Costco uses over a pound of cheese for the $9.95 cheese pizzas in its food court

  • Costco's food court is famous for its massive pizzas.
  • Employees say a $9.95 cheese pizza at Costco boasts 24 ounces — or a pound and a half — of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • The price of a 12-slice pie hasn't changed since 1989.


Costco food courts are known for serving up pizza pie after jumbo-sized pizza pie. Technically, the warehouse club is the 14th largest pizza chain in the US.

A pie, which Business Insider's Hollis Johnson described as "gargantuan," spans 18 inches. A single slice goes for $1.99, while the whole 12-slice pie costs $9.95. A 2009 edition of Costco Connection revealed that the cost of a pie hasn't changed since 1989, when the product was first introduced at Price Club — which merged with Costco in 1993.

And if you order a cheese pizza pie, you'll certainly be getting a lot of cheese for your money.

Three Costco employees told Business Insider that a whole cheese pizza pie contains over a pound of cheese. Pepperoni and combo pizzas have less cheese, to make room for the toppings.

RELATED: Items to avoid from the chain

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Protein powder, bars, or supplements

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Produce

A Costco worker from Idaho, an employee from Hawaii, and a worker from Minnesota, who added, "While our produce department is one of the best in the business, I personally don't eat veggies fast enough to buy in bulk."

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Tires

A Costco worker who just said they'd been working for the chain "too long"

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Packages of meat

A Costco employee from California, who added, "It's too much for my household."

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Mac and cheese

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Fruits

A Costco employee from Florida, who added, "They go bad very quickly."

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Baked goods

A Costco worker from Iowa, who added that the "packaging is just too big."

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Condoms

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Shoes

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Sushi

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Kirkland brand clothing

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The gallon-sized mayonnaise jars

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Salad

A Costco employee who's worked in 10 states, who added that, "I don't eat the huge quantity fast enough, then it rots. Waste of money."

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Any food you haven't tried before
 
A Costco employee from Illinois, who added, "Because then I'd have a six month supply."

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That detail is backed up by a 2011 edition of Costco Connection, which reported that cheese pies are topped with 24 ounces — or a pound and a half — of "aged, buttery" cheese. Of that cheese, 80% is "part-skim-milk" mozzarella. The remaining 20% of the blend is "10 month-aged shredded parmesan."

Some things that aren't included in Costco's pizzas are lard, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils, according to Costco Connection. The store publication's consumer reporter Pat Volchok wrote that the cheese used in the pizza is "fresh and real rather than cheap imitation powdered or processed concoctions."

The pies are whipped up with some automated help from a flattening machine and a mechanical saucing machine. Costco employees then sprinkle on the cheese by hand, according to Business Insider's Mary Hanbury.

Cheese isn't your only option when it comes to Costco pizzas. Pepperoni and combo options are available in the US, too. Combo pizzas feature mild Italian sausage, pepperoni slices, green bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, and black olives. In the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Taiwan, different types of pizzas like barbecue chicken, five-cheese, seafood, al pastor, and Hawaiian style are available.

And cheese pizzas aren't the only variety with strict specifications. All pepperoni pies must include 60 slices of pepperoni. If you're looking to customize your order, you can ask for free red pepper flake and parmesan packets.

A slice of Costco pizza comes in at 600 to 700 calories, depending on the toppings.

Related: Costco food court secrets

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The most popular item on the menu? The legendary Costco hot dog.

"There's something about a buck fifty that people really love," said the employee. 

But at 552 calories and 32 g of fat, you may want save this food court staple for special occasions. 

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Another discontinued item that Costco often receives questions about? The chocolate-dipped ice cream bar with almonds. We hate to break it to you, but it's probably never coming back.

"I think it might have been too expensive for the amount we give. That's what happened with gelato anyway," the employee said.

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Everyone knows that the best churro is one that is hot and freshly made. If customers don't think they're getting the best churro their money can buy, don't be afraid to ask for a new one!

The employee said, "I learn to check when we're running low on churros and wait for a new pan to come out," adding, "I recommend checking on them right before you shop and seeing the changes when you come back. My favorite is when they run out of churros and you wait for five minutes or so, then when they pull them off the pan, it is a hundred percent brand new."

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The beloved berry smoothie was recently replaced by a different fruit smoothie -- and there's a perfectly logical (and healthy!) explanation for it. 

"Corporate thought the benefits outweighed the negatives in this situation. The new smoothie has a lot of better benefits in it -- less sugar, less calories, nothing but real fruit and fruit juice, and four servings of fruit in each smoothie." the employee said.

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Have you ever found yourself blotting away all the excess oil on your incredibly cheesy Costco pizza? There's a reason for that. 

The anonymous employee revealed that the amount of oil used in making the pizza is "too much." In fact, upper management monitors employees to make sure they're using enough oil. 

"When you don't use the corporate requested amount because you think it's too much and corporate notices? You use more oil to avoid being in trouble. Some managers overcompensate and use a quarter cup of oil+ when making them."

Yikes! Talk about a heart attack on a plate. 

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And of course we're dying to know what the pizza is made out of!

"It's made with love," the employee jokingly said.

Another Reddit user who claims to be a former employee also chimed in: "I don't know what's in the sauce, it came to us prepared, as did the cheese mix . . . I know it was like 85 percent mozzarella and 15 percent provolone when I worked there."

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There's no denying that Costco's chicken bake has a massive cult following. Surprisingly, the food court hit is pretty simple to make! After flattening out a lot of pizza dough, employees mix in chicken breast strips, mozzarella cheese, bacon and caesar dressing. All these ingredients are rolled up into the dough.

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And if you prefer no bacon in your chicken bake, you'll have to come in earlier in the day when employees are making it. 

"Sometimes the employees are running little bit late and they'll make them during the day, but you'd have to catch them before they mix the cheese and bacon. Which is hard to do," the employee said. "You could always call ahead a day and ask. I'm sure they'd oblige."

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Surprisingly, employees don't get a discount at the food court. However, they do receive a free executive membership ($120 a year), which is also a pretty impressive perk!

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NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away

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SEE ALSO: Why Costco food courts have charged $1.50 for hot dogs since 1985, according to employees

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