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10 Absolute Must-Have Trader Joe’s Products

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For loyal Trader Joe’s shoppers, there are a handful of staple items that are non-negotiables on each grocery run. Everyone has a different opinion on what the best things to buy at Trader Joe’s are, but there are certainly a good number of cult classics that will be on most lists.

Here are the top ten items I pick up almost every time I go to Trader Joe’s. I like having these products handy because I know all of my guests will enjoy them, and they require little to no prep work to get from the pantry or fridge onto the plate.

1. Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake

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This little guy is pretty famous among Trader Joe’s fans. One quick Google search of “Chantilly cake Trader Joe’s” will pull up dozens of articles singing the praises of this dessert. And guess what? It’s absolutely worth the hype.

The cake is made of a vanilla sponge that’s incredibly moist and fluffy. It’s nothing fancy – just a simple vanilla sheet cake, but things take a turn when it comes to the frosting. This stuff should be sold separately in jug form (it’s THAT good). The frosting is made with butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans.

I don’t know exactly which ingredient gives the frosting its magic, but something in there elevates the cake to an entirely new level. It’s an incredibly rich yet fluffy and light dessert with the most authentic vanilla bean flavor I’ve ever come across in a baked good.

Every time I buy this cake, I marvel at how good it is and how it’s not from some fancy NYC bakery. You can find the Chantilly Creamy Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake in the bakery aisle at Trader Joe’s.

2. Cheese, Spinach & Kale Egg Bites

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Starbucks was the brand that introduced me to the concept of egg bites, but Trader Joe’s definitely perfected the art form. These are essentially miniature omelets that come in packs of two and can be easily microwaved for one or two minutes for an instant breakfast.

Trader Joe’s offers two egg bites to choose from – Cheddar Cheese & Uncured Bacon and Cheese, Spinach & Kale. They’re both great, but I recommend you go with the latter.

These egg bites are made with cage-free eggs and feature chopped spinach, kale, and feta cheese. The souffle-like texture of the bites is made with a combination of butter and cottage cheese, which amp up the creamy factor at the same time.

These only need to be heated for one minute in the microwave. They’re so flavorful that you don’t really need a sauce, but I personally like to add some hot sauce for a little kick.

Egg bites are one of the best things to buy at Trader Joe’s, especially if you love a quick and delicious breakfast.

3. Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

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I love a little kick of spice, but I don’t enjoy it when my eyes start to water excessively while eating food. With chips, it sometimes seems like you have to settle for the absurdly hot or the bland, boring kind. Luckily, that’s not the case with this Trader Joe’s product.

Their Chili & Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips have the perfect balance between saltiness and spice. These chips are made from stone-ground corn masa, which is cut and rolled thick before being fried. The chips are then dusted with chili and lime seasoning, which brings the perfect amount of heat with just a little bit of zesty citrus flavor.

They resemble Takis in appearance, but I find Trader Joe’s take on the snack to be much crunchier and more natural tasting. These are great paired with pretty much any dip, but I like to eat them plain to taste all that citrusy, spicy goodness.

4. Dill-icious Chopped Salad Kit

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I’m not sure who started the “let’s pickle everything” trend in the food world, but whichever Trader Joe’s employee decided to pickle a salad, I’m eternally grateful to you.

The Dill-icious Chopped Salad Kit is the perfect entree salad for those who love a tangy, crunchy pickle. The salad’s base is a mix of cauliflower, radishes, lettuce, kale, and red and green cabbage.

Each salad comes with a baggie of dill pickle-flavored potato chips, dill pickle seasoning, and a packet of dill cucumber ranch dressing. This is the crispiest, crunchiest salad I’ve ever eaten, and despite being light and fresh, it still keeps me satisfied after eating it.

The idea of potato chips instead of croutons is a touch that I think all salads should get on board with. And the dill seasoning packet here adds just enough extra tang without making things too pickle-y. If you’ll only try one Trader Joe’s salad, let it be this one!

5. Gone Berry Crazy Dark Chocolate Strawberries

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Chocolate-covered strawberries are such a beloved dessert, yet they’re usually seen as a “special occasion” type of dessert for an anniversary or Valentine’s Day. Well, that’s not the case if you’re a Trader Joe’s frequent flyer.

The Gone Berry Crazy dark chocolate covered strawberries have been a staple at Trader Joe’s for years, and these are my favorite frozen treats offered by the grocery chain by far. They’re simple and delicious – bite-sized half-strawberries are dipped in dark chocolate and then frozen. The chocolate shell has the most satisfying crunch to it, and the berries inside are sweet and juicy. They taste incredibly fresh, too.

These boxes are deceivingly small, so I buy two every time I visit Trader Joe’s. Trust me, they disappear quickly!

6. Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust

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Trader Joe’s offers many frozen pizzas (trust me, I’ve tried them all), but their hands-down best option is the Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust.

America has a reputation for deep-frying everything, and I would never have thought that deep-frying pizza was a good idea before trying this. But once you give this pizza a chance, everything will make sense.

Cheese-wise, there’s mozzarella, provolone, burrata, and Parmigiano Reggiano. The dollops of pesto act as a sauce, and chunks of roasted garlic bring out some major flavor. The crust is deep-fried, as its name suggests, but it’s only dipped in quickly to make the crust extra crispy on the outside. You don’t have to worry about any lingering oil flavor.

Even if you normally wouldn’t go for a white pizza, give this one a shot. There’s so much flavor coming from the cheese, pesto, and garlic that you won’t even miss the sauce.

7. Scandinavian Swimmers

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The Scandinavian Swimmers are Trader Joe’s version of Swedish Fish, only better. Instead of having one shape and one flavor (lingonberry fish, in the case of Swedish Fish), there are four different flavors and shapes inside each bag of these.

There are blue dolphins (huckleberry flavored), yellow seahorses (mango-peach flavored), red lobsters (berry flavored), and orange rockfish (orange flavored).

Each sea creature has a fruity, bright flavor and a chewy yet tender texture. As a bonus, these brightly colored candies get their hue from natural sources such as fruit extracts, so you don’t have to worry about ingesting a bunch of artificial colors.

This Trader Joe’s product is so popular that they even have a spin-off variety of sour gummies called Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers, which are just as delicious as the original.

8. Sour Cream & Onion Flavored Rings

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This Trader Joe’s item comes from the snack aisle. The description “lentil and rice snacks” might not sound too appetizing, but the Sour Cream & Onion Rings are one of the absolute best snacks in the entire store.

They’re kind of like Frito-Lay’s Funyuns but crunchier, tastier, and all-around better in every aspect. Each ring is made with red lentils and rice meal, and despite their super crispy texture, these are baked instead of fried. The flavor of the rings is pretty mild – you can only taste the sour cream and onion seasoning, which is front and center.

The seasoning is made with buttermilk solids, onion powder, sour cream powder, and yeast extract for a tangy, creamy flavor you won’t get enough of. These have better ingredients than most grocery store snacks, and they definitely taste just as good, if not better.

9. Speculoos Cookie Butter

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The Speculoos Cookie Butter is probably one of the best Trader Joe’s products of all time. This is one of those items that’s hard to describe. It’s almost identical in texture to peanut butter, but the taste is completely different.

It’s made with speculoos cookies that are popular in Europe, which are actually similar to gingerbread cookies. Speculoos cookies contain caramelized sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for a warm, cozy flavor. These cookies are ground up and blended with a few other ingredients to make this creamy, comforting spread.

You can use it to jazz up oatmeal, ice cream, toast, baked goods, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. I’ve even dipped pretzels in it before. As I mentioned, the warm spices here make it similar to gingerbread, but it’s much less spicy and in-your-face than gingerbread is.

10. Thai Vegetable Gyoza

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Trader Joe’s frozen meals are pretty popular because not only are they convenient, but their taste and texture seem far from the stereotypical TV dinners of decades past.

One of the best products to buy in Trader Joe’s frozen meal section is the Thai Vegetable Gyoza. These dumplings are made with a chewy wheat flour wrapper that’s shaped like a crescent moon and filled with carrots, chives, white radish, white cabbage, and onion.

The veggie mixture is further flavored with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. These are pre-cooked, so it’s almost impossible to mess them up. They’re tastiest when pan-fried, but I usually microwave mine, and they come out perfectly.

It comes with a packet of dipping sauce, which tastes like a sweeter, thicker version of soy sauce. I love sprinkling it on top of my dumplings, but they’re also pretty good on their own.

About the Author

Samantha Jenkins is a food writer and digital marketing manager with a passion for storytelling, perusing grocery store aisles, reading menus, and eating really good food.

In her free time, she enjoys baking, performing in musicals, and cohosting the East Coast Haunts podcast.

December 27, 2023