Costco Vs Trader Joe's: Who Has The Better Frozen Lasagna?

Of all the baked pasta dishes out there, fewer are more comforting, cheesy, and suitable for a family than classic lasagna. Though there are plenty of variations of lasagna out there, including those that are meat-free or even completely vegan, many lasagna recipes follow a formula of noodles, meaty sauce, and cheese, all layered into a casserole dish and baked to bubbly perfection. There's no denying that a homemade lasagna is superior, but it is a somewhat labor-intensive dish that takes adequate planning, time for assembling, and time for baking — all chunks of time that many people don't have readily available on busy weeknights.

Enter the frozen lasagna, the solution to even the busiest weeknights. Two of the most popular grocery stores out there, Trader Joe's and Costco, each offer respective versions of frozen lasagnas, but are they any good? I've put both Costco's Kirkland brand Italian sausage and beef lasagna and Trader Joe's family-style meat lasagna to the taste test to see which one is worthy of being your family's Wednesday night dinner. Important considerations in determining which chain offers the best frozen lasagna include price, ease of cooking, and serving size. Most importantly, of course, the biggest factor came down to which lasagna tasted the best in terms of being cheesy, meaty, and comforting.

What are in the Trader Joe's and Costco lasagnas?

In terms of what ingredients are in Costco and Trader Joe's lasagnas, it's pretty easy to compare the two as they have a very similar breakdown. Both lasagnas boast plenty of meat; Costco's version boasts the inclusion of both Italian sausage and beef right on the box, whereas Trader Joe's version is simply labelled as "meat lasagna." A closer inspection of the ingredients list proved that both lasagnas do in fact contain both sausage and beef.

Now, meat is often pretty important in a lasagna, though I'd venture to say that the cheese is even more crucial. Luckily, both lasagnas are pretty packed with it, each featuring the same four cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, Romano, and Parmesan. Other ingredients, like the noodles and tomato sauces, also featured a very similar ingredient breakdown, so all told, these lasagnas are extremely similar based on ingredients alone.

The nutritional breakdown is where things start to differ a little bit. Costco's lasagna is larger, boasting a total of six servings, whereas the Trader Joe's one has four total servings. Both lasagna's serving size is 1 cup, with the Costco serving having 410 calories, 22 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, 890 milligrams of sodium, and 23 grams of protein. A 1-cup serving of Trader Joe's lasagna has 320 calories, 14 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs, 720 milligrams of sodium, and 21 grams of protein.

What is the price of each lasagna?

Anyone who shops regularly at Costco knows that many products tend to come in bulk or multiples, and the frozen lasagna is no exception. The only way to get a Kirkland frozen lasagna is to buy a two-pack, which costs $16.79 total, which comes down to about $8.40 per lasagna. Since Costco's lasagnas contain six servings, the price per serving comes out to about $1.40.

Meanwhile, you can buy a single frozen lasagna from Trader Joe's, and the price is $6.99. Trader Joe's lasagnas are a little bit smaller than Costco's and only boast four servings, which means that the per serving price breakdown comes out to about $1.75. So, based on the price per serving, Costco does edge Trader Joe's out by about $.35 per slice, which isn't nothing. The financial downside to Costco's lasagna is that you have to buy two to get that cheaper overall price, which may not come as an advantage to those who are looking for a one-off dinner in a pinch and aren't looking to store an extra lasagna in the freezer.

Taste Test: Trader Joe's Family Style Meat Lasagna

My first impression of Trader Joe's lasagna is that it was very cheesy both inside and out (the ricotta oozed out of the slice I cut and the cheese was plentiful on top), though the meat seemed a little more sparse. Closer inspection (and after taking a few bites) proved that the meat was definitely in there, but it sort of became overrun by the sheer amount of cheese that encompassed the lasagna — not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those who really favor cheese as the most important factor in lasagna.

Though my slice wasn't nearly as beautiful as the slice on the package, it still looked pretty good considering it was previously frozen, and the taste was even better. Savory, salty, tomato-y, meaty, and ultra-rich, I was immediately impressed by how good Trader Joe's lasagna tasted. Again, it's hard to compare a frozen food to a homemade counterpart, but this lasagna truly rivaled homemade lasagnas that I've enjoyed in the past. I also appreciated the fact that the flavor of oregano was present throughout, offering a little complexity from all of the cheesiness at play.

The biggest downfall of Trader Joe's lasagna is that there could've been a little more balance between the ingredients. The cheese was oozing out of the noodle layers, and, as I mentioned, it was a little hard to find the meat at first, so there could've been more harmony and cohesion amongst the layers.

Taste Test: Costco's Kirkland Signature Italian Sausage and Beef Lasagna

My first impression of Costco's frozen lasagna was definitely not quite as appealing as it was with the Trader Joe's one. After cooking this lasagna and cutting out a slice, I noticed that the lasagna as a whole was remarkably wet, with a combination of oil and tomato juices piling up quite heavily at the bottom of the pan. This moisture didn't really affect the texture of the lasagna, but it didn't exactly leave a palatable first impression when I went in for a bite.

The first bite of Costco's frozen lasagna wasn't bad by any means, but I was a little bit disappointed by a certain blandness. If anything, based on the fact that Costco's lasagna seemed to have more of everything — more calories, carbs, sodium, protein — compared to the Trader Joe's one, I was expecting more flavor, too. This lasagna didn't taste bad, and there was plenty of cheesy goodness going on here as well. However, the herbs weren't very pronounced, and despite being so high in sodium, I felt that my slice of lasagna could have somehow benefited from a little more salt.

Something I liked about Costco's lasagna was the prevalence of the meat, which was abundant throughout the slice as well as on top. There was a healthy scattering of Italian sausage right on top of the lasagna, which meant that each bite had a better balance of meat, cheese, sauce, and noodles.

The Verdict: Trader Joe's edges out Costco's lasagna

Though both lasagnas were pretty tasty overall, there was a clear winner based on taste alone, and that would be Trader Joe's. I liked that the Trader Joe's lasagna was absolutely chock-full of cheese, and though Costco's also boasted a healthy amount of cheesy goodness, it was a little too bland to compare to the TJ's one. Another thing that I appreciated about Trader Joe's lasagna is that you could taste the herbs and spices more clearly, whereas, once again, the blandness of the Costco one came to be the frozen meal's biggest downfall.

A crucial success to the Trader Joe's lasagna also came down to the tomato sauce, which was considerably thicker than the Costco one. As previously mentioned, the Costco lasagna was quite wet, and while it didn't taste soggy, it was apparent that the tomato sauce was quite thin and a bit watery. The Trader Joe's lasagna didn't have the extra moisture at the bottom, and in return, the tomato sauce was thicker and overall tastier than the Costco one. While both lasagnas are worth your time if you're a big lasagna fan, I would see myself returning to the Trader Joe's one much sooner than I would the Costco one.


While taste was the primary factor in choosing a winner in the lasagna race, there were other factors at play including price and accessibility. Though Costco's lasagna is slightly cheaper than Trader Joe's, you have to factor in the fact that you need a membership to obtain the Costco one (a membership that you pay for annually). The Trader Joe's lasagna, on the other hand, is readily available to anyone at any time, and no annual membership is required to purchase it, making it the more accessible option.

It's also important to note that both lasagnas had an almost exact cooking time, so ease of cooking was pretty much a draw. While you can microwave each lasagna in a pinch, both call for baking in the oven as the preferred method. This process took about an hour for each lasagna, and I cooked them at the exact same time, for the same amount of time. Both lasagnas came out evenly cooked after the allotted time period, though one ended up tasting better in the end, and that one was of course the Trader Joe's lasagna.