Speculoos Cookie Butter
Speculoos Cookie Butter by StarsApart (CC BY-SA)

The 29 Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

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Speculoos Cookie Butter
Speculoos Cookie Butter by StarsApart (CC BY-SA)

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Quirky Trader Joe's has amassed a following among grocery shoppers who appreciate its unique offerings, low prices, and emphasis on natural and organic goods. But newbies may not know where to start. Here are some can't-miss customer favorites to throw in the cart on your next TJ's run.


Prices and availability are subject to change. 


Related: What Not to Buy at Trader Joe's 

Speculoos Cookie Butter
Amazon

Speculoos Cookie Butter

$3.69

This is how big Trader Joe's cookie butter is: BuzzFeed's video of people tasting it for the first time has amassed more than 2 million views. "You could put this on my ex-boyfriend and it would make him better," one tester proclaims. The gingerbread-like spread can be slathered on everything from apple slices to bagels. Yes, please.


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Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola
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Gnocchi al Gorgonzola

$3.29

These fluffy gnocchi filled with a gorgonzola sauce are this author's favorite, and one of the best bets in the frozen food aisle. But don't take my word for it: Reviewers at TraderJoesFan.com also give it plenty of love. It's super-easy to prepare: Just toss it in a pan with a little oil, stirring occasionally for about seven minutes. Then try not to eat the whole package yourself.


Related: Why Trader Joe's Workers Are So Happy

Mandarin Orange Chicken
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Mandarin Orange Chicken

$4.99

This frozen dish, a store staple since 2004, regularly beats out the rest of Trader Joe's extensive lineup to be shoppers' favorite overall product in the grocer's customer choice awards. For a true takeout-like experience, TJ's recommends putting the thawed sauce in a hot pan instead of a microwave before tossing in the baked chicken. Yum.


Related: Trader Joe's Best Frozen Foods

Spiced Cider
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Spiced Cider

$2.99

Trader Joe's famous spiced cider is usually around only while it's cold out, but Influenster reviewers say this seasonal treat is worth the wait. "This is delicious cold, but I love to simmer it on the stove with cinnamon sticks, lemon rind, and fresh cranberries for a festive treat," one devotee says. "Bonus points if you add in a shot of bourbon or whiskey to keep you extra warm."


Related: Comfort Foods for a Cozy Fall Meal


Italian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Italian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

$5.99

This organic olive oil (not to be confused with its non-organic counterpart) punches far above its weight. Experts at The Tasting Table say it's one of their favorite store-bought olive oils, beating out several name brands that are double the price. TJ's puts it among its "fruity and fresh" varieties, with a peppery pungency that will elevate almost any dish.


Related: Over 50 Store-Brand Foods That Deliver Quality and Savings

French Vanilla Ice Cream
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French Vanilla Ice Cream

$6.49

Who needs name-brand ice cream when there's Trader Joe's? That's the consensus of several expert taste testers, including our own. Setting the flavor apart from the competition: A custardy texture that makes for a richer taste and feel. TJ's also brags that it actually still sells half-gallons of this stuff for the price, while other manufacturers have shrunk their containers.


Related: Best Store-Bought Desserts From Costco, Trader Joe's, and Aldi

Pork Gyoza Potstickers
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Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
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Charles Shaw Wine
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Charles Shaw Wine

$3.99

Yes, this is the infamous "Two Buck Chuck." And no, it's no longer two bucks. Still, Charles Shaw remains one of the best wines at a cheaper-than-cheap price point. A sommelier even gives the merlot, shiraz, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon respectable reviews during a taste test (you may want to steer clear of the white zinfandel, though).


Related: Best House Wines From Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe's

Unexpected Cheddar
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Unexpected Cheddar

$3.99

What's so unexpected about this unassuming block of cheese? Perhaps the fact that it marries the goodness of cheddar with hints of parmesan. Or perhaps the love it inspires among food writers and customers. Today calls it a "knock-it-out-of-park pick for any cheese plate," and shoppers rate it their favorite cheese in the chain's recent customer choice awards.

Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches

$4.79

Another author's favorite here. These things are just decadent: Creamy vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies, and then more — lots more — chocolate chips are sprinkled along the side. These frozen treats also made the list of TJ's top 50 products of all time, released for the grocer's 50th anniversary.


Curious about how Trader Joe's sandwiches stack up against other brands? Check out our ice cream sandwich taste test.

Soy Chorizo
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Soy Chorizo

$2.29

Put it in a taco, chili, or frittata — really, it can go in anything. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to cut back on red meat, customers say the Soy Chorizo is king of meat-alternative products at TJ's. "Will I buy it again? Absofreakinlutely," raves the Exploring Trader Joe's fan site. "Top Ten item and one that I plan to keep on hand as a staple all the time."


Related: Can't Get Ground Beef? This Meatless Burger Fooled Our Tasters

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
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Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

$7.99

Adding water or milk to this Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate yields a more refreshing way to get a java buzz, and a 32-ounce bottle yields about three times that in drinkable beverages. Influenster reviewers are fans of the price — it's way cheaper than a lot of the competition — and the taste.


Related: How to Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee and Save

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

$4.49

This sweet treat shows up as a favorite on TJ's most recent customer choice awards and its list of 50 all-time favorites. It even merits the No. 1 spot in a taste test that pits store brands against Reese's. What makes them so good? TJ's says it's actually what's not in them: artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.


Related: Chocolate Chip Cookie Taste Test

Green Dragon Hot Sauce
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Green Dragon Hot Sauce

$3.29

 
Another staple that shows up on current and all-time favorite lists, this hot sauce is set apart from the competition, devotees say, by the fact it's so well-balanced. "It's not just heat and nothing else," says fan blog What's Good at Trader Joe's. "There's plenty of roasted sweetness from tomatillos with some added flavor depth from lime juice and garlic … and cilantro to add a herby twist."


Related: Condiments From Around the World to Add Zing To Every Meal

Coconut Body Butter
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Coconut Body Butter

$5.49

Trader Joe's has a more limited selection of toiletries and household goods than some shoppers may be used to. But one standout in that aisle, shoppers say, is the lightly scented Coconut Body Butter. Aside from pure coconut oil, other skin-pampering ingredients include vitamin E, aloe vera, and shea butter. "This stuff is magic," one Influenster reviewer raves. "This cream is thick, rich … and comes at a steal of a price."

Brewed Ginger Beer
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Brewed Ginger Beer

$3.99

Another beverage that made TJ's all-time and recent customer favorites list, this ginger beer with hints of lemon and lime is non-alcoholic — but much more intense than the average ginger ale, reviewers caution. (TJ's fan blog Eating at Joe's calls it "the whiskey of the soda world," made for sipping rather than guzzling). True ginger lovers can look for the seasonal Triple Ginger Brew, an even more intense concoction, during the holidays.


Related: Holiday Treats From Trader Joe's You Don't Want to Miss

Just Mango Slices
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Just Mango Slices

$2.99

This longtime customer favorite is as simple as it sounds: a bag of dried mango slices, and that's it. There are no artificial flavors, preservatives, or other junk, and fans like it that way. Influenster reviewers say this simple treat is healthier than most, affordable, and most importantly, tasty: "They're sugary sweet with tons of fresh mango flavor," one devotee says. "The texture is even better than other dried mangos."


Related: 20 Most Decadent Desserts That Aren't Chocolate

Black Bean and Jack Cheese Burrito
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Black Bean and Cheese Burrito

$2.99

Looking for a cheap, filling meal that's easy to eat on the go or during a quick lunch break? Try the Black Bean and Jack Cheese Burrito, available with other prepared foods in the refrigerated section. These 10-ounce burritos are easy to zap in the microwave and top with a favorite salsa. Freezer Meal Frenzy calls these "about as basic as it gets, but by no means is that a bad thing. In fact, this burrito is fantastic."


Related: 17 Easy-to-Make Foods to Stop Buying at the Store

Chunky Salsa
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Chunky Salsa

$1.99

Speaking of salsa, TJ's makes some of the best cheap stuff you can buy, according to Cheapism testers. Its Chunky Salsa "is bright with tomato acidity and spicy but not too hot." If you're in the mood for something less mainstream, there are other varieties on the shelf, including a well-regarded tomato-free corn and chile salsa and an uber-hot habanero ghost pepper salsa.

Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
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Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

$2.99

There should be some delicious chips to soak up some of that salsa. Our taste testers give two thumbs-up to TJ's Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, calling them surprisingly flaky and light, unlike other blue corn chips that can be heavy and grainy. These chips get a mention on several fan blogs as among the best of TJ's chip options, too. (Don't confuse them with the Organic Stone Ground Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, which are thicker and intentionally grainier, as they feature amaranth, quinoa, and chia seeds.)


Related: The 20 Least Unhealthy Junk Foods

Everything But the Elote Seasoning
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Everything But the Elote Seasoning

$2.49

This riff on the oh-so-popular Everything But the Bagel, a newer addition to TJ's, is a mouthwatering mix of chile pepper, sea salt, cheese, cumin, and chipotle. "I am already obsessed with this seasoning and am putting it on all the things," raves Feasible Feast. "I have yet to find something this is not great on, though I haven’t put it in my coffee — yet."


Related: 19 Spices and Sauces to Keep Home-Cooked Meals Interesting


Cauliflower Gnocchi
Amazon
Plantain Chips
Trader Joe's

Plantain Chips

$1.79


This customer-approved snack is a longtime TJ's staple and a less-fatty alternative to potato chips. Sweet and salty, they're imported from Peru and have only three ingredients: plantains, sunflower oil, and salt. If you want a little more heat, Trader Joe's also introduced a jerk-style flavor last year.

Hold the Cone
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Hold the Cone

$3.29


They're not big enough to be a full-fledged dessert, so we put these delectable little chocolate-covered ice cream cones firmly in the snack category. They're great for portion control, when you just want something small but sweet. And they've been a customer favorite for several years. 


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

Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
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Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers

$1.99


These crunchy delights debuted to near-universal praise a couple years ago. And yes, they're a fantastic conduit for your condiment of choice, but the surprisingly complex seasoning means they're plenty good enough to nosh on by themselves. As What's Good at Trader Joe's raves: "There's habanero spice and good pepper bite and all sorts of other things really going on that I'm not 100% sure how to explain except … dang."

Trader Joes Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice
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Trader Joe's Salted Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets
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Salted Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets

$2.49


Personal story: On a pre-pandemic trip to a waterpark, three picky 8-year-olds demolished a bag of these in 5 minutes flat. There must be something magical about the pretzel-to-peanut-butter ratio, because a subsequent imposter from Costco was flatly rejected by the same crowd. Trader Joe's customers agree: These are worth the space in your pantry.

Trader Joe's Joe's Diner Mac n Cheese
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