11 Popular Kirkland Spices And Seasonings At Costco, Ranked

assorted Kirkland spices at Costco
assorted Kirkland spices at Costco - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

As card-carrying Costco members, we take pride in buying in bulk, pursuing markdown savings, and — of course — making lists. This time at the warehouse, we're taking a stroll down spice alley, nitpicking each Kirkland Signature spice and seasoning blend we can get our hands on. While we're always looking for a bargain, we wanted to find out which of the proprietary brand's spices and seasonings were the best of the best, and which ones we could leave out of our overflowing pantries. So, we bought it all in bulk so you don't have to.

As someone who has worked in kitchens for years, I have strong opinions about what makes a spice high- or low-quality. Depending on the restaurant where I worked, the pantry offerings were almost always stocked, but — believe it or not — the range of quality in the spices I've seen has been vast. There truly is a difference between good and bad spices, and it varies with brand and price.

Our rankings reflect not only the upfront cost, but also the long-term value and cost-effectiveness of each spice. We tended to enjoy spices that delivered bold, vibrant flavors, and maintained freshness from its packing to opening the package at home. Spices that can be integrated into a variety of recipes and cuisines generally earned higher rankings — versatility and pragmatism at its finest. We hope this list will be helpful when you're choosing Costco spices and seasonings, so that our tongues and mouths were not strained in vain.

Read more: 23 Whole Foods Baked Goods, Ranked

11. Organic No Salt Seasoning

Kirkland Organic No Salt Seasoning
Kirkland Organic No Salt Seasoning - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

At the bottom of the list, Kirkland's Organic No Salt Seasoning suffers from a multitude of disparate ingredients forced together with an inconsistent flavor profile. This substitute for Dash is made with a lengthy ingredient list rivaling that of A.1. sauce, including everything from carrots to mustard seeds to citric acid. Unfortunately, none of the ingredients are anywhere remotely close to salt, and therefore do not taste anything like salt.

The taste of this seasoning is rather overwhelming and confusing on the palate. Its lack of clarity regarding its intended use and inability to replace salt make it an unappealing option, especially considering its high price point of $8.49.

While marketed as a healthier alternative to salt, its hodgepodge of flavors fails to impress us, leaving us puzzled as to how best to incorporate it into our cooking. We have no idea what we would put this on or in, except maybe a basic soup, so that's what we did. We had some unseasoned chicken stock that we threw some veggies into, and used the No Salt Seasoning to "season" it. While it added some aroma from the herbs and spices in the mix, the flavor didn't change dramatically because there wasn't any salt.

Don't be fooled — if you're watching your salt intake, just reduce the amount of sodium you use in your cooking. Don't spend more money trying to replicate salt with something like this.

10. Organic Chopped Onion

Kirkland Organic Chopped Onion
Kirkland Organic Chopped Onion - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Kirkland's Organic Chopped Onion seasoning ranks low due to its inability to replicate the flavor and texture of fresh onions. The compromise in taste and quality does not justify the convenience this product may offer, and we implore you, fellow Costco patrons, to opt for fresh produce instead. If you don't know how to dice an onion, now's the time to learn. Why, you ask? Because Kirkland Signature seasoning will never come close to topping the taste of caramelized onions.

Despite the seasoning's convenience and long shelf life, the lackluster flavor of these chopped onions fails to impress. We tried these in some freshly made tomato sauce that we used for spaghetti, and the flavor didn't change much. Alone, they're about as oniony tasting as Funyuns. While purchasing this may seem practical in the moment, these dried chopped onions are not worth the $5.39 cost unless, for some reason, you have no access to fresh onions. Remember, onion juice is always worth the squeeze.

9. Minced Garlic

Kirkland Minced Garlic
Kirkland Minced Garlic - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Anthony Bourdain proclaimed that anyone too lazy to peel garlic doesn't deserve to eat it. Harsh? Maybe, but the guy had a point. Costco's Minced Garlic provides convenience, but makes sacrifices in flavor and texture compared to fresh garlic.

Kirkland Signature Minced Garlic comes in a really big 48-ounce bottle for only $7. But don't be fooled. If it seems like this deal is too good to be true, it is. Despite being — okay, fine — a viable option when fresh garlic is unavailable, this pre-minced garlic's dullness pales in comparison to the aromatic punch of freshly chopped garlic. The garlic is literally packed in water, which in and of itself dilutes its flavor. Plus, there's really no telling when it was originally skinned and chopped. This convenience comes at a cost, as some cooks may find its flavor lacking, particularly in dishes where garlic plays a central role.

We did try this in a stir-fry, and it took a while for the water to evaporate from it as it simmered, which seemed to boil away a lot of the garlic flavor. We found ourselves having to compensate by adding many teaspoons of garlic more than what was called for. Do yourself a favor and walk yourself to the produce section and buy a bag of garlic bulbs. It's worth the extra time and effort if you're serious about your cooking.

8. Everything Bagel Seasoning

Kirkland Everything Bagel Seasoning
Kirkland Everything Bagel Seasoning - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Due to some inconsistency and separation issues that we noticed in our bottle, the Kirkland Signature Everything Bagel Seasoning ranks relatively low. This seasoning is meant to replicate the mix that is used to coat everything bagels, typically made with sesame seeds, salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, and poppy seeds. And while this doesn't taste inherently bad, its tendency for salt separation compromises its reliability.

We tasted it a few times, digging spoonfuls from different parts of the bottle, and the mixture tasted slightly different each time, with the biggest variation being in the salt concentration. At $6.79, this product's quality just doesn't match up to the superior caliber of the Trader Joe's version of this seasoning.

Because we can only think of so many things we'd want to make taste like an everything bagel, nearly 18 ounces of Kirkland seasoning in each container seems a bit egregious — especially when we can get a smaller amount at Trader Joe's that tastes better. We don't see a whole lot of opportunity to use this big bottle very often, as it's such an idiosyncratic seasoning with such a particular flavor. We mixed some in tzatziki sauce and dipped pita chips in it, but we honestly weren't that impressed. We say skip this one.

7. Granulated Garlic

Kirkland Granulated Garlic
Kirkland Granulated Garlic - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

It's important to know when to use garlic powder and when to use granulated garlic. The latter claims its place by being useful in spice rubs and seasoning blends. No doubt, Kirkland's Granulated Garlic is useful in a soup or a barbecue rub. However, this product falls short as a substitute for fresh garlic due to its lack of complexity and aroma.

There's not much of a genuine garlic flavor present on the tongue upon first taste, though of course this garlic is dehydrated, after all. Still, it lacks the pungency and sharpness of fresh garlic, because, well, it's not fresh garlic. We mixed this into a quick spice rub with Kirkland paprika and turmeric, and it imparted some garlic flavor for sure, but we think that's probably the peak of its utility.

This granulated garlic is also a bit on the pricier side compared to some of the other spices, at about $8. Bottom line: This could be useful to have on hand in the pantry for a rub or spice blend — maybe even a lazy soup — but don't expect it to replace real garlic in your cooking.

6. Course Ground Black Pepper

Kirkland Course Ground Black Pepper
Kirkland Course Ground Black Pepper - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Kirkland's Course Ground Black Pepper earns its middle-tier spot with a consistent grind and suitability for bulk recipes. Costco offers ground black pepper in either fine or coarse grinds, plus whole peppercorns (though for the purposes of compiling this list, we were only trying pre-prepared spices). However, the ground pepper's lack of freshness compared to freshly ground pepper from a mill lowers its ranking.

We tried the coarse-ground pepper on a quick salad with Italian dressing. The ground pepper definitely has some flavor, and it's not bad, especially with the coarser grind. But, it's just not as spicy or aromatic as it could be. Here's the thing: it's just hard to replace freshly cracked peppercorns from a pepper mill.

The spice's reliable texture ensures even distribution, making it convenient for seasoning large batches of food by hand, spoon, or measuring utensil. Despite this, we wouldn't sub out freshly cracked pepper for this stuff. If you're absolutely not into grinding your own pepper, this might be for you. Otherwise, buy whole peppercorns and invest in a decent pepper mill.

5. Sea Salt

Kirkland Sea Salt
Kirkland Sea Salt - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

With its clean taste and lack of additives, Kirkland's Sea Salt secures a middle-of-the-road position on our list. While this particular salt's fine-grain crystals may pose a challenge for hand-seasoning, it remains a solid choice for all purpose, general seasoning needs. And while we prefer coarser grain kosher salts, such as the varieties offered by Diamond Crystal or Morton, this salt is just fine for most people, especially for $3.29 for 30 ounces. After all, it's just salt.

We used this to season pasta water, and it did the job — the water was clean and saline. Whether used to carry the flavors of meats, vegetables, or baked goods, sea salt adds a touch of brightness and salinity to dishes, all while enhancing other flavors. It's pure and simple stuff, all without additives like iodine that will give off unpleasant and metallic flavors. You'd be solid with this salt if you have no preference otherwise.

4. Crushed Red Pepper

Kirkland Crushed Red Pepper
Kirkland Crushed Red Pepper - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Kirkland Signature's Crushed Red Pepper stands out for its versatility and clean heat without overwhelming flavors. Plus, it's a bit of a bargain. At $3.99, the brand's chili flakes aren't totally dry, lifeless, and dull, like you might find in packets at a pizzeria. These chili flakes definitely still have their essential oils and aromas — they're spicy, no doubt. But the heat is clean and the flakes don't have an overbearing taste.

We sprinkled this stuff over some pizza and pasta, and it's safe to say this packs a serious punch of spice that won't totally overwhelm or change the flavor of a recipe. Crushed red pepper is definitely a practical addition to any spice collection, especially for the ardent spice lover in your life. Use it as a topping on breads, eggs, and salads, or as an ingredient in sauces, brines, soups, and stews. Give veggie dip a sweet and spicy upgrade with honey and these chili flakes for a truly baller condiment.

3. Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon

Kirkland Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon
Kirkland Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

With its good value for money, solid flavor, and freshness, Kirkland's Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon earns its place at third on our list. As a rather cheap USDA-certified organic spice, this Saigon cinnamon is strong on the nose and even more so on the palate, tasting earthy, spicy (akin to ginger), and slightly sweet.

Although freshly toasted and ground cinnamon sticks are still more abundant in flavor and aroma, Kirkland's ground variety is as convenient as it is practical for everyday cooking needs, especially in a pinch or with the swipe of a teaspoon. In general, Saigon cinnamon's strong and spicy flavor lends itself well to savory and sweet foods alike, but it's rarely cheap. So at $4.99 for this big bottle, this is a steal.

We mixed up a couple teaspoons into some overnight chia seeds with oat milk, and this stuff did the job. You could also use it to season French toast, spice up a savory stew, or bake a ton of cinnamon rolls. Whatever the case, you won't run out of cinnamon for a while.

2. Ground Turmeric

Kirkland Ground Turmeric
Kirkland Ground Turmeric - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

Kirkland Signature Ground Turmeric earns its place near the top of our list as a solid spice contender, with its excellent value for money and great, earthy taste. Ground turmeric, which is made from dried and ground turmeric root, is especially sharp and earthy in this Kirkland product. Its flavor is strong, pungent, and warm on the tongue, tasting quite fresh and ripe right out of the package.

Turmeric adds a layer of depth and intense color to foods from India, the Caribbean, and Thailand. The spice also boasts a bunch of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The vibrant yellow color of turmeric enhances the visual appeal of recipes, providing a pop of color (but beware, it'll stain hands and clothes). At $4.29, this bottle of turmeric offers a lot of bang for your buck. We threw a few spoonfuls of this into a coconut curry we were making, and it was a welcome addition. The flavor was potent and concentrated enough to flavor the fatty milk quite well. Grab a bottle of this and enjoy adding it to curries, soups, marinades, or even try turmeric as a mustard substitute for more aromatic dishes — all of these applications will add a complex layer of flavor to your cooking.

1. Organic Ground Paprika

Kirkland Organic Ground Paprika
Kirkland Organic Ground Paprika - Joshua Carlucci/Static Media

At the top of our list, Kirkland's Organic Ground Paprika earned first place for its exceptional value for money, freshness, versatility, and lovely flavor. At under $7, this paprika is pretty cheap — especially for being USDA-certified organic — with 13.2 ounces in this bulk bottle. No serious cook's pantry is complete without paprika, which is really just the dried and ground fruits of milder chili pepper plants.

The slightly sweet, spicy, and smoky notes of Kirkland's paprika — plus its especially dark, crimson color — add depth, complexity, and color to a wide range of foods, from meats and vegetables to sauces and soups. We just sprinkled a bit on some plain potato chips, and it completely transformed them from fine to exciting.

Kirkland Signature's paprika is marginally the freshest of any of the spices we tried from this brand, with the most aroma, detectible flavor on the palate, and vibrant color. Put that big bottle to good use after you take it home, and give your mac and cheese smoky undertones with a dash of paprika.


assortment of spices spread out
assortment of spices spread out - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

We purchased our spices at a Costco in the state of Tennessee. We made our ranking list in order to help our fellow Costco shoppers know which spices are worth their snuff, and which can stay on the shelf, curating the order based on three fundamental points of judgment: value for money, flavor and freshness, and utility and versatility.

We weighed the price-to-quality ratio, ensuring that each spice was budget-friendly and affordable without compromising on taste or quality. We made sure each spice offers reasonable value for money, balancing cost with quality and the amount in each package. We also focused on flavor and freshness, ensuring the spices taste and smell good. Finally, we considered how versatile each spice is, checking if it works well in a variety of recipes, especially at the forefront of a recipe.

We first tasted each spice pure by itself, then tried it as an ingredient in a simple dish to see how it works in practice. Our goal was really to save readers time, money, and space by curating their pantry collections with only the best seasonings and avoiding dud purchases, which can be tough without taking the goods for a test drive. We put Kirkland to the test so that you don't have to.

Prices are as of the date of publication and may vary based on region.

Read the original article on Tasting Table