23 Things You Should Always Buy at Trader Joe's
If you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, you know how it goes: walk in, grab a cart, fawn over the flowers, hit the new products and proceed to put everything into your cart that isn’t on your list.
The Monrovia, California-based grocery chain has millions of diehard fans, a popular quippy newsletter that can be delivered right to your door and even a podcast with secret insider information revealing new product drops on the regular. So, whether you’re an ordinary seaman or you’re rockin’ your Hawaiian shirt in solidarity, here are the 23 must-have items from Trader Joe’s to buy in 2023.
Here at Parade.com, we're all about sharing products we love with our audience. When you make a purchase on an item seen on this page, we may earn a commission, however, all picks are independently chosen unless otherwise mentioned.
23 Best Things To Buy at Trader Joe's in 2023
1. Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets
These bite-sized salty morsels with creamy peanut butter filling are made in pretzel country—Pennsylvania—and are the perfect, poppable size for a party or a night at the movies.
Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels 16 oz (Pack of 2)
2. Unexpected Cheddar
In two versions (shredded and block-style), plus an Unexpected Cheddar Broccoli Soup, Unexpected Cheddar Spread and Unexpected Cheddar Chicken Sausages, this cult-fav is, indeed, unexpected. The combination of sharp cheddar and crystally aged Parmesan fight for a spot on your tongue as you let the flavors marry together in true deliciousness. This is one cheese you won’t be able to stop eating.
Related: 51 Best Trader Joe's Food Items to Buy
3. Mandarin Orange Chicken
The stock on this one is low constantly. And once you’ve made it, you’ll understand why: the delicate crispy morsels of juicy chicken bathed in a sweet orange sauce can be on your dinner plate in less than 20 minutes for a fraction of the cost of takeout. You should have a bag or two in your freezer.
4. Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
Not just for bagels anymore, this seasoning blend goes on everything from avocado toast to poke bowls to steak to cottage cheese. It’s a well-balanced blend of sesame seeds (white and black), poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion and sea salt flakes. And sure, you could make it yourself, but at $2, why would you want to?
Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, 2.3 oz. (pack of 2)
5. Soft & Juicy Mango/Chile Spiced Mango
Trader Joe’s harvests Chokanan mangos grown in Thailand, peels and slices them, and adds in mango juice to give them a satisfying sweetness without being too tough. The chile-spiced version makes for a spicy snack on its own, a fiery addition to a trail mix or a garnish for a fancy cocktail.
Trader Joes Dried Fruit Soft & Juicy Mango, 6 Ounce (Pack of 4)
6. Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust
Taking a bite of this popular pizza is not like eating your standard Digiorno in front of the TV but rather a round-trip adventure to a state fair, Italy and back again—a pillowy, fried dough crust with dollops of burrata, fresh pesto, roasted garlic, mozzarella, provolone and Parmigiano Reggiano.
7. Organic Jasmine Rice
For a few bucks, you get three, 10-oz. Packages of rice that are easier than ever to prepare: pop one into the microwave for three minutes and you’ve got an instant base for meat, veggies, tofu or your favorite Trader Joe’s sauce.
Gourmet Kitchn Trader Joe’s Organic Jasmine Microwavable Instant Rice - Grown with Intensive Care in Valleys of Thailand on Forms With fertile Soil and natural Rain Water (4 - Pack)
8. Cauliflower Gnocchi
This may be one of the greatest hits ever at Trader Joe’s. Their gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free gnocchi is made with 75% cauliflower along with cassava flour and potato starch. The trick, however (and devotees will tell you this as well) is to ignore the package directions and follow alternate cooking methods to ensure your gnocchi is pillowy but crisp and not at all soggy.
Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi (12 Pack)
Related: 35 Best Trader Joe's Snacks For Mid-Day Munchies
It’s dangerously easy to eat through a sleeve of these cookies, and with all of the different kinds available year-round, it’s hard to pick a fav version. The chocolatey cookies are perfect for snacking and for dunking and are (dare we say it?) better than an Oreo.
10. Speculoos Cookie Butter
Get a spoon and get ready to go to your happy place. This little jar of heaven is a spectacular stand-in for your favorite hazelnut spread. Dollop on pancakes, spread on toast or even make a cookie butter latte. The uses are endless and delicious.
Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter 14.1 Oz (Pack of 2)
11. Chocolate Chip Hold the Cone
Mini in size but big on flavor, these tiny cones are the perfect size for when a craving for the sweet stuff strikes but you don’t want to down a whole pint. Bonus: the chocolate-lined cones prevent the ice cream from leaking out (if they last long enough to melt).
12. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Fans say these are better than the original (you know, the one that rhymes with “nieces”) and that’s because of peanut butter that’s made with slowly roasted and ground Virginia peanuts, chocolate that’s made from high-quality cacao beans and the omission of artificial flavors or preservatives. Try a side-by-side comparison and see for yourself.
Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups 16 oz Two Pack
Related: 19 of the Best Keto Foods at Trader Joe's, Because You Can Stick to Your Eating Plan AND Eat Delicious Food
13. Green Goddess Seasoning Blend
If you only have a handful of seasonings on your spice rack, this blend should be one of them. Made with minced onion, salt, granulated garlic, black pepper, dried chives, green onion, spinach powder and dried parsley, this sassy green shaker makes anything special—veggies, garlic bread, chicken, fish and, of course, mixed into yogurt for a delectable dip.
Trader Joe's Green Goddess Seasoning Blend (Pack of 2)
Depending on what state you live in (and what the laws are surrounding alcohol purchases), you’ll probably be able to find a TJ’s brand beer, wine or even liquor. The chain’s famous “Two Buck Chuck” is a repeated favorite, whether it’s for cooking or sipping, and many of their other wine offerings are exclusive to Trader’s and are really good. Their bourbon and vodka also score rave reviews, and for the price, you really can’t afford to not stock your bar cart.
15. Soy Chorizo
The vegetarian-friendly version of this Spanish sausage is as versatile as they come. Made with a blend of paprika, sea salt, vinegar, red pepper and garlic powder, this vegan protein has 60% less fat than traditional chorizo and is delicious on a baked potato, added into tacos or sprinkled into scrambled eggs. Just remember to take the plastic casing off first.
16. Teeny Tiny Avocados
For just a few dollars, six emerald gems in a little net bag can go home with you ready for whatever your heart desires: avocado toast, guacamole, nachos, heck, just eat it out of the peel with some sea salt and call it a day!
Related: 10 Genius Ways To Use Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning—AKA the Greatest Invention of All Time
17. Plain Unsweetened Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt
Made with just four ingredients and considerably cheaper than most other non-dairy yogurts, this one is a star addition to smoothies or topped with berries and granola. Use it as a sub for sour cream or as a non-dairy base for a dip!
18. Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets
These come in a resealable bag…but you won’t need it. That’s because these cute little crackers are salty, chewy and crunchy all at the same time. Eat as-is or blend up and use as a coating for chicken, tofu, or fish and level up your lunchtime in a serious way.
Trader Joe's New The Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets 6.35oz (3 Pack)
19. Crunchy Chili Onion
This tiny jar of liquid gold goes on everything: pizza, pasta, eggs, toast and even vanilla ice cream. You’ll be stopping yourself from finishing the jar completely on your own within a week; it’s that good. And it’s about a quarter of the price of other big-name brand chili crisps.
Trader joe’s Chili Onion Crunch
20. Gone Bananas!
These delicate slivers of frozen chocolate-covered banana are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. As a topping for ice cream or straight out of the package, you can’t go wrong with a box of these in your freezer at all times.
Never eat a plain piece of chicken or fish again with a bottle of this sweet and sticky sauce in your fridge. Used as a dipping sauce, marinade or basting sauce, the original, with garlic and ginger, or Island (with pineapple) will be tough to put down.
Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce, 21 Oz (Pack of 2)
22. Toscano Cheese
The two versions of this creamy, nutty wedge are a Syrah wine-soaked block and a black pepper-rubbed rind (which TJ says gets punchier and spicier toward the edge because of the pepper-speckled rind). Both are equally delicious and should be in your cart, waiting to be sliced up for your next cheese plate.
Related: 31 Types of Cheese To Add to Your Next Charcuterie Board
23. Hummus Dip
A classic for lunchtime, snacktime or party time, you can’t go wrong with this TJ classic which has won the number one spot in many store-bought hummus taste tests. And because it’s basic, you can add in anything you want to suit your style—a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of horseradish or a dash of EBTB seasoning.
Next: 25 Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Recipes