Speculoos Cookie Butter Trader Joe's
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30 Under-the-Radar Trader Joe's Pantry Staples

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Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce Trader Joe's
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Soup to Nuts

Everyone is well aware of popular Trader Joe's products like Mandarin Orange Chicken and those amazing peanut butter cups, but what about the less exciting pantry staples? Many of those products, from barbecue sauce to chocolate chips, are easy to overlook when you're surrounded by new and enticing items that TJ's loves to change seasonally. Next time you're shopping, take an extra long look at the canned goods aisle and fill your cart with some of these outstanding staples.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


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Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce Trader Joe's
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Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

$2.99


Kansas City-style barbecue sauce will please all kinds of eaters since it's well balanced with heat, sweet, and tang. The Trader Joe's version is no exception, and fans love its just-thick-enough consistency and rich tomato base.


Related: Things No One Should Buy at Trader Joe's

Cento San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes Trader Joe's
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Cento San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes

$3.99


These canned tomatoes are one of the items TJ's carries that aren't privately labeled for them, perhaps because Cento is such a well-known brand among Italian food lovers. The tomatoes are packed with only sea salt and basil, so they break down easily in a sauce and have a natural sweetness. 

White Basmati Rice Trader Joe's
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White Basmati Rice

$2.99


Basmati rice is long grained and fragrant, and this bag always cooks up with fluffy and separate grains using minimal effort. Just make sure to rinse before cooking to remove some starch, then enjoy the rice with Indian curries or TJ's own Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets Trader Joe's
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Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

$2.49


These peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets took off in popularity recently and people can't get enough. They are a crunchy, salty, and slightly sweet snack that lasts a long time in the pantry. It's also easy to grab a handful when you're feeling peckish.


Related: The Best Snacks at Trader Joe's

Sweet Chili Sauce Trader Joe's
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Calrose Rice Trader Joe's
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Calrose Rice

$2.49


Calrose is a variety of rice that originated in California and was the prominent variety grown there for many years. It's got a medium grain that cooks up soft and is pretty sticky, lending itself to be used in sushi and other Japanese dishes. 

Organic Toasted Sesame Oil Trader Joe's
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Organic Toasted Sesame Oil

$2.99


Sesame oil is essential for a lot of Asian dishes, so if you find yourself making things like stir fries and fried rice often, pick up one of these bottles. The sesame seeds are toasted, adding an intense nuttiness, so you only need a little bit to flavor a whole dish.


Related: Why Trader Joe’s Employees Are Surprisingly Helpful and Happy

Soyaki Trader Joe's
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Soyaki

$3.29


A Trader Joe's classic, Soyaki is the store's version of teriyaki sauce. It's thin enough that you can use it as a marinade for all kinds of meats and vegetables, use it as a sauce for salmon, or try this Instant Pot recipe for Soyaki chicken bowls.

Organic Creamy Tomato Soup Trader Joe's
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Organic Creamy Tomato Soup

$2.99


You'll quickly forget about Campbell's if you start dunking your grilled cheese into this (not condensed) creamy tomato soup. It's thick and rich, with a deep and slightly sweet tomato flavor. And the best part is the carton has a cap so you don't have to use the entire package in one go.

Organic Free Range Chicken Broth Trader Joe's
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Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

$1.99


Finding a good chicken broth can be difficult, since they mostly taste like the can they came in. But this broth has won taste tests, is made with free-range, organic chickens, and is low calorie and low fat. Plus, it's only $2 a quart.

Enchilada Sauce Trader Joe's
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Enchilada Sauce

$2.49


Canned enchilada sauce quality can vary wildly between brands, so stick with this bottled version that's bursting with cumin and chile flavor. It's also pretty thick, so it coats your tortillas and bakes up in a casserole beautifully.

Organic Vodka Sauce Trader Joe's
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Organic Vodka Sauce

$2.69


There's nothing better than opening a jar of pasta sauce on a busy weeknight and having dinner on the table in 20 minutes. Skip overly sweet brands like Prego and try this unique vodka sauce instead. It's made with heavy cream and cheese for a slightly creamy finish, and the vodka only makes the tomato flavor more intense.

Salsa Autentica Trader Joe's
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Salsa Autentica

$1.99


At Trader Joe's there are a ton of salsas to choose from, in both jarred and fresh varieties. This Salsa Autentica is the cheapest there is at only $2, but it's also one of the best. It's pureed with just a few chunks, and clings to tortilla chips. If you bring this to a party, it'll be gone surprisingly fast.

Dijon Mustard Trader Joe's
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Dijon Mustard

$1.69


Dijon mustard has all kinds of uses in the kitchen beyond sandwiches. It's great for making simple pork or chicken pan sauces, adding depth to vinaigrettes, and mixing with honey for dipping sauce. It's made with white wine in oak barrels in France, and it's inexpensive to boot.

Nonpareille Capers Trader Joe's
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Nonpareille Capers

$2.79


Like Dijon mustard, capers can be a great but overlooked addition to a dish. They add a big tart and tangy punch of flavor to everything,9o0 but in a tiny package. They're a classic ingredient in chicken piccata, and they're amazing tossed with angel hair and lemon or in tuna salad.

Fire Roasted Red Peppers Trader Joe's
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Fire Roasted Red Peppers

$1.99


It's difficult to find a big jar of roasted red bell peppers elsewhere for only $2. The roasted peppers are soft, sweet, and already have the charred skin removed. Use them on a cheese board or put them into panini sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and basil.

Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce Trader Joe's
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Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce

$2.99


Think of this Bomba sauce like an Italian hot sauce. Unlike most hot pepper products that are pickled, this one is fermented, so it's got a depth of flavor that many lack. The Calabrian chiles are pretty hot, and the sauce is great to use on pizza, swirled into hummus, or as a sandwich spread

Italian Tomato Paste Trader Joe's
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Italian Tomato Paste

$1.29


There is one thing that makes this tomato paste stand out: It's in a tube. If you're used to using a few spoonfuls out of a can and then throwing most of it away, you need to start buying this immediately. All you do is squirt out however much you need, then put the cap back on and throw it in the fridge. You'll save money because it's so cheap and you won't be throwing any away.

Furikake Trader Joe's
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Furikake Rice Seasoning

$2.49


If you eat a lot of rice in your house but haven't tried furikake, you need to pick this up next time you're at TJ's. It's a Japanese rice seasoning made with little bits of dried seaweed, black and white sesame seeds, and salt, and it gets sprinkled onto plain rice like confetti. It's ubiquitous in Japan and it's easy to see why once you try it.

Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil Trader Joe's
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Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

$7.49


The little pour spout that comes with these quart bottles of cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil is everything. Just pop it in the neck of the bottle — it fits nice and tightly — and it allows you to pour just the right amount of oil quickly and without any mess. 

Fig Butter Trader Joe's
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Fig Butter

$2.49


A fan of Fig Newtons? This smooth and almost creamy fig butter tastes just like them, only not nearly as sweet, thankfully. Keep a jar in the pantry to whip out when company comes over with some cheese and crackers, and you'll look like a genius. A thin smear is also great on turkey sandwiches or your morning bagel.

Speculoos Cookie Butter Trader Joe's
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Speculoos Cookie Butter Spread

$3.69


This Speculoos cookie butter took the internet by storm a few years ago and became really trendy. Think of it as spice cookies in spreadable form, to be used similarly to Nutella. It's a customer and staff favorite treat whether you spread it on an English muffin or drizzle it warm on ice cream.


Related: Best Store-Bought Desserts from Trader Joe's

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Trader Joe's
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Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

$1.99


Even with prices going up across the board lately, these chocolate chips have stayed $2 for years. It's a pretty standard chocolate chip, which is to say that these chips are great for any baking project. But good luck finding a good chip for this price anywhere else. If you prefer chunks, they have those too, though they're a bit more expensive.


Related: The Most Expensive Products at Trader Joe's

Shelf Stable Whipping Cream Trader Joe's
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Shelf Stable Whipping Cream

$1.39


Who knew that whipping cream could be made shelf stable? A carton lasts up to six months in your pantry no problem, so you can have it on hand when you feel like making an impromptu Alfredo sauce or chocolate mousse. It really expands the possibilities of clear-out-the-pantry cooking.

Sipping Chocolate Trader Joe's
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Sipping Chocolate

$4.99


Sipping chocolate is a powdered hot cocoa mix that's for chocolate obsessives. It makes rich, thick, creamy hot chocolate that's pure decadence. Sure, it's more expensive than Swiss Miss, but this is stuff you'll want to hide away from the kids and enjoy occasionally.

Joe's O's Trader Joe's
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Joe's O's

$1.99


Look, they're just Cheerios, every toddler's favorite snack cereal. But they're way cheaper. Seems like a win-win.

Chewy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Bars Trader Joe's
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Chewy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Bars

$3.49


Protein bars can be super pricey, even when you buy them in bulk. But these chocolate and peanut butter ones are only 70 cents per bar. Plus, they have 10 grams of protein in each one, more than most of the other big name brands.

Soft and Juicy Dried Mango Trader Joe's
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Soft and Juicy Dried Mango

$2.29


This bag of soft and juicy dried mango is a TJ's best seller, according to the helpful sign. And it's no surprise given that the mangos are incredibly sweet and taste like the pure essence of mango. You and your kids will happily snack on these in lieu of candy. 

Rainbow's End Trail Mix Trader Joe's
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Rainbow's End Trail Mix

$3.99


There are a ton of trail mixes to choose from at Trader Joe's, but the standard combination of peanuts, raisins, and chocolate is always tops. This Rainbow's End mix also includes almonds for a little variety, and it's just salty enough to counteract the sweetness of the chocolate and raisins.

3-Pack Chocolate Bars Trader Joe's
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3-Pack Chocolate Bars

$1.79


If you do any kind of regular baking, these packs of three chocolate bars are an absolute must. Sure, they're delicious enough to just eat as a snack, but they also make the most decadent brownies you've ever had. They come in a number of varieties, but for baking the 72% cacao and dark chocolate are tops.