The Costco Food Court Hack We'll Be Eating All Summer Long

Secret menus suck. It takes a level of chutzpah many of us don't have to march up to a total stranger and demand that they whip up some complicated off-menu concoction — and what it's like being on the opposite end of that transaction is a nightmare not worth contemplating. Menu hacks that allow you to take standard menu items and Frankenstein them together yourself after you've left the counter are much, much better, and one of our favorites is something you can now do at a Costco food court near you: a DIY ice cream sandwich.


This ridiculously easy hack is made possible by the new(ish) Costco chocolate chip cookie, which replaced the churro on the big box store's somewhat limited dessert menu. The Costco food court's menu changes can be upsetting if one of your favorites disappears overnight, but if we're being honest, churros are a lot less hackable than cookies. If you order two cookies plus a cup of vanilla or strawberry soft serve (which itself replaced frozen yogurt a few years back), all you need to do is plop the ice cream on a cookie, then top it off with the other cookie. Voilà! Ice cream sandwich achieved.

Other ways you can enjoy this ice cream-cookie combo

One issue with this Costco creation is that it's big ... like, really big. Like, you might have to unhinge your jaw like a snake to eat it. Also, ice cream sandwiches, by their very nature, make lousy leftovers, so once you make the sandwich, you're pretty much committed to eating it right there at the food court table. What can you do if you're just not that hungry? Well, if you're always prepared in the best Boy Scout tradition, you could always equip yourself with a portable DC-powered car refrigerator (yes, Costco sells these) to preserve your half-eaten frozen treat until you get back to your house. If you'd rather not go to such an expense, though (since high-tech portable fridges can cost over $100), there are other ways to hack your ice cream-cookie combo.


One possibility, albeit a messy one, would be to make an open-face ice cream sandwich, since this would necessitate eating only one cookie. A less sloppy option would be to dip the cookie in the ice cream or crumble it over the top. In both cases, a single cookie will suffice — in fact, you could even use just half a cookie, since the cookie leftovers themselves can easily survive the drive home.

Costco's food court isn't the only place to hack a summertime treat

The main issue we have with Costco's food court is that it's one of the few fast food restaurants we can think of that works on a pay-to-play model. Once upon a time, the retailer did allow the general public in to dine, but in recent years Costco has been kicking non-members out of its food courts. If you don't have a Costco membership, that's okay — there are plenty of other places where you can put together a make-it-yourself ice cream sandwich.


Sadly, neither Sam's Club nor Ikea is in the running, unless you like the idea of frozen yogurt on a pretzel at the former or "Soft Ice" (which is vegan froyo) on a cinnamon bun at the latter. Wendy's, however, has cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal bars), and the Frosty is almost as thick as soft serve. If it's an actual soft serve-cookie combo you want, though, McDonald's, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A have all got you covered. Chick-fil-A even offers brownies in addition to chocolate chip cookies, and brownie ice cream (or "Ice Dream," to use Chick-fil-A's terminology) sandwiches are even better than the cookie kind.