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Oh, the love that the KCL team has for Trader Joe’s food is pretty intense. I honestly haven’t found one item that I don’t love from TJ’s. To help make your shopping easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best Trader Joe’s foods you gotta pick up if you go. We included all the best frozen foods, bakery items, spices, condiments, dips, and more. Some of these items are seasonal, so I hope you find them before they’re all snatched up.
We saw many of these goodies for the first time in Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. The flyer is published in intervals throughout the year and will introduce you to new items and Trader Joe’s must-haves.
And a little KCL super shopper tip for you: don’t get fooled into buying Trader Joe’s products on Amazon. They’re sold by third-party sellers who will often inflate the price. I promise it isn’t TJ trying to sell you that $10 bottle of Everything But The Bagel seasoning (which is normally $1.99 at Trader Joe’s).
So get out your shopping list and add these Trader Joe’s favorites to your shopping list ASAP!
Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Food
1. Trader Ming’s Mandarin Orange Chicken, 22 oz – $4.99
If you only buy one frozen food item from Trader Joe’s, please let it be this one. The most popular item in the whole Trader Joe’s universe, this bake-and-serve chicken will have you forgetting all about Chinese takeout. Serve it over some rice or veggies, and boom — easy dinner. The Mandarin Orange Chicken even won “Favorite Overall” in Trader Joe’s 2022 Annual Customer Choice Awards.
2. Trader Ming’s Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower, 24 oz – $5.99
When you need something fried but also want to eat healthy, this is the perfect blend. The included kung pao sauce tastes amazing. If you like spicy, consider tossing it in some buffalo sauce, too.
3. Trader Joe’s Cacio E Pepe Gnocchi, 14 oz – $2.99
This new item is soooo delicious. A 14-ounce bag full of creamy cheese sauce, black peppercorns, and gnocchi … yum. I could eat only this for dinner and be satisfied.
4. Trader Joe’s Hashbrowns 22.5 oz – $2.49
In case you haven’t noticed, hashbrowns aren’t just a buck at fast food drive-thrus anymore. You can get a whole box from Trader Joe’s that should last you a week for under $3. And they make them from potatoes grown in Idaho.
5. Trader Joe’s Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip, 8.82 oz – $3.49
There’s something about a good, warm dip that makes everything alright. But this TJ’s spinach and artichoke dip makes everything spectacular. It has the ideal amount of cheese and flavor. If you’re hosting, grab a few to put out. Your guests will love it, and you’ll love the value and price.
Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Dessert
6. Trader Joe’s Mini Hold the Cone Ice Cream Cones, 7.9 oz – $3.79
Trader Joe’s is kind of known for these Hold the Cone ice cream minis, which won the title of “Favorite Sweets/Dessert” in TJ’s 2022 Annual Customer Choice Awards. They come in three different flavors: chocolate chip with a chocolate cone, vanilla with a sugar cone, and chocolate with a chocolate cone. All three have a chocolate outer shell. Seasonally, TJ’s brings out additional flavors to tempt us, like pumpkin ginger and coffee bean.
Best Trader Joe’s Snacks
7. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, 16 oz – $4.49
A pound of dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Need I say more? Try stashing them in your freezer, too. These won the title of best “Sweet Treat” in the 2021 Annual Customer Choice Awards, and they were a runner-up in the 2022 awards.
8. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets, 16 oz – $2.49
TJ’s is pretty smart with giving us anything that has peanut butter in it at a full pound. If you’ve never had peanut butter and pretzels, now is the time to try this stellar combo. So good. These nuggets won the title of “Favorite Snack” in the 2022 Annual Customer Choice Awards.
9. Trader Joe’s Sweet Plantain Chips, 5.3 oz – $1.99
If you’re looking for a chip that’s not salty but isn’t too sweet, you’ve got to try these plantain chips. I love to use them for dipping, too.
10. Trader Joe’s Organic Olive Oil Popcorn, 5 oz – $2.49
Popcorn seasoned with olive oil? A whole new level of flavor. You won’t be missing the greasy butter at all. Warning: you might eat the whole bag in one sitting, so grab two bags.
Best Trader Joe’s Bakery Items
11. Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins, 14 oz – $4.99
I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, but I love these muffins. They’re made with a gluten-free flour blend, sweet cream buttermilk, and sour cream. The double chocolate ones are made with cocoa and chocolate chips.
12. Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins, 14 oz – $4.99
Like the chocolate muffins we already talked about, these coffee cake muffins have a gluten-free flour blend, sweet cream buttermilk, and sour cream. Cinnamon bits and brown sugar take it up a notch higher.
13. Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake, 16 oz – $5.49
A delicious sour cream cake with brown sugar swirl and a cinnamon crumb topping. It pairs perfectly with my morning (and afternoon) coffee.
14. Trader Joe’s Brownie + Cookie = Brookie, 11 oz – $4.49
What could be better than when a brownie and cookie become one?! This one consists of a rich fudge brownie topped with a chocolate chip cookie, all baked together. If you’re a sweets fan like me, then this is a must-try. Top it with a little vanilla ice cream and you have yourself a sundae.
Best Trader Joe’s Spices, Condiments, & Other Goodies
15. Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, 2.3 oz – $1.99
If you shop at TJ’s on the regular, you sure know about this seasoning. It’s a perfect blend of sea salt, garlic, and onion. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, Aldi also sells a version of it (and you can check our Aldi’s coupons page before you go).
16. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter, 14.1 oz – $3.69
If you’ve never had cookie butter before, you’re in for a treat. A delicious blend of crushed Belgian biscuits and the warm flavors of holiday spices — I won’t lie to you, I eat this by the spoon. But if you’re trying to behave, pair it with a freshly cut apple or banana. We call that balance.
17. Trader Joe’s Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers, 12 oz – $2.69
A delicious blend of fresh eggplant, dried garlic, sweet red peppers, tomato paste, sunflower oil, sea salt, and a pinch of sugar. This is one versatile sauce … er, spread. Whatever you choose to use it on is up to you. It goes great with pasta, crackers, toast, or a crostini.
Best Trader Joe’s Refrigerated Food
18. Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, 12 oz – $4.29
This is a long-time fan favorite. They originally introduced the sweet apple chicken sausage back in 2004, and it’s still hanging strong. If you like a little bit of sweetness, this chicken sausage will check all the boxes. All natural, with no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and it’s made with pure Vermont maple syrup. Plus, it’s fully cooked so all you have to do is heat it up. It’s lower in fat than traditional pork sausage, too.
19. Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar Cheese, 7 oz – $3.99
This isn’t your average cheddar cheese. Trader Joe’s variety is aged premium cheddar with hints of parmesan. It has a smooth creaminess, but with a little tangy, crumbly texture. You’ll see why it won “Favorite Cheese” in the 2022 Annual Customer Choice Awards.
20. Trader Joe’s Black Bean and Cheese Burrito, 10 oz – $3.99
Skip the Taco Bell drive-thru and pick up this vegetarian black bean and Monterey jack cheese burrito instead. It heats up quickly, and you can take it to the next level by smothering it with jalapeno sauce.