I’m switching it up today, folks. We’re talking the best 21 items to get from Trader Joe’s!
If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably know by now that I lovvveee Trader Joe’s. Like, I could wander the aisles there for days. There’s always something fun/different/new to try – and they have SAMPLES. Not just pre-determined samples, though. You can take any item in the store (except raw meat/alcohol) up to an employee and they’ll bust it open so you can try some! Amazing.
Plus, their prices are pretty reasonable (they’re owned by the same company as Aldi), they’ve got lots of freh produce, organic options, and the friendliest employees ever!
So, here are our (my + Grant’s) top 21 picks from Trader Joe’s!
(Note: this post is not sponsored.)
1. Opal Apples
By far my favorite variety of apple! They’re sweet, crisp, and juicy. Absolute perfection!
Use it in this recipe: Gluten Free Apple Crisp
2. Pre-Cut Butternut Squash
Because cutting and peeling butternut squash is the WORST. I remember struggling SO HARD to cut a dang butternut squash in college – all my roommates + I had at our house was a semi-dull knife set. But, maybe this merits another try? I mean, we DO have a good set of knives now. But when I’m crunched for time – this is a winner!
Use it in this recipe: Healthy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
3. Caramel Sauce
Ok, do I even need an explanation for this one? Caramel is life! For those times when you don’t feel like making homemade caramel sauce. Dip your opal apples in it, bake with it, pour it over ice cream! You can’t go wrong.
Use it in this recipe: Skillet Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie
4. Peanut Butter Cups
These are the BEST PB cups I’ve ever had. Hands down. Perfect for baking or for just plain ‘ol snacking. They conveniently sell mini bags of these by the checkout for 99 cents. 9 times out of 10 they end up in our cart at checkout.
Use it in this recipe: Giant Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cup Cookie
5. Maple Leaf Cookies
In college, I had an amazing professor who brought us snacks from Trader Joe’s to class – literally every. single. time. (And she was amazing for her abilities as a professor – not just for her ability to provide the BEST snacks!). She brought these one day – I was instantly obsessed. I think they sell them year-round now, too, not just in the fall!
Use it in this recipe: Take cookie and place in mouth. Enjoy. Repeat.
6. Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
These are another cookie that I was introduced to by that wonderful professor! So good, not overly lemony, and so small that you can hardly feel bad about having 5…or 10!
7. Dark Chocolate Bar w/ Caramel + Black Sea Salt
SO DANG GOOD. Get ready to be hooked. The dark chocolate is dark enough without being totally bitter. The caramel is not overly sweet, either. Great for snacking! I like to have a square of dark chocolate after dinner most nights and this fits the bill perfectly.
8. Three Cheese Pomodoro Pasta Sauce
Grant LOVES this sauce! TJ’s was sampling a pasta dish one day when we were grocery shopping and they used this sauce. Needless to say, it soon found its way into our cart.
9. Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken and veggie fried rice are freezer staples for us! I normally don’t buy a lot of pre-made/freezer meal type things but Trader Joe’s consistently has clean ingredients in all their products so I don’t feel bad about buying these AT ALL. Perfect for those nights when there’s no food in the fridge! Grant is obsessed with these.
10. BBQ Chicken Teriyaki & 11. Mandarin Orange Chicken
Another great freezer staple! BBQ Chicken Teriyaki is my favorite, and Grant’s fave is the Mandarin Orange Chicken. Pair with their jasmine rice or one of the fried rice options above for an easy meal!
12. Roasted Potatoes w/ Peppers & Onions
This saved my butt in college so many times when I had no food prepped! Just throw it – frozen – in a skillet, heat it up, add some eggs, and you’ve got a big potato + veggie scramble! Throw in some bacon or sausage, too.
13. Party Size Mini Meatballs
Because every party needs mini meatballs, obviously. These are a great quick appetizer – heat them up in a crock pot with your favorite sauce!
14. Chile Lime Chicken Burgers
Grant and I both love these! They’re another great freezer staple, and they’re even Whole30 compliant! They only take a few minutes to cook, and go great in a lettuce wrap or on a bun.
15. Organic Superfood Pilaf
Sooo, clearly this is my secret-freezer-meal-stash section because this is yet ANOTHER freezer go-to. Lots of yummy veggies and hearty grains to fill you up when you’re short on prepped food!
16. Gnocchi Gorgonzola
This one is a total comfort food and we LOVE it. It’s creamy, cheesy, fast, and who doesn’t love gnocchi?? I sometimes add some spinach to this to make it into more of a balanced meal. So good.
17. French Brioche
This brioche makes the BEST french toast! Like, the best. Seriously. Hopefully I’ll have a recipe for french toast on the site sometime in the near future!
18. Garlic Naan
This is the best store-bought naan ever! I like to lightly toast it and spread it with avocado and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a quick and filling breakfast.
Because we all need some gnocchi in our lives. It’s just amazing and you can use it in so many ways!
Use it in this recipe: Chicken Gnocchi Soup or Gnocchi Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese
20. Caramelized Onion Dip + Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip
Perfect to take to all your summer bbqs, picnics, and Packer parties! I’m partial to the caramelized onion, and Grant loves the bacon cheddar ranch.
21. Scandinavian Swimmers
I saved the best for last! These are like Swedish fish, but with a cleaner ingredient list. These buddies are my best friend on road trips! I’ve been known to sneak them into movies in my purse, too. No shame in my gummy-candy-game!
Bonus Item: The Biggest Chocolate Bar Ever
Ok, it’s really called Pound Plus Chocolate, and it comes in lots of varieties like Milk, Dark, and I think there’s a few varieties with nuts. Great for baking or just plain munching. I won’t tell.
Honorary Mentions: The Liquor Section and their Greeting Cards
We’ve gotten some good-quality liquor here for a pretty good price. We bought bourbon here around Thanksgiving for my Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie, and their Peach Moscato is the ONLY wine I’ve ever tried that I actually like – I use it in these Peach Moscato Cupcakes and in Peach Strawberry Wine Slushies – so YUM!
TJ’s also has the BEST greeting cards – they have tons of fun and serious designs for all occasions and they’re only 99 cents. Amazing for the frugal ones (ME) who just can’t bear to spend $5 (?!?) on a simple card.
Well, that’s it! Our favorite items from Trader Joe’s. There’s probably more but I mean, I had to narrow it down some, right? Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? What are some of your favorite items? Let me know if there’s anything that you feel is a must-try that isn’t on this list!
Happy shopping + happy eating!
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