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6 Popular Costco Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

Five boxes of Costco soups
Five boxes of Costco soups - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

In the winter months, Costco dedicates a whole aisle of chest refrigerators to showcase prepared soups. All look savory and delicious, but you may want to know which one is the tastiest of all. When I tried six of the most popular varieties, I learned that none of these soups will let you down. Ultimately, they're all yummy and require almost no cleanup. Most of them come in plastic tubs that go straight into the microwave for a few minutes. If you don't want to get a bowl dirty, you could even conceivably eat the soup straight out of the tub with a spoon. That's especially handy if you're feeling under the weather.

Here, I've ranked each product according to a variety of factors, starting with taste. Your favorite will depend on the flavors you like best, and may not coincide with ours. That's okay -- different strokes for different folks, after all. I've also included a description of the ingredients, texture, and price of each product so you can choose accordingly even if we have different soup opinions.  I also got my kids involved. My four-year-old consistently gave most soups an "Ewww-gaud!" rating, though he ate two spoonfuls of the tomato basil. My eight-year-old, also an openly picky eater, surprised me by giving the gumbo a seven out of 10, though no soup received a perfect score on his scale. My main takeaway: adults will probably find more to like in Costco's refrigerated soup aisle than their kids.

Read more: 20 Frozen Foods Costco Shoppers Swear By

6. Blount's Family Kitchen Lasagna Soup

Blount's Lasagna Soup
Blount's Lasagna Soup - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

If you're a fan of lasagna soup, buying Bount's version at Costco is a good way to enjoy it without having to put together and cook a ton of ingredients. Here, those include tomatoes, turkey sausage, onions, cream, pasta, and parmesan cheese, all of which can get expensive if you're looking to make it from scratch at home. Buying two packs of Blount's lasagna soup at Costco (each with six one-cup portions), on the other hand, costs around $13, making for a potentially attractive purchase that saves both time and money.

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The best things about this lasagna soup may be how easy it is to heat up and its low cost, but there are several issues. First is the texture of the disappointingly soft lasagna noodles. The other problem is the overwhelming taste of fennel, anise seed, and black pepper. Often, canned and packaged soups go heavy on salt and seasoning make up for tasteless ingredients. This soup leans on that crutch too heavily.

5. Kirkland Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup

Rotisserie Chicken Soup by Kirkland
Rotisserie Chicken Soup by Kirkland - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

Anyone with a cold should head to Costco to pick up a tub of chicken noodle soup, which is made from surplus rotisserie chickens. Each spoonful brims with chunks of celery, carrots, chicken, and noodles, while the broth is as thick as egg drop soup to the point where some commentators recommend thinning it out with a bit of water before enjoying. To me, this deli item tastes worse than homemade chicken noodle soup, but a thousand times better than canned. That makes it perfect for those days you need comfort food, but don't have enough energy to make it for yourself. The price per pound is about $3.50 and a tub contains just under 4 pounds.

The most positive thing about this soup is the fresh ingredients, especially the Costco rotisserie chicken. Yet, there are far more negative points. First, the overpowering salty flavor makes it hard to swallow. Meanwhile, the large chunks of veggies and chicken mean that you'll likely have to use your spoon to cut these into smaller pieces that will actually fit in your mouth. Finally, the noodles in this product are thick and floury, contributing to the heavy feel. A more delicate pasta would have been a far better choice.

4. Boudin Sourdough Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Creamy tomato basil soup
Creamy tomato basil soup - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

Serve fresh tomato basil soup from Costco if you want to take your grilled cheese to the next level. Certainly, after trying this, you'll never buy Cambell's again -- but is it much better? This refrigerated soup by Boudin Sourdough is a rich, thick mix of tomato, basil, and cream. Its flavor of fresh tomatoes can bring the essence of midsummer right onto your tongue even on the coldest winter day. The price is accessible -- this soup costs about $10 for 60 ounces ($.17 per ounce). Campbell's tomato is not much cheaper at around $.13 per ounce.

The smooth texture of this soup is pleasantly creamy, but the overly sweet flavor is problematic. The first spoonful draws you in, but by the time you finish your bowl, your tastebuds will want something less sugary. A glance at the label reveals that sugar is the fourth ingredient and each serving contains 16 grams of the stuff, 8 of which are added. That's more than twice the amount of any other soup I reviewed in this article.

3. Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar

Broccoli cheddar soup
Broccoli cheddar soup - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

Some soups may leave you hungry after you eat them, but this broccoli cheddar by Panera surely never will -- all that creamy cheese fills you right up. When you stir the tub after microwaving it, you'll come across thumb-sized chunks of broccoli in the depths that fit on your spoon perfectly, as well as inch-long slices of carrot. Those ingredients come together to make an alluring lunch. Your officemates won't even complain about it because this soup isn't stinky like most dishes with broccoli; here, the aroma is barely noticeable. Even better, a pack of this soup costs around $10 and should fill up about eight bowls.

The best aspect of this broccoli cheddar soup is the number of vegetables in it, namely the noticeable chunks of broccoli and ribbons of carrot. The flavor is boldly cheesy and tastes just as broccoli cheddar soup should. However, it is powerfully salty. If that's especially bothersome, you can take a microwaved potato, cut it into cubes, and add those to the soup, though that takes away a significant part of its convenience.

2. Blount Clam Shack Gumbo

Gumbo Soup
Gumbo Soup - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

The gumbo from Costco is tremendously flavorful and packed with morsels of shrimp, chicken, and sausage, as well as the classic addition of okra. In Blount's soup, it's the fourth ingredient on the label and makes its appearance as half-inch squares. These are not as pretty as the flower-shaped slices in other soups but are certainly effective as a thickener. You'll also dig out pieces of celery, bell pepper, and rice. The price tag for two sleeves is $11.

The most unappetizing things about this soup are the sludge-like color and chewy texture of the shrimp. However, it does contain the perfect level of spice, finely chopped pieces, and a well-balanced ratio of ingredients. To make gumbo like this at home, a cook would need to invest quite a bit of time into chopping the veggies, and then sautéing them to the right texture. In one of these tubs, the gumbo tastes nearly homemade and is ready to serve much faster.

1. Kirkland Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup
Chicken tortilla soup - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

Kirkland's chicken tortilla soup is nothing short of delicious. It's packed with little squares of chopped red and green bell peppers, shredded chicken, cubes of carrots, and kernels of corn in a tomato base. The flavor is spicy, sweet, and salty. It could make a big splash at a dinner party if you served it with additions like sour cream, avocado chunks, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and lime wedges. Guests would have fun putting in just what they like and, even better, you could have everything ready in a matter of minutes. It won't cost you much either -- in this case, $9 for two tubs, which makes it the cheapest soup on this list.

The slightly tough texture of the chicken is the worst thing about this soup, but everything else is top-notch. It's flavorful, easy to eat, simple to prepare, and low-priced. Even the level of spice is just right -- it'll wake up your taste buds, but is still mild enough that most kids will be willing to eat it. If you try only one soup from Costco, it should be this one.

Methodology

Tubs of soup and spoons
Tubs of soup and spoons - Dora Nuss-Warren/Mashed

Reviewing soups from Costco's refrigerated soup section was fun, delicious, and eye-opening. Previously, I'd only eaten homemade or canned soup. The latter always tasted tinny and didn't appeal to my family, so I was skeptical of these products and worried they might have a similar taste. I picked up one of everything available in Costco's open refrigerator at the time I wrote this article -- other soups like bacon cheese, lobster bisque, and vegetarian squash weren't in stock.

As I tested each item, I paid attention to the texture, ingredients, flavor, and price of each product. I also got my kids involved for a greater variety of opinions, a perspective that could be especially useful for parents.

Read the original article on Mashed.