Between the cauliflower gnocchi, funky layered dips, inexplicably cheap bottles of wine, Joe-Joe's Sandwich Cookies, and EBTB seasoning, you're practically guaranteed to fill your shopping basket to the brim after spending just a few moments in Trader Joe's.
But if you dedicate all of your cart to the store's cult-favorite items, you might end up missing out on some under-the-radar, seriously delicious snacks, treats, and frozen foods. That's why Shape tapped the experts behind a few wildly popular TJ's fan accounts on Instagram to share the best Trader Joe's foods in stock right now - and they didn't disappoint.
The next time you hit up your nearest TJ's, don't leave without pulling these best Trader Joe's foods off the shelves.
AdobeStock / Trader Joes
The Best Trader Joe's Foods, According to @traderjoeslist
The Foodie: Natasha Fischer of @traderjoeslist
Synergistically Seasoned Popcorn
Seasoned with a blend of white vinegar powder, yeast extract, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and smoke flavoring, this crunchy munchie isn't the standard, artificial butter-flavored popcorn you're used to noshing on. "The flavors of this new item come together in my mouth like a symphony of flavors that are highly addictive: tangy, spicy, salty and smokey," says Fischer. "Trader Joe's has managed to season each popped corn kernel perfectly." Be warned: This best Trader Joe's food is so tasty, you'll want to polish off a bag in one sitting.
Ube Ice Cream
When you're craving a frozen treat that satisfies your sweet tooth but doesn't feel like it'll give you a cavity, turn to this best Trader Joe's food. The seasonal ice cream is made from ube (aka purple yams), which gives it a vanilla and nutty flavor profile. "It's creamy, sweet but not too sweet, and has flavors of matcha minus the tart," says Fischer. "The lavender color feeds my eyes, while the flavor profile of this ice cream feeds my soul! I look forward to this item every year and it sells out quickly!"
Chili Spiced Pineapple
For a healthy-ish midnight snack or office munchie, stock up on this bag of dried, seasoned pineapple, which Fischer calls "100 percent delicious." "The jerky-like texture of the sweet, dried pineapple is perfectly matched with the chili and sugar spice that coats each ring," she says. More specifically, the sweet-and-spicy seasoning is a blend of cane sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and paprika that have you going back for seconds. And that's totally OK: Two slices of this best Trader Joe's food will provide you with 6 grams of hunger-quelling fiber. (Wait, is dried fruit healthy?)
Patio Potato Chips
If the package's adorable illustrations of potatoes grilling and swimming in blow-up pools doesn't instantly capture your heart, the best Trader Joe's food's variety of flavor offerings definitely will. "If you're looking for a bag of chips that will satisfy every chip craving, this is it," says Fischer. "There are four types of chips in this bag ranging from Dill, Ketchup, BBQ, and Sea Salt & Vinegar. The best part is the seasonings marry together in the bag creating a whole new flavor of chip that is 100 percent delicious and may prompt you to buy several more bags."
Vegan Cookies & Cream Vanilla Bean Bon Bons
Of all the plant-based items TJ's has to offer, these vegan bon bons score some of the highest marks - and they don't even taste dairy-free. "You would be surprised to learn there is coconut in the base, as the vanilla bean flavor steals the show," says Fischer. "The cookie to 'ice cream' ratio is perfect, lending a fair amount of cookie to each bon bon." Stash a box of the best Trader Joe's food in your freezer so you can treat 'yo self when you need it most. (Related: Vegan Ice Cream Brands Worth Giving Up Dairy For)
This alcoholic bevvie may not technically be one of the best Trader Joe's foods, but it's novelty makes it well-worth a mention on this list. Available in Mango, Lime, Pineapple, and Half & Half flavors, the hard seltzer tastes just like regular, booze-free Spindrift but boasts a 4 percent ABV, says Fischer. "I have always enjoyed a spiked sparkling water, but I had no idea how good they could be until Spindrift released their 12-pack in Trader Joe's," she adds. "This is 100 percent going to be the drink of this summer." (Don't forget to stock your fridge with these other canned alcoholic drinks too.)
The Best Trader Joe's Foods, According to @traderjoeskitchen
The Foodie: Rachael Engelhardt of @traderjoeskitchen
Cowboy Caviar Salsa
If a bowl of chili and a jar of salsa got together had a baby, it would be TJ's Cowboy Caviar Salsa. The best Trader Joe's food is stuffed with corn, black beans, and red bell and jalapeño peppers - so it's a bit heartier than other salsas - and boasts a smoky BBQ flavor that packs some heat, says Engelhardt. "I always keep a few jars of Cowboy Caviar on hand for when I have company, and it's definitely a crowd favorite," she adds.
Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice
Sick of sipping on sparkling H2O? Quench your thirst with this bubby black tea that's been infused with peach juice instead. The TJ's drink can be enjoyed straight from the can or mixed with spirits to create a cocktail, and since the tea has just 2 grams of sugar, it's perfect for those who prefer their drinks on the not-so-sweet side, says Engelhardt.
Chips In a Pickle
Whether you're hosting a backyard cookout or are simply obsessed with pickles, these seasonal pickle-flavored potatoes are a must. "They're very similar to a sour cream and onion chip, but with a nice dill and vinegar flavor," says Engelhardt. Dunk this best Trader Joe's food into a creamy, Greek yogurt-based dip, which the retailer says has a tanginess that will pair perfectly with the acidic chips.
Chile Lime Seasoning
PSA: Everything But the Bagel Seasoning isn't the only TJ's spice blend worth stocking in your pantry. The Chile Lime Seasoning is made with six simple ingredients: sea salt, chile pepper, red bell pepper, lime juice powder, citric acid, and rice concentrate. (Think: like Tajín.) And all those bold flavors make the seasoning blend ideal for seafood, says Engelhardt. "I love to use it on salmon, shrimp, or in fish tacos with a chile lime crema sauce," she says.
Sweet Corn, Burrata, and Basil Ravioli
This best Trader Joe's food is the solution to your town's lack of quality Italian take-out options. "These are my absolute favorite raviolis from Trader Joe's," says Engelhardt. "I love the sweet corn flavor, so I try to keep these really simple by only adding butter or olive oil, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and fresh basil leaves. You can also add veggies such as yellow squash, zucchini, or tomatoes." The ravioli is available in the summer only, but luckily the pasta freezes well, so you can stock a handful of packs in your freezer and enjoy one when a craving strikes in the dead of winter, says Engelhardt.
Hash Brown Patties
If Engelhardt eats these hash brown patties practically every morning for breakfast, you know they have to be good. The rectangle-shaped patties are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and ever-so-slightly salty - meaning they taste much better than the ones you ate in the elementary school cafeteria. "I cook it in my air fryer and top it with avocado, Everything But The Bagel seasoning, and a sunny-side-up egg," says Engelhardt.
Mini Hold The Cone in Coffee Bean
When you (and your stomach) can't commit to eating a full-sized ice cream cone, Engelhardt says to grab one of these tiny ones instead. The treats consist of a mini chocolate waffle cone that's stuffed with coffee bean ice cream and dunked in a chocolate coating. "They have a bunch of different varieties (vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip, peppermint during the holidays, and pumpkin in the fall), but their newest flavor, Coffee Bean, is my favorite," says Engelhardt. "The coffee flavor is really strong and pairs perfectly with the dark chocolate." (Another perk: Coffee offers countless health benefits.)
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking Mix
These cookies may be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, but trust, they don't fall short on flavor. The mix consists of almond flour, coconut sugar, coconut flour, chocolate chips, and a few other ingredients, and all you have to do is combine it with butter or oil, vanilla extract, and a milk of your choice to whip up a batch. "The cookies take less than 10 minute to prepare and 10 minutes to bake," says Engelhardt, who doesn't have any food sensitivities but frequently makes the treats for herself. (Related: Healthy Baking Hacks to Make Every Treat Good-for-You Too)
When you barely have enough energy to get out of bed on Sunday morning, let alone make a piping hot batch of pancakes, this best Trader Joe's food will be your savior. "This is the most addicting bread you'll ever buy from Trader Joe's," says Engelhardt. "Imagine moist, buttery, syrupy pancakes, but in bread form." It tastes like a mash-up of coffee cake and flapjacks, so it's perfect to have for brunch or dessert, she adds.
The Best Trader Joe's Foods, According to @traderjoesaficionado
The Foodie: Patty Castillo of @traderjoesaficionado
Watermelon Cold Pressed Juice
After one sip of this drink, you'll never want to spend $8 on a tiny cup from a juicery again. The watermelon bevvie is made with just two ingredients: a splash of lemon juice to add some acidity and watermelon juice sourced from roughly a pound and a half of the fruit. It's only available in the summer, though, so make sure you stock up on the 12 ounce bottles before the season ends. (If you don't want to drink the juice straight up, use it to make this coconut cooler.)
Sliced French Brioche
When you finally become ready to ditch your hobby of making sourdough bread, let the first pre-made loaf you buy be this brioche. The best Trader Joe's food is made in France and has the loaf's signature buttery flavor and tender crumb. You'll definitely want to eat a slice straight-up, but Castillo prefers to use it for French toast and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.
Chevre with Honey
This best Trader Joe's food is the missing ingredient on your charcuterie board. The goat's milk cheese's tanginess is balanced out with sweet honey, and according to TJ's, pairs wonderfully with toasted brioche and blueberries. Plop it next to the cheddar and gouda on your snack board, toss it on a salad, or rip off a piece and enjoy it solo, suggests Castillo.
Portuguese Custard Tarts
Imported from Portugal, these frozen custard tarts are about as legit as they can get at a budget-friendly price. After spending 20 minutes in the oven, this best Trader Joe's food develops a seriously creamy interior and flaky crust that pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. "I wasn't expecting much from these little tarts, but they blew my mind," says Castillo.
Lemony Arugula Basil Salad Kit
Even if you're not a fan of pre-made salad kits and the excessive amount of toppings, like Castillo, you'll want to give this one a shot. The best Trader Joe's food is "simple yet delightful," says Castillo, boasting arugula, shredded Parmesan cheese, carrots, and roasted almonds. Just toss the greens and fixings with the lemon-basil vinaigrette and start munching.
Coconut Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Instead of hitting up Starbucks for your afternoon pick-me-up, grab this cold brew coffee concentrate from Trader Joe's. It has the same smooth, slightly sweet cold brewed Arabica coffee as the original black version, but has a subtle taste of the tropics from natural coconut flavor. Since it's a strong concentrate, you'll want to combine it with water or milk to make it more palatable. Castillo's go-to mix-ins: oat milk and a drizzle of honey.