My family reviewed and ranked nine 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 nine 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.
I 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.
In 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 Kirkland Signature Southwest wrap with rotisserie chicken seemed like a good on-the-go option.
The 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.
I 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.
At 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 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 chicken quesadillas looked pretty large.
The 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.
It 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.
The 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.
We 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.
The Kirkland Signature gyros came with a lot of ingredients, which impressed me.
This 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.
I 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.
My 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 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.
For 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.
The 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 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.
Like 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.
I 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, 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.
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