Styling by Julia Stevens

Published on December 24, 2018

Trader Joe’s is our go-to source for everything from last-minute appetizer accoutrements to eco-friendly cleaning supplies. It wouldn’t be dramatic to say you could live there. But without an online roster of all the products—plus the constant addition of new items—it’s hard to know exactly what’s there to choose from. And unless you taste-test the entire store, you probably never will.

Well, now you’ll have shopping list FOMO no more: We scoured the internet for the best recommendations and came up with a lot. From Trader Joe’s employee favorites to the most-reviewed products online, here are the most underrated things to buy from the grocery store.

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Raw Chicken Shawarma

According to Collin Fields, the VP of merchandising in Trader Joe’s Boston office, this is the one product that’ll quickly become a staple in your kitchen—particularly for quick weeknight dinners. “My wife and I cook that every week,” he says. “We’ve got our kids to eat it, too, which is saying a lot! And we usually add that to one of our salad kits.”

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Cauliflower Dip

If you’re looking for an easy appetizer (especially in anticipation of the Super Bowl), try the Cauliflower Jalapeno Dip. This rec comes courtesy of Ed Seeker, the executive VP of stores on the Eastern seaboard: “I don’t know where that’s been in my life, but I finally found it. It was good.” Try it with baked pita chips to cut down on the spice.

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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 dumplings for The Takeout. “It’s, shock of shocks, an honest-to-goodness decent soup dumpling from your microwave,” he says. We’ll take it.

Mini Vegetable Samosas

For a veggie option, keep a packet of the Vegetable Samosas on hand in your freezer. Recently brought back in mini form, the newly updated samosa is crispy delight you simply pop in the oven for a few minutes before serving 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 serving if you don’t have a high tolerance for spice.

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Joe Joe’s Slims

One of the store’s newest products (recently raved about on the Trader Joe’s podcast) is actually one the company rolled out for the holidays—here’s to hoping it sticks around for the New Year. If you haven’t tried Joe Joe’s Slims, run to your nearest store and stock up. Comparable to Oreo Slims at a fraction of the price (these cost around $1.99, depending on prices at your local Trader Joe’s), they’re a thinner version of the beloved Joe Joe cookie that you won’t feel guilty eating in bulk.

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Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami

Are you a cheese board aficionado? If so, you need this salami in your life. It’s a reasonably affordable, flavor-packed gem of a charcuterie staple infused with Chianti wine for an extra kick. 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 writes 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.”

Manchego Anejo

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. Pair 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,” they write. Duly noted.

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Coconut Aminos

You might not think to hit up Trader Joe’s for this item, but according to a former 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 wrote. “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.

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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—an easy morning breakfast component you can grab and go.

See more Trader Joe’s tips:
Look Out for These New Trader Joe’s Products in 2019

16 Trader Joe’s Secrets That Will Change the Way You Shop
The 9 Things We Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

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