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What’s New at Trader Joe’s in February 2024: Taste Test & Review

Trader Joe’s New Items for February 2024 – Credit: Samantha Jenkins/

Trader Joe’s rang in the New Year with many new products, including a handful of Valentine-themed treats. I went to my local Trader Joe’s and picked up their best new items for this month. I taste tested and reviewed these products, so if you want to decide which items to pick up on your February grocery run, here’s my list.

1. Pretzel Bread Pudding – $4.49

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We’re starting off incredibly strong with what is possibly the best Trader Joe’s dessert I’ve ever tried – the Pretzel Bread Pudding. This brand-new Trader Joe’s item begins with soft pretzel pieces baked in a traditional, creamy egg custard.

There’s a helping of salted caramel sauce at the bottom of each bread pudding cup, which amps up the salty-sweet factor even more. After you warm your dessert in the microwave, you’re supposed to flip it over onto a plate. This puts the salted caramel sauce, which is now melted, on top of the bread pudding, and it slowly trickles down and saturates the entire dessert.

Every bite of this dessert is perfection – there’s the perfect amount of salt, with lots of buttery, sweet flavor. The texture is chewy and moist. I would never guess this is a frozen dessert, and the fact that they’re individually portioned makes them much more convenient.

Trader Joe, if you’re listening, please stock this full-time in your freezers! I promise I’ll buy a pack every time I visit. If you can only buy one or two new Trader Joe’s items on your next grocery run, make this one of them!

Rating: 10/10

2. Baingan Bharta Eggplant Curry – $3.49

Let’s start with the obvious: this isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of Trader Joe’s new products for this month, but I can confirm that the flavor is delicious. Bharta is an Indian mashed curry made with eggplant, onion, and tomato.

This version also features green chiles for a kick and spices like turmeric, cilantro, and fenugreek leaves to round everything out. There’s a nice amount of spice here – enough that I had to sip water fairly often. But it wasn’t enough to make my eyes water or stop me from eating. I ate this as-is, but I would recommend pairing it with rice for a heartier meal.

Rating: 7.5/10

3. Strawberries & Cream Gelato – $3.49

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Another of Trader Joe’s new items for February 2024 is the Strawberries and Cream Gelato. This sweet treat has two gelato flavors in one – strawberry, which has candied bits of strawberry mixed in, and vanilla bean.

This gelato is velvety and incredibly smooth. Strawberry purée is what brings the bright, refreshing strawberry flavor to the gelato, and the vanilla side is flecked with real vanilla beans. The tangy strawberry and creamy vanilla work together beautifully for a luxurious yet light dessert.

Rating: 8/10

4. Chicken, Lentil & Caramelized Onion Pilaf – $4.49

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Another Trader Joe’s new product this month is the Chicken, Lentil & Caramelized Onion Pilaf. With a few minutes on the stovetop or in the microwave, this frozen meal transforms into a hearty dinner. It features basmati rice, green lentils, diced caramelized onion, and dark meat chicken.

There are also raisins, dates, cinnamon, cumin, and saffron, bringing some sweetness to the dish. It was a little too sweet for my taste, though, so I wouldn’t buy it again. But the rice was well-seasoned and fluffy, and the caramelized onions were a nice touch. I think this pilaf would be a hit for those who love classic Persian flavors.

Rating: 6.5/10

5. Tofu Sheets – $2.99

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I was really excited to try this new Trader Joe’s item. I love tofu, so I thought the flavor would be right up my alley. Plus, in the form of a sheet, these would be perfect for wrapping up homemade veggie rolls.

Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s Tofu Sheets were a total miss for me, but that may have been partly my fault. Let me explain: I followed the directions to a T, except for one step, which may have been my downfall. The package says to cut the corner of the pouch, heat it in the microwave, and then you’re good to go. I tried to avoid microwaving plastic, so I completely removed the tofu sheets from the package and warmed them on a glass plate.

Well, that may not have been the best decision because once they were done in the microwave, it was impossible to separate the sheets from each other. I was stuck with one giant block of tofu skin, but I didn’t let that deter me.

Tofu is known for being super mild, so I wasn’t expecting it to have much flavor, and it didn’t. Texture-wise, I did feel like I was eating mouthfuls of rubber, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that was because I didn’t cook the tofu in the bag.

I won’t try this again because it’s much easier to use a good old block of tofu, which Trader Joe’s carries plenty of.

Rating: 5/10

6. Brown Sugar Cardamom Buns – $4.49

One of Trader Joe’s new items to hit the bakery section this month is their Cardamom Buns. Cardamom is a spice that brings warm, peppery flavor to whatever it’s added to. In this case, it brings just the right kick of floral spice to these rolled Danish pastries.

The dough used to make these pastry knots is subtly sweet, with brown sugar spread throughout. The buns are topped with coarse grains of sugar for a slight crunch to finish everything off.

These were perfectly baked, with a crunchy outside and soft, chewy inside. I wish they were just a bit sweeter, but I think these buns could become a cult classic for those who prefer a more savory pastry.

Rating: 8/10

7. Raspberry Mousse Cakes – $3.99

I was seriously impressed by this new Trader Joe’s item. The Raspberry Mousse Cakes are just as delicious as they are adorable. These double-decker treats are made with a fluffy, moist vanilla cake and are topped with a silky raspberry mousse.

Each miniature cake is covered in a confectionary coating that tastes like a mix of buttercream and white chocolate. In Trader Joe’s usual fashion, these are finished off with a decorative green leaf to give the full raspberry effect to these treats.

Each of these cakes is delicate, perfectly sweet, and nicely balanced with rich vanilla and fruity raspberry flavor. I would recommend picking these up, but be warned, it’s pretty much impossible to eat just one!

Rating: 9/10

8. Ricotta Cuoricini Ravioli – $3.99

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I’m a sucker for uniquely shaped pasta, so I’ve been looking forward to picking up this new Trader Joe’s item ever since I first saw it on Instagram. Cuoricini means “little hearts” in Italian, which makes perfect sense once you see these pink heart-shaped ravioli.

These are colored naturally with vegetables, and inside is a mix of ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a balsamic reduction. I wish these had more of that balsamic flavor in them because I couldn’t taste much besides the cheese. Overall, they’re a fun item to try during the Valentine’s season, but they don’t taste any different than regular old ravioli.

Rating: 7/10

9. Gummy X’s and O’s – $3.49

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I’m a lover of all Trader Joe’s gummies, so picking up their Gummy Xs and Os was a no-brainer. These Valentine-themed gummies have the same soft, chewy texture that Trader Joe’s popular Scandinavian Swimmers have.

The multi-colored X and O-shaped gummies have a sweet, fruity flavor. I can’t quite place what any of the flavors are, but I do know they’re all delicious. These are the perfect snacks for a Galentine’s Day party or for packing as a lunchtime surprise for your holiday-loving kids.

Rating: 8/10

10. Aglio Olio Seasoning – $2.49

Every so often, Trader Joe’s comes out with a new seasoning that goes viral. It started with Everything But the Bagel, and there have been a handful since then. The newest to hit the shelves is their Aglio Olio Seasoning.

Aglio e olio means “garlic and oil” in Italian, and that’s exactly what this seasoning is inspired by. With dried garlic, sea salt, parsley, red chili flakes, and red bell pepper, this is the perfect combination of spicy and savory. The seasoning goes with pretty much anything – chicken, pasta, potatoes, you name it. Many people even recommend adding it to olive oil to make a copycat of Carrabba’s dipping oil.

I tried the aglio e olio seasoning on top of grilled salmon, and it was delicious – just enough to bring some interest to the dish without covering up the flavor of the salmon itself

Rating: 10/10

11. Peanut Butter Baking Chips – $2.99

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Now, let’s move on to the new Trader Joe’s items that I spotted but didn’t pick up. The Peanut Butter Baking Chips is one of them. The ingredient list here is simple and free of artificial flavors, with peanut flour as the main source of that sweet and salty peanut flavor.

These chips would be the perfect salty addition to homemade cookies or brownies, but I can also see them being just as good eaten straight from the bag.

Trader Joe’s website says these will only be available for a limited time, but I hope they keep them around for at least another few months.

12. Beef Bulgogi – $12.99

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Another item I was tempted to buy was the Beef Bulgogi, but I just couldn’t justify the price. $13 for a fairly small serving of frozen beef seems a little steep to me. That being said, Trader Joe’s Beef Bulgogi has gotten rave reviews thus far.

Beef bulgogi is a popular Korean dish made with thin-sliced marinated beef. The marinade is known for striking the perfect balance between sweet and savory, with a blend of soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, onion, pear, apple, and pineapple juice.

Trader Joe’s recommends serving their Beef Bulgogi with a bed of rice or a side of roasted broccoli. Even though the price is a bit higher than usual for Trader Joe’s frozen meals, it’s still significantly cheaper than the bulgogi you’d find at your local hotpot restaurant.

Honestly, the more I write about it, the more I think I’ll have to go back and pick this new item up.

13. Valentine Sprinkles – $1.99

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It wouldn’t be a complete Trader Joe’s run without being tempted by a cute seasonal item that I know I’ll only use once and then forget about in the back of my pantry. The tempting item this time around was the Valentine’s Sprinkles.

These sweet sprinkles come in a heart shape and in a variety of colors and sizes – white, pink, red, small, large – you get the picture. These are perfect for adding a little Valentine’s flair to your morning oatmeal or post-dinner ice cream.

14. Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste – $4.99

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We’ve all heard of (and probably used) vanilla extract, but have you tried vanilla bean paste? Instead of a mixture of alcohol and vanilla, which is what makes up vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste is made with vanilla beans, sugar syrup, and vanilla extract.

Basically, this paste is a thicker, richer cousin to vanilla extract. When you’re looking for full-bodied vanilla flavor, this is the ingredient to reach for. The best part? You can use this paste in a 1:1 ratio instead of vanilla extract, so there are no complicated conversions you’ll have to add to your baking routine.

I have a big bottle of vanilla extract to get through, but I’ll pick the Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste up as soon as I run out (fingers crossed it stays on shelves for a while!).

15. Chocolate Mousse Cake – $3.29

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Chocolate Mousse Cakes are a staple of the Trader Joe’s bakery section. This month, they released a Valentine-themed version of the classic. It’s heart-shaped with a pink heart and green vine decoration adorning the top, and the whole cake is enrobed in a rich chocolate ganache.

Inside, you’ll find a rich chocolate layer cake and a fluffy chocolate mousse filling. As tempting as it was to pick this up, I decided there was no need to buy two Valentine-themed mousse cakes in one run.

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.

January 28, 2024