Trader Joe's

Koko At Home

Best Products At Trader Joe’s, Updated 2020

May 10, 2020

Best products at Trader Joe's

I am obsessed with Trader Joe’s. How obsessed? Obsessed to the point where I like hopping on the Trader Joe’s website to see if they’ve released any new products this week and watching Trader Joe’s grocery hauls on YouTube.

I should also clarify that this post is not sponsored by Trader Joe’s and I have never been sponsored by Trader Joe’s but Trader Joe’s if you’re reading this, hollar at your girl! 

SEE ALSO: 10 Must Buy Items At Trader Joe’s

Here is my ultimate list of the best things at Trader Joe’s!

 

BUT FIRST, WHY I LOVE TRADER JOE’S

  • It’s affordable. Bargain-shopping prices for gourmet goodies from all around the world. 98% of Trader Joe’s products are private labels. Their business model aims to cut out the middleman and fulfill the core part of their mission: “provide customers with the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere.”
  • No artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, synthetic colors, MSG, genetically modified ingredients, or partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans-fats) in any of their products.
  • Great selection of products. TJ launches new products every week. The Trader Joe’s website is probably one of my most visited web pages.
  • Awesome return policy. 100% haggle-free return. No explanation necessary. Seriously! I return one to two items from each grocery trip. I even returned a dead lavender plant. This is an amazing incentive to try new items.
  • You can sample everything in the store. Not sure if you want the bacon popcorn or pickle popcorn (actual TJ’s products)? Ask a team member and they’ll let you sample them. I wasn’t sure which kind of almonds I wanted (sesame honey, Thai lime & chili, or dark chocolate) and they opened all of them.

CURRENT FAVS AT TRADER JOE’S

1
Pork & red sauce tamales ($6.99)
2
Dill pickle hummus ($1.99)
3
Mediterranean hummus ($3.99)
4
Everything But The Bagel Greek Style Yogurt Dip
5
Reduced guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip ($3.99)
6
Ube mochi pancake & waffle mix ($3.99)
7
Giant Peruvian Inca nuts ($1.99)
8
Vegetable snacks
9
Frozen chocolate croissants (pack of 4 for $4.49)
10
Ube ice cream
11
Mini Hold The Cone Ice Cream Cones ($2.99)
12
Frozen Mac & Cheese bites ($3.99)
13
Frozen Honey Walnut Shrimp
14
Frozen Garlic Naan ($1.99)
15
Frozen Indian entrees
16
Frozen mac n’ cheese ($1.99)
17
Frozen family-style meat lasagna ($5.99)
18
Organic coconut milk ($1.69)
19
Indian fare pouches ($1.99)
20
Arrabiata sauce - spicy & so good!
21
Organic vodka sauce ($2.99)
22
Organic toasted sesame dressing
23
Everything But The Bagel Sesame Blend
24
Chile lime seasoning blend - so good on 🍉!
25
Organic toasted granola bark ($2.99)
26
Organic cashew yogurt & creamy almond yogurt
27
Watermelon overnight face mask - supposedly a dupe for GLOW’s face mask ($45)
28
Tomato ketchup with black summer truffle
29
Savory banana & nut trek mix ($2.99)
30
Chicken Breast Strips - only of the only treats I give to my dog! The only ingredient is chicken.
Check out my other content @atasteofkoko on Jumprope.

 

Best Snacks at Trader Joe's

BEST SNACKS AT TRADER JOE’S

Let’s start with the snacks because I love snacks! While I love potato chips, I’m not impressed with the potato chip selection at Trader Joe’s but that’s okay because they have such a big variety of different snacks.

  • Dark chocolate covered pretzel slims ($2.99) – crunchy, chocolately goodness with a slightly salty taste. If you leave these on your desk, you will eat the entire bag. 
  • Inner peas ($1.49) – healthy baked green pea snacks. 
  • Giant Peruvian Inca Corn ($1.79) – reminds me of the corn nuts I use to eat when I was little but these are HUGE. Dangerously addicting. 
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – real peanut butter covered with rich, dark chocolate. Stick these in the freezer for a cool treat during the week! 
  • Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps ($2.49) – I picked these up randomly thinking they were going to be gross but OMG they’re SO good. Salty and peppery and also better for you. I nearly ate the entire bag in one sitting.
  • I Dream of Chocolate Cake ($6.99) – two layers of very moist, very dark chocolate cake, sandwiching a layer of creamy chocolate (almost pudding-like) filling with cubes of milk-soaked chocolate cake, and covered with even more chocolate.
  • Whole Grain Crispbread – I had a crispbread similar to this in Iceland and I couldn’t stop thinking of them after I got back. I love how grainy TJ’s crispbreads are – a perfect pairing with a creamy cheese. 
  • Pickle Popcorn – (summer) this is a seasonal popcorn that usually comes out during the summer. If you like pickles and popcorn, you’ll love this pickle popcorn.
  • Spud Crunchies – ($1.99) you know those random super crunchy french fries you’ll find at the bottom of the bag? This is an entire bag of them. 
  • Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler – sometimes I just want a convenient cheese board to snack on these pre-sliced cheeses are so good. 
  • Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers – another salty snack that’s easily addicting. 
  • Organic Corn Chips – these are like oversized frito corn chips but with a softer crunch and bigger chip to scoop with. Sometimes I eat them plain because they’re that good. 
  • Artichoke Jalapeño Dip – Trader Joe’s has so many dips to choose from but I love the artichoke jalapeno dip!
  • Thai lime & chili cashews – there are a million nut options in the nut section but if you want a flavored bag, try the Thai lime & chili cashews. 

 

Trader Joe's Best Grocery Items

BEST GROCERY PRODUCTS AT TRADER JOE’S

  • Eggs – all-natural, hormone-free large brown eggs. $1.99
  • Brussels sprouts – toss in olive oil and garlic salt, and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 400F. Comes in a convenient microwavable bag too. $2.29
  • Pre-packaged salads – prewashed organic and non-organic greens. $1.99 – $2.49
  • Cold-pressed juices – 100% juice blends made with fresh fruits and vegetables. Green is a blend of kale, spinach, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, and ginger. Red blends beets, cucumber, celery, apple, carrots, spinach, ginger, and lemon. And Yellow is a sunny combination of apple, pineapple, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, lime, and mint. $4.99
  • Ezekiel Bread – Not a TJ’s brand but this is cheaper at TJ (typically costs $5 at other stores). If you haven’t tried this bread before I highly recommend it. Ezekiel is sprouted 100% whole grain bread with NO FLOUR. There’s 4g of protein per slice. This is what I use for my avocado toast. $3.49
  • Fancy Cheese – the array of cheeses at Trader Joe’s puts most grocers to shame, and TJ is constantly launching new cheeses every week. You can find fancy cheeses like Creamy Toscano Cheese dusted with Cinnamon, Cranberry Chevre*, Unexpected Cheddar, Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions, and Smoked Gouda. $4.99 – $12.99 per lb
  • Chicken Sausage – the Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage with pure Vermont maple syrup is perfect for breakfast!
  • Tomatoes – different tomatoes for each season: mini heirloom, sugar plum, mixed medley cherry tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, and more. $1.99 – $2.99
  • Hummus – so many different flavors, the Mediterranean is a fan favorite. $3.99

 

Best pantry staples at Trader Joe's

BEST PANTRY PRODUCTS AT TRADER JOE’S

  • Organic virgin coconut oil – great for moisturizing your skin, conditioning hair, DIY body scrubs, and cooking. I add a couple of tablespoons to my rice cooker and when I fry eggs. Coconut oil has a high smoke point so it doesn’t burn like butter. $5.99
  • Cookie butter – Addictive, purchase with caution. Comes in smooth cookie butter, crunchy cookie butter, and cocoa swirl. $3.99
  • Crunchy Nut Butters – there are a ton of different nut butters to choose from.
  • Coconut water – Super hydrating and perfect for fruity popsicles. $2.99
  • Light coconut milk – so many brands have additives added in their coconut milk and BPA-lined cans but not at TJ. $0.99
  • Blueberry pomegranate green tea – $1.49 for one liter
  • Spaghetti / Dry pasta – Did you know TJ’s sources their dry pasta from Italy? The Trader Giotto’s Spaghetti (pictured above) is crafted for TJ by a Sicilian, family-owned company that’s been making fine pasta for more than 100 years. And it’s a steal at only 99¢ for a one-pound bag! The dry pasta and organic dry pasta range from 99¢ to $2. Keep an eye out for their seasonal pastas like the Fall zucchette pasta that’s shaped like pumpkins.
  • Arrabiata Sauce – Trader Giotto’s Arrabiata Sauce is probably my favorite spaghetti sauce because it’s spicy and the tomato flavor is delicious.
  • Organic Vodka Sauce – the organic vodka spaghetti sauce is another pantry staple for me. $3.29
  • Tomato paste – I hate it when a recipe calls for one tablespoon of tomato paste and then I have to throw away the rest of the can. Trader Joe’s tomato paste comes in a convenient tube that can be stored in the fridge. 
  • Organic chicken broth – a constant pantry staple. The chicken broth is organic and free-range with a resealable pour spout for only $1.99.
  • Chia seeds – for chia seed pudding, yogurt, and to thicken smoothies. $4.99
  • Basmati rice – you can find all kinds of basmati rice in the dry good section.
  • Organic unsweetened flake coconut – affordable and easy-to-find alternative to the traditional sweetened stuff. I use this for my black sticky rice pudding, oatmeal, and cookies. $3.49
  • Olive oil – TJ sources its extra virgin olive oil from Italy, Spain, and California. The Greek Kalamata Olive Oil is rated the best by experts. $8.99
  • Toasted sesame dressing – I LOVE this salad dressing, so much that I’ve gone through 4 bottles in one year. 
  • Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend – bagel seasoning, need I explain? 

 

Trader Joe's frozen mac n' cheese

BEST FROZEN PRODUCTS AT TRADER JOE’S

Let’s talk about frozen foods because TJ’s has a HUGE selection. 

  • Meat lasagna – I always keep one of these in the fridge so when there’s a night when we don’t order in or I’m not cooking, I just stick the frozen meat lasagna in the oven. It’s very hearty and filling with the layers of noodles, meat, cheese, and sauce. $5.99
  • Chocolate croissants – I SWEAR by these. I’ve literally gone through boxes and boxes of these. Place the frozen croissants on a sheet pan with aluminum foil the night before you go to sleep. In the morning, the croissants will have risen into poofy pillows. Bake for 10 minutes in your toaster oven at 300F. Allow to cool slightly before eating because the melted chocolate will be extremely hot. Your kitchen will smell like heaven. $3.99 for a box of 4 croissants.
  • Breaded chicken – the breaded chicken comes in a big bag. I love putting these in the air fryer to get them super crispy and juicy. So good by itself or on a salad. 
  • Japanese style fried rice – I like keeping one of these in the freezer in case I need a quick meal. Just pour into a bowl and microwave.
  • Honey Walnut Shrimp – just as good as the Asian takeout if you put them in the air fryer and pour over the sauce. The mandarin orange chicken is a popular pick too.
  • Frozen Indian entree dinners – all of the frozen Indian dinners are surprisingly really good. TJ’s offers chicken tikka masala, paneer tikka masala, vegan tikka masala, butter chicken, lamb vindaloo, palak paneer, and chama masala. $3.49 each
  • Frozen naan – quick and easy lunch/snack. Each package comes with 4 naan. Just pop them straight from the freezer into the oven and baked for 10 minutes. I eat these in the car when I’m in a hurry. Comes in Tandoori, garlic, and Paneer Masala. $2.29
  • Gone Bananas – frozen dark chocolate covered banana pieces. So simple that you can make these yourself but who has time for that? $1.99
  • Mini Ice Cream Cones – because sometimes I don’t want to commit to a large ice cream cone. These mini ones are perfect when I need something sweet. 8 cones for $2.99
  • Pizza / Flatbreads – TJ’s has so many different pizzas (organic and non-organic) and flatbread options. Spinach & Ricotta, Pesto with Tomatoes & Broccoli, Kale, Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Pizza, and Burrata, Prosciutto, & Arugula Flatbread name a few. $3 – $6
  • Frozen mac n’ cheese – Gooey, melty and loaded with four different cheeses — the cheddar, havarti, Swiss, and gouda help class this up. Pro tip: microwave on high for 5 minutes and the cheese forms a crispy crust. $2.99
  • Mac And Cheese Bites – I put these in the air fryer and they’re super crispy and gooey with seven types of cheese!
  • Eggplant Cutlets – I’m not sure if these are a seasonal item but they’re so good if you heat them up in the air fryer and serve with curry and rice! Would also be great with red sauce and spaghetti. 
  • Frozen Garlic – I hate chopping fresh garlic so I always keep one of these in the freezer. It’s not made by Trader Joe’s.
  • Cauliflower gnocchi – popular item but I haven’t tried this yet.

 

Trader Joe's Herbs

BEST MISC ITEMS AT TRADER JOE’S

  • Flowers – freshly cut blooms from $3.99 – $9.99. TJ’s had bunches of peonies for $6.99!
  • Herbs – organic potted herbs are only $1.99!
  • Tea tree oil – a steal at $6.49! Tea tree oil goes for $20+ at Whole Foods.
  • Shampoo & conditioner – made with organic botanicals, including tea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme. Wakes up my morning for only $3.99.
  • Moisturizer – supposedly the $9 moisturizer is a dupe for La Mer ($325 for 2 ounces) but I haven’t tried it.
  • Chicken breast strips dog treats – these are one of the only dog treats that I buy for Basil because he loves them and the only ingredient is chicken breast.

 

SKIP THESE ITEMS AT TRADER JOE’S

  • Avocados – they’re cheaper at your local grocery store
  • Fresh fruit & veggies – the quality is hit & miss
  • Frozen fruit – TJ doesn’t sell frozen fruit in bulk bags so it’s cheaper to buy at your local grocery store
  • Frozen pumpkin croissants – for some reason these just don’t bake well like the chocolate croissants
  • Frozen Danish pancakes – eh
  • Mango pineapple salsa – tried this and it tasted weird
  • Corn tortilla chips – they’re just meh
  • Thai tea mini mochi – I really wanted to love these but the mochi itself was gummy. 
  • Chocolate chip cookies – not comparable to my favorite Tate’s chocolate chip cookies
  • Soy chorizo – too greasy for me considering it’s made out of soy
  • Plantain chips – I thought these were just okay
  • Joe-Joe cookies – if I’m going to eat an Oreo-like cookie, I’m just going to eat Oreos
  • Guacamole – I’m not a fan of pre-made guacamole 

 

NEW SUMMER ITEMS AT TRADER JOE’S

On my list to try!

  • Sparkling watermelon 
  • Vegan protein patties
  • Harissa flavored chicken thighs
  • Organic salsa
  • Honey mustard pretzel pieces
  • Truffle ketchup

 

Trader Joe's shopping list

TRADER JOE’S SHOPPING LIST

Save this list to your phone for your next trip to Trader Joe’s.

 

What are your favorite Trader Joe’s products? Share in the comments below!

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.

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