Food

My 10 Favorite Trader Joe’s Products

best Trader Joe's products

I love trying new recipes to mix things up, but there’s something about the comfort of old standbys — when all else fails, they’re there for you! Here are 10 items I always grab at Trader Joe’s…

best Trader Joe's products

Lemon Curd. This curd is smooth, tart and perfect with breakfast toast. It’s also delicious mixed in with yogurt and granola.

best Trader Joe's products

Toscano Cheese. Some days I like to create a little happy hour for myself, with cheese, crackers and maybe a glass of white wine. This cheese is an ideal mix of sharp and creamy, and it’s been aged in red wine (see the purple ridge on top?).

best Trader Joe's products

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Listen closely: if you get nothing else, grab these. They’re always on hand in the check-out lines, and a small bag is only 99 cents. The bitterness of the dark chocolate perfectly offsets the sweetness of the peanut butter.

best Trader Joe's products

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mediterranean Blend. I used to believe that all olive oil was the same. I was wrong! The nutty, buttery taste of this one sets it apart from the collection of EVOO bottles in your cabinet, whether you’re serving it on top of hummus or drizzling it over your favorite pasta.

best Trader Joe's products

Sharp Cheddar Cheesy Crackers. Judging by the small animals on the box, I’m pretty sure these are meant for kids, but I like to play fast and loose with my snacking. These sharp cheddar cheese bombs are the perfect afternoon treat.

best Trader Joe's products

Burrata, Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread Pizza. For lunch while working from home, this pizza hits the spot — with lots of burrata (omg YUM). I love to drizzle Mediterranean olive oil on top, as a finishing touch.

best Trader Joe's products

Gluten-Free Mini Cupcakes. These mini cupcakes are great to bring to a party (when it’s safe to party again!) or to keep for a sweet treat around the house. Bonus: you seriously can’t tell they’re gluten-free.

best Trader Joe's products

Thai Veggie Gyoza. I’m often stumped for dinner, so I keep a bag or two of these handy. They’re delicious crisped in a pan and dipped in soy sauce.

best Trader Joe's products

Grapefruit & Lemon Hand Sanitizer Spray. My favorite thing about this sanitizer is that it moisturizes while it cleans, so it doesn’t leave my hands cracked and dry.

best Trader Joe's products

Fresh Flowers. There’s nothing that freshens up a room like a vase of flowers. I recently ran to the store to grab some milk and was surprised by all the new spring blooms. I got all these, above, for less than $20.

What are some of your Trader Joe’s favorites? Anything I should add to the list?

P.S. 10 more Trader Joe’s favorites and a slamdunk Trader Joe’s breakfast.

  1. Wendy says...

    Lindsay, you start off saying that you understand what I mean and that you care about employees yet absolutely everything you say afterwards indicates the opposite. Stating that employees could just stay home and get paid is silly. There is no such thing, unless they somehow have vacation of over a year accrued or corporate employees working from home. Stating that they don’t get more sick than the general public is not something you nor I are qualified to say. There are many factors, including unsafe practices in the general public. This is not an oranges to oranges comparison. Only someone who studies this can make that call. But its clear that dealing with anti maskers is not only stressful but puts you more at risk as anti maskers are more likely to be sick in the first place. All stores should have a security guard, that’s not just a TJ issue but since they chose to fire an innocent employee speaking out then I will single them out the most. They are also stressed going into work knowing they may get sick, this of course applies to every store. An n95 prorects people the most but legit ones are hard to come by and super difficult to wear all day. They are not only not allowed to complain, they are not allowed to talk about their experience period. You do not know what’s going on behind closed doors, i do. Using the vaccine excuse is also unfair. 1. Not all are vaccinated yet and they’ve been suffering a year now 2. Not everyone can get the vaccine depending on their medical issues. I am advised for instance it may be a risk for me more than most. Of course so is the virus. 3. The vaccine isn’t 100% effective so no more excuses please. All someone has to say and mean it is show support for the young man that was fired for making requests. People should understand that fun friendly TJ employees are hurting. I am happy to boycott them because corporate will only care about employees once it affects their bottom line. Of course that only works in high numbers but I’m doing all I can.

    • Lindsay says...

      I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. From my understanding, anyone can claim unemployment and get paid if they don’t feel safe at work and get laid off, like anyone who is high risk etc – I’m no expert though and I could be wrong. My parents did it, they are getting paid more even! All year. too bad Trader Joe’s didn’t handle this in a gentle way, you are free to boycott them. I don’t know the details of that situation. I think it’s wise to keep the masks etc until employees can be vaccinated. But once all adults who want one have had one, if anyone is still scared, they are the ones who will need to stay home and wear 2 n95s for years – not everyone else too.
      I am sick of this cancel culture though, we need to try to just be understanding and patient with each other, it has been very hard for everyone.
      I hope you can stay safe since you can’t get vaccinated. The covid vaccine is safe for almost everyone, even those with egg allergies. So it’s very very rare to not be able to get it. Once vaccinated, it does pretty much prevent you from getting it, this is fact. Unless you think 96% isn’t that good. Take care.

  2. ami_in_germany says...

    Trader Joe’s is an american shop only. With an ever growing international audience and readership, it would be great to keep this in mind that many readers have absolutely no idea what half of these brands or stores are. It would be great to consider this, when posting such things. I understand that you want to support local businesses in the USA, but this post could have easily been what are your top 10 grocery store picks, instead of TJ products. I am sure you would get a lot of interesting answers from around the world :) I have been a long time follower of CoJ, but all the sponsered posts and things such as these leave your international readers feeling sort of left out.

    • Bex says...

      it’s ok to skip posts that don’t apply to you. I don’t have kids, so none of the motherhood content is relevant to me. I don’t like sponsored posts and rarely buy new clothes so the fashion stuff is irrelevant to me. I just keep scrolling.

    • Helen says...

      Bex – this is exactly what I do. I skip over posts that don’t apply to me and feel grateful for all the other wonderful content that Cup of Jo produces.

      Ami- feel free to do the same and skip the posts that don’t apply to you. It would be interesting to read international readers’ favorite grocery store picks though so hopefully we’ll see that in the future.

    • ash says...

      I don’t live in the US, but I love posts like these. They show me a glimpse of what other people in other countries are eating and doing. Not everything has to be known or strictly relevant to my own experience. Please keep posting these!

    • Susan says...

      Hi Ami-
      I love Germany and wish we had so many of your grocery items here. Having an international grocery favourites post would be so fun.
      Trader Joe’s is actually not common here, unless you live near a bigger city. In fact, when a store opens, many folks celebrate as they are an affordable and high quality market. That said, it’s still a lot of fun to drool over the things people find. I’ll be looking forward to safely traveling in Europe again soon. :) Good health to you and yours.

    • Sunny says...

      Actually TJ is international! My mom still raves about the one in Seoul aka her Mecca that she visited for one fleeting, dreamy moment.

    • Bec says...

      Can we stop knit-picking when something isn’t exactly catered to our needs or wants? We’re all lucky enough to get to read this thoughtful, FREE content and inevitably someone has to guilt Jo and team because a very specific thing doesn’t apply to them. As Bex says, if something doesn’t apply to you, just don’t read it. Not every single post on this site applies to every single reader around the world and to expect that is ridiculous. Ami, you said yourself that “this post could have easily been what your top 10 grocery store picks are”. And just as easily, you could have skipped past the post.

    • K says...

      oh gosh. I have the opposite feeling when i’m reading a blog from abroad. I love having insight to what other people’s lives are like. i wouldn’t say skip the posts either, i would say they’re a glimpse of the bigger world.

  3. Eileen Kemp says...

    The lemon curd is wonderful delicious. I cleaned the jar out with my finger!

    • Alexandra says...

      Indeed – I had to purchase it on my TJ’s trip last night and had it on toast for breakfast. It tasted like a lemon bar. Delicious! Since I am still working from home, I had to go back to the fridge and have another (big) spoonful as a snack …. I am afraid my teenage son has discovered it now, so there won’t be much left, perhaps I need a personal fridge in my office!

  4. Persephone says...

    Also a huge fan of their beauty/bath products. My ride-or-dies are:

    – Enrich moisturizer with SPF. A dupe for Olay Moisturizing Lotion and just a great everyday, lightweight formula beauty editors say they love.
    – Ginger grapefruit scrub (seasonal). If you see this sugar scrub, buy five. Insanely delicious-smelling close-but-not-exact dupe for Origins Ginger Scrub.
    – Hand cream that feels as good as L’Occitane (though the scent is not as natural)

  5. Rachel Zahniser says...

    Mmm so many good picks! Some of my faves are the garlic dip (so garlicky!) and the ginger drink which is basically just ground ginger but is so nice for an easy tea moment.

  6. Asia says...

    Our Trader Joe’s just opened on February 19 and let me tell you, my town was beside itself with excitement. I’m still exploring everything they have but I love the fresh flowers, gluten free bread, and their mandarin oranges which are somehow the best I’ve ever tasted.

  7. Gab says...

    Cauliflower Crisps, so good!
    Horseradish Hummus! Amazing.
    Grainless Granola! Great taste, I wish the package was bigger.
    Their frozen fruits like mango, pineapple, berries, etc., are great for smoothies.

  8. Denise says...

    I always buy the Eggplant Garlic spread! Soo good, spread on pita bread or chips, or even as a veggie dip. Try it, you’ll be glad you did!

    • Janet says...

      So good!

  9. Cindy says...

    Hello! Loved your article! ❤️ My Trader Joe’s in Denver! Here’s my top ten!
    1. Dark Chocolate peanut butter cups
    2. Chile Spiced Mangoes and 🍍
    3. The almond and chocolate frozen croissants 😍
    4. Orange Chicken
    5. Lemon Spatchcock Chicken
    6. Carne Asada, Pollo Asada
    7. The seasonings!!
    8. The facial serum ❤️
    9. Unexpected Cheddar!
    10. Flowers 💐

    • Courtney Cantwell says...

      Yes to #1, #3, #7, #9 and #10, Cindy! I am going to try the others now, based on your recommendations because we seem to have the same “taste.” :)

    • Nicole says...

      Cindy! I need to try all of the things on your list that I haven’t tried, because the others are my staples…I feel like we would get along well ♥️ or at least we could survive off the same food. Haha

  10. Megan says...

    So many of these are also my faves!! I’d just add garlic naan (which I can’t seem to find anymore! It was in the frozen section) and the gyro strips that come like bacon. Those plus garlic naan plus tzasiki = magic!

    • Megan Lec says...

      Megan! We are not only name twins we are both doing the good work of bringing attention to garlic naan! My TJs didn’t have naan for months and months on end. I even started to call ahead because it started to feel like they were quietly discontinuing it. One day it just appeared again without any comment or explanation. If there is a 2020/2021 conspiracy to investigate, naan-gate is one I can get behind 😅

  11. K says...

    i’ve heard raves about the peanut butter cups online and in person and i can’t imagine how chocolate covered peanut butter could be so mind-blowing like hasn’t reeses existed forever but then again i’m allergic to peanuts

    • A says...

      The sweet and salty peanut butter with the rich dark chocolate is amazing. Reese are good the quality of the chocolate from trader joes is on another level. All their chocolate is quite good.

    • Agnes says...

      Ok ok ok ok okkkkkaaayy.. hold the phone. I have loved Reese’s since I was a kid but TJ’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups blow Reese’s into the slow lane. Sorry Reese’s..

    • Vicki says...

      They also have almond butter cups which are amazing! Maybe you could try those? and also there are sunflower seed cups, which aren’t as good. They get a mere “participant” award from me. ha!

  12. Stuff sounds gooIt do you ever respond to customer.l comments. What ever happened to your Gorgonzola crackers. . Many complaints but no response! Can’t understand why popular item has been discontinued.

  13. Genevieve says...

    Their most recent pizza addition—with a deep fried crust—has changed our frozen pizza lives. Yes, it is that good. Also, their cheddar rockets (their version of goldfish) are to die for, dark choc sea salt turbinado sugar almonds, and their parmesan crisps are always must re-stock in our household. Years ago I was in California (before Tj’s was everywhere) and someone set out the parmesan crisps at happy hour and they felt so elegant and delicious and yet, effortless, for pairing with a delicious glass of vino. My grandparents have yet to try TJ’s and I recently took them a bag of my faves (including my fave $5 bottle of red italian) and it consisted of all of the above plus a few other frozen meals for them to try. My grandmother insisted on paying me and since
    It was enough for 6 meals for them, was floored when the total
    Was only $30!!! TJ is the best

  14. Claire says...

    LEMON CURD IS SO UNDERRATED.

    that is all :).

    • Everything mentioned!!!!!!!

      Thank you.

    • Hilary says...

      Try the lemon curd with their triple ginger snaps- AMAZING!

  15. meg says...

    Two seasonal TJ favorites that I dream about the rest of the year:
    1. Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. It’s a competition each year to figure out exactly when they’ll hit the shelves, because once they’re sold out (almost immediately), that’s IT, they are GONE, and they are gone FAST. They are amazing and special and grand.
    2. Chocolate-Covered Shortbread Star Cookies. I really should just buy these by the cart-load when they’re available. They have little white sprinkles on them and the teeny-tiniest bit of a salt that make them so desirable, again, and again, and again. . .

    • Pumpkin butter smeared on cheesecake makes it a pumpkin cheesecake…
      Yes, those dark chocolate peanut butter cups!!!
      Watermelon cucumber drink.
      Chicken marsala
      Five spice chicken asian noodle salad (that dressing tho! 😱)
      Blue cheese dressing
      Tangerine juice
      Marconi almonds
      Frozen macaroni & cheese omg…
      Flowers for sure!
      Oh and my latest addiction (shhhh) 🕶️ Dark chocolate quadratinis 🔥🔥🔥

  16. Chris says...

    I want to be able to go to the US (I’m Canadian in Toronto) to ship at TJs again. I miss cross border shopping!!!

  17. Dana says...

    I really needed this level of calm today: my favorite blog, talking about my favorite grocery story, featuring many of my absolute favorite items. So. Deeply. Satisfying. Just for the 5 minutes spent reading, everything was right in the world.

    • Jessica says...

      YES totally agree to this. This post brought me an absurd level of satisfaction, especially because TJs is no longer very accessible to me – I live vicariously through this post and its comments!

  18. Cheyenne says...

    I’ll be the odd one out and say I don’t like Trader Joes! They definitely have a few gems (I love the frozen chocolate-covered banana slices), but I HATE the shopping experience. In my opinion, it’s hectic and disorganized with people going every which way through the store. I want to love it, but I just can’t.

    • Hanna says...

      I don’t like TJ’s either! I WISH I liked it because I love the prices and the employees are so friendly. But it’s always stressful and I don’t actually like the food ;(

      They used to have pastures of eden feta which was sooooo good. But they don’t anymore.

    • Kevin says...

      You really need to like people more- that I think is your trouble.
      Kevin
      Tucson

    • Janet says...

      I agree that the hectic/disorganized environment is a turnoff (I feel stressed out in there!), but to me, the products are worth it.

    • C. says...

      It’s not my favorite either. I pop in only occasionally -it’s always a crush of people though. And I do like their cultured salted butter and some of the cheese quite a bit.
      (jeez, Kevin in Tuscan, you seem a bit edgy… maybe try decaf?)

    • Cat says...

      Oh, this has changed a lot during the pandemic. Give it a try now, if you’re willing to wait in the line outside! It’s way better now that a limited number of people are in the store. The employees bag up your groceries for you all efficiently. It’s been the least stressful grocery store experience for me during COVID.

    • Vicki says...

      Yes to what Cat said – it’s a completely different experience with Covid limiting the number of shoppers and directional aisles. Also, if you can go on a Tuesday morning, it’s quiet then. I recommend taking a personal day and go to TJoe’s when it’s not busy. I never go on a weekend unless it was an absolute TJEmergency (that’s a real thing! ha!) because the parking lots were a nightmare. If there were people circling, I’d just drive on. But during Covid, or on a weekday morning, it’s bliss.

  19. Lucy says...

    Envy apples
    Chocolate & vanilla macarons (eat them straight out of the freezer–don’t thaw)
    Cut beets in vinaigrette (arugula + goat cheese + almonds)
    Sprouted 7 grain bread (the best toast)
    My husband loves the TJs Simpler Times pilsner beer
    Kids are legit obsessed with the “hold the cone” mini ice cream cones

    • Emily says...

      My TJ’s has been out of the beets in vinaigrette for two weeks and I’m not sure they’re going to get them back. I love those so much–slightly devastated. ;-)

  20. Wendy says...

    I use to love TJ but when that story came out that they fired an employee for making safety recommendations, I was done. This was an employee that got a perfect review before. They were also one of the last stores to implement mask wearing. I think the products are really good, the employees are excellent, but what trumps all that are the shady executives who told employees they couldn’t wear gloves or masks last spring because it could offend shoppers. Shame on them. The execs will continue to make many millions unless more people stopped shopping there till they shaped up. Our principles should trump our appetites.

    • Danielle says...

      I know that Trader Joe’s seemed to have some missteps early on in the pandemic but they were one of the first to enforce masks and distancing where I live (and I live in a very mask compliant area). Currently they limit the number of people in the store (one of the only grocery stores still doing this) and have been constantly targeted by anti-mask protesters. Again I know they made some mistakes at the beginning but I’m not entirely sure that this is a fair and accurate assessment of them as a company or of their policies.

    • Jules says...

      Locally, our trader joe’s seems to be one of the only companies who cares about safety. Plenty of the employees here use gloves too. Maybe it’s a regional issue?

  21. Diane Stewart says...

    In no special order, mine are the Vegetable birds nests which taste like summer time onion rings, Steak and Ale pie, Carrot Miso dressing, ginger chews, cards, cauliflower gnocci ROASTED, any chardonnay, and ginger hand cream. And the browsing experience!

    • Wendy says...

      You’re misunderstanding me completely. It’s the employees dealing with anti masker protesters, not the corporate office. The corporate office doesn’t give a S about employee and customer safety. They can’t even call the police when a crazy person comes on screaming maskless, because it’s not what corporate wants. Yes they limit people inside but they are small they have to.
      No they were not the first major chain to adopt masks. Costco began way before them. Meanwhile corporate employees are safe in their big offices with a view and locked door Or in the comfort of their home. The employees deserve better! I appreciate the pandemic pay but they need to be safe too. It’s worse for them than customers even because they are there all day long. The employees are amazing, which is why they deserve better. Everything I said in my original post is 100% valid. But fans of the food don’t want to believe it. I have boycotted the store till management does the right thing. I only wish more people would think with their heart and brain and less with their taste buds and stomach.

      Since this is about favorite foods there i will say the brioche is pretty amazing, but I’m still staying away because it’s about the principle. The employees are too scared to speak up after seeing one of their own simply make suggestions and get fired as a result.

    • Lindsay says...

      Wendy – I understand what you mean. I have been so proud of all the employees of all grocery stores throughout this pandemic. My heart goes out to them. I asked the older employees of some stores and they said they chose to work instead of stay home, which they could do and be paid. So it was their choice. If someone wanted to stay home, they could…..also we should look at the factual data we now have, that even during waves, employees at these stores did not get covid more than people staying home. Luckily we can now start to see plenty of evidence and factual data proved about these things :) And with all high risk people being vaccinated already or any day, we can finally get a normal life back. Enjoy!

  22. R.S. says...

    I love TJ’s! My absolute favorites are:
    -Corn salsa. It goes great with chips, but also on hot dogs, salads, tacos, eggs… the list goes on!
    -Salsa Autentica. My favorite red salsa – perfectly spicy without being overwhelming, NOT chunky, and tasty!!
    -The giant beans in tomato sauce can. So good!
    -Cheese crunchies.
    -Their ice cream. All of it.

  23. Mariah Lafleur says...

    I’m fortunate to live in Oakland, CA, with many TJ’s options at my fingertips. These comments are expanding my grocery list for the week!
    I echo always some fresh flowers, Unexpected cheddar cheese, and can’t beat their prices on nuts, plain Greek yogurt and other organic milk/dairy. Also want to shout out some of their great body care products – of their small but might selection I LOVE the lemongrass coconut body oil, mango shave cream and rosewater facial mist. Each I think cost only $3.99 (!!) and rival what you’d find at Sephora.

    And have to note the hundreds of different products mentioned in the original post and here in the comments, including shout outs to the great staff. They really do so many things well, it is testimony to an amazing store. I enjoy the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast from time to time; it explains the business culture and behind the scenes even further.

    • Court says...

      The podcast!!! It’s so calming to listen to people talk about groceries during the crazy year we’ve just had…

  24. Susana528 says...

    Those peanut butter cups—-omg!
    Frozen artichoke hearts
    Pound plus chocolate
    Marcona almonds
    Dried California apricots, more tart than the Turkish variety. Delicious

  25. Kate says...

    Wow, I wish we had Trader Joe’s in Canada! I would buy everything recommended here and MORE!

    I was in San Francisco around this time last year and bought the dried spiced mango and Everything Bagel seasoning to bring home :)

  26. Betsy says...

    Some of my favorites. Don’t leave, without buying these every visit.
    1. Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus. I could eat the entire tub in one sitting.
    2. Savory Rice crackers. For said hummus above. Love these so much.
    3. Mushroom & Truffle flatbread. I “could” eat the entire thing myself.
    4. Organic chicken stock.
    5. Flavored seltzer waters

  27. SMG says...

    I second the hand sanitizer, veggie gyoza!
    also
    Ginger chews – not a TJ brand, but TJs is the only place I can find them. So good – they have a good ginger bite, not just a sugary chew that faintly tastes of ginger
    Their frozen raw (peeled & deveined) shrimp – these are the ONLY frozen shrimp I’ve found anywhere in Chicago that are not treated with any preservative like STPP
    Grade B maple syrup – I buy two bottles of the biggest size for my hot cereal and homemade granola

    • Chelsea says...

      Also in Chicago and you can sometimes find the ginger chews at tj maxx randomly!

    • Hilary says...

      I’m obsessed with their ginger chews! So fun fact: the ginger people make ginger chews for other stores, but the ones they make for TJ’s are just for them. I’m the crazy one buying like 50 bags every time I go just to stock up on them.

  28. Hayley says...

    Oooh, I love this post!

    Totally with you on the Toscano cheese, the flowers, and the dark chocolate peanut butter cups!

    Also love:

    -Unexpected cheddar, the aged gouda (the one w/the crunchy enzymes!), the caramelized onion cheddar, and the gruyere and cheddar blend

    -Dark chocolate turbinado and sea salt covered almonds

    -Tofu! Love their extra firm tofu b/c they barely pack it in any water so it’s much easier and quicker to drain!

    -Mediterranean hummus (the best!)

    -Salted peanut butter

    -Their French, pop up sponges (made from vegetable cellulose!)

    -OMG, their Jalapeno, Corn & Rice Puffs are THE BEST and my latest TJ’s obsession.

    • Susan says...

      Yes! The dark chocolate turbinado and sea salt covered almonds- the best!

  29. Rachel says...

    Also how has nobody mentioned the frozen croissants? Toss them on a baking sheet the night before and just let them proof. Turn the oven on as you’re making your morning coffee and delicious, hot out of the oven flaky croissant are ready in less than 1/2 an hour. AMAZING and always a hit with guests. I keep boxes in my freezer for impromptu in-law visits!

    • Martha says...

      YES to this. My kids love the chocolate ones!

    • Kate says...

      These are legit better than most bakery croissants! I will be devastated if they ever discontinue the chocolate ones.

    • Courtney Cantwell says...

      The best! Both the chocolate and the almond. To DIE FOR!

  30. Leigh says...

    Smoked trout
    frozen orange chicken
    cookie butter sandwich cookies
    frozen chocolate croissants
    frozen roasted corn
    honey mango shaving cream
    Flowers esp ranunculus flower that I can’t find anywhere else
    Several things that they stopped carrying that I wish the would break back.

  31. JeanneK says...

    Fig Butter – so yummy with Brie and crackers.
    Greek Cheese Spiral
    Mahi Mahi burgers
    Mixes – corn bread, brownie and pumpkin pancake
    Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner

  32. Alexis says...

    This comment section is gold! I have a four month old at home and we’ve been solely shopping at TJ’s and rotating the same dinners as we have little brain space to do much meal planning these days! Here’s what we do on rotation:

    -Mahi Mahi Burgers on the Brioche buns with Island Salsa… perfection.
    Salad kits!
    -The frozen Argentinian shrimp is out of this world. The package stated it tasted like lobster and it does! Amazing sautéed in butter and lemon over pasta.
    -I make the dinner tip from Jenny with frozen veggies of the pot pies. We do one big one in our cast iron skillet and it lasts for a few days.

  33. Debbie Labedz says...

    Love Trader Joe’s! I saw tulips there yesterday for the first time this season had HAD to grab a bunch. 20 gorgeous stems for $10. Amazing!

  34. I live in Los Angeles and the Trader Joe’s near me limits shoppers, has a line.
    My house is grain-free and dairy-free so we don’t get the normal TJ goodies but here are our favorites:
    -Tea Tree Oil Conditioner (we use as a pre-poo)
    -Lavender Body Scrub
    -Dark Chocolate Sunbutter Cups
    -Dark Chocolate Honey Mints
    -Truffle Potato Chips
    -Truffle Almonds
    -Rosemary Almonds
    -Coconut Crispy Rolls Wafer Cookies (no wheat, no rice)
    -Apple Fruit Snacks
    -Mango Habanero Fruit Snacks
    -Jerk-spiced Plantain Chips
    -Yuzu Hot Sauce *I put this on everything!

  35. Danielle says...

    That pizza is my all-time fav! so, so good!

  36. Maggie says...

    These aren’t exciting but their peanut butter, hummus, chicken broth, and canned tomatoes are excellent. And we love the truffle potato chips and the mini “hold the cone” ice cream treats!

    • Barbara says...

      If you like the flavor of the truffle chips, try the truffle and shiitake mushroom ravioli! It’s a game changer. You can find it in the frozen food section. So, so delicious 😋!!

  37. Rachel says...

    Best quick but impressive dessert with the lemon curd is that you can make mini icebox cakes! They have really thin meyer lemon cookies you can get and you just alternate stacking in cupcake liners: cookie, dollop of whip cream, dollop of lemon curd and maybe add some strawberries. Then freeze for like 2-4 hours. SO GOOD and simple.

    • Heidi says...

      This is genius!

  38. Christina says...

    So, I’m European and haven’t been to the US. Can someone please briefly tell me what is the special thing with Trader Joe’s? Is it the quality? Or is there a greater variety?
    I get so curious :-) !

    • Christine says...

      It’s quality for a reasonable price. You may have shopped in their sister (brother?) store Aldi

    • Christina says...

      Aha! Yes, I have been to Aldi several times when in Germany! And now that you mention it, I think I remember having seen something from Trader Joe’s while there. I didn’t know they were connected though.
      Thank you, Christine!

    • Allison says...

      Also – for me, I love that it is SO much smaller than a traditional US supermarket. For example – they’ll only have one type of all purpose flour instead of 3 or 4. I like that they have already “curated” everything, and because it is almost all Trader Joe’s brand (they “white label” from other companies), it is usually much cheaper than a traditional supermarket. They are more willing to take risks on “weird” items, too, because if they don’t sell, they just quickly stop carrying them.

  39. martini says...

    Their Feta. Unbelivable! Half the price of the feta at “Whole Paycheck” across the street.
    The dark chocolate peanut butter cups.
    Palmier cookies!
    Chocolate covered coffee beans
    Pepitas

    And I should never be forgiven if I didn’t mention their PORK BELLIES, or “pork belly”.
    I buy two, one for hubby and one for me.
    Slice and brown until crisp in the air fryer.

    And the entire staff in every TJ I’ve ever been in. Priceless. Like no other.

    • AAron says...

      I effin’ hate “Whole Paycheck”. Trader Joes is my ride or die.

  40. Lucia says...

    Agree with so many of the comments above! And took notes for new things to try for my trip today (!!). But, how has nobody mentioned the candles?! They are amazing and hit just the right scents (grapefruit and apple are my faves).

    • elle parkour says...

      the citronella ones from last summer were helpful in fighting off the special ops force of mosquitos that inhabit my yard.

  41. Michele says...

    This post hurts! Moved back to Germany 10 years ago after living in the US for 25 years. Ever since I moved back, I MISS Tjs so much. Every time I visit the US I at least get their shopping bags :)

    Happy for all of you, you have no idea how lucky you are!

    • Lea says...

      As a foreigner who travels to US on work related visits only, Trader Joe’s is always the highlight of every trip and I miss it being unable to travel to the US because of the pandemic.

      Having said that, I miss stocking up on TJ’s Thai Lime and Chili Almonds and Coconut Body Butter.

  42. Jenny Rosenstrach says...

    This is such a great list, Kim! I’ve always wondered about that lemon curd, now I’m definitely going to pick up a jar. And 100% yes about the flowers! Especially in hydrangea season! Here are my other favorites. (This exercise never gets less fun.)
    -frozen pre-cooked brown rice. I buy those boxes by the half dozen and dinner is half way done
    -50% salted roasted almonds (their nuts are so well-priced that it pains me to buy them anywhere else)
    -dried Tart Montmorency cherries
    -dried juicy mango (make sure it’s the juicy one, there are two kinds)
    -jarred gherkins, they are hands-down the best around
    -white balsamic vinegar
    -the chicken-wrapped bones for my dogs!!
    -frozen French green beans
    -the Mediterranean hummus (the one that has a tiny bit of oil, pine nuts, and spices at the top)

    • adina says...

      yes on the chicken wrapped bones!! I’ll make a special trip to TJs to make sure we stay stocked up on those.

    • Sarah says...

      Jenny – I agree with the pre-cooked brown rice! It’s an absolute time saver and super yummy.

    • Kate says...

      Jenny, try the TJ lemon curd with your popover recipe! It’s our favorite Saturday morning breakfast, with a side of smoothie! (p.s. thank you for your many contributions to our family traditions!)

  43. Molly says...

    I cosign on the Thai Veggie Gyoza! So good and handy for weeknights! Also, I swear by the frozen garlic naan. Goes perfectly with Indian food, Italian food, soup in the winter, salad in the summer. Makes our meals feel complete!

  44. Laura Schultz says...

    Crying right now as I’m trapped on the wrong side of the Canadian border when it comes to Trader Joes. I used to bop down to Vermont every couple of months for a TJ and Target fix… Le sigh. I miss the peanut butter cups, the Spiced Apple Cider, I missed the TJ peppermint bark for Christmas, I miss the frozen spinach lasagna and the frozen tamales, I miss the pot roast, I miss the oyster crackers, oh god so many things. I’m going to sit in a corner and cry for a while.

    • Emily says...

      Aw I feel you and hope the borders open up soon! I’m an hour south of Burlington and it’s the only TJ and Target “close” by! We do a huge stock up whenever we head to the “city” haha

    • Pemberton says...

      Emily this is my exact Trader Joe’s! I know it’s the same one ‘cause, as you said, it’s the ONLY one around. We are luckily pretty close (Williston).

      Laura, hope you can get down here soon! Sending love to our Canadian neighbors. 💗

    • Emily A says...

      Aw love these comments!! I used to live in Burlington and work at the Healthy Living across the street and still would go to TJs to fill in the gaps. Missing VT a ton lately!!

  45. Heidi says...

    The other night for dinner I made a pizza with their pizza dough (1.29 you can’t beat it!) and then I spread a few spoonfuls of their garlic spread from the dip section on it as the sauce. Topped with mozzarella and a little bit of their Quattro Formaggio blend and some browned pancetta. (Theirs is perfect, it’s little tiny cubes) Finish with a little sprinkle of dried herbs!

    Also their almond butter almonds are delicious, that’s been my new thing there.

    • Elle says...

      the pizza dough is an underrated bargain! I keep missing the almond butter almonds at my store, can’t wait to try them.

  46. Lesley Porcelli says...

    A-number-one priority is their whole wheat tortillas. They are the best in the world; they don’t taste like dried-out health food… they’ve got that little tang that you want from a tortilla. As soon as we run out, that’s when I head to TJs. I usually buy a stack of 12 packages (cleaning them out, often) and toss them in the freezer.

    Also love their umami powder, their crackers that have fruit and nuts mixed in, their frozen chocolate croissants, and their frozen tater tots are THE. BEST. I buy enough bags of those in a trip that the checkout person without fail makes reference to Napoleon Dynamite.

    • Tracy says...

      Ah, so good to know that these tortillas freeze well. I was wondering!

  47. Jessica Camerata says...

    I pride myself on being a big TJs fan and am shocked to see I haven’t tried any of these but the hand sanitizer ha! I need to give those peanut butter cups a try. My favorites lately are their jalapeno puffs (they’re like Pirate’s Booty but spicy and so flavorful!) and I always have the Mexican cauli rice and cauli gnocchi in the freezer for quick dinners.

    xo Jessica

  48. Willow says...

    I now want to visit the States just to go to Trader Joe’s!

  49. Agnes says...

    I cry. When the borders open up again, this Canadian is taking herself to TJ’s again IMMEDIATELY.

  50. SMK says...

    I was a huge TJ’s fan pre-pandemic. We did all our grocery shopping there, and even made a visit there a part of our weekend routine with our kids (they loved the demo table). We made friends with some of the wonderful TJ’s staff and they even gave our kids birthday presents! Then we moved, and, like others have mentioned, the pandemic experience at our local TJ’s (in the DC suburbs) is a totally different story. The few times I have been there, there is no attempt at limiting the number of shoppers, aisles are super narrow and packed with multiple staffers re-stocking, and there is no way to social distance. On top of that, TJ’s fired an employee from one of the NYC stores who urged stronger COVID precautions (and then rehired him after getting really bad press): https://ny.eater.com/2021/3/5/22311533/trader-joes-reinstates-nyc-employee-coronavirus-workplace-safety . So my view of TJ’s is way less positive than it used to be.

    • Lily says...

      SMK, I am so sorry to hear that TJ’s has let you down this past year :( There must be some regional variation, as the TJ’s here (Chapel Hill, NC) continues to be lauded as the “gold standard” for areagrocery stores during COVID. They still make folks line up outside and count shoppers in and out of the store, so it doesn’t get too crowded. The line always moves quickly and the employees are always cheerful, of course. I hope your store gets back in gear soon.

    • Sandy says...

      Yes, I live in California! :)
      That being said, our Trader Joes’s are very social distance conscious. There is always a line out the door, masks required, hand sanitizer and clean cart/basket offered. They have 2 staff members out front at all times monitoring this! They don’t let anyone in until the front fruit and flower section is clear!

    • Maire says...

      This is so interesting because our TJs in the Indianapolis area have been restricting the amount of shoppers in the store, so there is always a long line to wait to go in! Its interesting that there were no corporation wide guidelines.

    • Emily says...

      That’s terrible! My own experience with TJ’s in the pandemic and those of the majority of my family and friends has been overwhelmingly positive and hands down the best grocery store to handle social distancing.

    • rose says...

      Are there any retail managers here – for any store – who can comment on why they choose to fire employees for covid concerns early on? There was another widely publicized story early on from another store and I am just baffled about why that would be the response. Why wouldn’t it simply be taken into consideration OR even commended? Very curious to understand this. Thanks.

    • Lynn says...

      The covid-consciosness must be really regional. The only thing keeping me away from TJs is that they *always* have long lines outside. My local TJs in western MA limits and controls the number of shoppers very closely and responsibly!

    • Wendy says...

      For those who are saying it’s a regional only problem are referring to customer safety only. This of course is important, but so is worker safety being their there for entire shifts not short periods like us. If an anti masker comes in, do you feel safe? Well TJ corporate office sides with the anti masker. Employees are not allowed to call police and almost no store not just TJ hires security guards. Their lives are at risk if they try to take on a crazy anti masker. They have to deal with this regularly, us less so. The same applies to those less vocal coming in with their mask on right, then pull it down below their nose. Employees should not have to deal with this crazyness. The hand sanitizers won’t do anything for aerosols suspended in the air that travel up to 27 feet indoors and can last up to 3 hours thanks to anti maskers. It’s not their job to also act as security guards. Stand up for these amazing employees! Boycott Trader Joe’s. This will also show other grocers that this isn’t ok.
      https://youtu.be/bUFOEw_kHLg

  51. Maggie says...

    We live for their sweet potato tortilla chips, kale/brussel sprout salad mix (with coleslaw dressing) and the dark chocolate PB cups (but in the bigger package) :)

  52. Katie says...

    Italian truffle cheese and the sea salt brownie bites are the two things that always worm their way into my cart! I haven’t gone to trader Joe’s since the pandemic began (mostly not taking the subway). My mom sent me the brownie bites and a box of the maple leaf cookies (another favorite), but I’m looking forward to going back and getting a wedge of that cheese!!!

  53. Ali says...

    Trader Joe’s might be one of the few reasons the US is better than my home country of Australia – wish we had it! Although we do have olive oil that rivals the Italians and Spanish :-)

  54. Dennis says...

    The “big raisins” when they’re in stock. The gingerbread men around the holidays. The baby dried bananas!!

  55. Mouse says...

    mesquite smoked almonds to have with tequila.
    GF oatmeal
    GF egg pasta
    Susumaniello red wine
    Sevres et Maine white wine (muscadet)
    low-sodium organic chix stock
    TULIPS!!!!

  56. Emily says...

    Wow these comments are great for making a grocery list. I’ll add…

    Hot smoked salmon (for those who prefer their smoked salmon fully cooked)
    Chili lime rolled tortilla chips (like Takis without the artificial colors!)
    Cheddar and gruyere melange (on crackers, with or without chutney)
    Roasted red bell pepper in a jar (great in chili or mediterranean tuna salad)
    Cornichons (the dantiest of pickles for happy hour snacking)
    Salsa verde (I put it on everything – try it on roasted sweet potato with sour cream)
    Paratha (in the frozen section, to serve with soups/curries or add eggs for a delicious breakfast wrap)
    Cheddar rockets (superior to the fish/bunnies/ducks other stores may offer – there’s a dash of cayenne in there!)

  57. Sofia says...

    these posts and all the mouthwatering comments always make me so jealous about not having trader joe’s here in Portugal… sigh

  58. I spent 2 months in south beach and loved have TJ so close to me. My favorites Gyoza, kale gnocchi and any flat bread or pizza. Add a bottle of white wine and I’m happy

  59. Omg did you hack my TJ shopping list? I think I have 75% of these items in my home currently! That prosciutto arugula flatbread LIFE. And Trader Joe’s is the only place I cave and get fresh flowers.

  60. Jen says...

    $1 greeting cards. Get some and send joy to family and friends near and far!

    • Sarah says...

      Their cards are the best!!!

    • Carrie says...

      These are the best! Back when I was actually working in my office building (and not in the guest bedroom), I kept a stash in my desk drawer- you never miss a birthday that way!

    • Courtney Cantwell says...

      LOVE the cards! I often buy them with no particular person in mind. Always have a nice stash at my desk. Just found out they are all designed by TJs employees. So cool!

  61. Donna H. says...

    Their tomato & basil organic marinara sauce is wonderful and much better than most of the expensive brands. And no sugar added! I also keep the red lentil sedanini pasta on hand, so good but but hard to believe that it’s also gluten free.

    When they are in season the fresh tiger figs fly into my cart. No one else ever seems to have them.

    You can’t beat the price or the taste of the full fat Greek yogurt, whether you make a dip, mix with fruit and granola for a parfait or eat it plain.

    I can’t imagine life without Island Soyaki. I make delicious teriyaki chicken in my Instant Pot with it, along with a can of TJ pineapple juice. It’s really hard to find small cans of pineapple juice anymore for some reason, so I keep a 4 pack on hand at all times.

    For frozen food one of my go to staples is the wild Boreal blueberries. They have an intense flavor that reminds me of the wild blueberries of my childhood.

    • Emily says...

      Yes on the marinara! It’s WAY better than any other expensive jarred sauce.

  62. MJ says...

    My favorite is their habanero hot sauce. It is truly spicy and flavorful. I put it on everything these days and it sets my mouth on fire. It makes me feel alive!

  63. Monique says...

    Hey Cup of Joe – can’t read the comments – I get a pop up ad and goes back to blog post

  64. Victoria says...

    I’m from Canada (Vancouver BC, right on the Washington border) and used to cross over every couple months for a TJ’s, Target and Costco shop. I miss it so much reading this post. I used to love to buy:
    – Condiments, specifically the mango chutney, mediterranean hummus and wasabi mayo
    – Cheese (so much cheaper compared to Canada!), loved the unexpected cheddar
    – Salted caramel dark chocolate
    Hope to travel to the US soon :)

  65. Dani says...

    My family’s favorites are the Black Olive Hummus and Garlic Spread Dip. So good. The Ghost Pepper potato chips are amazing and addictive.

  66. Liz Vaughn says...

    The Pork & Ginger Soup Dumplings! Make a simple veggie miso broth and float a few of these in it, with a little dark sesame oil and some chopped scallions.

    • K says...

      I love them so much, I wish they came in a pack of 12.

  67. Connie says...

    Ohh this post! Love. It. All. I haven’t seen those Pound Plus bars of chocolate mentioned– anyone else remember those? I used to buy one and eat it all by myself, hacking off pieces during weeknights in front of the TV.
    Haven’t been to a TJ’s in forever (even pre pandemic) but now really want to go!

  68. Pailey says...

    I haven’t been since the early days of the pandemic, but used to stop by all the time since it was a ten minute walk from my office. My go-tos were:
    – dark chocolate almond butter cups
    – sliced French brioche bread
    – savory banana and nuts trek mix (so addicting!)
    – mozzarella cheese sticks
    – chunky olive hummus
    – roasted marcona almonds with rosemary
    – definitely the vegetable gyoza!
    – spicy thai shrimp fried rice

  69. Kristiana says...

    All of the Cabernet TJ reserve wines,
    Cassava chips, mixed nut butter, frozen quinoa duo, eggplant hummus, sourdough bread, chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels (INSANE), ginger turmeric and the red refresh tea (perfect iced), kosher dill pickle spears, sparkling coconut Yuzu water (!!), dried kalamata and nut mix, micro greens (great price!), THE LIST GOES ON!

  70. S says...

    Ultra chocolate ice cream!!!
    Cultured salted butter!!! Also—
    Candied ginger, quadratini cookies, capers, Chocolate covered cherries, Lemon squares. Halloumi cheese.
    During the holidays: sipping chocolate—i stock up for the year.

  71. Sarz says...

    I swear, the only complaint I have about CoJ is all the Trader Joe’s content. As a Canadian, I get very jealous. It’s actually kind of a problem. 🤣 Enjoy it for us both, neighbors!

  72. Sandra says...

    I just went to TJ’s today for the first time in 2021! We’ve really consolidated our grocery trips, but man I missed it. Our cart was the fullest it’s ever been.

  73. Elizabeth says...

    I haven’t seen anyone mention their cold brew (I’m thinking of the ones in narrow cans but I know they have other varieties) which is my absolute favorite! I would buy it by the case if they sold it that way.

    Also a huge fan of their plantain chips, frozen chicken tikka masala, peach salsa/all the salsas, Rainbow’s End trail mix, and Habenero hot sauce. Are we all getting TJ’s tattoos? I feel like we’re at that point <3

  74. Alex says...

    Mini Brie bites. I can’t believe they haven’t been mentioned!

    • b says...

      Also, the mac and cheese with brie and asparagus in the frozen section. I always get two meals out of one package – it’s very rich.

  75. rach simms says...

    This post makes me want to shop at Tj’s! I am sad to say I never shop at Tj’s, like, never. In this season of my life (5 yr old and 5 month old/ work f.t. outside of the home on night shift), I tend to lean on grocery pick up at Walmart (so darn cheap and convenient, ugh) , I can meal plan and shop online, while at work, and my husband or I will go pick up the order on one of my nights off… but this post reminds me of why I love Trader Joe’s so DARN much! I used to shop there, when it was just me and the hubs, and I left feeling like I was on a vacation somewhere fancy, the options are just so charming. I will say though, that because the selection of items is limited and a bit pricier, and would cause me to also need to go to a secondary store, I just can’t justify it at this time of our lives, but maybe I’ll go on a “moms afternoon out” and browse the aisles again! One can dream!

    • C says...

      Pre-pandemic I would go to TJs all the time and I also miss it. It was also the one store my kids would go to with me with no complaints because they got string cheese and juice boxes at the sample station, it was small, so relatively fast, and then they got stickers at the end. The staff there were always so nice to my kids too.

    • Cjwestcott says...

      I rarely buy their processed foods so I don’t know about pricing of those things at Trader Joe’s but I save so much money over Safeway (which is not an expensive store) with all the basics: produce, dairy, oils, nuts, boxed broths, pasta, canned goods, cheeses, wine. I was also shocked when I had to buy my usual Trader Joe’s items at Publix and Winn Dixie during lockdown in a different city. Especially bags of produce. I live right by TJ’s in Seattle so I’m there every other day. It’s so much cheaper for me! They used to have a display in the store with actual grocery receipts from QFC (a Seattle store owned by Kroger) compared to Trader Joe’s and the savings was astounding. You might have the wrong impression about their food prices. Alas, I can’t compare to Walmart as I don’t shop Walmart. I consider the company evil for what they have done to small town America and because of the greed of the family that owns it. Try TJ’s for the basics, tho!

    • CandiceZ says...

      Another family that loved going to TJ every weekend with the little ones as the big event. I think “stickers please” was also a big step for our son to begin to speak for himself when out. My husband said the first thing he wants to do when he is vaccinated is go to TJs, go nuts, and pick up everything he hasn’t had since March 2019. Little dreams, big dreams. 🥰

  76. Lizzie says...

    “…I like to play fast and loose with my snacking.”

    It’s wonderful prose like this that keeps me coming back to COJ each day.

    Thank you, Kim! I’m going to try to work this line into all of my conversations from here on out.

  77. Pemberton says...

    Yes to so many of these! Y’all are giving me lots of new ideas, too – so excited to go shopping again! We also love:
    – ricotta and lemon ravioli with their marinated artichokes
    – the little yogurts (especially raspberry and lemon – yum!)
    – organic shredded green and red cabbage (delicious tossed with lime or a favorite dressing in tacos or salad)
    – frozen organic jasmine rice
    – WINE! Especially Phigment.

    • Sunny says...

      YES to the 3-pack boxes of frozen rice, especially the Jasmine. Three minutes in microwave = perfect, fluffy rice!

    • Rosie says...

      The frozen rice is the best. Our microwave is broken and we wanted rice with dinner the other day and my wife and I were standing in front of the stove like, it take howwww long to make normal rice? Who has that kind of time?

  78. Julee says...

    Crunchy salted almond butter! Nothing like it.

  79. Janet says...

    Triple threat: mango ginger chutney, on top of a dollop of silver goat cheese, on top of a pita cracker. All TJ products. Yum. I personally buy the chutney 3 jars at a time. They really should sell it in bigger jars.

    • Rachel simmons says...

      MOUTH IS WATERING!

  80. Nat says...

    ABC Bars!!! (almond butter chocolate bars). no one mentioned them and now i’m sccurrrrrrred they might be the next item to disappear off the shelves without warning (joseph, you can be cruel like that). please please everyone buy them to uptick their sales just for me, i promise you’ll like them! they are not a candy item as the name incorrectly implies, they are more in the category of a granola or protein bar. pretty sure they’re gluten free, dairy free, vegan. they are for EVERYONE! k thx team!

  81. E says...

    strawberry licorice (at least 2 bags per trip)
    plantain chips
    mushroom brie
    sweet Italian pork sausage (such a good deal and delicious)

    And, yes, TJ’s gyoza forever.

  82. lauren says...

    I did my first round of pandemic shopping at my local TJ’s early last March and I can’t remember what I bought; I was just trying not to freak out about toilet paper and cat food. What I DO remember is that the guy directly in front of me in line had a cart that was only AND ENTIRELY full of frozen lamb vindaloo. A year later, I still want to know how that worked out for him.

    • Karen T. says...

      This makes me laugh!! I’d be thinking the same!

  83. natalia says...

    hands down my #1 item…pumpkin samosas!!! alas, tis a seasonal delicacy

    other favs
    -frozen ginger and garlic cubes are game changers
    -chai tea concentrate for the best iced chai latte
    -that bready tomato soup that came in 2 frozen mug-size chunks (RIP…plz make a comeback!)
    -ube ice cream (seasonal *eye roll*)
    -arugula salad with parm and a lemony basil vinaigrette…but it’s a goner now…fingers crossed that it’s seasonal
    -spicy cashew dressing…so good on anything

    …can someone on the inside please start a website to leak soon-to-be discontinued items?

    • Stacey Avelar says...

      There is an instagram account for soon to be gone TJ’s items. traderjoestobediscontinued

    • Em says...

      there’s an insta for that – @traderjoestobediscontinued, or something!

  84. kat says...

    Pre-pandemic my office was above a TJ’s and I swear it should have been advertised better to potential hires. The best! I miss their free sample section – my fav takeaway was when they presented a mix of their chana masala chickpea frozen dinner with roasted red pepper soup, served with garlic naan. This was the start of the cauliflower craze so I roasted some cauliflower to stir in and BAM! Amazo veggie dinner. I’ve made it about 15 times since, hubs and toddler also fans. I can stretch it with a can of plain chickpeas, too.

    oh, and their little half-sheet chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?! YUM. Rich buttercream frosting. It was perfect for those awful work moments that required cake.

    • Erin says...

      Oh my gosh! I LOVED the free samples. I got my best Trader Joe’s recipes from there! My favorite: mango ginger chutney, masala sauce and turkey meatballs… ALL my kids love it! It’s a miracle recipe!

      I will know this pandemic is over when TJs has free samples again!

    • Em says...

      wow an office above TJ’s is a DREAM

    • Rosie says...

      We used to do that soup too. Does your location still have the chana masala? I haven’t seen it in ages.

  85. Ana says...

    I am leaving the US after 4 years here and I am really going to miss Trader Joe’s. I don’t think there is anything like it in Australia. I will miss the dumplings, the Italian bomba sauce, the elderflower drink, the maple granola. Ahhh so much

    • MEG says...

      :)
      I feel you! We came back to Germany after living in the US from 2011-2014 and I still miss Trader Joe´s (I bought a tote before leaving and carry it around everywhere).

    • alice says...

      Aldi?

  86. Laura says...

    mandarin orange chicken & veggie fried rice, elote corn chips, bomba hot pepper sauce, all their spice grinders, hot & sweet jalapenoes, unexpected cheddar and goat cheeses, lemon & peppermint room spray, blueberry pomegranate bottled green tea, guacamole with greek yogurt in it, and for some reason their graham crackers are the best.

  87. Michelle says...

    I could spend all day reading these and love a good TJs hack! A few of our favorites:

    – dark chocolate covered pretzels – the thin ones (grab a few bags and thank me later)
    – chili onion crunch – TJs employee told me to add to roasted brussel sprouts and bless his soul
    – Red thai curry sauce – great with salmon or chicken, veggies and rice noodles/brown rice. Top with crushed cashews, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime!
    – can’t quit the orange chicken with the frozen brown rice packets
    – vegan kale pesto – better than all of the other pestos
    – sundried tomato or the garlic chicken sausages – last for a long time in the fridge for when you need a last minute meal. combine with kale pesto and cauli gnocchi for quick dinner
    – frozen battered halibut for fish tacos, BUT I recently tried the old CoJ recipe for the coconut shrimp tacos and am obsessed
    – Spicy cashew butter dressing from the refrigerated section!!

    • Bryn says...

      I second the cauliflower gnocchi and the vegan kale pesto! Great stand-bys for a quick and tasty veggie-packed meal

    • Victoria says...

      Yes Michelle! CHILI! ONION! CRUNCH! I eat it on everything. I hand carried two jars with me to dar es salaam and will shed tears when I run out! the new habanero version is also delightful — though be warned, it is waaaaay spicier too.

  88. Jess says...

    I always love reading Kim’s pieces and any of your Trader Joe’s content, so this was a slam dunk for me!

    On an unrelated note, I am having such a hard time reading your site! Is there something new about the way you are doing ads? Every 30 seconds or so, the page jumps to an ad that is reloading and I completely lose my place in the article. I visit from both my laptop and phone and it’s worse on the phone. Unbearable. Anyway, cup of jo is my forever favorite so I will absolutely be jerked around by ads behaving badly, but I thought you might want to know!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note! I’m going to look into this!

    • Katherine says...

      This happens to me too! I think I accidentally get pulled away 1-3 times per article, at least.

    • Ally says...

      This was happening to me the other day! It was so frustrating!

    • Maureen says...

      Agree!! Same experience. Frustrating.

    • Madame says...

      Me too!

    • Liz says...

      I was having this problem too, so I switched browsers from Chrome back to Safari. Would still be good if the site could fix whatever’s going on in Chrome, but at least a switch to Safari can keep you reading!

  89. Caroline says...

    Shampoo bar shampoo bar shampoo bar shampoo bar shampoo bar shampoo bar!!!!
    That thing is AMAZING! I have good hair now! And I’m on my third from when they started selling them back in the fall. I have a sizeable stockpile in case they discontinue it with no warning and have given it as Christmas and birthday and just plain thinking-of-you presents to women and men. Shampoo bar for the win!
    (Oh and the dark chocolate quadratinni wafer crackers are the perfect cookie and the shampoo bar’s great too)

    • b says...

      Thanks for the shampoo bar rec, Caroline. I’ve been wanting to try a shampoo bar, but can’t justify spending on Lush or another fancy brand for something that may not work for my hair. TJ’s feels like an low barrier to entry.

    • Lesley Porcelli says...

      Shampoo bar! Intriguing! I will look for that.

  90. Erin says...

    I’m always looking for meatless meal ideas so I’m excited to try that soy chorizo & the veggie gyozas!
    I love TJ’s Gorgonzola gnocchi with roasted veggies & a salad for dinner, so good.

    • Maggie says...

      If you can find them, try the meatless “turkey” burgers – they’re really good and don’t make a mess while cooking. We also really like the prepared lentils (in the produce section) to add to bowls or as a side.

  91. kiki says...

    Can i just say that goyza is also delicious as a soup with their miso ginger broth? grate a bit of fresh ginger on top and add some chives or green onions and some carrots and you’ve got dinner from freezer to table in 10min.

  92. Andrea says...

    TJ’s used to make up most of my grocery shopping each month, but they just haven’t taken air safety in Covid to heart and I haven’t shopped there in a long while.

    Covid is mainly spread through the air and packing shoppers and staff in a circuitous store without monitoring or turning over air is simply not safe. They can have cutesy and delicious food, but they can’t monitor CO2 levels and restrict shoppers?

    • Angela says...

      Interesting! I haven’t really thought about this! How have other stores addressed this problem?

    • Angela says...

      I don’t know if that’s a dumb question!

    • Laura says...

      Not sure where you live but in my area (MA) they restrict the number of shoppers so heavily that there is always a line- in fact when other grocery stores in my area started to get lax on capacity TJs seemed to double down.

    • Ellen says...

      Wow I am so surprised to hear this! The TJ’s in my area have been amazing about Covid, they are the only grocery store still tightly limiting capacity here in NH and I love shopping there because it’s so nicely spaced out. They were doing an incredible job in Boston too.

    • Cat says...

      I’m not sure which Trader Joe’s you shop at, but every one and every time I’ve gone, I feel they go above and beyond to keep things safe. They limit the amount of people in the store; there is often a line of people (6 feet apart) outside waiting. They also have markers on the floor where you should stand, numerous signs about masking, plexiglass at each register, and sanitize each cart in between each use. In my opinion, they are the safest store I’ve been to. I truly don’t know any other store doing half as much as them. For those reasons, I feel safe continuing shopping there, and they will continue to have my business for life.

    • Sarah says...

      In NYC I feel like TJs is the safest place I can shop in person. They enforce mask wearing (in other stores I’ve seen the employees and customers take down their masks to eat/drink or just not properly wear them) and they seriously limit the number of people in the store (there’s always a line outside). The store I go to is also not particularly circuitous and there are a lot of employees managing flow. I have actually told my husband that I wish TJs was in charge of the COVID protocols for the rest of the city. It’s unfortunate that not all locations are doing as good of a job.

    • Jb says...

      Our local store has been very conscientious about pacing shoppers, masking and more. I’ve always felt comfortable there during the pandemic.

    • Laura F says...

      All of our Denver-area TJs have limited shoppers allowed inside, and there’s always a line to get in. I’ve never felt unsafe there, and number of bodies feels smaller than, say, Target.

    • KJ says...

      TJs is by far the safest grocery store in Denver. They only let in a certain number of people and keep us spaced out in store, too. Other stores here do nothing!

    • Kara says...

      It must be region specific based on local requirements because in Santa Clara County, California there is always a massive line at all of them because of how few people they let in at a time. I haven’t been all pandemic for this reason (I just don’t have time to wait AND shop), but I’m happy they’re doing it that way!

    • Emma says...

      Ditto what others have said. TJs is the only grocery store in Chicago I feel safe shopping at. They’ve done an awesome job.

    • Briana says...

      Here’s some more detail about how Trader Joe’s is dealing with COVID: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trader-joes-rehires-worker-who-went-viral-after-being-fired-for-raising-covid-19-concerns

      In short, employee was fired for writing a letter to the CEO about improvements in safety the store could make. Rehired after the story went viral.

      In the Bay Area, where the pandemic is taken very seriously, I always see a big line outside TJs, so maybe this is an issue of corporate not applying the same rules across regions.

    • Hattie says...

      At my local TJ’s (in Greater Boston area), they have senior hours from 8 till 9 a.m. During that time, an employee is stationed at the door to wipe down the carriages, offer hand sanitizer, and, most importantly, turn away any youngsters who aren’t in the know. It’s the best feeling to shop during the peace and quiet and, upon walking out, seeing the socially distanced line patiently waiting to enter.

    • Sara says...

      The TJ’s in my area is really the only place limiting the number of shoppers. I have been there twice and each time the number of shoppers in the store has been very low, with a line waiting outside.

      That being said, I don’t love TJ like everyone else seems to, so I rarely go there.

    • Bonnie says...

      In Indianapolis Trader Joe’s tightly monitors the number of shoppers, and there are a few people in the store at one time. The least number of patrons at one time in any of the stores around here.

    • Rosie says...

      I don’t know where you live but very location I’ve been to is at half capacity or less with insane lines outside. At one point the one near us was only allowing 5 shoppers in the store at a time.

    • Cg says...

      This is fascinating because the TJs at my house (there are three within 2-15 mins from me) are very strict. There are markers in the ground to tell you how far apart to stand, a person counting going in, and a person counting going out. The person counting going in also wipes down the carts and baskets.

    • Andrea says...

      To everyone who commented—wiping carts and making people stay 6 feet apart does nothing to monitor or improve air circulation or the build up of virus in the air.

      TJs are smaller stores where you have one path and not great ventilation normally (the ones in NYC have one set of doors and the stores are even below ground down escalators). So, many people go in during the day, breathe out through their masks and the CO2 and any virus they expel is building up in the air like a dense cloud. I bought a CO2 monitor as a way of seeing how much air is being ventilated (and potential virus diffused) in public spaces and it’s often not great. Look at the work of Dr. Linsey Marr on the subject.

      TJs could monitor CO2 levels, restrict entry, boost ventilation and filtering of air, but they just fired a worker in NYC for asking for these concrete steps. The wiping down of carts and putting spit screens up for cashiers is theater compared actually monitoring air quality. Given their store set ups, they should be more concerned with COVID in the air of their stores.

  93. Lori says...

    – plantain chips
    – chocolate dipped almond biscotties
    – their fresh salmon is truly delicious and very reasonably priced
    – agree with comment about frozen artichoke hearts
    – raw almonds
    – pickled jalapenos – I’m addicted
    – jumbo raisins
    – feta from my Greek husband gets a double thumbs up!
    – they used to have this great tahini dip/dressing but I haven’t seen it in awhile
    – agree with prepared brown lentils
    – great selection of dried fruit
    – 10 min farro
    Such a fantastic store!

    • Grace says...

      I miss the tahini dip! I asked and it was discontinued. Maybe it couldn’t compete next to the hummus…

  94. P says...

    A couple of years ago I was in a really strange relationship that abruptly ended. In the aftermath, whenever I was feeling sad and lonely I would walk over to Trader Joe’s, just to pick up one or two things, I told myself, and then leave with ten. There is something about Trader Joe’s that is so cheerful, and it always made me feel better! I’m pretty sure the best thing that they sell is the frozen tarte aux champignons.

    • Julee says...

      Is it bad that I’m now really curious about the “ really strange relationship”?
      Sounds juicy.
      I do Hope you’re feeling better these days.

  95. marcella says...

    Love TJs. my faves:
    – the herbed pizza dough (gives it that extra something!) and cooked on a cast iron pan, yum
    – frozen garlic naan – at my old job everyone would perk up when I was heating it up in the toaster oven with my homemade curry or whatever
    – cocoa batons!
    – their cheese section
    – almond, chocolate & cashew trek mix. used to eat way too much of this in college lol
    -their rosemary and truffle Marcona almonds

  96. Rebecca says...

    Taking notes!

    -Hot and Sweet Jalapenos.
    -Frozen ginger and garlic (for when you’re in a pinch, though Target carries them now too)
    -Hold the Cones
    -Raisin Rosemary Crisps

    • Caroline says...

      The raisin raspberry crisps pair perfectly with the Mediterranean hummus (the big ol’ vat of it). Delightfully delicious!

    • laura says...

      I love the raisin rosemary crisps (and the fig ones too- maybe fig and olive?) and the hot and sweet jalapenos are EVERYTHING. I panic when I don’t have an extra jar in the pantry.

  97. Jenni says...

    I live in Astoria and took the east river ferry to Trader Joe’s in Kipp’s Bay for my first TJ’s visit in months. It was a very satisfying COVID-era adventure!

    Also, I would like to suggest adding your favorite gyoza/dumplings to any vegetable stir fry. The dumplings get deliciously coated in sauce and it is a just-weird-enough concoction that makes me feel like a culinary mad scientist!

    Finally, I am adding frozen green beans (seriously!) and jalapeno artichoke dip to the list of Trader Joe’s VIP products.

    • Adam says...

      Awesome! I work at the murray hill location and commute from Astoria every day! Maybe I checked you out! (In the appropriate way, of course). See you again soon!

  98. cg says...

    Their frozen Indian food, but esp: the spinach (I call it saag, but it’s labeled something else), veggie samosa, chana masala.
    orange chicken
    potstickers
    kringle
    light sea salt roasted almonds
    frozen plain, almond, and chocolate croissants
    organic 0mega 3 eggs (seriously, the yolks are so deeply golden, as fresh as the ones my student gave me from her chickens)
    Santa Maria tri-tip

    • Robin says...

      Yes! I was just going to say how much I love their frozen Indian food, especially the palak paneer and chana masala. I live in NYC and haven’t been to a Trader Joe’s in over a year :(

  99. Joyce says...

    Have not been since the pandemic begun, but was *just* considering an old fashioned TJ’s run today so perfect timing! I would add Scandinavian Swimmers to the list! They leave Swedish Fish in the dust ;)

    Also! Totally unrelated but, Kim, the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour (one of my faves) is doing an episode on the muppets and I thought of you! Vote for your fave muppet at npr.org/muppets … which I just love is a real site. Haha!

  100. Tyler says...

    EVERYTHING. BAGEL. SEASONING.

    • Ramya says...

      When I lived overseas for more than a decade, one of the things I missed the most about the U.S. was Trader Joe’s! Now that I’m back, I’m a regular and some of my favorite TJ products are:

      – unexpected cheddar (now also available in shredded form)
      – the new cold brew coffee & boba “ice cream” (it’s actually a coconut non-dairy frozen dessert) – SO GOOD!
      – cheese & green chili tamales (frozen)
      – paneer tikka masala (frozen)
      – chimichurri rice (frozen)
      – veggie masala burgers (frozen)
      – peanut butter granola
      – green dragon sauce
      – coconut oil
      – Secco prosecco (cheap & perfect for mimosas)

    • Jeannie says...

      Yes! I cant believe this wasn’t on the list!

    • Rianna says...

      YESSSS :D

    • Sunny says...

      And the EBTB nuts — cashews and almonds dusted with EBTB blend. OMG half a bag at a time!

  101. Susan says...

    We always get the veggie burritos, Japanese fried rice, and vegetable spring rolls!

  102. Anna says...

    More of Kim please – Always love a Kim post. This one has me missing the TJs life and clinging to nostalgia.

  103. Jo says...

    Since starting college 17 years ago (!), I have dropped a religion, moved out of the country, moved back into the country, ended relationships, started relationships, gotten married, moved states, acquired dogs, lost cats, changed careers thrice, lost 20 pounds, gained 5 pounds, taken up and abandoned hobbies, stopped wearing makeup, developed a fashion sense, helped start a nonprofit, become vegan, and fundamentally changed my relationship with myself, my family, and the world several times over. The one constant? Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza.

    • Cece says...

      LOVE

    • Elizabeth says...

      I love this comment so much :)

    • b says...

      Yes! Joanna, can we get an interview with Jo about how she started a non-profit?

    • Heidi says...

      I think this is my favorite comment. Sending you a high five.

    • Candy says...

      PERFECT. Puts everything in perspective and yes, yes, yes those gyoza. Also, the organic hummus and the scallion pancakes (near the gyoza in the frozen aisle).

  104. Hilary says...

    Nearly too many things to list, but, TJ’s is the best place I know of for my secret ingredients. To wit:
    1. Add a small handful of chili lime cashews to a homemade peanut sauce to make it *chefs kiss*

    2. Feta, pre-made lentils and tomatoes make an easy and delicious dip for pita chips!

    3. Add a dollop of greek yogurt to their Mediterranean hummus to make it taste homemade. Top with paprika, chopped parsley, feta crumbles and pomegranate seeds, EVOO and put in a pretty bowl for a showstopper at a dinner party.

    4. Individually wrapped coconut oil packets are a baby-safe nipple balm for new moms! I buy these, the lip balm and the rose facial mist to put in breastfeeding baskets.

    5. Stocking stuffers forever. Everyone knows they’ll get a tiny TJ’s olive oil and hand cream in their stockings from me every year and I am also always happy that I remembered to buy ones for m’self. TJ’S FOREVAH!

    • Lauren says...

      Woah this is some serious TJs tips. Making a note of the the Feta & Hummus dips.

    • Molly says...

      Yea I just screenshotted #3 and when dinner parties recommence I will offer to bring the appetizers!

    • Jennifer says...

      For the most amazing dip, combine the cooked lentils, feta, and bruschetta sauce. It’s SO GOOD, makes a ton for hearty lunches. Any cracker will work with this dip. Diced avocado on top only makes it better. I also love the seasonal candles.

    • Tessa says...

      Great ideas! ForI the feta and lentil dip, try adding TJs bruschetta sauce instead of chopped tomatoes. Adds an extra layer of delicious flavor.

    • Kristin says...

      Yes to the lentil salad w fresh bruschetta. I put it all over arugula for my lunch.

  105. Will Walk for Books says...

    Chili Lime Seasoning Blend
    Acetone Balsamico Di Modena (vinegar)

  106. Amy says...

    I have no quibbles with this list; I’ve tried every item and also love them. Things to add to the list:

    -Mango Mango gummies- 3 bags, minimum
    -Fig & olive crackers to go with
    -Unexpected cheddar (or the Toscana cheese above)
    -Israeli feta in brine
    -Burrata!
    -sweet potato gnocchi + apple chicken sausage+ kale pesto= dinner
    -orange blossom honey hand soap
    -grapefruit hand soap
    -coconut + lemongrass body oil
    -coconut body butter
    -sun dried tomatoes
    -Manuka honey
    -gigli pasta
    -rainbow peppercorns
    -smoked salmon dip
    -small ciabatta loaf

    • Rebecca says...

      They have manuka honey?! Love this list.

    • Megan says...

      YES! The Israeli feta! I accidentally bought the Greek one this week and was like, WHAT happened?? The Israeli one is awesome.

  107. KATHLEEN says...

    so not fair…no TJ in Canada and now with Covid we can’t even cross the border to get our fix!😢

    • kim says...

      Tell me about it!
      A good friend moved to Portland last year and I think half of my questions have been about Trader Joe’s. Ha! How far is Trader Joe’s from your apartment? how many meals a week do you eat from Trader Joe’s?

      One day we’ll get to visit again and try all of these fun things!

  108. mb says...

    the pepper jelly! not a new item but so good to have with cheese!

  109. MaryO says...

    I just found out that they are putting a Trader Joes close to my college, and I am so jealous of those humans but also really happy for all my friends who still live in the area. I mean, I shouldn’t be that jealous because there is one 2 blocks from me in Chicago haha.

    My favorites are:
    -GF Everything Bagels
    -Everything but the Elote seasoning
    -Tomato & Basil Hummus
    -Frozen Vegetable Samosas
    -Any of their frozen dumplings
    -Everything but the Gluten Crackers
    -Fig & Olive Crackers
    -Truffle Cheese Wisps
    -Creamy tomato soup

    I feel like I should add, my fiance wolfs down bags of the Movie Theater Popcorn. I scour the internet for TJs favorites lists so I will be refreshing this page every 2 seconds for the next week! haha

  110. Allie says...

    I haven’t been to TJs in a year and I miss it so deeply. Lately, I have been daydream of my first post vax trip to TJs. It’s seriously the first place I am planning on going!

    • Liz says...

      I folded at like the 7 month mark and my cart was literally heaped with TJs treats. Wishing you a prompt and pleasant vaccination, my friend.

    • Alex says...

      My post vax visit was last week….it had been a year. It was wonderful and I hope yours is so soon!

  111. K says...

    My favorite lately is the Everything Bagel Seasoning Yogurt Dip. It’s so easy to make yourself but I really like that tub. Mini peppers and ridged potato chips taste equally good with it.

    • Sunny says...

      The dip, because made of yogurt means no guilt if I eat half the tub, right?

  112. Sarah says...

    I really like their vanilla ice cream. Other flavors are good too-like cookie butter – but their plain vanilla is good and the price is very reasonable.
    We buy their crystallized ginger, which I love to throw into smoothies for some sweet spice.
    I always grab a few tubes of their tomato paste.
    The canned white wine is my go-to beverage!

  113. Annie says...

    Can we talk about the knockoff TimTams! Brand new and soooo good. I think they named them Chocolate Aussie Cookies.

    • Rebecca says...

      Wait, what?! Off I go…

    • Alexa says...

      yesssss! so, so good! so! good!

  114. Julia says...

    The Thai vegetable gyoza are a favorite of mine too! While I’m in the freezer section, I also like to keep their frozen artichoke hearts around.
    The TJ’s organic fruit-sweetened raspberry jam has been a breakfast staple for a decade+ for me. A good, intense raspberry flavor and not too sweet. The superfruit version is also good.
    Salsa autentica is a great all-round salsa, more as a condiment for tacos etc than for eating with chips, although it’s fine that way too.
    The dried Montmorency sour cherries are delicious for snacking and baking. It’s hard to find anything like them anywhere else.

  115. Michelle says...

    The employees. They are the closest thing I’ve had to real-life friends this year and I’m not mad about it.

    • Megan says...

      YES! They always brighten my day! The other day the cashier forgot to ring up my flowers, so insisted that I just take them for free. She also thought I might like a new salad they had, so promptly walked over, picked it up, and also gave me that to try (apparently they are encouraged to do this, to get customers to try new items?!). She just marked them both off on her clipboard and we both had huge smiles on our faces.

    • jane says...

      I’m sure it is because they are paid above minimum wage. My neighbor was hired as a cashier and started at $18/hr with minimal experience. Other stores would also have happy humans instead of the usual dead-eyed drones if they paid proper wages as well. It still shocks me that we allow slave wages in this country. If minimum wage doesn’t cover their minimum requirements for living than what is the point?

      Apparently minimum wage should be at ~ $24/hr if it had increased along with the cost of living or US productivity charts. That sounds totally sustainable and correct. I think all small businesses that net gains over a million dollars should be required to pay $24/hr. Businesses smaller than that can be exempt.

  116. Kim says...

    The nearest Trader Joe’s is a four hour drive. I hope they are a good to their employees company since they seem to be popular.
    We have the best co-op that has lots of local produce and is a bike ride away for me.

  117. Jojo says...

    Our diet is ruled by one vegan child, so I buy their kettle cooked chicken soup (surpisingly good, much better than what you can find at WF). I always pick up their burrata. Their pretzel bagels are excellent. I prefer the shrimp dumplings- perfect. My vegan child loves the mini veggie samosas and the veggie spring rolls. The zhoug sauce is excellent. The Brookie is outright dangerous. Don’t buy it unless it’s one of those weeks and you plan to eat it all by yourself.

  118. Caroline says...

    Spicy Chakri Mix! I think this is a fairly new item but don’t miss it in the snack (above the frozen stuff) shelf.

    • Rebecca says...

      YAS this is so good!

  119. Erin D LaDue says...

    For this NorCal gal, the SF sourdough is the closest I have found to the real deal. Living in Albany NY now, I drive 20 mins just to have a little taste of home.

  120. AN says...

    If you’ve gone to TJ’s and haven’t bought two bags of Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzels (never just one, one is for amateurs, seriously, you’ll be sorry!), have you even gone to TJ’s?

    • Liz says...

      Relatable

    • christina says...

      second (or third) this! I’m obsessed

    • I used to keep a bag of those in my glove box to keep me happy in traffic when I used to be in the car all the time. One salty, crunchy, peanut-buttery bite and I’m back going nowhere on the 405 and I ain’t even mad.

  121. Lydia says...

    So. Much. Packaging.
    We need to normalize reducing waste and I think Trader Joe’s is an example of the past not the future we need to build.
    I would love for Cup of Jo to discuss alternative food/grocery sources such as CSA boxes.
    Buying in bulk via buying clubs is another topic I’d be interested in exploring.
    Food accessibility and sourcing is such an important and relevant topic.

    • Emily says...

      Agreed! TJ’s has lots of good products but when every. single. cucumber. is individually wrapped in plastic it’s a problem.

      I’m thankful that my local co-op has continued to allow people to bring in their own containers for bulk foods even during the pandemic. And for those who can’t afford a co-op even our local bulk store, WinCo, allows it too (although they can’t remove the weight of your container at this time). Maybe we are just more conscious in the PNW about bringing containers but I would love for it to be more normal to bring your own bags/baskets/jars instead of having to rely on plastic everywhere.

    • Becca says...

      I understand your point, and I love my CSA, but this is a lifestyle blog and I come here to be entertained and maybe learn something. I mean, where should we draw the line: having children is one of the worst environmental choices a person can make–should we normalize not having kids here? (I love seeing and reading about Joanna’s sons & reader comments about their kids.)

      Or what about the beauty and style profiles? Many of the women profiled use products that are not environmentally friendly. Should we normalize clean beauty and eco-fashion here as a rule?

      What about Joanna’s affiliate advertising? Should she discontinue this to make a statement about consumption?

      I don’t think so.

      This blog is her business and we readers can self select whether to follow along or head elsewhere. Personally, I read widely when I am online, and go to certain sites and blogs for certain kinds of info. I bet a lot of us do. I am much more interested in getting enviro info from a site that specializes in this than I am in a one-off post in a lifestyle blog.

    • Lauren says...

      While I truly *love* TJs, the amount of trash sometimes gets me down. I’d be interested in learning more about CSA boxes & buying in bulk.

      As a single workin girl CSA boxes sort of scare me, I fear getting stuck with loads of vegetables that will take time intensive recipes to prepare but would love to hear tips & tricks.

      In the meantime I try to focus on the positives about TJ’s – I’ll walk or ride my bike there and because their products are compatible with my lifestyle there’s very little food wasted.

    • MS says...

      YES ! Lydia, thank you for drawing attention to this.

    • Angela says...

      I love your enthusiasm, but can’t we just have a post about Trader Joe’s? I texted a gf and told her how I’d like to run away there together for a bit when we can. I pictured sitting next to her in the car in the first time in over a year.
      I’m cognizant about a lot of things but I can’t do everything. We buy used furniture or make our own. We cloth diapered twins. Hand-me-downs are a love language. We compost and garden. Plant native species for birds and pollinators. Meatless for most meals. And, and, and. Can’t we just give each other a little bit of grace?

    • Lora says...

      I’m with Angela et al on this one. I can buy CSA, garden, only use hand-me-downs, etc. while also acknowledging that sometimes I just want chocolate peanut butter cups. Sometimes I want potstickers without hours and hours of prep. Sometimes I want cheese and don’t know how to easily access it without some sort of packaging involved. I can also acknowledge that buying CSA/bulk is easiest for those with some combination of accessible transportation, financial well-being, a community that supports such programs, the mental and physical health that supports the energy needed to transport/prep/chop/cook a bunch of produce, the background/skills that helped you learn how to cook, the familial/work situation that grants you the time needed for those activities, etc. The optimal is not always realistic unless you happen to have a life with limited constraints. Were past generations able to do this? Absolutely. Largely because they had millions of women and/or domestic workers performing hours upon hours of unpaid or low paid work to produce the food needed to sustain life. And I don’t really want to return to that system either. So I for one appreciate the normalization that we don’t need to be perfect in all things, even as we strive for change.

    • Lara says...

      Becca, Angela, Lora – so much this. Am I truly meant to feel guilty because I drive my Prius to pick up my farm order instead of cycling (because otherwise I wouldn’t have enough time on my lunch hour to get there and back)? So many of us are doing the very best we can to care for the earth and others but nonetheless are immediately shamed for any sliver of joy. It’s exhausting.

    • i just wanted to chime in as i completely agree that Trader Joe’s uses a lot of packaging, but they do donate any unsellable (but still good – like food too close to the sell by date, slightly bruised apples, dented boxes) back to the community through their Neighborhood Shares program.

      i run a community fridge in NYC (we’re @thechelseafridge on Instagram!) and this is something that no other grocery store in our area does – we have gotten NO from every other grocery store nearby when asking for donations. other grocery stores are scared of liability regardless of the many Good Samaritan food donation acts throughout the country and at least in NY state that protect donors that donate food in good faith. because of TJs we (and many other community fridges) are able to pickup multiple boxes of food free of charge throughout the week and feed our neighbors with tons of healthy food because of this program.

      i completely agree that TJs (and other grocery stores) need to work on the waste issue (among many other issues), but i’ve done extensive research on this and TJs is the only major grocery store i know of that is at least publicly attempting to offset the issue in a way that gives back to the community. other grocery stores have done the same thing for community fridges, but it is more of a “back door” situation where you have to form a relationship with a staff member and the donation handoff has to be done in secret.

    • Lainey says...

      I’m glad someone brought this up. I don’t buy produce at TJs for this reason. This means I don’t go at all during the pandemic, since I try and keep my shopping trips consolidated. During regular times, though, I love their hummuses, naan, and frozen Indian food selections.

  122. KJP says...

    I get the small pack of dark chocolate peanut butter cups for my purse and the big tub for home. :-) The Brookies and awesome too!

  123. SJ says...

    I love this! #Following

    I agree with the PB cups. Here are my other favorites:

    – Mexican shredded cheese for easy breakfast and lunch burritos

    – Macarons (You’re supposed to defrost them but I like them frozen)

    – Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches (These are the best when nuked in the microwave for a few seconds)

    – Organic brown rice (These make quick and easy meals and you just pop the bag in the microwave)

    – Hot & Sweet Jalapeños (I add these to EVERYTHING. They add the perfect amount of sweetness to any savory meal. I always have a can in stock)

    – Quinoa Cowboy Burgers (These are perfect with the brown rice, cheese, and jalapeños)

    – Their sourdough bread is amazing. I walked by my boss with a sandwich and he commented, “That looks like some hearty bread.” He is correct!

    – Boiled eggs (I am lazy).

    – Frozen hash browns (These are perfect in a breakfast burrito or bowl)

    – Trader Joe’s comes out with seasonal mini mousse cakes and they’re addicting.

    – Their Korean Barley tea is yummy! I typically don’t buy them here because I think it’s cheaper at the Asian market. You must try it cold!

    • SJ says...

      I forgot their Grainless Cassava & Coconut Tortilla Chips!

  124. Robin S. says...

    Now, I love the comments section on every COJ post, but I’m not gonna lie… I read EVERY. LAST. COMMENT. whenever it’s a Trader Joe’s post! (And often take notes, too…)

  125. Ashley says...

    Unexpected cheddar and sea salt dark chocolate almonds. Oh! And the pizza dough-so handy.

    • Rianne says...

      Thank you! I was scanning this list and thinking to myself “but what about the ALMONDS?” :D

      Sea Salt. Turbinado Sugar. Dark Chocolate. I don’t want to oversell them, but they’re the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

  126. CS says...

    I miss Trader Joe’s and I’m planning to go soon. I love the olive oil. I’d add frozen veggie fried rice. You can leave it vegetarian or add ground chicken or pork. So good!

  127. Susannah says...

    Man this post is enough to create TJ envy (and stomach grumbles) in this Canadian! Yum! Any Ontario residents know of a TJ equivalent here?

    • Charlotte says...

      Maybe Farm Boy? Not sure how many locations they have outside the GTA but they are expanding a lot. Definitely expensive for all groceries, but good to pick up specific things from their in house brand (my husband and I love their chips and salsa).

      I do wish we had TJ though, I really want to try that everything bagel seasoning I’ve heard so much about.

    • K says...

      @Charlotte there’s actually a lot of Everything Bagel Seasoning versions now, (I’m now wondering if TJ’s was actually the first?)

      The one I want to try next is from The Spice House, but I’m not sure if you’re trying to avoid shipping.

  128. Eloise says...

    TJ’s lentils are INSANELY good and I’m a big fan of their frozen corn pie, which might be seasonal. (And, I have that vase in the last pic.)

  129. Alex says...

    My TJ favs that are on weekly rotation are: The greek yogurt spinach kale dip, southwestern chopped salad mix, frozen soup dumplings (shockingly good!), frozen fish korma(as good as an any Indian restaurant in our town), and the milk chocolate filled with caramel bar. And I’ve been rotating between the ginger shots and the turmeric shots during the pandemic because it makes me feel like i’m doing something for my immune system.

    • Mimi says...

      Zonin Prosecco

      Pastry bites with feta and caramalized onion (with said Prosecco, or Kim Crawford Sauvignon blanc!)

      Any of their frozen croissants (because there is not a single good bakery within 80 miles)

      Yes to frozen macarons!

      Also, Thai tea Mochi. OMG, never did I like Mochi until these. Plus, my 7 year old loves them and I can’t get enough of hearing him call them “moochi”

      Dark chocolate salted almonds

      Giant chalkidki olives

      They have a small round French Brie )?) that is soooooo good! It’s the size of a small Fuji apple, if you’re looking for it.

      Best organic earl gray with bergamot tea I’ve had for under $30/ .25 lb – it’s only $3/box. We drink a lot of tea in our house. Serious savings.

      Also, my son lives for breakfast night, when he gets to have their frozen broccoli cheddar quiche.

      Love TJs. Love this little community. Sending love to all 💕

  130. Amy says...

    One of the easiest and most showy appetizers is a log of goat cheese covered in lemon curd, topped with chopped pistachios and served with crackers. Gets rave reviews every time and all the ingredients come from TJs!

    • Amanda says...

      This sounds amazing!

    • sadie says...

      what crackers tho?

    • Heidi says...

      That sounds delicious! I’m going to try that! Maybe with a buttery cracker like their golden rounds (Ritz knockoff)?

  131. Sara B says...

    The orange chicken! I also like the mini ice cream cones that you can eat in like four bites.

  132. Jen says...

    Good list! If I start writing about my TJ’s favorites, I won’t be able to stop. They have just so many good things.

  133. celeste says...

    My nearest one is 45 minutes away. Perhaps I’ll get there some weekend.

  134. Jennifer says...

    “The peanut butter cups are good, the almond butter cups are better.” – the TJ employee ringing me up the other day. So glad I took his advice and swapped, he was spot on.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Omg I was looking at those and wondering about them!! Noted!

    • S says...

      Yes and also the sunflower seed butter cups are my favorite!!!

    • Emily says...

      YES to the almond butter cups. Heavenly.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Yessss! I don’t know why but those almond butter cups just hit different – like a tiny bit less sweet so then I want even more in one sitting? That’s probably not good, but they sure are.

  135. I need to try the lemon curd! Unexpected Cheddar is probably my all-time favorite Trader Joe’s thing!

  136. Amy says...

    No Trader Joe’s here, but this morning I stocked up on the Costco versions of some of these so if you’re in Canada, try these out!
    -The Welsh “Powerful Cheddar” (the name makes me laugh every time, but it’s so sharp and creamy and granular and good).
    -The dark chocolate almond butter cups (apparently they’re keto…I doubt it, but I’m not doing keto so I’m just happy they’re not tooth-achingly sweet)
    -Grapeseed oil was on sale today, so I’m stocked up!
    -The Lentil with Turmeric crackers. I’m just as happy with a non-hippy cracker, but I think it’s the nutritional yeast on these that makes them so addictive (plus my evening snacking can feel virtuous to boot).
    -Chicken Cilantro Wontons – my kids are picky and we rarely buy frozen meal stuff, but I now keep these in the freezer as a treat because to my surprise, they love them!

  137. TJsFan :) says...

    I love their hand cream. It doesn’t leave my hands greasy, it’s cheap, it’s very mildly scented in a nice way but doesn’t leave a lasting fragrance.

    My favourite snacks are at TJs are
    – dried mango
    – their everything bagel seasoning nuts (almonds and cashews)
    – red licorice (it’s not super licoricy but soft and just the right amount of chew!)
    – plantain chips
    – dark chocolate covered pretzels

    • Sarah says...

      I love the plantain chips!

    • Peg says...

      “just the right amount of chew!”

      I love that.

  138. Alexandra says...

    Trader Joe’s is seriously my happy place. If you haven’t tried Unexpected Cheddar, run don’t walk!

  139. Raquel says...

    I don’t know what it is about their flowers but they are the best! Last a long time!
    I also think they are the best place to buy organic nut butters – specially peanut and almond butters. But I never buy their produce – quality isn’t good and they don’t last much at all!

  140. Joanna Tsay says...

    This is a mix of tried and true and some new products:
    Dried linguine- our favorite favorite, probably the only thing I stocked up on early pandemic
    Maple pecan clusters cereal- when we first tried this we didn’t get tired of it until maybe the tenth repurchase
    Corn scoops chips (so good with chili)
    Mini ice cream cones- perfect size
    Scalloped potato chips w/ 5 cheeses (I ate the whole bag in one sitting last night and I never do that!)
    Basil plant- I always have one around
    This coconut brings chocolate out on a date bars- one of my favorite snack bars

  141. Meredith says...

    Are we the same person??

    • Lizzie says...

      Meredith, I had the EXACT same thought!

  142. Claire says...

    only 2 things: European Butter and Unexpected cheddar.

  143. Megan says...

    Kim, thanks for these great recs! I was just in TJ’s last night and dang if you don’t just get happier when you step inside :) This is so timely because I have a new TJ’s obsession and want to tell EVERYONE: the Carrot Ginger Miso salad dressing (in the refrigerated section). Y’all. If this isn’t the best salad dressing ever, I don’t know what is (and I would have always said my own!!). It is so sweet from the carrots and has no added sugar. It literally makes me want to run to eat salad. I never get sick of it. It’s pricey ($4) but I justify its continued purchase by thinking of how healthy I’ve been eating because of it!
    Other faves: the frozen Indian meals, but especially the Fish Korma and Chicken Tikka. For frozen meals I can’t believe how tasty they are. They’re small so I always supplement with frozen broccoli or spinach–perfect quick lunch!

    Also don’t hesitate to ask the staff for recs. They love to share!

    • Emily says...

      YES to the almond butter cups. Heavenly.

  144. laura says...

    my newly found, but I can tell will be one of the all-time, faves is the sea salt chocolate chunk cookie.

    i wish they still had the light vanilla ice cream, which I found to be better than the regular vanilla ice cream and haven’t been able to find a grocery store replacement for it :'(

  145. a.n. says...

    the dark chocolate almonds are my all-time favorite. also, their ice cream cookie sandwiches, turkey corn dogs, and their frozen orange chicken with the veggie fried rice!

  146. b says...

    The first place I’m going when I’m vaccinated is to see my grandmother. The second place I’m going is Trader Joes.

    I don’t know if they’re seasonal, but the s’mores bites are delicious. Six seconds in the microwave makes them perfect – don’t eat without heating them up.

    • Meg says...

      B I don’t know if this helps but for what it’s worth, Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store in my neighborhood in terms of covid safety. My TJ’s has a strict capacity limit in the store and an employee stands at the door to count and enforce people-in vs. people-out, plus they’re enforcing masks and wiping down carts and baskets. Everybody is different but TJs feels pretty safe to me lately.

    • GF says...

      There’s a lot I can’t eat at trader joe’s because I’m vegan and gluten free and have a severe dairy allergy and so much of their stuff has a ‘may contain milk warning’ or gluten BUT I still love trader joe’s so so much. Some faves of ours:
      Frozen fruits and veggies (awesome price and taste…love the mixed berries, roasted corn, and broccoli florets)
      Garlic stuffed olives
      Plantain chips
      Veggie chili
      Flax seed tortilla chips
      Kale pesto
      Sweet potato gnocchi (pair it with the pesto and you won’t be sorry)
      Tea tree shampoo and conditioner
      Greeting cards (only $1 and so cute…stock up for snail mail and birthdays)

  147. Alex says...

    Their frozen chocolate croissants are hands down AMAZING. I dream of them– I’m not ashamed to admit it! Also, during fall, they have their frozen pumpkin toaster waffles. I bought 16 boxes last year. Also, not ashamed. :P

    • Caitlin says...

      Alex, based solely on your comment I think we could be friends!!

    • Jeannie says...

      loooooooove chocolate croissants!

    • Dani says...

      One year my husband has purchased a full case of Pumpkin Pancake mix so we could have it on hand year round. Worth it.

  148. AMK says...

    Ooh cauliflower gnocchi! Pan fry those little buddies and pour over your favorite sauce. The BEST! It even has its own IG account.

    Ooh and their soyrizo!! The best!! I am not a vegetarian but I prefer TJ’s soyrizo over pork or turkey chorizo. Mixed in with their seasoned potatoes with bell peppers that are in the frozen section. Soooo good!

    • ale n. says...

      i totally agree – the soyrizo they have there is fantastic! we’re not vegetarians in our house either, but i love throwing that in a skillet with onions, potatoes, tomatoes and eggs on weekend mornings. perfection.

    • laura says...

      tj’s soyrizo is the best type of chorizo, no competition.

    • suki says...

      I like the kale gnocchi – they are not like normal gnocchi, but they feel and taste healthy. I love them tossed together with roasted kabocha pumpkin cubes. The colors are cheerful and they taste great together.

      Also those 99cent peanut butter cups – what a deal and they taste great! I SO appreciate that it’s just a generous handful and for such a great price! They are so rich I can only eat about three at a time.

    • Rachel says...

      I used this religiously during my pregnancy (always within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower!), had a humongous belly and didn’t get any stretch marks. I know they say it’s genetics but since the other moms in my family have them, I give full credit to TJ’s body oil. Plus it does smell heavenly!

    • AMK says...

      @Rachel, I wish I knew about this oil when I was pregnant! I found some body butters that did the job but ooh this oil is just next level!

  149. Sweet potato gnocchi! I got the tip from an old COJ post about quick dinners! It is soooo good!

    • Simone says...

      Oh yes! I’d love if COJ did more TJ’s quick dinner ideas please!