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.]

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

  1. #
    Cheryl — November 28, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    You have to try their dunkers – the chocolate chip ones. OMG they are so good. You get the chocolate chip cookie and the chocolate cover. The best!!!


  2. #
    Julia — November 29, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    We stumbled upon the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s and really loved it. We aren’t vegetarian so we don’t eat a ton of soy products, but we like to use this on nachos or in place of ground beef in other Mexican/Spanish dishes. Also, one thing we’ve called a TJ fail is their refrigerated pizza dough. We can never get it to turn out very well!


    • jgp — March 16th, 2013 @ 9:27 am

      You’ve got to toss it or roll it out and bake it at 425 for 5-7 min on a pizza stone (just until the dough is dry and no longer raw, but not so long that it starts to brown) and THEN add your toppings and cook until the cheese melts. Perfect!


  3. #
    Brie — November 30, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    I have a new favorite Trader Joe’s item – check out my post about it on my blog : )


  4. #
    Kristin — November 30, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

    I love the Syrah soaked Toscano and I always pick up the chocolate cheddar cheese and look at it but always put it down because I don’t know what to do with it. How do you use it?


  5. #
    Rachel — December 5, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

    Almost EXACTLY what I buy at TJs!!! Down to the body butter. I think I would keel over dead without the peanut butter pretzels!! Good to know I’m not alone :)


  6. #
    Josie — December 21, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    I have a confession. I am completely addicted to the Harvest Grain Mix. The problem is that the nearest TJ’s is a four hour drive away. I can only get stuff that will fit in my suitcase. The good news is that I travel to P-burgh for work and when I do, I stock up on the stuff. Seriously– 10+ lbs at a time. The checkers think I’m nuts. But my neighbors love me. :)


  7. #
    Emily@JellyToast — December 22, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    I read this post when you first wrote it and it made me want to go to TJ’a so badly! But, I have a terrible confession to make: I have never been to trader joes! And I just found out (because I live under a rock apparently) that there is a trader joes just an hour north of me! I am going up there today for the first time and will be armed with your list of favorite things. That is my kind of Christmas shopping :) thanks so much for your recommendations!


  8. #
    Jessica — January 2, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    I have been spending ENTIRELY too much money on TJ’s frozen apps (mainly because it’s football season and I always seem to hop into the store immediately following spin class when I’m starving and they suck me in) but for small gatherings I like their frozen mini hot dogs, seafood croquettes (paired with their Cilantro and Chive yogurt dip mmmm), spinach & cheese stuffed mushrooms, ham&cheese pastry bites, feta & caramelized onion pastry bites, and potato latkes. Those are all I can think of off the top of my head, but the others are most likely worth trying out too!


  9. #
    Tracy — January 3, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Thankyou for this post, I’ve gotten many ideas from the comments as well. I’ll be heading to TJ’s tomorrow. Some things I regularly pick up are…
    frozen smores ice cream sandwiches (yum)
    grated parmesan cheese (so much more tasty than the canned stuff)
    TJ’s white bread
    100 calorie chocolate bars
    olive oil (really inexpensive compared to others)
    Tea Tree oil body wash (it is minty and tingly-divine)


  10. #
    Amanda at Pink Skyline — January 17, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

    “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. ”

    ^^ HAHA. Me too. EVERY TIME. Thanks for the list! I never know what to get, therefore, I walk around staring at everything like you do. I went to TJ’s specifically for fig butter today – so good. Also discovered nacho kale chips. Mmm.


  11. #
    Cassie — February 9, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

    “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. ”

    MY GOD so good to know I’m not alone! I’m like an alien coming to Earth for the first time. I love their canned pesto (saves me a step on busy evenings), Tuscan pane bread (not sure i want to remember what my sandwiches tasted like before this) and their herb pizza dough. I wish they would build one closer to me. Or maybe I’ll just start my own franchise. Hmmmmmm…..


  12. #
    Ilene — March 17, 2013 @ 8:18 am

    I’m a sucker for ice cream so when I “discovered” the raspberry & vanilla cream bars, I was in heaven! Healthier version of sweetness, yum!


  13. #
    Lisa — March 19, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    I love Trader Joes- and I am always blown away by the diffrrent tastes people have. I happen to be pretty biased to my own shopping list. If you don’t like the following selectiins you are nuts!
    Frozen- Strawberry Fruit Floes, Kung Pao Chicken, mandarin orange chicken, vegetable fried rice, chocolate croissants, apple puffed pastry, chocolate eclairs, mac and cheese, chicken gyoza potstickers.
    Other- chocolate covered cranberries, rockyroad squares, the selection of nuts!, salsa chips, pita crackers.
    I could go on and on but I think this is a good start.


  14. #
    Lex — March 23, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

    The lemon squares from the frozen section are out of this world! Also the frozen sweet potato gnocchi in butter sage sauce, although it can be tricky to cook.


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  18. #
    Mattie J — May 14, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    You should add the gorgonzola crackers to your list. They’re ah-may-zing. My brothers and I eat them in less than 12 hours.


  19. #
    Slappy Muldoon — June 6, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    I have NEVER EVER EVER had a dessert/treat that tasted better than their coconut bonbons. I’ve had some that are as good and induced as much pleasure but nothing better. Absolutely, brutally, viciously, intoxicatingly delicious. I only buy them on occasion because they are so difficult to resist. You have been warned.


  20. #
    Momo — June 6, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    Chicken liver pâté!! Amazing with fig butter jam. Also, Italian truffle cheese and rosemary raisin crackers are a heavenly combo. Sparkling clementine juice. My guilty pleasures at trader joe’s.


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    Lisa — October 17, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    I agree with another Lisa above…the chocolate croissants are amazing and you mentioned the caramel coconut chocolate bar. OMG…so good. I also love the cracked wheat sourdough bread, excellent for toast or easy bruschetta. I always have a jar of their roasted red peppers on hand…you never know when you will need them! At one point, I lived in San Francisco , within walking distance to TJ’s. I did probably 75% of my shopping (for myself only) there. Oh, I also love the frozen pot stickers, egg rolls and single serving won ton soup! …I could go on…


  26. #
    Catherine — February 15, 2014 @ 10:23 pm

    This is a great list! You made me laugh about the “two buck chuck” wine and thinking it was ground beef!!

    Here’s my favorites from my website:


  27. #
    Trader Joe's fan — April 18, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

    Great list! Never bought any butters in TJ, now going to try! Here is my list of TJ’s products I like : http://www.sweetieandgeek.com/the-best-food-to-buy-at-trader-joes/


  28. #
    Jessica — November 17, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

    I shop at Trader Joe’s every week, talk about addicted! You listed some excellent choices. I die for the Candy Cane Jo Jo’s every year and they are finally here! Chocolate sandwich cookies filled with cream mixed with candy cane pieces. They are SO good if you love chocolate and peppermint, I mean who doesn’t? The Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip is absolutely killer, my 2 year old gobbles it up with a spoon. I also love the caramelized onion dip for potato chips, although I only buy it a couple times a year. The longboard tortilla chips are perfect for dipping. We use their pizza dough weekly #lazy. I also love the frozen Gnocchi Gorgonzola and the mac and cheese. The chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwiches are also to die for. Happy Shopping!


  29. #
    Stephanie — November 17, 2015 @ 5:29 pm

    My favorite favorite is TJs cowboy caviar – black bean and corn salsa. I will put it on anything and I sometimes feel like it turns scraps into a meal. Eggs. A makeshift quesadilla with leftover cooked chicken. Stuffed in a sweet potato. It’s spicy and delicious. Get it!!


  30. #
    Kristen — November 17, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

    Love this list! Would add: cinnamon sugar pita chips and DEFINITELY seasonal peppermint trader Joe Joe’s. I buy them by the case😍


  31. #
    EG — November 17, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s, I just wish it wasn’t so crowded. I love the broccoli slaw. It’s great with a little salad dressing of choice. Just discovered kale broccoli slaw. Comes with sunflower seeds, craisins & dressing…very yummy. Their frozen appetizers are all yummy. I always pick up a few for family get togethers. Their peanut butter pretzels are good too. Most brands are too dry, but not theirs. Ok, I love just about everything at the store. LOL


  32. #
    Melia — November 18, 2015 @ 1:26 am

    On your next trip look for Chimichurri rice in the frozen section-I didn’t know rice could taste like that! I haven’t seen the diced green chiles at my TJ’s in over a year but I found an industrial sized jar at Costco so I guess I’ll live!


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