I Tried Every Trader Joe’s Soup and Ranked Them From Worst to Best
When shopping at Trader Joe’s, you’ve probably come across their refrigerated section, where they have six to ten premade soups available at any given time. These come in resealable containers that you can throw in the microwave and have a warm soup in a matter of minutes. I find them super convenient, especially if you’re looking for a quick lunch or dinner.
But how do they taste? Are they any good? Well, I bought every soup I could find at my local Trader Joe’s and taste-tested them. From the classic lentil soup to tomato feta, here’s my definitive ranking of Trader Joe’s soups.
7. Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup
It feels almost blasphemous to put a chicken soup this low on my list, so let me start by saying it’s not disgusting by any means. It’s just that the rest of Trader Joe’s soups blow this one out of the water.
Here’s why I was slightly disappointed by this soup: even though the package has zero mention of noodles of any kind, I kind of just assumed it had noodles in it anyway. After all, what’s chicken soup without some noodles? Everyone knows that’s the best part.
So, this soup and I got off on the wrong foot. But besides its lack of noodles, it didn’t have that oomph that was needed to keep me coming back for another slurp. I don’t need an excessive amount of spices and herbs, but it definitely could use an extra boost of salt and maybe some more pepper, too.
In defense of Trader Joe’s Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup, though, it has generous chunks of chicken meat, and the veggies keep their shape nicely. As a whole, this is a super fresh-tasting soup, and if you love chicken and prefer your soup to be on the milder side, you’ll probably like it.
6. Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup
The only reason I couldn’t rank this soup any higher is because of its infamous recall from the summer of 2023. The reason for the recall was that there may or may not have been insects inside the soup. I could still eat and enjoy it, but I had to try really hard not to think about creepy crawlies as I ate.
Anyway, onto the actual substance of this soup. It’s made with a veggie broth and a blend of yellow cheddar and Trader Joe’s iconic Unexpected Cheddar. If you’ve never had it before, Unexpected Cheddar is a cross between aged cheddar and parmesan cheese, so it’s equally salty and sharp.
There are big chunks of broccoli inside, which add some texture to an otherwise perfectly smooth and creamy soup. The cheese flavor here is front and center, so if you love the Unexpected Cheddar, you’ll most definitely enjoy this soup.
5. New England Clam Chowder
For those of us who don’t live in New England, a really good clam chowder isn’t easy to come by. The good news is that Trader Joe’s version is actually pretty darn good.
I’m not too picky when it comes to clam chowder, but I don’t like it when it’s too fishy. Luckily, this soup has just enough clam flavor without being overpowering.
There’s a solid amount of clams in here, and they’re super fresh without that rubbery texture that clams can sometimes have. There are chunks of potato, which have a nice silky texture, plus sauteed onions, which add a tad of sweetness. There’s also a good amount of pepper in this chowder, which brings just enough spice to keep things interesting.
4. Lentil Soup With Ancient Grains
What this Trader Joe’s soup lacks in looks, it makes up for in flavor. The Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains isn’t the prettiest to look at, but it’s absolutely delicious. The broth is tomato-based but also includes olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so there’s a lot of flavor here.
Lentils are the main ingredient in the soup, and they have a nutty, mild flavor that absorbs the broth nicely. There’s a classic, comforting mix of carrots, celery, and onions inside, along with a handful of spices. There are also the basics like garlic, salt, paprika, and black pepper, but what sets this soup apart is the addition of warming spices like cumin, nutmeg, and clove.
Texture-wise, it’s very thick – closer to a chili, in my opinion. Honestly, it’s so thick you could eat it with a fork. I’ve seen many people say that they like to thin their soup out with water. I’ve tried this, but I prefer the full flavor and don’t mind the thick texture.
3. Organic Creamy Mushroom Soup
I think mushroom soup is one of the yummiest soups of all time, so I was excited but slightly wary when I saw that Trader Joe’s offers a vegan option. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it, and their Organic Creamy Mushroom Soup is now one of my favorites.
Typically, mushroom soup is super thick and creamy, so I knew there would be a slight difference in texture since this soup is made with coconut milk rather than regular cream.
Despite the coconut milk, there’s no coconut flavoring here, but the milk does lend a nice creaminess to the broth. It’s not as thick as a typical mushroom soup but thicker than your average veggie, tomato, or chicken broth.
The soup is filled with big chunks of mushroom, carrots, and kale. Since the broth is thinner than usual and filled with a couple of different veggies, I see this more as a vegetable soup that’s heavy on mushrooms.
2. Organic Hearty Minestrone Soup
I’ve seen plenty of people complain that the Organic Hearty Minestrone Soup lacks flavor, but I need to politely (and very firmly) disagree. I think this is one of the best Trader Joe’s soups out there. In fact, #JusticeforHeartyMinestrone
“Hearty” is the perfect word to describe this soup – it’ll definitely fill you up and keep you going for hours. Inside the savory tomato broth are cannellini beans, kidney beans, orzo pasta (made with rice and quinoa, so it’s gluten-free), kale, carrots, tomatoes, and peas.
Besides those ingredients, there are many herbs and spices inside, like black pepper, basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram. It has those classic savory Italian flavors, with lots of different interesting textures from the beans, veggies, and orzo.
This Trader Joe’s soup is the perfect last-minute lunch or dinner that requires zero prep time yet has a real homemade comforting taste.
1. Tomato Feta Soup
The best Trader Joe’s soup of all time, hands down, is their Tomato Feta. From texture to flavor, it has everything you could ever want in a soup. I’ll start by saying that this is not your typical tomato soup. While the base here is tomato, there’s a lot more going on, with just as much feta flavor as there is tomato.
Feta is a salty, crumbly cheese whose texture is ideal for standing up to heat. When added to tomato soup, it amps up the salt factor and adds a perfectly crumbly texture.
The feta cheese is the star of the show here, but I have to give major props to the carrot and onion bits, which add a nice slight crunch to the soup (crunch in soup sounds super odd, I’ll admit, but it just works here). The veggies bring a feeling of freshness to the overall dish, complimented by the bright, salty feta bits throughout.
The tomato base is made with tomato paste and a bit of cream and tastes like a thinned-out vodka sauce. If you can only pick up one soup on your next Trader Joe’s run, make it this one!