The 25 Best Frozen Foods You Need from Trader Joe’s
Just when you thought Trader Joe's couldn't get any better—you walk down the frozen food aisle. Here's what to look for!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Low-carb eaters, Trader Joe’s has your best solution to that pesky pizza problem: Pick up this cauliflower pizza crust, and you can have your slice any day you want. One-sixth of a pizza is only 80 calories and 17 grams of carbs. There’s no need to pre-bake or thaw this crust either. The low-carb veggie crust can go from freezer to topping station to oven in minutes.
Shiitake Mushroom Chicken
Juicy dark-meat chicken and hearty mushrooms mingle with crisp edamame and snappy green beans for a budget-friendly (a bag with four servings is just $5) weeknight dinner. The chicken mixture cooks quickly and can be served with whole-grain brown rice for a reasonably healthy fast food-like dinner. Indeed, despite a soy sauce-based glaze, this frozen mixture manages to maintain reasonable sodium levels. That’s not something you can say for your average takeout option. Find out the things Trader Joe’s employees want you to know.
Frozen Veggie Burgers
If you picture stale, flavorless pucks when you think of frozen veggie burgers, Trader Joe’s options will surprise you. “I love stocking up on frozen veggie burgers from Trader Joe’s. My favorites are the Quinoa Cowboy, Vegetable Masala, and Thai Sweet Chili,” says Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in Boston. “Their first ingredients are whole foods like potatoes, rice, and quinoa. The Quinoa Cowboy burger has 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and only 12 percent of your daily value of sodium, which is low for frozen foods.”
Unsweetened Organic Açai Puree Packets
Most açai bowls and smoothies are overloaded with sugar. Even all-natural sweeteners like honey can add loads of unnecessary calories and grams of sugar to your antioxidant-rich fruit food. This one, however, is unsweetened, which gives you greater control. Even better, these packets are a bargain compared to similar frozen açai smoothie blends. One box of four 3.5-ounce packets will cost you $5. Some brands sell one serving for the same price, and what you can buy in a smoothie shop is guaranteed to be more expensive than even that.
Channa Masala Pasties
Some spices lose their potency while frozen, but Trader Joe’s Channa Masala still manages to be incredibly vibrant and tantalizing, despite the chill of the freeze. Indeed, most Trader Joe’s frozen Indian dishes are reliably good. Serve with a bit of naan (you’ll find some great options in the freezer section, too), and you’ve got an incredible meal in minutes. “It has flavors to satisfy your ethnic food cravings, with veggies and protein-providing garbanzo beans to boot,” says Kristen Wilk, MS, RDN.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip
There will be days when you crave the comforts of ooey-gooey cheesy dips, and Trader Joe’s delivers with their Spinach & Artichoke Dip, sans a trip to a restaurant. You can use this as your go-to potluck pick. It’ll be scooped up before you finish putting out the chips. You can have it all to yourself, too. Movie night at home will be better for it. You can even use it for a fun dinner, serving it atop sauteed chicken breasts with a fresh side salad.
Cannelés de Bordeaux
Impress your guests with an exquisite dessert that looks like you learned pastry skills from France’s best chefs. The secret, however, is a $4 box of cannelés, cylindrical cakes that bake tall and proud in miniature fluted pans. Their taste is far better than their appearance, if that’s possible, with a caramel-flavored crisp crust and a velvety, custard-like interior with striking notes of fresh vanilla bean. You don’t have to bake these. Instead, leave them to thaw on your counter while you and your guests complete dinner. They’ll thaw as you dine. Here’s why Trader Joe’s is so cheap.
Organic Brown Rice
Many of the best frozen foods at Trader Joe’s need a faithful companion side, and frozen Organic Brown Rice can be it. A package of the pre-cooked rice heats through in just three minutes, so you can have the main dish and the starchy side ready quickly—faster than takeout, that’s for sure. The brown rice, which is a whole grain, delivers 10 percent of your daily fiber need in one serving. Plus, this rice isn’t seasoned with unnecessary salt.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
You can buy pre-made gnocchi in the pasta aisle, and it’s usually good, but this sweet potato variety is worth seeking out in the frozen aisle. Because of the naturally sweet, delicately nutty flavor, you don’t need a lot of additional ingredients to turn these potato dumplings into a delicious meal. They come cooked in butter and sage, so you only need to add a sprinkle of Parmesan. Here are 9 things you should only buy at Trader Joe’s.
Organic Mixed Berry Blend
Some of the best things at Trader Joe’s are the simplest. The Organic Mixed Berry Blend is a prime example of that standard. These berries have no added flavorings or sweeteners. They’re exactly what you expect: just frozen strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. But they’re organic, which means no pesticides. That makes their $3 to $4 price tag a real surprise. Some small bags of frozen organic berries, which are ideal for smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt toppers can near $10.
Pork Gyoza Potstickers
Potstickers move from appetizer to dinner when you drop them in a steaming pot of chicken broth, spinach, and other veggies for an easy soup. If you decide to serve these with dinner or as an appetizer for friends, you really don’t need an extra dipping sauce (though Trader Joe’s has a great Gyoza Dipping Sauce). The pork filling in these potstickers is well seasoned, so most people will be happy with a few dumplings just as they are.
Frozen Turkey Meatballs
What can’t you do with meatballs? They’re great in soup or served atop pasta. They fit nicely between sides of bread. They can be appetizers when cooked in a sticky-sweet glaze. They’re even great in a cream sauce with mashed potatoes. Skip the messy steps of making your own with these frozen versions, and you’ll never regret the $4 a 16-ounce bag will cost you. Find out the foods nutritionists always buy at Trader Joe’s.
Macarons are delicate. They quickly dry out and turn stale in the open air, which is why these frozen sweets are such a surprise. They’re also typically quite expensive, one cookie costing as much as $2 each. But a box of macarons from Trader Joe’s are $5 for one dozen and once thawed, they’re crisp, tender, and filled with a sweet custard that manages to taste quite fresh. Plus, one cookie is only 45 calories, so buy an extra box or two. These will go fast.
Beef Shepherd’s Pie
A savory filling of shredded beef, carrots, and peas is usually topped with a hefty dose of mashed potatoes, but this version shifts the ratio so you get more of the saucy shepherd’s pie and a just-right serving of potatoes. It’s the ultimate in comfort food, ready in mere minutes. While higher in sodium than some of Trader Joe’s other frozen foods, it has 20 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement. Here are the Trader Joe’s items you should never buy.
Frozen Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
Breakfast hash is one step closer to finished when you pick up a bag of these frozen spuds. Skip roasting your own, and just heat these. Then top with a fried egg for a super comforting and filling breakfast or brunch option. You can even add a few links of hot sausage, a bit of cheese, and fresh salsa for a weeknight meal. And when you need things to be super simple, these roasted potatoes can just be a simple side.
Macaroni and Cheese
The macaroni and cheese are some of the best frozen food at Trader Joe’s. This meal is perfect as a workday lunch or an easy dinner to whip up for the kids. It has the perfect cheese-to-pasta ratio and it isn’t dry at all. Plus! It features four cheeses: cheddar, Havarti, Gouda, and Swiss.
Riced Cauliflower Bowl
The best part of this vegan meal could be its price tag ($3), but it definitely doesn’t skimp on flavor, either. The riced cauliflower is loaded with tofu, sweet potatoes and onions and seasoned with chili powder and garlic for a slight kick. It also contains soy sauce and tahini, and those two pair surprisingly well.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Asian food requires such a delicate flavor balance, so it’s a challenge to find a really good frozen Asian chicken dish. But once again, Trader Joe’s makes no mistakes with their mandarin orange chicken. California orange peels, ginger, green onions, and soy sauce bring everything together. Don’t miss the history behind the real Trader Joe.
Mushroom and Spinach Quiche
Quiche is easy to find in nearly any grocery store, but Trader Joe’s vegetarian version is tough to beat. It’s hard to hit that perfect veggie-to-egg ratio, but this quiche manages to do that and then some with all the mushroom and spinach. Plus, the crust is flaky, making it taste like it’s homemade without the effort you’d put into a from-scratch quiche.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Frozen chocolate covered strawberries might be the easiest dessert we’ve ever heard of—and they’re a lot less expensive than ordering a bunch fresh. You don’t even need to defrost these. Just pull out the strawberries, which are dipped in dark chocolate before being flash frozen, and enjoy.
Trader Joe’s potato pancakes pack potatoes and onions into a cake that’s similar to a hash brown in texture. But unlike hash browns, these pancakes have the beautiful flavor of onion. They’re easy enough to microwave or cook in a pan or oven, depending on your desired crispness.
Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry
The cauliflower stir-fry is a low-carb version of the classic Chinese dish. Making something healthy can sometimes lead to sacrificing flavor, but this stir-fry manages to lower the carb count while still tasting like fried rice. It’s loaded with other veggies, too, such as onions, peppers, and peas.
Sriracha Shrimp Bowl
Sriracha is a tricky ingredient; it’s spicy, so having exactly the right amount is crucial to getting great flavor. The Sriracha shrimp bowl manages to add a kick to tasty shrimp without making you reach for the water after every bite. It’s loaded with broccoli, edamame and baby corn, among other veggies.
Peaches and Cream Tart
This peachy dessert is so much better than you’d expect for a frozen tart. We’re talking fresh peaches, sweet cream cheese, and a flaky crust that makes it feel like it was just baked. You can warm it in the microwave, but it’s even better in the oven.
Chicken Burrito Bowl
Step aside, Chipotle! The Trader Joe’s chicken burrito bowl is a force to be reckoned with—for frozen food, that is. It won’t taste as fresh as making one from scratch. But it’s pretty healthy and comes with a sauce that is so good, it could be eaten by itself. Next, check out the frozen foods you should always buy at Costco.