This Is the Number 1 Trader Joe’s Product, According to Customers
Trader Joe's most popular foods have a cult-like following, complete with fan Instagram accounts and unique hashtags. Here, the results of Trader Joe's 10th Annual Customer Choice Awards so you can know exactly what to grab the next time you're at the store.
15. Favorite seasonal food: Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s
Though you might not be able to find them outside holiday months, the peppermint-studded chocolate sandwich cookies fly off the shelf come fall. They’re delicious dunked in milk (as are the other Joe-Joe’s flavors you can find year-round), but you can make them extra special with a drizzle of chocolate. Runners-up in this category include Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s; Jingle Jangle (a candy mix); Mini Mint Stars; and Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix. These are the best frozen foods at Trader Joe’s.
14. Favorite vegan/vegetarian: Soy Chorizo
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate this meat-free sausage. The versatile vegan meat alternative is great in breakfast tacos, soups, egg scrambles, vegetable hash, and more—and it serves up 60 percent less fat than traditional chorizo varieties. Trader Joe’s says their Soy Chorizo is “made just for us by a small company that specializes in chorizo,” which might explain why it’s such a stand-out among TJ’s great variety of vegan and vegetarian foods. Customers looking for meat-free options also like Cauliflower Gnocchi; Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto; Vegan Tikka Masala; and Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers. Nutritionists always buy these foods from Trader Joe’s.
13. Favorite snack: Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
For the incredibly low price of $1.99, you can get a big (one pound) bag of poppable peanut butter-filled pretzel bites to satisfy your serious snacking appetite. This is the third year these crispy pillows of creamy peanut butter paradise have ranked first in the Favorite Snack category, and for good reason: they hit every important snack note: crispy, creamy, salty, and slightly sweet. Runners-up for best Trader Joe’s snacks include Roasted Plantain Chips; Organic Corn Chip Dippers; World’s Puffiest White Cheddar; and Bamba (puffed peanut snacks).
12. Favorite produce: Teeny tiny avocados
If smaller is better when it comes to your favorite fruits and vegetables, you’re in luck: Trader Joe’s Teeny Tiny Avocados rank number one in the Trader Joe’s 10th Annual Customer Choice Awards. They’re appreciated because the small size is easy to use up in one sitting—Trader Joe’s calls them the “Where have you been all my life?”-sized avocados. They’re also bargain priced at less than $3 for six avocados. Other favorite Trader Joe’s produce includes bananas; avocados; shaved Brussels sprouts; and Honeycrisp apples. You can save your money and skip these 11 Trader Joe’s foods.
11. Favorite meat: Carne Asada Autentica
You can call this pre-marinated meat product “dinner in a bag” because all the hard work of creating and marinating tender steak is done for you the moment you pick it up from the meat case at Trader Joe’s. Look for a pre-sliced version if you want to save even more time. All you need to do to put this “BBQ champ” on a dinner plate is a quick sear on a hot grill or heated cast-iron skillet. Be sure to try the other favorite meats: Lemon Rosemary Spatchcocked Chicken; Chicken Shawarma Thighs; Applewood Smoked Bacon; and Turkey Meatballs.
10. Favorite meal on the go: Black Bean Jack Cheese Burrito
Trader Joe’s ready-made section of foods is extensive, which is great for eaters who need a healthy lunch or dinner in a hurry. This microwavable burrito, which also ranked first in the Crew Member’s list of favorite lunches, is filled with seasoned black beans and Monterey Jack cheese, wrapped in a tender flour tortilla. Each burrito is a wallet-friendly $2.99, making this a bargain lunch compared to many fast-food options. Trader Joe’s Rainbow Wrap, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tofu Spring Rolls, and Mediterranean Style Orzo Pasta Salad also get rave reviews from customers. Find out why Trader Joe’s is so cheap.
9. Favorite entrée: Mandarin Orange Chicken
Hong Vo/ShutterstockIt’s hard to overstate how much Trader Joe’s customers love Mandarin Orange Chicken. The mixture of tender chicken and zippy citrus sauce gets rave reviews (and repeat buys) year after year since first showing up in 2004. A 22-ounce bag, which is enough for one large family dinner or two smaller meals, is less than $5. Serve with brown rice and steamed veggies for a fabulous meal in minutes. Customers also gave a thumbs up to Trader Joe’s entrees including Cauliflower Gnocchi; Chicken Tikka Masala; Sweet Potato Gnocchi; and Kung Pao Chicken.
8. Favorite dessert: Hold the Cone! Mini Vanilla Ice Cream Cones
These novelty ice cream treats earn the favored spot because their mini size makes them great for dessert lovers of all sizes. Mini crispy waffle cones are filled with chocolate and topped with creamy soft-serve ice cream. They’re then dunked in chocolate which hardens to a delicate shell before packaging. Look for both chocolate and vanilla options (or buy both) for $2.99 per box of eight. Runners-up for favorite dessert include Macaron Variés; Gone Bananas; Chocolate Lava Cakes; and Key Lime Pie. You can find these cheap buys only at Trader Joe’s.
7. Favorite condiment: Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
Practically every Trader Joe’s shopper has heard of the famed Everything But The Bagel seasoning, a blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt, dried garlic, and dried onions. The potent flavor is reminiscent of corner bagel shop fare, which makes it great to add to plain bagels for a burst of savory flavor. You can also stir it into scrambled eggs or use it atop seared tuna, chicken, or steak. Other favorite Trader Joe’s condiments include Blue Cheese Mustard (seasonal); Green Dragon Hot Sauce; Organic Ketchup; and Sweet Chili Sauce.
6. Favorite cheese: Unexpected Cheddar Cheese
Trader Joe’s cheese section is surprisingly robust for a small-scale grocery store, so don’t underestimate its variety and offerings before your next party. Customers selected the Unexpected Cheddar Cheese as their favorite for its tangy cheddar bite, smooth creaminess, and slightly crumbly texture. However, the most unexpected part of this cheese may be the tiny bits of salt crystallization, a discovery that moves this cheese toward a well-aged Parmesan or Gruyère. While you’re in the cheese case, be sure to grab other favorites like Coastal Syrah Toscano; French Brie; Cheddar with Caramelized Onions; and Triple Crème Brie. Here’s why Trader Joe’s bananas only cost 19 cents.
5. Favorite candy: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
The iconic combination of chocolate and peanut butter gets a sophisticated upgrade with the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate variety. Subtle hints of bittersweet chocolate blunt the sweet peanut butter filling. Their mini size makes them great for a quick bit of sweet after a meal or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. The peanut butter cups are also available in milk chocolate, and be sure to look for the favorite candy runners-up: Scandinavian Swimmers; Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds; Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds; and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels.
4. Favorite beverage: Sparkling Mineral Waters
Trader Joe’s is famous for its Two-Buck Chuck (their bargain-priced wine selection), but it’s their sparkling mineral waters that earned top marks in the 10th Annual Customer Choice Awards. These one-liter bottles of fizzy water come in a variety of flavors: Pineapple, Cranberry-Clementine, Grapefruit, Island Colada, to name a few. Plus, each bottle is just 99 cents, a price that’s hard to top, even for the grocery chain’s other favorite beverages: Triple Ginger Brew; Spiced Cider; Charles Shaw Wines; and Brewed Ginger Beer. This is the reason Trader Joe’s sells $2 wine.
3. Favorite bakery: Danish Kringle
Trader Joe’s Danish Kringles aren’t made by TJ’s. They outsource the flaky pastry to O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin, one of America’s kringle hot spots. Each kringle, with its 30 layers of buttery pastry takes three days to make. Throughout the year, Trader Joe’s will carry special varieties of the baked good, but their year-round option is the classic Almond. A few minutes in a warm oven turns this pastry into a pillowy soft bite of pastry delight. While you’re in the bakery, look for other customer favorites, including Sliced French Brioche; Chocolate Brooklyn Babka; Sliced Sourdough Bread; and Vegan Banana Bread.
2. Favorite appetizer: Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip
For the time-crunched entertainer, Trader Joe’s selection of frozen appetizers and ready-to-eat snacks are too good to pass up. You can present many of these as homemade, and few will know any different. The Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip is one such option—it turns bubbly and creamy in just a few minutes. Scoop it into a bowl, and serve it with fresh baguette rounds or crispy seeded crackers for a fast and fabulous appetizer. Serve with other customer favorites like Spanakopita; Pastry Bites with Feta & Caramelized Onions; Vegetable Bird’s Nests; and Parmesan Pastry Pups.
1. Best overall: Mandarin Orange Chicken
Hong Vo/ShutterstockEarning the prized first position in the list of Trader Joe’s customer favorites is Mandarin Orange Chicken, the crowd-pleasing assortment of tender, juicy chicken, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, tangy green onions, and soy sauce. It tops the list for its convenience—you can have dinner on the table in minutes—and its universal flavor appeal: it’s takeout but without the wait and price. You can also cook these chicken bites and serve on toothpicks for a fast and simple appetizer. Coming in just shy of first were other customer favorites including Cauliflower Gnocchi; Everything But The Bagel Seasoning; Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups; and Unexpected Cheddar. Find out the 11 things Trader Joe’s employees want you to know.