Shopping at Trader Joe’s can feel less like a necessity and more like an endless hunt for your new favorite product. There are hundreds of items to choose from, making it easy to overlook real gems that haven’t received the same fanfare as an unexpected block of cheddar or everything but bagel seasoning.
But think of us as Trader Joe’s investigators, because we’ve uncovered 12 dormant hits that are more than worthy of a place in your future shopping cart or basket. Check out our list below, which we are almost reluctant to share as we selfishly prefer these to remain in stock and not develop cult followings.
Cauliflower and Jalapeño Dip
Cauliflower isn’t the first ingredient we’ll likely turn to if we’re looking for a decadent dip. Bring the cheese, bring the ranch, bring anything dairy, but please don’t bring us the vegetables. Until now. This subtly spiced cheese concoction is a wonderful departure from the quesos and custards of yesteryear, especially if baked for a few minutes and served with crackers (or even cauliflower if you need to double).
Crispy onion chips
Avoid them on a first or second date for onion breath reasons, but finish an entire bag if you’re not planning on being out in public anytime soon. They are perhaps the most addictive snacks on this list with a sweet crunch and a harmonious balance between sweet and tangy flavors. Add them to salads in place of croutons or even on burgers for a nifty way to add onion flavor without having to serve them raw.
Mix of nuts and spices Dukkah
This blend of Middle Eastern nuts and spices is so much more than a bread and olive oil topping – it’s a lifestyle. You’ll soon find yourself using it as a marinade for meats or as a seasoning for roasted vegetables to create an effortless crust with flavors enhanced by the heat of the oven. It’s very liquoricey with anise and fennel seeds, so be warned if you consider yourself a picky eater.
Mochi Cake Mix
The only reason you may not have heard of this cake mix is that it almost instantly flies off the shelves when restocked. True Trader Joe’s fans know how deliciously chewy the treat tastes and feels, so they go a little crazy and buy two or three boxes every time it makes its triumphant return. Trust us when we tell you to do the same – it’s one of our all-time favorite desserts from the store and one of the easiest to whip up in a snap.
Steamed Chicken Soup Balls
“Chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side”, but replace the noodles with dumpling skin and the soda with pineapple sparkling water from Trader Joe and you will have an exceptional feast. It’s also a wonderful dinner option if you’re feeling down and Campbell’s boring can just isn’t up to par.
Icelandic Cherry Skyr
Your Greek yogurt is simmering. This thick, high-protein breakfast product with unrivaled creaminess and acidity is an improvement over anything that can accumulate mold in your refrigerator. Eat it straight from the container or toss it in a bowl with granola, nuts or sliced fruit for a morning gourmet experience.
Vegan Pasta Bolognese
Proud carnivores and Italian food purists might scoff at a vegan bolognese, but hear us out when we say this frozen dish is one of Trader Joe’s best. Its silky pasta is made with red lentils for extra protein, but it’s the lightly sweet aromatic sauce with tomato, carrot, onion, garlic, mushrooms and wheat protein that makes really this approved nonna.
Kalua pork spring rolls
You don’t have to fly to Maui to get a taste of Hawaii with Trader Joe’s all-new app: Kalua Pork Spring Rolls. Smoked pulled pork is wrapped in cellophane noodles, cabbage, onions, carrots and scallions to create a crispy spring roll that will only be enhanced by the presence of a sweet and sour sauce. Serve it on game day and you’ll see your guests snacking instead of screaming at the TV.
Fair Trade Cocoa Whole Milk Chocolate
Children aren’t the only ones drinking chocolate milk. And if they’re in your household, they’ll appreciate the fact that the special (and Fair Trade!) cocoa in this decadent bev comes from small family farms in northern Peru. Pour yourself a drink to satisfy any sweet tooth anytime of the day or use it as a post-workout pick-me-up to feed those sore muscles.
Buffalo Chicken Poppers
Has your air fryer seen anything better? We think not, at least when it comes to these Buffalo-style chicken poppers that feature grilled, diced white meat with cream cheese, fontina, cheddar, and Monterey Jack. The filling, spiced with a tangy cayenne pepper sauce, is folded into layers of filo pastry, battered, then fried to create a bite that will give any standard Buffalo wing a hard time.
Cinnamon bun spread
My anaconda doesn’t want it unless you have cinnamon rolls, honey. The spread, that is. Speculoos cookie butter may get all the love and publicity, but this cinnamon spread is an absolute star. Put it on toast, dab it on apple slices, or take it straight out of the jar (we won’t tell). There’s no wrong way to eat it and it’s sure to become a pantry staple.
Lavender and chamomile hand soap
Consider this a friendly reminder that Trader Joe’s offers so much more than food and drink. They have a beauty section complete with plant-derived products that not only nourish and cleanse the skin, but also leave it feeling soft and fragrant. This herbal lavender and chamomile hand soap is no exception and will actually make you want to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while you wash (per CDC recommendations).