Alana Vandagriff | 

Costco vs. Sam's Club Hot Dog: We Compared Their Prices, Sizes & More

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Ever find yourself wandering the aisles of Costco or Sam's Club and suddenly, you're hit with a craving for a hot dog? The Sam’s Club food court and Costco food court both serve up cheap hot dogs with rather loyal fan bases, which got us thinking. Is one hot dog combo actually superior?

When it comes to the battle of Sam's Club vs Costco on the hot dog front, which one gives you the most bang for your buck?

We dug deep and compared everything we possibly could about these hot dogs — from the prices to the calories to your choices of toppings — to help you pick a winner. And when you're ready for the next deep dive, check out our comparison of Costco Pizza vs Sam's Club Pizza.

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How Do the Two Hot Dog Combos Compare?

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Price: Sam's Club is cheaper

Ever since 1984, Costco has kept their hot dog combo priced at $1.50.

Sam's Club used to charge $1.50 for their hot dog combo, but all that changed in November 2022, when the Sam's Club hot dog combo price dropped to $1.38. And it's stayed $1.38 ever since.

Because of the cheaper Sam's Club hot dog price, Sam's Club wins the price battle by $0.12.

Calories: Sam's Club has better stats

While there isn’t such a thing as a healthy food court hot dog, we compared the nutrition stats between the Sam's Club and Costco dogs.

According to the nutrition stats, there are 510 calories in a Sam's Club hot dog vs. 570 calories in a Costco hot dog. This means there are about 60 fewer calories in a Sam’s Club hot dog. The Sam's Club hot dog also has less carbs, fat, and protein.

costco-vs-sams-club-hot-dog-nutrition-facts

The Hot Dog: Costco's has better ingredients overall

The hot dog battle heats up when you look at how Sam's Club cooks their hot dogs vs. how Costco does it.

Sam's Club and Costco both use steamers to keep their hot dogs warm. However, there's a noticeable difference in how they serve them.

Sam's Club pre-assembles their hot dogs in the bun and keeps them in the warmer, while Costco assembles the hot dogs as you order them, which keeps the bun fresher. I found the Costco hot dog bun more appealing because of this.

I also compared the ingredient lists and found that both warehouses offer an all-beef hot dog, and most of their ingredients are similar. However, Sam's Club hot dogs contain corn syrup, hydrolyzed corn protein, and potassium chloride — fillers that you won't find in the Costco hot dog. Both brands do seem to contain nitrates, though.

Hot Dog Toppings: It's a tie

costco-wholesale-food-court-cafe-hotdog-condiments-dispenser-ketchup-model-kcl-07

Sam's Club provides mustard, ketchup, and relish as toppings for their hot dogs. At my local Sam's Club warehouse, all of these toppings were available in individually wrapped packets, which was handy for taking it to-go.

Costco had a similar selection (ketchup, mustard, and relish), but they were provided in large pump containers, so you needed to dress your hot dog right then and there.

Based on the selection of hot dog toppings, the two stores are tied.

KCL TIP: While the Sam's Club Cafe menu online says that they offer sauerkraut and fresh onions at the food court, I didn't spot those at my location.

Combo Size: Costco's has more meat

If size matters to you, Costco takes the lead with a bigger hot dog. I brought both hot dogs home to measure them, and here's what I found:

  • Costco hot dog size: 8 inches long, weighing 6.8 ounces (with 4.2 ounces of meat)

  • Sam's Club hot dog size: 7 inches long, weighing 6.5 ounces (with 3.8 ounces of meat)

I also compared the drink sizes included with the combos, and found that Sam's Club has the slight edge here. The Costco combo comes with a 20-ounce Pepsi soda, while the Sam's Club's combo comes with a 30-ounce Pepsi soda.

Plus, you have additional soda options at Sam's Club like Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper, which you won't find at Costco).

Which Hot Dog Tastes Better?

There seems to be a general agreement online that Costco's hot dog reigns supreme, and I would have to agree after taste-testing them both. The taste winner for me was the Costco hot dog.

They say you eat with your eyes first, and in this case, the Sam's Club hot dog didn't make a great first impression. It had a darker, grayish hue, and the bun was squished around it (probably because it came preassembled and was sitting on the warmer).

We got our hot dog around 1 p.m., so you'd expect it to be fresh. Unfortunately, the taste matched its appearance. The Sam's Club hot dog had a tough exterior and an overly salty flavor.

On the other hand, the Costco hot dog was a different story. It tasted fresh, the bun was intact, and it wasn't too greasy.

The Winner: Costco Hot Dog

If you were keeping score, Costco's hot dog won 3 of the 6 categories, with Sam's Club winning in 2 of the 6 categories (the toppings category was a tie). Here's a recap of where each one shined:

  1. Price: Sam's Club

  2. Calories: Sam's Club

  3. Ingredients: Costco

  4. Toppings: Tie

  5. Size: Costco

  6. Taste: Costco

Even though we picked a winner based on the categories tested, they both offer a great value, but just in slightly different ways. The Sam's Club combo is slightly cheaper per ounce of food (since the price is lower overall), while the Costco combo provides a slightly better price per inch of hot dog (since the hot dog is bigger).

costco-vs-sams-club-hot-dog-value

However, if you love a big drink with your meal, Sam's Club might have the edge, since their combo comes with a larger 30-ounce soda. So, it really comes down to whether you prefer a bit more food or a bit more soda.

Another bonus for Sam's? You don’t have to bust out your warehouse credentials to order from the food court. But at the Costco food court, you’ll typically need to show proof of membership.

Outdoor Costco food courts don’t always require a membership, though this may be changing in April 2024 due to new Costco food court membership rules.

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