Trader Joe’s Meals that Take 10 Minutes or Less



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Trader Joe's on the Double

For so many people, finding time in the day for a proper meal can seem like an exorbitantly big deal. Whether you’re trapped on the road with a long commute, working late, or juggling kids and a busy schedule, there are a host of reasons why you might not have more than 10 minutes to prepare some food. There is perhaps no grocery store that shines brighter for this issue than Trader Joe’s. Take a look at these quick and easy meal ideas from good ole’ TJ, all of which require 10 minutes or less to prepare.

Related: The 29 Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe's


Raviolis and Dry Pastas with Sauce

Time Needed: 4 to 7 Minutes, Stovetop

Here’s an easy meal for multitasking: pasta and sauce. Throw any of the Trader’s dry pastas or fresh raviolis into some boiling water for anywhere between four and seven minutes (depending on the pasta), and get some sauce going in a separate pan on the side. No need to fill up your pot all the way to the top, as it only wastes water and adds to your boil time.

Related: The Brands Behind Trader Joe's Most Popular Products


Bulgogi Beef Fried Rice

Time Needed: 7 Minutes, Stovetop

One of the hallmarks of the Trader Joe’s playbook is the strong selection of ethnic foods. Not many grocery stores excel like this, and certainly not at the TJ price point. The Bulgogi beef fried rice is a great example, packed full of kimchi and sesame oil-kissed Korean flavor. Seven minutes in a pan, and it’s good to go.

Related: 'Five Items or Less:' Trader Joe's Recipes From an Instagram Favorite


Indian Food

Time Needed: 5 to 7 Minutes, Microwave

Joe has always dedicated a special piece of his heart to Indian food, and the lineup remains strong. Vindaloos, kormas, curries, chickpeas, naans, samosas, and more are usually available in abundance, and mostly fall in between the range of five and seven minutes in the microwave.


Vegan Pasta Bolognese

Time Needed: 4 to 5 Minutes, Microwave

The Bolognese “meat” here is actually a combo of wheat protein and mushrooms, and the pasta is made from red lentils. This is a typically strong showing for Trader Joe’s meatless dishes, and ready in the microwave quickly.


Gluten & Dairy-Free Pancakes

Time Needed: 1 to 2 Minutes, Microwave

These could not possibly be easier for a quick breakfast in the morning. Depending on how many you’re microwaving, the pancakes heat up in a minute or two and bam: hot, steamy pancakes. Toss some maple syrup on there, grab a banana, and that’s a solid breakfast.


Layered Beef Tostada

Time Needed: 5 to 6 Minutes, Air Fryer

Air fryer owners worship their machines like jewels, so it’s a good call for Joe to throw some air fryer specialties into his first-rate frozen section. While the store is playing fast and loose with the word “tostada” (this is more of a sandwich, with enchilada sauce and ground beef between two crispy tortillas), this is ready in about five minutes, crisped up the way only air fryers can. 


Chicken Bowls

Time Needed: 4 to 5 Minutes, Microwave

For some more easily microwavable bowl action, chicken bowls are prime. Both the burrito bowl and Cuban-style bowls are solid, quick-to-microwave options. We like that burrito bowl, but for us, chicken thigh will always win over breast; the Cuban bowl cannot be topped. Hit it with a little cilantro garnish, if you’ve got any.


Cacio e Pepe

Time Needed: 7 Minutes, Stovetop

The deceptively simple, Bourdain-beloved pasta is one of the best things in the TJ freezer. Though it’s slightly more complicated than your average pasta as it requires three minutes out of the seven-minute cook time for a bit of steaming, it comes out like a charm. It remains one of the best possible choices for a quick lunch.


Pre-Marinated Beef

Time Needed: 7 to 10 Minutes, Stovetop

Bless those Trader Joe’s pre-marinated meats. The store has chicken and pork, but you’ll find the steak options to be a lot quicker on your stovetop. The marinades run the globe, featuring flavors from Mexico, Korea, and more.



Time Needed: 5 to 6 Minutes, Stovetop

Sometimes it seems like there is a different type of soup on every single aisle in this dang store, and that means it’s the type of store for us. Whether you’re looking at fresher, more refrigerated soups like White Bean Chicken Chili and Cheddar Broccoli, or drier, pantry-style soups like Pumpkin Bisque or Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper, TJ is stocked and ready for your soupy needs. Extra hungry? Toast up some crusty bread for dipping. 


Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Time Needed: 5 to 6 Minutes, Microwave

Trader Joe’s always seems to ride seasonal momentum quite well, so get nice and autumnal with the chain's Butternut Squash Mac. Nutmeg, sage, and roasty, glazy butternut squash really define the flavors of October and November; kick your mac and cheese up to a full, seasonal level in about five minutes.


Pre-Made Sandwiches & Salads

Time Needed: None

You won’t find anything easier than this beautiful wall of treats right here. The pre-made sandwiches and salads section throws nothing but heaters, with things ranging from spicy lentil wraps and turkey sandwiches to quinoa salads and harvest bowls. These things are done, ready, and need absolutely no prep time at all.