


We’ve got all of the current Costco deals for ya right here!

Join The Discussion

Comments 58

  1. tipaye

    I agree, though Sam’s Club has a platter with a roasted chicken, a large container of mashed potatoes and a large container of salad (with dressing) for $9.99. Feeds a family of 4 and can’t beat the value. Great for busy nights when you still want real food.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I haven’t see that one – I’ll look for it next time- Thanks!

      • Charity

        You may not find it. It’s a limited supply and not on the layout anymore.

  2. TiredOfBeingRippedOff

    Thank you for doing these comparisons. I had always wondered about their prepared foods, but never actually purchased any. These are some of my favorite H2S articles and I hope you continue to do them.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks so much for your feedback!

    • Charity

      I never actually tried any of these dishes at Sam’s or Costco. I was, however the prepared foods department manager at Sam’s and I can say some opinions seem a little biased. Sam’s alfredo has a ton of sauce and just as much cheese. Also the pot pie crust is not thin at all. Like this generation it will fall apart at touch, but not thin.

  3. Tammy

    Sam’s has a prepared chicken enchilada dish that is very good. Both my kids eat it.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Awesome – I’d like to try that one too!

  4. Charlotte's Mom

    This was great! Not surprised that Costco came out ahead. H2S should do a cafe comparison next. Costco’s hot dog/pizza/etc vs Sam’s. I’m curious!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the request! 💕😊

  5. Ann

    I love this post. Please do some more comparison posts between these two stores. I barely ever try these pre made meals, but will definitely try the Costco ones. Thank you.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks for your feedback Ann!

  6. rachaelbradford-meister

    Costco also has a chicken street taco kit in the deli that is amazing. $15 for 12 tacos and all the fixings including a delicious cilantro lime sauce. That’s $1.25 a taco which is cheaper than Taco Bell and obviously much better tasting!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes we love that taco kit too!!! I recently tried the new Gyro kit- It’s not a kirkland brand though, and was disappointed. The taco one is great!

    • Phil

      Why “obviously”? Taco Bell is awesome!

  7. LoJo

    I’ve brought the Sam’s Chicken Alfredo and it’s terrible! It looked so good but the taste was so bad I had to make something else to eat.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing LoJo- Yes we preferred the Costco version for sure!

  8. Sheila

    Costco’s prepared foods are great for a cooking break! Their chicken enchilada casserole and shepherd’s pie are really good too.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I need to try these!

  9. Deena

    Is there any deal for new members in Costco??

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Deena! I’m not seeing one at the moment. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out!

    • WestbergFive

      Hi, if you are a sprint rewards member, there is a Sam’s Club Exclusive for 40% off a new membership. They also have Costco for $60 in savings if you join as a new member.

  10. Ang

    Costco is definitely better. I wish I had one by me!

  11. Mary

    I love Costco’s chicken pot pie. If I drive all the way there and it isn’t available I am so disappointed. I also am a big fan of their chicken salad and their shrimp cocktail tray. Their shrimp is always tasty and cleaned well. Worth the money!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Christie

    My Sam’s Club makes a Waldorf Salad mix that is absolutely great! Have not tried the Costco ready made foods but have tried Sam’s. The Enchilada’s are good. The alfredo is pasty horrible. The chicken salad made fresh in the store is great. Thank You for these posts! Love the articles and feedback from everyone!

  13. Tracy

    The Costco fresh made chicken noodle soup is also delicious.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh YUM! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. MrsGarfield

    I am not commenting on taste but I have always said that Costco has a better food presentation. Sam’s meals always look sloppy in comparison to Costco’s. This is the reason I had always bought Costco’s meals. Just look at the pictures above. You can definitely guess which one is which.

  15. K

    My Costco recently had beef bulgogi in the prepared section and it was seriously drool-worthy. I’m still dreaming of it!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yum, I would love that. Will have to look for it!

    • Mkw

      You are correct. This is fantastic. We buy it all the time.

    • Sheila

      I will have to look for that! They have a 4-pack in the freezer section, and they make a yummy lunch.

    • Jessica

      Yes, it was SO GOOD!

  16. Jennifer

    Thank you for doing these posts. I am always needing things to take to events, other families, or serve my crew. This is so helpful and the prices make it so reasonable.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I agree! Thanks so much for your feedback 👍❤️

  17. hillcrest05

    I’ve actually taken the Costco chicken Alfredo out of the container, put it in my own baking dish and taken it to parties. Of course I won’t lie that I didn’t make it, but it’s that good!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      HA HA – that’s awesome! I love that idea <3

  18. Sallys

    We tried a Sam’s club macaroni and cheese. It was in a large container just like these entrees. My family of 4 had it for dinner with pork on Sunday, then left over on Monday and now again today… and we will be eating it for days. Nobody loved it and I am sick of it. We wanted to try it though. It was $7.99, which is like the cost of 8 to 10 boxes of the boxed stuff… Next time I will just make a box of Mac-n-cheese. I would like to try some of these others in the comments, especially a Costco Beef Bulgogi. That sound good.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing Sally! That’s a bummer about the mac and cheese.

    • Nana Donna 2 6

      If you have a Costco nearby, try their mac n cheese. It’s pretty amazing and freezes well.

  19. Tricia B.

    Thank you for this post! I will add that we tried Costco’s meat loaf last week and everyone loved it. I’m not big on meat loaf, but really liked this one. It came with mashed potatoes, and they were also delicious.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh wow! Sounds yum- thanks for letting us know Tricia, I’ll look for it next time I’m there!

  20. Poppy

    Thanks for the comparison and giving your vote .. I feel better as we get these a lot from Costco !

  21. SJ

    100% disagree. They are exactly the same in every way. No difference whatsoever.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for your feedback! It’s interesting when you taste them side by side like this how different things can taste 👍

  22. Kimbescz

    Costco Street Taco kit is delicious. We do this about 1/week. My kids all love it. Paired with rice and a can of black beans I can feed my family of 6 for under $20 and still have leftovers. We also love the Costco meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Pair with a frozen veggie and you are done. “Home” cooked meal!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I can’t wait to try the meatloaf everyone keep mentioning – yum!

  23. Sylvia

    I like Costco, there are so many products I never would have purchased before I tasted them

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I agree! My family loves it too.

  24. Cfosh

    Just FYI, I don’t believe that Sam’s entrees are by weight because they are all $9.98 in the cases.

  25. Lee Anne

    Does BJ’s have prepared meals? If so, can you do a comparison? BJ’s is just opening here in Michigan. Still contemplating a membership. Ty!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I’ll share your request with the team – thanks Lee!

  26. Steve

    Costco always clean and fresh products #1 always for ever thing

  27. Jazzy

    I agree with the results also. I want to include that their pizza and salmon are also better!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks for your feedback on those Jazzy!

  28. a

    I’m not surprised by the results. Just by looking at the pictures, a couple of the Sam’s versions look sad.

  29. Nana Donna 2 6

    The Costco stuffed peppers are amazingly delish and perfect for just my husband and me. We’ll have 2 of the peppers for supper the day I get them and some garlic toast. I then freeze the other 4 peppers in 2-serving meals using the vacuum sealer. That’s 2 more meals I don’t have to prepare. 😀 For us this is not only time-saving, but also budget friendly. And IMO, they are healthy.

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