June 19, 2024

No one does on-the-go breakfast quite like Starbucks. Choices have come a long way from pumpkin bread and protein boxes (though those still hit the spot when the moment is right), and the addition of drive-through windows and online ordering has made a morning caffeine fix even easier to come by.

When Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites were introduced in 2017, getting your morning started right became even easier. Pillowy, cheesy, and loaded with protein, the egg bites are easy to eat on the run if you let them cool off enough.

As a busy mom (yes, that trope is alive and well), the egg bites are an easy order when I pull up the Starbucks app from the school parking lot. And when I saw them at my local Costco — let’s lean into the millennial mom trope some more — I had to grab them. They’re perfect for eating while I pack snacks and lunch, quick enough that I don’t have to worry about watching the clock on weekday mornings, and the Costco combination of bulk and savings means I can enjoy an easy breakfast but still cut back on my takeout coffee habit.

How do the at-home egg bites measure up to ones hot out of the Starbucks countertop oven? Is making them at home just as good (or better), or does the bliss of enjoying an egg bite in-store really come from having a few kid-free moments? It’s time to find out.

Read more: Hacks That Will Make Boiling Your Eggs So Much Easier

What Are Egg Bites?

Sous vide egg bites from Costco and Starbucks

Sous vide egg bites from Costco and Starbucks – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites use a fancy technique to make a savory breakfast easy and elevated. When cooking sous vide — French for “in a vacuum” — ingredients are sealed into vacuum bags, then cooked using an immersion circulator that precisely heats water to cook whatever is in the bag to just the right temperature.

Steak is an ideal sous vide food: You can set the water temperature to a few degrees below your desired internal temperature, then pull the steak out and sear it in a hot pan before serving. For egg bites, which are essentially savory egg custard, sous vide gently cooks the eggs for a soft and fluffy finish and even texture throughout.

Starbucks’ egg bites are similar to a frittata, combining eggs and dairy (but no crust — that would make it a quiche) as a creamy base for bacon, roasted red pepper, or kale and mushroom. Part of what makes egg bites so silky is the use of cottage cheese, a cheese blend (Monterey Jack and either gruyère or feta), alongside whole eggs or egg whites,

Egg Bites At Starbucks

Starbucks egg bites and coffee

Starbucks egg bites and coffee – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

When ordering egg bites at Starbucks, there are a few things to know. You have a choice of three flavors: Bacon & Gruyère, Kale & Mushroom, and Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper. All three are gluten-free, and the kale and red pepper varieties are also vegetarian.

The egg bites are packed with protein, but the use of multiple cheeses and ample seasoning means they’re also high in sodium. Bacon & Gruyère Egg Bites have 19 grams of protein and 680 milligrams of sodium, Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites have 15 grams of protein and 340 milligrams of sodium, and Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites have 12 grams of protein and 470 milligrams of sodium.

While an immersion circulator is used to cook the eggs when they’re being packaged, that’s not how they are reheated at your local Starbucks. Instead, the cooked custard pucks are placed in a fluted cardboard tray and then warmed in a countertop oven (the same one that’s used for sandwiches and other hot items). They’re served with a fork — useful if you’re planning to eat them piping hot — but are firm enough that, if you give them a few minutes to cool off, you can easily eat the egg bites with your hands.

Egg Bites At Costco

Starbucks egg bites with white mug

Starbucks egg bites with white mug – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

Starbucks introduced egg bites at Costco in 2023, although Costco fanatics will know that they didn’t reach every location right away. They started with the Bacon & Gruyère variety, and began rolling out Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites at some locations in late 2023.

Compared to in-store egg bites, the egg bites at Costco seem to be slightly smaller (119 grams for two pieces versus 130 grams for two pieces, according to the nutrition information). The protein and sodium levels reflect that slight difference: The Costco version of Bacon & Gruyère has 17 grams and 640 milligrams, respectively, while the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper variety at Costco has 11 grams of protein and 430 milligrams of sodium.

Starbucks offers three ways to prepare your egg bites at home: Using a toaster oven, an air fryer, or the microwave. Both flavors have the same instructions for the toaster oven (14-16 minutes at 400 F) and air fryer (8-10 minutes at 400 F), but the microwave instructions vary. Bacon egg bites should be microwaved on high for 90 seconds, while egg white egg bites should be microwaved on high for 1 minute 45 seconds.

The beauty of Costco’s egg bites is in the packaging. A box contains five servings of two egg bites each, ideal for a week’s worth of speedy breakfasts. You can also freeze them to eat later.

Taste Test: Starbucks

Starbucks egg bite flavors

Starbucks egg bite flavors – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

To test the Starbucks egg bites, I ordered all three flavors and ate them as soon as I got home. Upon first glance, I noticed the slightly browned top — especially the crispy bacon. The size and shape were a little inconsistent, and the Bacon & Gruyère bites in particular were wider and flatter than the other two flavors.

Bacon is a tricky thing to get right when it’s not being cooked to order, and the crispy texture (alongside some browned cheese) was a surprising plus. The cheese flavor was very strong, masking any flavor you might get from the egg. The ingredients list on the Starbuck website includes hot sauce in all three flavors, but I didn’t taste it here.

Speaking of hot sauce, the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper bites were surprisingly spicy, and the spice level was inconsistent from bite to bite. I didn’t love the wet texture, though I shouldn’t have been surprised — it’s the same thing many people dislike about egg white omelets.

Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites have the softest and most consistent texture. Instead of big pieces of veggies, the kale and mushroom are finely diced to fold more evenly into the eggs. The use of Swiss cheese instead of gruyère and the addition of garlic create a lighter flavor profile that eats like an elegant brunch entrée instead of something you can get at a drive-through.

Taste Test: Costco

Starbucks egg bites on a sheet pan

Starbucks egg bites on a sheet pan – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

I picked up boxes of both flavors of Starbucks egg bites at my local Costco to see how they stacked up. I’ve had the Bacon & Gruyère variety at home before, but I was curious to try the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper flavor and to taste them next to bites hot from the Starbucks oven.

I prepared the Costco egg bites using all three at-home methods: microwave, air fryer, and toaster oven. In the microwave, both flavors were hot and ready to eat quickly. Not surprisingly, the bacon was chewy instead of crispy, but I noticed that the cheese in both flavors browned and stuck a bit to my microwave-safe plate.

The air fryer method produced a result that was closer to how the egg bites are prepared at Starbucks, with a more set exterior and a soft interior. The egg bites appeared to puff up a bit, almost like a soufflé, as they warmed and steamed inside. Of course, getting out your air fryer, pre-heating it, and then cooking the egg bites for 8-10 minutes is a lot slower than the quick heat at Starbucks.

The toaster oven takes the longest out of all three options but delivers the best results due to the slower heating. There was less browning, and the bacon was a little chewy, but the interior was pillowy and soft like a classic French omelet — though you could make yourself a French omelet from scratch in less time.

How Do They Compare?

Starbucks egg bites on pan with coffee

Starbucks egg bites on pan with coffee – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

In terms of flavor, Starbucks egg bites ordered at the counter or purchased at Costco taste exactly the same (aside from the fact that only Starbucks cafés have the Kale & Mushroom flavor). The real difference lies in the texture that comes from each cooking method, as well as the convenience.

The Costco egg bites were a more consistent size and shape than those purchased at Starbucks. Costco’s egg bites are slightly smaller, but visually, there wasn’t an obvious difference in size. Heating the egg bites in an oven yields a much more enjoyable result than the microwave, whether it’s a quick heat at Starbucks or more time in an air fryer or toaster oven at home. An oven browns the exterior, giving the bacon a chance to get crispy and resulting in a soft center. The longer cooking time at home allowed the center of the egg bites to puff slightly and stay softer than those heated up at Starbucks. The microwaved egg bites were fast but ran the risk of both rubbery eggs and slightly burnt cheese.

The most important note is that egg bites are best consumed right away. Driving a few minutes from Starbucks to my house gave the bites time to deflate. The eggs started to get unappealingly firm, which also happened to the egg bites I’d cooked at home after about 15 minutes. My best advice is to eat them while they’re hot.

Verdict

Starbucks egg white and pepper bites

Starbucks egg white and pepper bites – Jaimie Mackey/Tasting Table

If you’re looking for convenience paired with an enjoyable texture and a bit of browning, getting egg bites at Starbucks is your best bet. That’s also the only place to get the kale and mushroom variety, which I’d argue is the most enjoyable of the three flavors.

However, if you have time to get out your air fryer or toaster oven (and space in your fridge or freezer for a week’s worth of egg bites), preparing Costco’s Starbucks egg bites at home is the clear winner. Plus, you can make some toast and prepare your perfect cup of coffee while you wait for the timer to ring.

Finally, Costco’s egg bites are way more affordable — assuming you already have a Costco membership. At a Starbucks in Denver in March of 2024, two egg bites will run you $5.25 (not including tax), while the same serving out of a Costco box (again, purchased in Denver in March of 2024) costs $2.83 — or $14.79 for a box of five servings. Less than half the price, and no upcharge for a $6 latte? The winner is clear.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.

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