10 Best things you MUST try at Trader Joe’s!

10 Things to buy at Trader Joes

Every time I am in Trader Joes I always come home with the same items. We have pretty much tried everything in the store and keep coming back to the best 10 products Trader Joe’s has!

Almost 90% of everything in the store is store brand, all Trader Joes brand. They buy in bulk and frequently rotate what they have in the store.

They DO take coupons. HOWEVER, not many things in the store are national brands so not many coupons will match up. They also don’t have sales. Check them out here.

Cookie Butter – Let’s start with the most important thing first… Cookie Butter. If you have not tried it, pick up your keys and run to Trader Joes! * Secret: They only get in a case a day, it will be sold out by noon. You had best hurry! 

Ezekiel Bread – This is just such a good deal for the Ezekiel bread that is always makes a spot in my cart!

Trader Joes Hummus – Cheap, good and a large size. Add some pita chips and you have lunch!

Basil – only $2.99 for a big beautiful plant! You can see mine at home behind the Cookie Butter pic. They are sturdy, even I can’t kill them!

Trader Joes Frozen Mac ‘n Cheese – AWESOME! My son freaks out if he finds some in the freezer for after school. I am the best Mom ever! I will admit it is really good!

Crispy Chocolate Chip Lil Cookies – These are the BEST not homemade cookies you can get! They are crispy and perfect! Plus, they are the itty bitty just right size! You can’t eat just one!

Ground Beef – Just about the same price as in any other store, they are packaged like a little brick. They are PERFECT to freeze and for some reason they are just the right size. The meat is also really good!

Two Buck Chuck – Sadly not $2 anymore, but only $2.49, if you drink wine apparently this is a favorite. I don’t drink so I can’t help you much other then opening week people were leaving with cases!

Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels – Placed somewhere different every time I am in the store, I have to play hide and seek and find them. Don’t question me on this… just go buy some!

Trader Joes Turtle

Organic Bagged Spinach – Cheaper then the grocery stores, you can get a big bag of spinach for only $1.99! WINNER!

* Want to entertain the kids while you are in the store? Timmy the Turtle, or Tucker the Turtle as we call him here, is hidden in the store somewhere. When the kids find him they just tell the cashier on the way out where he is and they get to pick from the treasure box!

samples at Trader Joes

Finally, make sure to head to the back corner and check out the samples! They are usually cooking something AWESOME and always have a drink to try!

What are your favorite Trader Joe thing’s to buy?


  1. Dani says

    I absolutely LOVE there cilantro and jalapeno hummus. It is so amazing! It goes pretty good with there 2 Buck Chuck too.

  2. Melissa says

    How are you not buying their frozen Orange Chicken? It’s so good and easy. Throw it over some rice, and you’re done.

    Speaking of rice, their big bag of jasmine rice is really good and much more economical than at the grocery store.

    I also love the tomato paste in the tube. It’s like $.99 and prevents you from opening a can and then having leftover.

    And of course – FLOWERS. We love their fresh flowers. In fact, that’s what I ask for at Valentine’s and such.

  3. Lisa says

    My family loves the Orange Chicken, just made some last night with my own rice! I always make extra, just as good the second night!

  4. says

    We don’t have a Trader Joe’s where we live, so we try to stop when we’re traveling. We love their chocolate, coffee and nuts. I love the dry-toasted almond slices. Our absolute favorite is Lacey’s cookies. Yum!

  5. Megan says

    We have to drive an hour and a half to get to one (more if we want Two Buck Chuck) so we stock up when we do go. Our list always includes:

    -Two Buck Chuck
    -chocolate croissants (in the freezer section-take them out the night before to rise and bake ’em up in the morning),
    -their version of Pirate Booty (it’s HUGE bag and tastes exactly the same)
    -naan bread (cooks from frozen in about 2 minutes)
    -chai tea mix
    -their condiments, like pasta sauces, mustard, terikayi sauce, etc. are fantastic too.

    • says

      If you like the naan, you must try the Palak Paneer. It’s better than the Indian restaurants in our area! Certainly the best packaged. Also leve the TJ Brown Rice (frozen).

  6. says

    I’m with you on the hummus, it’s so good!
    The kettle corn in the pink and white bag is amazing! I am also a big fan of their dark chocolate raspberry sticks and milk chocolate orange sticks. Oh and they have the BEST peppermint bark around Christmas time! :)

  7. Jen says

    We love their mango lemonade and their creamy tomato basil spaghetti sauce with their .99 bow tie pasta. And we don’t drink but have been wanting to “get into” wine… But unfortunately cannot, but trader joes has a good one called casa rosa :)

    Our absolute favorites are vegan cheese (20 month old who is allergic to dairy and eggs) and cherry flavored soy ice cream !!!

    FYI I have never found the turtle LOL

  8. Stacey says

    My family also loves their Orange Chicken. It is the best I’ve ever had from the grocery store…better than some restaurants too. We also really like their turkey meatballs…works well with their four cheese spaghetti sauce and some pasta. Yum-O!

  9. Jess O says

    I usually get their chocolate soy milk for my girls its cheaper than anywhere else here. My girls also like their white puffed corn (its like pirates booty but less money) and I also will sometimes grab the “sushi” rolls, these aren’t the greatest but its cheap and makes an easy lunch, even my 3 & 1 year olds eat them!

  10. Nadine says

    The fat free balsamic salad dressing is amazing. Also the frozen asparagus. We love the Mac and cheese too! I am also in the Houston area, and at the Trader Joe’s on Alabama, the kids can find Trader Woody, and at the one on Voss, it is an armadillo. My kids love it!

  11. Lora says

    Their olive oil potato chips are AMAZING!!!

    I love their frozen Indian food entrees–from palak paneer to chicken tikka masala, they are all good, and very low calorie! TJ’s frozen naan is excellent as well.

    Finally, their fish nuggets are a hit with my kids (and my husband who usually doesn’t care for fish). They are crispy and so good!

  12. Charity says

    Two Buck Chuck (now $2.99 in Houston) ROCKS! White Zinfandel is the BEST. I buy it by the case and serve it for Ladies Night In!
    Frozen hash browns and refrigerated pizza dough are big favorites here.
    We shop at TJ’s on Voss.

  13. Lara says

    We live about am hour away, but try to get there every 6 weeks or so. Our faves are:
    Spinach & Artichoke Dip – it’s frozen comes in a little cube box. We rarely eat it as dip, usually I thaw it & stir in a little wine to thin it & toss it with pasta, & serve with grilled chicken.
    Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds (in the little clear cube boxes above the frozen stuff at our store) these are perfect sweet/salty/chocolate combo.
    Sweet & Spicy Pecans – they are awesome on fudge ripple ice cream.
    We like their oat bars as an alternative to granola, & their Just Clusters cereal is good too, can be eaten like loose granola or with milk as usual cereal.

  14. angelia says

    i LOOOOVVVVEEE the cookie butter also! they also have a great selection of yummy cheeses. the last one i tried was a pesto gouda which was very gooda

  15. Deb says

    For vegans & vegetarians, Trader Joe is a haven. From the TJ line of faux meats (produce fridge section). The beef and chicken strips are MUCH better than other big company brands, cheaper too!

    In frozen: the French onion soup is awesome (& vegan). The vegetable Goya (potstickers) are out of this world (come in chicken, shrimp and pork I think too). Frozen Veggies: artichoke hearts, leeks and the balsamic veggie mix is great for stir fry as is the stir fry veggie mix.

    Desserts: because of these two items, I can only go to TJ once a month–otherwise I will buy more of them. (Lol) Lemon bars and Lava cakes. FREAKING OUT OF THIS WORLD!

    Their wines are really good and great prices.

    The bleu cheese in cheese section is better than any other I can get at regular stores and much more reasonably priced. The Brie is fantastic and the mushroom Brie is really really good!

    If you’ve never been to a Trader Joes–run, don’t walk. Go today!

    • Bertha Koenig says

      The best orange and raspberry chocolate sticks…..coffee…baby greens last forever or at least until you eat them….canned sardines are great….

  16. Deb says

    Oops forgot

    Sweet Chili sauce (above Freezer section, on shelf, tall skinny bottle).

    The. BEST. ever!

  17. Misty W. says

    We drive an hour to our nearest Trader Joe’s just so we can stock up on Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Fat-Free Brownies that you make with only 2/3 cup of vanilla non-fat yogurt!! These are AMAZING!!! My entire family begs me to make these on a regular basis and they can not tell these are healthier than regular brownies. Sometimes after I make them we will take our brownie and cut it in half. Then we will put some light cool whip in between and freeze it for a quick ice cream sandwich. You must get these and try them for yourself. Sometimes we also add just a little cinnamon to the batter before cooking. Enjoy!

  18. Kelly says

    Trader Joe’s Fresh Mild Salsa is the best. Mix it with some fresh avocado and you have instant guacamole!

    • Marci says

      Yes to the mild salsa! Add to avocado, cumin, lime juice, and Maldon salt and you’ve got my guacamole.

      Also, I love love love the Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels. Just discovered them a month or so ago. Now I have to get a bag along with the Fleur de Sel caramels. My other snack that I have to get are the Meyer Lemon thins.

  19. Gloria says

    I love the red pepper spread with eggplant and garlic. No more mayo for me I love this stuff. Low in fat and few calories. Try it you will like it!

  20. Diane says

    You need to try their pizza dough! It’s located by the cheese and lunch meat, probably next to your yummy hummus. They offer regular and whole wheat pizza dough. I prefer the reg and let me tell ya, it is amazing. It only cost a buck and they have awesome pizza sauce too. My kids will make there own individual pizzas and they love it. It rolls out nicely and you can also use it to make homemade cinnamon rolls without the extra steps of making your own dough. A must try!!!

  21. Laura says

    We love their coconut oil (use in baking, as lotion/moisturizer, or popping popcorn!), maple syrup, Naan bread, fresh cut flowers, hummus, greek yogurt, cheese (especially Emmenthaler for fondue…much cheaper here!), veggie straws (our kids fight over these!) and cookie butter. All at decent prices and a fun trip to the store with the kids in their little mini carts! Oh, and here in Iowa, there is a cute little pig they have to find for their sucker at check-out :)

  22. says

    Now I’m hungry!!! Don’t for get the Vananna Yougurt and Pepermint Jojo’s at Christmas!! Oh and we never leave there without Cat Cookies (for people).

  23. Cindy C. says

    Some of my family’s favorites from Trader Joes includes their Greek Feta salad dressing, their hummus, their Thai crunch salads, and their mini quiches in the frozen section. Let’s face it…Trader Joe’s rocks!

  24. Patricia says

    Simply roasted chicken, by the hummus! It’s so good! Dark chocolate covered cherries. The lavender dryer baggy things are awesome too! We’ve been into the frozen fruit bars, they come in mango latte & raspberry and all of them are super good! Authentic Greek feta and love the pear champagne dressing.

  25. Fiona says

    I completely agree on the hummus and mango lemonade – but surprised no one has mentioned the dried fruits, especially the freeze-dried pineapple and dried juicy mango! Also love their pistachio-and-chocolate covered toffee and lentil chips. So many amazing foods priced very reasonably. Trader Joe’s rocks.

  26. Aloha John in California says

    I have cancelled moving to Hawaii for the last 5 years because I cannot live without Trader Joes. Ironically, their staff often wear Hawaiian shirts or tshirts with Hawaiian flowers and the managers often wear Hawaiian kukui nut necklaces. I have moved many times in the last 30 years and I always found TJ’s to help me feel at home. Aloha John

  27. Patti says

    The truffle cheese has been my diet’s Waterloo. I could live on nothing else. I once bribed my recalcitrant 8-year old to practice piano by promising truffle cheese after. It is truly the food of the gods.

  28. jess says

    POP-UP SPONGES are amazing, rewashable reusable and dry out completely between uses so they dont harbor bacteria

    They are great for dishes of course, but also great for arts and crafts/painting, printmaking, can be cut into smaller pieces, great for wiping furniture, floors, pets, great as a facial sponge for cosmetic uses. I love them!

    I also love the freeze dried strawberries for use in oatmeal. The himalayan salt grinder. The jars of peaches. The new kuai whole-bean coffee. The mango flavored greek yogurt. The edamame hummus. The avocados. the frozen chicken verde burritos, frozen kobe burgers and the frozen tamales. for kids the juice boxes are a great bargain, they have both reduced sugar and regular. excellent to stock up for parties. I also get trail mixes and nut flours!

  29. Sarah says

    Ok. I’m planning on driving 1.5 hrs this weekend to go to Trader Joe’s for the first time. Thanks for all of the suggestions!!! It looks like I better make room in the chest freezer & pantry because I think I’ll be filling my cart. I’m super excited!!!!

  30. Margaret says

    My absolute favs:

    1. Any of the croissants that you bake – especially the almond and pumpkin

    2. The turkey bacon

    3. The sea salt and turbinado dark chcolate covered almonds

    4. Dark Horse red wine

    5. The frozen potstickers and the sweet thai chili sauce – OMG!

    6. The ham, carmelized onion flatbread.

    I am a huge food snob and these are all amazing!!!!!

  31. Brett S. says

    If you like waffle cones, get their flat oval waffle cookies to put your cookie butter on! Crunchy, creamy, heaven! :)

  32. Rosemary Witte says

    I live in Ia with a Trader Joe’s nowhere in sight.I stock up on soup and no salt tuna, but have been reading the shoppers favorites and have a whole list of things. I will be shopping in the Geneva Il. store next week.

  33. Whitney says

    I love love Trader Joes! I always get:
    -Olive Tapenade (refrigerated section) I always get 2 because I can eat one tub in a sitting (it’s small)!

    -Rosemary Rasin Crackers to go with Tapenade to die for!!!

    -If you like mint, their Mint Creams are soooo good (dark chocolate covered mints)

    -Kerrygold butter which is Grassfed cows butter. I will never buy other butter again. great great price vs other stores!

    -Carmalized Onion cheese, put on basically everything

    -Organic applesauce much chunkier than normal apple sauce

    -Almond butter!!!! A great alternative to peanut butter

    -Champagne Pear vinaigrette salad dressing

    -Organic bread and butter pickles

    -Gorgonzola crackers

    I am looking forward to trying the sea salt turbinado dark chocolate almonds!!

  34. Celeste Yoskovich says

    BIRD’S NEST 4-5 different veggies jullianned into little patties, they sell out fast so I pick up 5-6 boxes, Super berries-Drk Chocolate covered berries, Vitmin E oil, cheaper than anywhere, Tea Tree Tingle shampoo/cond and shower soap. .LOVE, LOVE, and great prices on spices 21 salute-salt free is a must in everyday cooking!

  35. June says

    We always have several bags of their fresh organic carrots. They are 79 cents a pound and always sweet! Gluten free brown rice noodles, corn pasta, canned Alaskan Salmon, Vanana flavored yogurt and my special treat for shopping, dark chocolate covered almonds are our all the time basics.

  36. says

    I went to trader joes today and could not buy any of their shrimp stir fry is it discontinued . That is what the sales person said however,the sign is still up . I would appreciate any information


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