I knoooooow. Have been meaning to do this for.ev.er, Sandlot style. Finally.

If you didn’t know, I’m a self proclaimed Trader Joe’s junkie. I could live inside that place. Every time I’m there, I walk around like a total freak, staring at everything like I’ve never been in a grocery store before. It’s so embarrassing and I don’t even care. Over the past few years I’ve shared some random posts about my shopping trips, but one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “OMG what should I get at Trader Joes?!”

Obviously, I could list a TON of stuff. But I’ve scaled it down to a list of basics (hahahah)… if that’s what you want to call it. These are the things that I almost always buy when I’m there, or things that I might even make a special trip for. They tend to be *my favorite* of each item – so when I run out of canned light coconut milk, I much prefer to go get some from TJs instead of buying a can of the Thai Kitchen stuff at my local grocery store. Got it?

I tried to list things in reference to where they are located in the store. Tried being the operative word here. Oh! And I also put the list in the cute little box down there so you can print it and maybe even save it to your ziplist shopping list. (If you’re curious about the recipe box/shopping list, click here.) I also probably forgot some stuff. I’m going to continue to add to this list as life goes on.

Keep in mind that I do quite a bit of cooking (hello understatement of the century) over here in this little life. Because of that, some of the awesome-but-not-practical products didn’t make my list… like their cake or quick bread mixes which are supposed to be phenom. What I really want you guys to do, for mostly selfish purposes, is leave comments about YOUR favorite Trader Joe’s products. That way the next time I shop, I can buy it all. I mean… I can share the list with all my invisible internet friends.

Here are a few of my annoying-but-necessary notes:

1. Pennsylvania is a alcohol-controlled state which means that my TJs doesn’t carry beer, wine or any alcohol. Yeah. For like the first two years when one of you mentioned “two buck chuck” I definitely thought you meant ground beef or something. Hence the lack of boozy ingredients on the list.

2. I don’t buy a ton of the frozen foods because they come in SUCH small serving sizes, and well, when you’re married to someone who eats for four people every single night, that junk just doesn’t fly. It’s not practical for us. Please tell me some of your favorite frozen things that I haven’t mentioned and I will grab them for my next single lady night.

3. I didn’t list much produce since it differs depending on the area and um, an apple tastes like an apple, but TJs has a ton of organic stuff that my grocery store doesn’t. If it looks good, I’ll definitely buy it. It also tends to be a lot cheaper than my grocery store, so again, if it looks good, I’ll buy it. I’ll usually stick to the dirty dozen and try to buy local produce closer to me if I can. In regards to produce that I always buy there because it is cheaper, pomegranates, bananas and avocados top the list.

4. Same goes with their “fresh” meats – I don’t exactly know how fresh they are, and again, that whole having-a-husband-who-eats-like-an-adolescent-boy thing throws a wrench into the serving sizes. The thing I occasionally buy is an organic free range whole chicken to roast.

5. My favorite cheeses definitely tend to be the seasonal ones, like the chocolate cheddar cheese and the syrah-soaked toscano. I grab those before anything else. Otherwise, I’m sort of a slave to the outrageously overpriced counter located in Whole Foods. But I still grab cheese if I need it. I love their selection of goat milk products.


Trader Joe's Shopping List


Produce/Cold Stuff
pre-cut sweet potato fries
sliced and trimmed leeks
fresh tahini
organic tempeh
mediterranean white bean hummus
mediterranean greek yogurt feta zatar dip
goat cheese medallions
chocolate cheddar cheese (seasonal)
syrah soaked toscano
1% chocolate milk juice boxes
organic sweet potatoes

Chips + Crackers + Breads:
brown rice tortillas
organic blue corn chips
quinoa + black bean tortilla chips
peanut butter filled pretzels
crunchy green beans
pita crisp crackers (whole wheat flax + original)
fresh authentic salsa

super sweet corn
grilled asparagus
mandarin orange chicken
beef and broccoli
frozen seafood blend
veggie burgers

pumpkin butter
fig butter
coconut oil
toasted sesame oil
olive oil
sweet chili sauce
hot and sweet mustard
organic mayo
marinated artichokes
diced green chiles
cookie butter
pure vanilla extract
baking soda and baking powder
fleur de sel caramel sauce
midnight moo chocolate sauce
sea salt grinder
smoked sea salt grinder
cinnamon sugar grinder

Grains/Pastas/Canned Goods:
organic tricolor quinoa
harvest grain blend
brown jasmine rice
organic popping corn
lite coconut milk
organic chickpeas
tomato + roasted red pepper soup

Cereal and Stuff:
strawberry yogurt o’s
ground blueberry flaxseed
pumpkin crunch granola
gluten free cranberry maple nut granola
pumpkin pancake mix

Snacks + Delicious Junk Food!
inner peas (their version of snapea crisps)
sesame coated almonds/cashews
fiberful fruit leathers
mini peanut butter cups
dark chocolate covered pomegranate arils
bright chocolate covered sunflower seeds
toasted coconut cookie thins
frozen bon bons
frozen vanilla 0% greek yogurt
frozen tart greek yogurt
pound plus chocolate bars (great for baking!)
dark chocolate bar with toffee + nuts
dark chocolate bar with caramel + coconut
speculoos filled chocolate bar

non-food products:
coconut body butter
gummy vitamins


Since I’m so dramatic you know I could list a million more things, buuuut I gotta draw the line somewhere. For once.

[This post will be filed under the Crumbs page, but for future reference and quick reference to this and the other TJs post, click the “category” drop down menu in the right side bar and choose select Trader Joe’s.]

share:    Pin It    

269 Responses to “My Favorite Things To Buy At Trader Joe’s.”

  1. #
    Jennifer — November 22, 2012 @ 2:56 am

    I love pretty much everything from Trader Joes. My regular items are the:
    white bean hummus or the tomato basil hummus
    cats cookies
    frozen vegetarian sausage patties
    microwave mac and cheese (white cheddar)
    frozen single serving lasagna
    dark chocolate peanut butter cups
    mint cream filled chocolates
    chicken chili lime burgers
    maple syrup
    pumpkin butter
    sweet potato fries
    panini rolls
    lentil curls (they satisfy my chip cravings)
    and my fave is the MOCHI ICE CREAM. Yum, so heavenly!


  2. #
    Sarah | The Cyclists Wife — November 22, 2012 @ 5:09 am

    I think you have some different stuff at your TJ’s! Fleur de sel caramel sauce? Goat cheese medallions? Our staples are:
    Sunflower seeds
    Goat cheese
    Organic vanilla yogurt
    Coconut milk & cream
    Dry pasta
    Anything else from the cheese aisle!
    Beer and ridiculously cheap, but good, wine.
    Oh and the fresh turkey meatloaf is good!


  3. #
    Debbie D — November 22, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    You have to get their goat cheese logs that are covered in blueberries. OMG! They are so good! They now have a cranberry one for the holidays. Yes, their cranberry orange relish is also good.

    As far as cereals go, their version of Cheerios and multigrain Cheerios are to die for. Great price, low sugar and delicious. So is their cereal that is the nut crunch one. YUM!

    Have you tried their sunflower seed butter? MUCH better than peanut butter anyday. Try it and you will be hooked.

    You didn;t mention their lemon champaign vinegar. You won’t try anything else once you have that one.

    I snack on thier “trail mix” that is nothing more than dried cranberries, cashiews and almonds. Delicious and good for you.

    Their cut up butternut squash is easy and delicious.

    I could go on and on and on…..


  4. #
    Sadie — November 22, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    I LOVE Trader Joes! Unfortunately the closest store is 45 minutes away so I can’t go as often as I’d like :( Some of my favorite things are their roasted frozen sweet potatoes, pear sauce (it’s like applesauce), cocoa powder, and raw almond butter. There are TONS of other things I love, but I’m too lazy to list them all out :P


  5. #
    Cris — November 22, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    I LOVE their frozen mac and cheese. It’s microwavable, but it tastes like homemade, oven-baked.


    • Julie G. — November 26th, 2012 @ 3:53 am

      This too is my favorite!!! Def a MUST!


  6. #
    Kristen — November 22, 2012 @ 8:27 am

    How on earth did candy cane Joe joe’s not make this list?!


    • Julie F — November 22nd, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

      YES! I agree.


    • Julie G. — November 26th, 2012 @ 3:52 am

      I second that!


  7. #
    Bet — November 22, 2012 @ 8:44 am

    For a treat I LOVE their dark chocolate-covered pretzels and triple gingersnaps!


  8. #
    Linda — November 22, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    I’m with you! I am totally in love with Trader Joes….the closest one is 120 miles away so I only get to shop there once every couple of months!
    Your comment about your hubby’s appetite made me laugh. I have one just like him. He eats as if he alone is a family of four! :-)


  9. #
    Kristin — November 22, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    Dry Pastas- especially egg pappardelle pasta and spinach and chive TJ pasta.
    edamame- pre-shucked in the refrigerator section
    TJ creamy salted Peanut Butter (or crunchy if you prefer)

    I also just picked up a spaghetti squash from the season veggies. Delish with a brown sugar/butter sauce.


  10. #
    Erika — November 22, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    My two frozen side staples: Japanese-style fried rice, my fried rice obesessed husband and two toddlers inhale it, and the quinoa roasted vegetable blend is yummy too! Also their ahi tuna is great for tuna tartare and just picked up their frozen black cod to make miso cod.


  11. #
    Angie — November 22, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    I really like these dark chocolate and almond toffee bits. I think their official name is Addictive Bits or something like that. You would love them! I also really like their dried wasabi peas for snack and the dried mixed berries for oatmeal! Thanks for sharing your list….so many new things to try! I just loooove your blog! I think you are so funny and a great writer! I made your Pepermint Pattie Brownies the other night, and people raved about them!


  12. #
    Molly — November 22, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Thanks for the all the fantastic posts, you are part of my morning routine!

    For an easy but insaaaanley delicious app, try their feta and caramelized onion pastry bites from the frozen section.
    Gorgonzola champagne and pear vinaigrette
    Dark chocolate pretzel thins
    Tahitian Carmel vanilla dark chocolates
    Sauté their lime marinated chicken with a package of their pre-cut veggies ( celery, carrots, onion, peppers) and add in their peanut sauce. Serve over brown jasmine rice. Delish, and super easy.
    Any of their fruit juices
    Chocolate Bon bons


  13. #
    Kathy — November 22, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    At all times, I keep at least 2 jars of TJ’s marinara, English costal cheddar, frozen paneer tikka masala, lamb vindaloo, a variety of frozen fruits for smoothies, island soyaki sauce, at least 3 bags of potstickers for emergency snacking. I could go on and on. Thank goodness I only live 5 minutes from the nearest Trader Joes!


  14. #
    Stacey Cutler — November 22, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    You asked about frozen… You most definitely should try the Spinach and Kale Pie…It’s delicious!


  15. #
    Barbara — November 22, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    One pound dark chocolate bar and frozen green beans are my every-time buys.


  16. #
    caroleena — November 22, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Cranberry-Almond Clusters cereal
    Peanut Butter Granola Bars
    Cranberry Granola Bars
    Fig bars
    Pita Crackers
    Herb-Brie Cheese Dip
    Spinach & Cranberry Salad w/Raspberry Vinaigrette
    Spiced Apple Cider
    BBQ Sauce
    Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice,,,
    Oh! and I just bought a broom soaked in cinnamon – it is so fragrant & cute.


  17. #
    Yael — November 22, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    The chocolate covered frozen banana bites are SO good. Also, the seaweed snack and the frozen fully cooked edamame- I leave both at work for when I need a healthy snack.

    I am also a big fan of the mandarin orange chicken, and the vegetarian version is really good too!

    Also, their whole wheat pizza crust. And the herb pizza crust. And the frozen pepper medley. And the sea salt brownie bites. Yum!


  18. #
    Rachel @ The Pescetarian and the Pig — November 22, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    I’m a huge TJ’s fanatic, too! I actually used to work there and the only complaint I have about it (and it was a common one from customers) is that they often come up with some fantastic product that I completely fall in love with and the next time I go to get it, they’ve discontinued it :(

    My absolute staples from Trader Joe’s that I wouldn’t buy anywhere else are:

    Triple Ginger Gingersnap Cookies (makes an awesome pumpkin pie crust!)
    Raw, unsalted nuts (they have the best prices on nuts I’ve found anywhere)
    Hawaiian Style BBQ Potato Chips
    Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Arils
    Dark Chocolate Covered Mixed Nuts
    Mini Peanut Butter Cups
    Fage Greek Yogurt (because their prices are the best)
    Flax Seed Tortilla Chips
    Pumpkin Butter
    Triple Cream Brie Cheese (best prices, and REALLY good!)

    And even though I’ve a frequent baker myself, their Sea Salt Brownies on their little dessert table are TO-DIE-FOR! Sooooooo good! I’m pretty sure I’m leaving a lot out, and I know they always have new stuff to offer…. Oh! They make this REALLY good mango chutney… Mmm… Ok, now I”m salivating…. This could go on forever…

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  19. #
    Mary — November 22, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    I’m with you on the “gotta buy coconut milk at Trader Joe’s” train. That’s one of my staples. I also LOVE their sea salt, and seasonings in general (where else can you buy tiny portions of saffron that’ll last you years for five dollars?). But, above all else, I am a TJ’s cheese JUNKIE. Seriously love the stuff, and you can’t beat the prices. My recent discovery is the Cheddar/Gruyere Melange. Melts beautifully and tastes amazing!


  20. #
    kinj — November 22, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    if you make tacos TJ’s taco seasoning in little packets is awesome…. and some of their fruit juices such as concord grape and a cherry one are delicious. Also they have some rosemary raisin crackers that i can’t leave alone….


  21. #
    Becky — November 22, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    A new one that a friend introduced me to is the Chili Corn Salsa – so so good! And I love the Eggplant Hummus. Otherwise I think you hit most of my favorites and gave me a few new products that I must pick up next time!


  22. #
    Lindsay — November 22, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    Their face wash is amazing! It was apparently developed by Dr. Nicholas Perricone (!!) and is super mild. I even use it to wash off eye makeup. And I haven’t had a breakout since I started using it.


  23. #
    Anna — November 22, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Cookie butter. I try to make a beeline for it and leave before the rest of the store ends up in my cart. It’s a good thing the nearest store is an hour and a half away because I just discovered the ‘What’s Good At Trader Joe’s?’ blog and now I’m in serious trouble because I want everything.


  24. #
    Christine — November 22, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

    So many fav’s…I buy lots of staples at TJ’s but these are some extras that often make it into my basket:

    Chocolate covered pretzels (dark are yummy, too)
    Peanut butter cups in the plastic tub
    Sunflower Butter
    Bacon, cheddar, ranch dip…so good

    Love their olive tapenade…really good in scrambled eggs with spinach and a little goat cheese.

    Both the pumpkin cream cheese and peanut better cream cheese

    Frozen: Breaded chicken breasts – great cut up over salad for a quick lunch.
    Orange chicken…I bake it and serve with brown rice (microwavable) and the frozen green beans for a quick week night dinner
    4 cheese pizza and BBQ chicken pizza are perfect for a before sports practice for my boys – they are cheap, which is good because they literally eat the whole thing in one sitting!

    Really great margarita mix, too.


  25. #
    Julie F — November 22, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

    Have you tried the roasted coconut chips?! I didn’t see them on your list, and oh my good lord, being a coconut lover, you must try these! They’re in the dried fruit/cereal aisle. SO GOOD! And HIGHLY addictive! you’re welcome. or I’m sorry! ;)


    • Katrina — November 26th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

      OMG! I just tried those! So, so, so yummy.


  26. #
    Natalie — November 22, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    Tofu Edamame Nuggets
    Vegetable Gyoza
    Rosemary Marcona Almonds
    Fig Butter
    Coconut Flos
    Lemon Ginger Ice Cream
    Wheat Pitas

    I almost need these things to survive.


  27. #
    Andrea — November 22, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    chocolate covered edamame. . . sooooo good! nutty and crunchy. please do it! :)


  28. #
    Sarah — November 22, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

    Frozen sweet potato gnocchi with butter and sage… I buy them three packs at a time, it is amazing!


  29. #
    Corbett — November 22, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

    I have the same problem with the frozen food. There’s not enough. But there are two things I always buy…
    Kobe beef burgers (huge and yum)
    TJ breaded ggplant cutlets

    My carnivore of a hubby even likes them.

    Have you tried the Brie bites? My 2 year old loves them. I really like that about her :)


  30. #
    Ann Nihil — November 23, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    December 13th cannot get here fast enough. Trader Joe’s is finally opening up in our town!!! I only thought it was a myth, something I read about in books (lol). I cannot wait to try several of the things on the list and experience it for myself. Thank you so much for sharing :-)


  31. #
    Chris — November 23, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Oh how I WISH AND WISH AND WISH there was a TJs close to me!!! (Closest is 2 1/2 hours by car…) Please say you love the kosher dill pickles! Best dills out there! And, since going with gluten-free pasta, the brown rice pasta is WAAAAY better than anything I can find locally! Cooks up faster, too! Then there’s the sweet potato chip habit…..ugh….. Of course, I always get too many dark chocolate bars…just in case no one will be near a store any time soon! (Can’t risk running out, right?!?) I think I must have the same look on my face when I get in there…..deer in the headlights almost!!! I LOVE TRADER JOE’S!!!


  32. #
    Amber — November 23, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    One of my favorite TJ’s purchases hands down is the Latin Style Black Bean soup. Because I’m in love with pretty much anything even remotely Mexican, this black bean soup changed my life haha. Ya’ll have got to try it immediately if you haven’t already!


  33. #
    Lisa from the 'Burgh — November 23, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    OMG–Is that the Trader Joe’s in East Liberty???


    • Jessica — November 23rd, 2012 @ 6:52 pm



  34. #
    sweetmaddy — November 23, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    pb filled pretzels, peanut butter cups, harvest grains blend (so chewy and wonderful!), frozen vegetable gyoza, any frozen appetizers, CHEAP and good quality cheese, candy cane jojos, flaxseed chips OMG I am so hungry now! :)


  35. #
    mj — November 23, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

    I live in Australia where we have no TJ’s or WholeFoods. The worst part is that I’ve spent time in Chicago and New York – so I know exactly what I’m missing. So you can feel VERY sad for me right about now! :(


  36. #
    Ashley — November 24, 2012 @ 12:02 am

    Their frozen roasted corn is delicious and adds SO much flavor to anything I had it to! I throw it in soups, salads, salsa, pasta…the options are endless. I always have a bag in my freezer! I also love their frozen orange chicken and teriyaki chicken!


  37. #
    Chrysa — November 24, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    Thanks for this post, Jessica. I have been an exclusive TJ’s shopper for about 3 years, but thanks to the nice little dialogue in this post, I picked up a bunch of new things to try on my trip today. Also, I can finish a bag of their honey mustard pretzels in one sitting. true story.


  38. #
    lisabella — November 24, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    I moved from CA to Colorado two years ago and I mourn the loss of TJ’s every day. We’re supposed to be getting two soon but who knows.

    My favorites are:
    Gorgonzola Gnocchi (frozen)
    Cats (Cookies for People)
    Kogi marinated beef

    My husband loves their spinach salad with cranberries and bleu cheese.

    I have more but you listed them! I would also buy milk and butter there because it was a lot cheaper than the grocery store.


  39. #
    Valery — November 25, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    I’m so glad you shared this- they’re FINALLY opening a Trader Joe’s in Utah and I’m so excited!! Now I have a grocery list a mile long :)


  40. #
    Natalie — November 25, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    Thanks for the new ideas in this list! And their pulled pork and brisket options in the refrigerated section are delicious! Super quick and easy.


  41. #
    Emma B. — November 25, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    you MUST try the sea salt & turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds. i brought three containers home for thanksgiving and they were all gone by saturday!


  42. #
    Liz — November 25, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

    I just moved back to an area with a TJ’s so I am continuing to discover my favorites. I blame (read:worship) you for introducing me cookie butter. I’m in love. My more recent favorites include the triple ginger snaps and the garlic naan (frozen section). I tried one of the frozen indian meals and it was just okay but the naan was delicious. It would make good mini pizzas. Also, I am not a big soda drinker but I’m a rootbeer fan and TJ’s has this Virgil’s Rootbeer that is scrumptious.


  43. #
    Julie G. — November 26, 2012 @ 3:59 am

    Several people already said it, but the Mac N Cheese is a MUST!!! And yes there’s a reduced guilt one, which is basically just a reduced size, with reduced flavor. It still tastes OK, but if you’re going to eat mac n cheese, might as well make it the really good stuff right?! Oh, and their vanilla bean jo jos are the best cookies EVER. No, seriously. EVER.


  44. #
    Halle — November 26, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    Some of my faves are their edamame hummus, falafel chips (OMG), and shortbread cookies topped with chocolate. All the ready-to-eat grains/salads (individual portions) are great for lunch too.

    And their hand lotion is the best!


  45. #
    Michelle — November 26, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    UM. If I had the choice to buy only ONE thing at TJS…hands down the chili corn salsa.
    That wouldn’t even sustain me! It’s a freaking condiment.
    But….I have on occasion just eaten spoonfuls of it.
    Great with fish.



  46. #
    KathrynD — November 26, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    Their salsa verde is the absolute BEST!! I also really like their whole grain bread. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about TJ’s food…


  47. #
    Tricia — November 27, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    Is it bad that I feel like we are best friends? Also, the pretzels filled with peanut butter are delicious! Don’t eat them on a road trip though or they will be all gone. The trader joe’s near me is 3 hours away, and I thought I would make it back to school with them. NOPE.

    Also, this! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/ben-savage-girl-meets-world-danielle-fishel-boy-meets-world-sequel_n_2194186.html


  48. #
    Jenna — November 27, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    Random question are you supposed to refrigerate the brown rice tortillas after opening? We got a new tjs and I’m loving everything so far


    • Jessica — November 27th, 2012 @ 10:56 am

      I do refrigerate mine but I’m honestly not sure – I think I do that because I’m used to refrigerating all tortillas, and I also don’t eat them everyday so I think they would go bad quickly? But they do “break” when you fold them, so I heat them in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. They still break a bit, but I think that’s just their nature.


  49. #
    BJ — November 27, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    The Toucan bird can of coffee is our favorite. And the big green machine juice. Lots of other favs already listed. Looks like you just can’t go wrong at TJs.


  50. #
    Regina — November 27, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    I’m curious to hear what you do with the brown rice tortillas. I just made some yummy quesadillas, but I’d like more ideas :) LOVE your blog.



Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *