PSA: Aldi Sells Copycat Girl Scout Cookies All Year Long
And they taste just like the real thing.
For a few glorious months each year, you can spot troops of green-vested girls outside grocery stores selling Thin Mints. Do-si-dos, and all your other Girl Scout cookie favorites. The rest of the year, GS Cookie cravings can only be soothed with limited-run products, when they happen to be in stores. See: Girl Scout cookie ice cream, cereal, coffee, and yogurt. Or so we thought.
On a recent trip to Aldi, my world was rocked when I noticed an entire row of cookies that looked pleasantly familiar. Turns out, Aldi makes its own version of some Girl Scout staples: Caramel Coconut, Fudge Mint, and Peanut Butter-filled cookies. While they don’t have knock-offs of every cookie, if you’re a Samoas, Thin Mint, or Tagalong fan, you’ll be on happy camper.
As for the caramel coconut cookies, they taste just like the real deal with the same shortbread cookie, caramel and chocolate drizzle, and coconut flakes combination.
The boxes cost between $1.39 and $1.45, which is even less than a GS box. Though that’s not to say that we shouldn’t still support the Girl Scouts come cookie season, especially since proceeds go back into their leadership programs! Plus, nothing beats a Girl Scout S’mores.
And they taste just like the real thing.
Girl Scout cookie copycats you can find at the grocery store
In the doldrums of winter, in the “no man’s” season of cold and dreary weather that exists between New Year’s Eve and. well, summer, there’s little to get overly excited about. No major holidays to plan for, just the torment of short days and the pursuit of New Year’s Resolutions you don’t really feel like pursuing. But in the midst of this “dead period” of the year, there’s a bright shining beacon of hope — Girl Scout Cookie season. According to the Girl Scouts website, local Girl Scouts councils set their own six- to eight-week period for cookie sales, but most choose a time between January and April, although some start as early as September.
But what happens when your local Girl Scouts troops stop selling? One option is to go online and use the Girl Scouts’ “Find Cookies” features to buy online from another troop that’s still in-season — this allows you to get your sugar fix while continuing to support the Girl Scouts’ leadership programs. The somewhat quicker alternative, though, is to hit up your local grocery store and seek out copycat cookies, which are usually available year-round. These may not be exactly the same as your favorite Thin Mints or Trefoils, but they’re pretty darn close. Just try to do the noble thing and buy actual Girl Scout Cookies during your local season — they may cost a little more than the knock-offs, but the profits go to a good cause.
When you need a Thin Mints fix, try Keebler Grasshoppers
Thin Mints — the round, chocolate-coated, mint-flavored cookies — have long been a stand-out Girl Scout Cookie favorite. In fact, according to the Girl Scouts’ frequently asked questions webpage, Thin Mints are the most popular of all of their cookies. So when Girl Scout cookie season is over, but you need your mint chocolate fix, Thrillist suggests grabbing a box of Keebler Grasshoppers. Not solely because the cookies are clearly similar — round, mint cookies with a chocolate coating — but because one of the two bakers that the Girl Scouts uses for producing its cookies (Little Brownie Bakers) is a subsidiary of Keebler. Which means they probably have a pretty good idea (like, an exact idea) of how Thin Mints are made.
To be honest, it seems a little shady that Keebler would use some insider’s knowledge to create a copycat Girl Scout cookie that’s typically less expensive than the real deal, but hey, that’s business. And the Keebler version is certainly going to give you your mint-chocolate fix. Bonus? You can find Keebler cookies at most major grocery stores, so you don’t have to make a special trip to a store off the beaten track.
Clover Valley Coconut and Fudge Cookies
The Clover Valley brand is a Dollar General label, and if you haven’t shopped at Dollar General lately, you’re missing out on some pretty obvious Girl Scout Cookie copycats. Take, for instance, the Coconut Fudge and Caramel Cookies. These are an obvious knockoff of the Girl Scouts’ Samoas or Caramel deLites (the official name depends on which bakery your local branch sources their cookies from), with the exact same shape, toasted coconut topping, and stripes of chocolate to boot. Even their marketing photos are practically identical, featuring one full cookie, and a second cookie with a bite taken out of it to show off the crispy center. Could Dollar General be any more obvious?
And, according to Melanie Fincher, a writer for AllRecipes, the taste is spot-on, too. As a self-proclaimed Samoa-lover, she notes that the toasted coconut and chocolate cookie is almost a dead ringer for the Girl Scouts original. She also didn’t hate the price — given that most Girl Scout Cookies cost upwards of $4.00 per box (prices vary based on cookie type and location), the Dollar General price of less than $2.00 a box is a whole lot more affordable.
Pepperidge Farms Lemon
Lemon cookies are a staple in the repertoire of Girl Scout Cookies, but year-to-year the actual lemon-flavored cookies (the name, recipe, and appearance) tend to change. As of 2020, the Girl Scouts website indicates there are two lemon cookies in the mix — Lemon-Ups and Lemonades. Both are similar — crispy shortbread cookies with a lemon icing base — but they come from two different bakers, so the recipes are slightly different. Also, Lemon-Ups feature inspirational messages baked into the top that say things like, “I am a leader,” and “I am a go-getter,” while Lemonades have a lemon-inspired design on top.
Either way, when you’re looking for a grocery store copycat cookie, Thrillist writer Kristin Hunt points to the Pepperidge Farm Lemon cookie as a solid bet. Sure, they lack the icing you know and love, but the crispy texture and lemon flavor are spot-on. If you just can’t fathom a lemon cookie without the icing, check to see if your local grocery store offers OREO Thins Lemon Flavored Creme Sandwiches, which you can also order online at Walmart.com. It’s clearly not an exact substitute, as the lemon filling isn’t exactly icing, but they might be able to tide you over until next year’s Girl Scout Cookie season.
Benton’s Peanut Butter-Filled Cookies
Aldi diehards can rejoice — Delish writer Madison Flager points out that the popular, low-cost grocery store offers a number of Girl Scout Cookie copycats under the store’s brand name, Benton’s. For example, if you love the fan-favorite Tagalongs cookie (which also goes by the name Peanut Butter Patties), check your local Aldi for Benton’s Peanut Butter-Filled Cookies.
These creamy peanut butter cookies are coated in rich, fudgy chocolate, making them an almost exact flavor match for the Girl Scouts version, which YouTube content creator, Blessed Jess, confirms in her blind taste test of the two brands. Both she and her husband voted that the Girl Scout Cookie Tagalongs tasted just a little bit better, with a slightly stronger peanut butter flavor, but they also said the flavor was very, very similar.
Given that Tagalongs and its Girl Scout Cookie counterpart, Peanut Butter Patties, use different recipes and are produced in different bakeries, it’s possible that there’s a slight flavor difference, too. This could mean that the Benton’s version is closer to an exact match for Peanut Butter Patties. At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. The Benton’s brand delivers a delicious, peanut butter and chocolate fix when you can’t score the real deal.
Benton’s Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookies
It’s true, Aldi isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to Girl Scout Cookie knockoffs. In addition to their Tagalongs-like Peanut Butter Filled Cookies, they also offer a Samoas (aka, Caramel deLites) copycat, their Benton’s Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookies.
Not unlike the Clover Valley version of this treat, Aldi copied the Girl Scout Cookie staple down to a T, including the shape and style of the chocolate-dipped and striped, toasted coconut-topped cookie. According to an article in Business Insider, Aldi’s version is so good it won awards when first introduced in 2015.
Facebook user Jessica Isaacs even posted to her page in January 2020 exclaiming, “They were only $1.39 for a box and taste EX-ACTLY like the Girl Scout Caramel [Delight] cookies!” If you needed any more convincing that these cookies are an almost-perfect match for the Girl Scouts’ brand, Blessed Jess conducted a blind taste test to compare the two brands. When it came to the winner, both she and her husband actually said they preferred the Aldi version to the real deal due to a slightly stronger flavor of coconut.
While we would never outright suggest ditching your Girl Scout Cookie fix for a copycat, if you’re going to do it, this cookie might be the best one to try.
Trader Joe’s Coffee Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Writers from Red Tricycle and What’s Good at Trader Joe’s? each point to Trader Joe’s Coffee Toffee Shortbread Cookies as a viable alternative to the Girl Scouts’ Toffee-tastic cookies. But unlike some of the other knockoffs on this list, it’s not an exact match. While each cookie features a buttery shortbread base with chunks of toffee inside (Trader Joe’s toffee cookie is especially reminiscent of the Girl Scouts version), TJ’s cookie kicks things up a notch by dipping and drizzling them with chocolate. And just to be clear (in case you were wondering), Trader Joe’s cookies don’t include coffee flavoring; rather, they’re meant to be paired with coffee.
Anyway, the other very important difference between the two cookies is that the Girl Scouts’ Toffee-tastic cookie is one of the only two gluten-free options the organization offers (the other is the Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies), while TJ’s Coffee Toffee cookie is decidedly not gluten-free. Maybe that’s a deal-breaker for you, maybe it’s not. Either way, it needs to be stated.
Trader Joe’s Campfire S’mores Bar
Okay, another Trader Joe’s dessert that’s close to, but not quite the same as a Girl Scout Cookie is the Campfire S’mores Bar. The Girl Scout S’mores Cookie which, according to the Girl Scouts’ history webpage became the most popular new cookies to launch in the organization’s history, has two similar, but different options, depending on the bakery the cookie is produced at. The Girl Scout S’mores cookie produced by Little Brownie Bakers is more of a sandwich with two graham cracker cookies hugging a marshmallow icing and a layer of chocolate inside. The ABC Bakers version is a little bit different, with a graham cracker cookie dipped in creme icing and coated in chocolate.
When it comes time to find an alternative copycat cookie, you need to look for something with more-or-less the same ingredients. And as pointed out by Red Tricycle, the TJ alternative, while not technically a cookie (it’s more of a chocolate bar), features the same distinctive s’mores flavors — a chocolatey base topped with chunks of graham crackers and whole marshmallows.
To be perfectly honest, neither the cookie or the bar is going to deliver the exact same melty, sticky taste sensation of a true, over-the-campfire s’mores. But when you can’t go camping and you want to create the same nostalgia at home (or at work, because let’s be real, sometimes you need that mental escape), the S’mores Cookie or the S’mores Bar can work as decent stand-ins.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
The Girl Scouts’ Thanks-A-Lot cookies are pretty basic — a classic shortbread cookie dipped in fudge. This makes these copycat cookies pretty easy to emulate, although you’re unlikely to find other cookies embossed with the words “thank you” in five different languages (English, French, Chinese, Swahili, and Spanish). Trader Joe’s actually has two pretty viable options to choose from when you’re looking for your off-season Thanks-A-Lot fix. You can go with, as Red Tricycle suggests, a container of All Butter Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Filling. The flavor combination is practically identical, although you might end up with a little more chocolate than in the original version. Or, you can look for a bag of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies, which are practically a dead-ringer for the originals.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, and you’re looking for an option at your local grocery store or on Amazon, Thrillist points out that Keebler Fudge Shoppe Stripes are also practically the same thing. The only real difference is the shape and the chocolate stripes across the top — which is hardly something to get upset about.
Back to Nature Peanut Butter Creme Cookies
What makes the Girl Scouts’ Do-si-dos (also known by the name Peanut Butter Sandwiches) stand out is that the peanut butter creme filling is layered between by two oatmeal cookies, offering a flavor combination that could practically pass as a delicious breakfast treat. You know, they’re cookies, but how bad can they really be for you if they have peanut butter and oatmeal be in them, right?
Well, when you can’t grab a box from your favorite Girl Scout (and by grab, we mean pay for, because it would be really wrong to steal from a Girl Scout), check your local grocery store for Back to Nature’s Peanut Butter Creme Cookies. Red Tricycle notes that these copycat cookies are practically identical to the Girl Scouts version, and they can be found at Whole Foods. That said, a little digging confirmed that Back to Nature is a pretty popular “healthier for you” brand, so you may also be able to pick them up at your local grocery store, Walmart, or on Amazon.
Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies
Given the popularity of Thin Mints, it stands to reason that more than one company would try to make a copycat of this fan-favorite Girl Scout Cookie. Red Tricycle writer Karly Wood notes that if eating GMO-free foods is important to you, opting for the Non-GMO Project Verified Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies might be your best bet. And Facebook users back her up, with Cornucopia Natural Market & Deli pointing out that they’re also made without hydrogenated oil, fructose corn syrup, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
While a cookie is still a cookie, with plenty of added sugar, the Back to Nature version of Thin Mints at least seems to focus on making their cookies with better-for-you ingredients. And really, because Back to Nature isn’t sold by minors (you can find their products at most grocery stores), the brand can also do cool, adult-friendly things like suggesting you use these crushed cookies as the garnish on holiday cocktails, like they did on their Facebook page.
365 Butter Shortbread
To be perfectly clear, you can find a good, buttery shortbread cookie, like the Girl Scouts brand Shortbread (also known as Trefoils) just about anywhere you shop. Thrillist points to Nabisco’s Lorna Doone Cookies as a good option but also mentions Pepperidge Farm’s Shortbread as another choice. You can hardly go wrong on either front.
But here’s the deal — if you’re going to opt for picking up a knockoff Girl Scout Cookie, at least choose one that is made with fewer additives and real, pronounceable ingredients, like Whole Foods brand 365 Butter Shortbread Cookies, which according to the company website only have organic enriched wheat flour, butter, cane sugar, and sea salt on the label. Red Tricycle also notes that they’re made without any sort of peanut products, so they’re safe to eat if you have a peanut allergy. This actually makes them the “healthier” option (if you’re someone who is concerned about the ingredients included in the processed foods you consume) than either the Girl Scouts’ ABC Baker’s Shortbread or the Little Brownie Baker’s Trefoils.
Clover Valley Fudge Covered Peanut Butter Cookies
Dollar General offered up another great Girl Scout Cookie copycat when it created its Fudge Peanut Butter Filled Cookies to rival the Girl Scouts’ Tagalongs (also known as Peanut Butter Patties). When Allrecipes writer Melanie Fincher chronicled the reactions of her colleagues in a company taste-test comparing these two brands, she noted that a few people thought the Clover Valley version had a bit of an artificial chocolate flavor, but she herself had no complaints.
And in a taste test comparing the two brands on BRYSON TheBlonde’s YouTube channel, the content creator raved about the Doller General cookie, stating “Clover Valley did this, baby! Like, this is a good dupe!” He went on to give both cookies an “A,” noting that they tasted almost identical. Also, both reviewers (Fincher and BRYSON TheBlonde) were fans of the less-expensive price for the cookies at Dollar General, which could be purchased at the time of their reviews for less than $2.00 per box.
Girl Scout cookie season typically runs from January through April. So ho do you get your cookie fix when your local Girl Scouts troops stop selling? The solution is to hit up your local grocery store and seek out these copycat Girl Scout cookies that come really close to the real deal.