9 Under-the-Radar Trader Joe’s Products to Add to Your Cart ASAP
Including tons of goodies perfect for NYE appetizers.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:45 AM
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Trader Joe’s is our go-to source for literally everything, from last-minute appetizers to eco-friendly cleaning supplies to holiday decorations. But without an online roster of all of its glorious products—and the fact that it is always adding new and seasonal items—it’s hard to know exactly what’s available. And unless you taste-test the entire store (and trust us, we’ve been trying for years), you probably never will.
Never fear, there’s a cure for shopping-list FOMO: We scoured the Internet for the very best Trader Joe’s recommendations and came up with, well, a lot. From employee favorites to the most-reviewed products online, here are nine under-the-radar items you should snap up at everyone’s favorite grocery store.
Raw Chicken Shawarma
According to Collin Fields, vice president of merchandising in the Trader Joe’s Boston office, this is the one product that will quickly become a staple in your kitchen—particularly for quick weeknight dinners. “My wife and I cook it every week,” he says. “We got our kids to eat it, too, which is saying a lot! And we usually add it to one of our salad kits.”
Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip
If you’re looking for an easy app (especially in anticipation of the Super Bowl), try the Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip. This rec comes courtesy of Ed Seeker, executive vice president of stores on the Eastern seaboard: “I don’t know where it’s been all my life, but I finally found it. It was good.” Try it with baked pita chips to cut down on the spice.
Chicken Soup Dumplings
A consistent favorite on Reddit (seriously—pretty much every Trader Joe’s–related thread includes numerous customers raving about this product), these soup dumplings make a perfect hearty winter meal. They even won the respect of food writer and James Beard Award nominee Kevin Pang, who wrote an ode to these little pockets for The Takeout. “It’s, shock of shocks, an honest-to-goodness decent soup dumpling from your microwave,” he said. We’ll take it.
Mini Vegetable Samosas
Recently relaunched in mini form, the newly updated Vegetable Samosas are crispy delights that you simply pop in the oven for a few minutes before serving up as an easy appetizer. According to various Reddit users, they’re a staple for vegetarian Trader Joe’s lovers. Just be sure to keep some sour cream on hand for dipping if you don’t have a high tolerance for spice.
Joe Joe’s Slims
One of the store’s newest products (recently raved about on the Trader Joe’s podcast) is one the company rolled out for the holidays—and here’s hoping it sticks around for the New Year. Joe Joe’s Slims are sandwich cookies comparable to Oreo Slims, but at a fraction of the price (these cost around $1.99, depending on prices at your local Trader Joe’s). Plus, they’re a thinner version of the beloved Joe Joe cookie, so you won’t feel guilty eating them in bulk.
Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami
This reasonably affordable, flavor-packed gem of a charcuterie staple is infused with Chianti wine for an extra kick—and it’s an essential part of any cheese board. Per Mark Steuer, a chef at Chicago’s Bavarian beer hall Funkenhausen, it’s one of the most underrated products at Trader Joe’s. “I love the Chianti salami,” he wrrote in a piece for Thrillist. “It’s just as good as [salami] you find at other grocery stores for three to four times the price.”
A universal favorite from the Trader Joe’s cheese section, this particular Manchego is aged for 12 months to reach peak flavor—if you only try one cheese from the store, it should be this guy. Pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc and some crackers and fruit for a light dinner or easy aperitivo. One Reddit user has a go-to method that elevates the cheese even further: “Take Manchego, add quince paste, and profit.” Duly noted.
You might not think to hit up Trader Joe’s for this item, but according to a Domino editor, it’s a must-try. “This is my secret ingredient in most foods I make at home—it’s great on tofu, chicken, and veggie stir-frys,” she says. “It’s almost 50 percent cheaper at TJ’s than anywhere else.” Versatile and affordable (as well as being a great seasoning option for Paleo cooks), it deserves a spot in your condiment cabinet.
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle
Strawberry Icelandic Yogurt
A Trader Joe’s crew favorite (“I can’t stop eating it. It’s so addicting,” said one employee in a podcast episode), this healthy yogurt somehow manages to taste like a decadent treat. It’s thick and creamy, with 20 grams of protein per serving—and best of all, it’s an easy grab-and-go breakfast.