The Best Frozen Products From Trader Joe's, According to Customers
Trader Joe's freezer section is a gold mine of great products, but these 10 are the best of the best.
Trader Joe's is a treasure trove of unique and delicious products, with new items coming in each week. It's easy to get overwhelmed, especially when perusing the freezer aisle. There are appetizers aplenty, a plethora of pizzas, and countless other tempting freezer finds. It's hard to know what products are worth the freezer space, and which are best left behind.
Luckily, each year Trader Joe's publishes its Customer Choice Awards (CCAs), a comprehensive list of their customers' favorite products to help guide shoppers towards the tried and true. Well, we scoured the lists of the last 5+ years and compiled the absolute best frozen foods, as decided by the customers. Here are the top ten frozen foods from TJ's that you should be adding to your cart.
The 10 Best Frozen Items from Trader Joe's
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Starting off strong with a product so popular it even made Trader Joe's newly announced Product Hall of Fame. TJ's Mandarin Orange Chicken is the store's take on a Chinese-American classic and features crispy pieces of chicken in a (clearly) crowd-pleasing sweet and sour and slightly spicy orange sauce. It's just plain delicious, and not hard to see why it comes out on top year after year. And FYI, this is one product we highly recommend making in your air fryer.
TJ's Cauliflower Gnocchi may have reached peak celebrity status a few years back in the cauliflower craze, but the veggie-packed pasta has staying power. Personally, I love them pan-fried in some sage brown butter, but truthfully, they can be used in a million ways. Keep the gnocchi stocked in your freezer for a super versatile, lower-carb base for endless weeknight dinners.
Hold the Cone Ice Cream Cones
Hold the Cone! These mini ice cream cones pack a serious flavor punch if you're looking for a "little treat" to satisfy your sweet tooth after dinner...or lunch...or any time of day really!
The mini ice cream cones come in a variety of different flavors, some seasonal and some available year-round, including: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, chocolate chip, pumpkin ginger, peppermint, and even a vegan "Hold the Dairy!" version, now.
Chicken Tikka Masala/Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice
This one is technically a tie between two products that have been equally lauded by Trader Joe's customers over the years. They're two selections from TJ's frozen Indian-inspired selections: Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice and Chicken Tikka Masala.
According to the store, the recipes for both frozen entrées were developed by Indian chefs, and that is certainly evident when you taste them. Both provide restaurant-quality food, yet cost under $5, making them a popular pick for an easy weeknight dinner, or perfect to bring to the office for lunch.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese*
This is, unfortunately, the only item on the list you may not be able to go out and buy immediately, since it is a seasonal item and staple of Trader Joe's' fall lineup. But, when it is in stock, act quickly because this product has a history of making quite a big impact in a short amount of time.
An autumnal interpretation of Mac & Cheese, this freezer find incorporates butternut squash purée, as well as nutty cheeses like Gouda, Parmesan, and Cheddar. Despite its seasonal availability, the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese appears on Trader Joe's CCAs year after year, so you know it has to be good.
P.S. If you can't wait until the fall, try out this recipe for homemade butternut squash mac and cheese.
Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches barely need an introduction—the name says it all. Trader Joe's riff on an ice cream truck favorite—The Chipwich—is just as delicious as I remember the ice cream sandwiches of my childhood. Rolled in crunchy mini chocolate chips, they are completely irresistible and a staple in my freezer. They probably should be in yours, too.
Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese
Our second mac and cheese on the list is more of a classic, and I can't say I'm surprised to see the comfort food on this list. Made with four kinds of cheese—Cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, and Gouda—TJ's extra cheesy Diner Mac & Cheese tastes as good as homemade, but heats up in mere minutes. No wonder customers rank it top of its class!
Kung Pao Chicken
Another riff on a Chinese restaurant favorite, this beloved frozen entrée is for those who like a little heat. According to Trader Joe's, it's all in the sauce, "Traditionally, sauces for this dish are rich and savory and can range from mildly spicy to sound-the-alarm-and-grab-a-hose hot. Ours falls in the medium-spicy range—the dish will taste substantially hotter if you actually eat the chili pieces, and a little less hot if you push the chilies to the side of the plate and treat them as a garnish."
Vegetable Fried Rice
I'm sensing a theme here...With popular products like these, Trader Joe's will have you ditching takeout for good. Simple and vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, the Vegetable Fried Rice is the perfect base to inspire endless stir-fries. Personally, I always scramble in an egg or two when reheating in a wok or pan to bulk up the protein, then top with TJ's Crunchy Chili Onion.
Paired with the Mandarin Orange Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken, you've got the world's easiest dinner that will just fool your family into thinking you placed an order from the local Chinese restaurant. Just remember to hide the TJ's bags before they sit down at the dinner table!
Chocolate Lava Cakes
Finally, coming in at number 10 is a show-stopping dessert you'd never guess came from the freezer. If making Chocolate Lava Cakes at home seems intimidating, there's no need to fear; these rich, delicate cakes are done in under a minute in the microwave.
Plate the cake with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche, plus a few fresh berries, and you've got yourself the perfect ending to any date night or "treat yourself" meal. And if you've got any hesitations about passing a Trader Joe's dessert off as homemade, even the Barefoot Contessa herself does it!