I originally released my comprehensive shopping list of Trader Joe’s must haves a couple years ago and since then, our tried and true favorites have remained but there’s been some new winners added to the list. Whenever I share my trips to Trader Joe’s on Instagram stories, I have requests to share a list of all my favorite Trader Joe’s products and finds, and even after I published the original post, it’s continued to be one of the most popular posts searched on my site. While they aren’t everywhere, if you have one even within an hour, it’s worth the trek. I try to stock up on our Trader Joe’s favorites at least once a month; since it’s a two hour round trip to our closest store, I don’t have the advantage of making weekly visits and constantly trying new grocery items. Over the years though, I have sampled my way through the store, continue to pick up things that may not be on our typical shopping list, and am confident in our discoveries and Trader Joe’s must haves.
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Trader Joe’s Must Haves
If you’ve never been, it can be overwhelming — you don’t know what’s good, what to try, what you need, what you’ll waste… The good news is that I’ve never purchased something that was a total miss. Some items I purchase because they’re less expensive, others because they’re different… And, I’m not only sharing my favorites! At the bottom of my list, I’ve included the products that have been suggested the most by readers and Instagram followers. It would take a long time, a lot of meals, and more dedication than I have to sample everything Trader Joe’s carries but my tried and true shopping items are listed below. So what’s good at Trader Joe’s? I’ve included all the Trader Joe’s must haves below.
Trader Joe’s Shopping List
- Margherita Pizza (another favorite is the Organic Pesto Pizza w/Tomatoes & Broccoli) TIP: I ordered THIS pizza cutter with lifetime warranty and ergonomic handle after seeing the insane reviews!)
- Farfalle with Cheese & Spinach — I have this for lunch occasionally; it would also make a great dinner side
- Asparagus Risotto — love this as an easy dinner side!
- Mashed Potato Medallions — so close to homemade taste and my mind is blown how with just a little milk, how thick and amazing these are. SUCH a timesaver!
- Vegetable Fried Rice — I have an entire recipe on how I serve this HERE
- Tempura Sweet & Sour Chicken — most people know about the orange chicken, but I prefer the sweet and sour! The biggest difference is that the orange chicken has both dark and white meat while the sweet and sour only has white meat
- Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese
- Riced Cauliflower — we stock up on this and serve in lieu of rice/pasta for more saucy meals/stir frys
- Supersweet Cut White Corn — inexpensive, quick, great flavor
- Melange a Trois (cut tri-color bell peppers) — great short cut without paying a premium
- Spinach Lasagna — love this for lunch
- Corn Cups — seasonal item only available during the Christmas holiday
- Beef and Broccoli — one of my mom’s favorites
- Mini Crossants — flaky and buttery and like nothing I’ve ever had
- Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones — perfect for a taste and also one of Eliza’s favs!
TIP: As I mentioned, we have quite a trek to make to get to our nearest Trader Joe’s. We keep a freezer bag in the back of the car so we don’t have to worry about rushing home with food items spoiling or melting. THIS XXL bag is BIG, has thousands of 5 star reviews, collapses, is washable, and is perfect for both cold and food storage — it’s also waterproof 😉
THESE thin, large ice packs claim to freeze in 20 minutes, also.
- Taco Shells TIP: If you’ve never tried using taco stands for easy assembly, they will change your taco nights forever! THESE come in sets of four, six and ten, have 5 stars, and are oven safe for heating. Plus, they’re stackable for easy storage.
- Pitted Kalamata Olives
- Vanilla Almond Clusters Cereal
- Hearts of Palm- love having these on hand for salads (they’re in a pouch)
- Canned Garbanzo Beans
- Canned Black Beans
- Canned Organic Joe’s O’s Pasta- like spaghettios, and yes, I am all about ’em 😉
- Canned Chiles
TIP: When it comes to storing canned goods and jars, I use expandable organizer shelves I swear by. THESE large shelves can adjust to fit just about any space perfectly — from pantry shelves to kitchen cabinets.
- Everything But the Bagel- the best seasoning I put on everything from meat to veggies; may be TJ’s most popular product
- Taco Seasoning- we love this blend! Beware- it’s on the spicier side
- Onion Salt — this is so good added to any meat or vegetable
- Everything But the Elote — Dave loves this on corn
- Ginger Paste — discontinued, but hope it returns
- Seasoning Salt — discontinued, but hope it returns
- Salsa Autentica- this is a finer salsa, like at a Mexican restaurant
- Salsa Verde- awesome on chicken enchiladas
- General Tso Stir Fry Sauce
- Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
- Italian Tomato Paste (squeeze tube)
- Sweet Chile Sauce
TIP: THESE expandable spice jar organizer shelves — like the large can organizers above — are my favorite way to store spices. For a solution under $10, you can actually see all the spices you have “in stock” and don’t require matching bottles or jars of the same size and shape. The 3-tier self unit will expand to fit your cabinet perfectly!
Also, THESE double-sided measuring spoons are not only magnetized to fit together nicely, but with one side of the spoon being tapered, up to 1/2 Tbsp. will fit inside the Trader Joe’s spice jars (unlike traditional round spoons). It’s also kind of like having two sets of spoons in one that can be used across multiple wet and dry ingredients, since each spoon has two ends.
Trader Joe’s produce in general is reason enough to make a trip. We have always been lucky with some of the freshest, juiciest fruit and veggies and their prices can’t be beat. Plus, they have specialty items that are more difficult to find anywhere else. They package groupings together in a smart way too so be on the lookout and be thorough. If you are prepping for a party especially, spend some time combing through. Here are just a few items on regular rotation.
- Bags of Mandarins
- Prepared Salads
- Asian Stir Fry
- Multipacks of Grapes (red, purple, and green)
- Rainbow Carrots
- Mini Heirloom Tomatoes
- Mini Varieties of Avocados, Cabbages, Apples, etc.
- Champagne Grape
TIP: I love THIS collapsible, expandable over-the-sink colander for rinsing produce. Unlike a traditional, round colander that takes up space, this one consolidates into a size thin enough (just over 1.5″) to be stored alongside baking sheets and racks.
- “Walks Into a Bar” Breakfast Bars — like Nutrigrain but way better
- Organic Chia Bars
- Gummy Scandinavian Swimmers — like Swedish fish in a few flavors
- Nuts & Seeds (smoked mesquite almonds are favs) — awesome prices on all nuts and mixes TIP: If you’re stocking up on nuts for baking and your recipe calls for “chopped nuts”, THIS manual chopper is incredibly efficient and so easy to use. Just toss whatever you plan to chop inside the container, snap on the lid, and pull the ring a few times and it will chop your nuts (fruit, veggies, etc.) in seconds. This is one of my new favorite gadgets and can be found HERE.
- Dried Fruit — the cranberries are great for snacking and baking
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups — way better than the milk chocolate
- Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Jellies
- Salted Tortilla Chips
- Cracker Assortment — the only box of crackers you need for a cheese platter
- Sesame Sticks
- Lemon Squares- in the bakery area
- Brookies — in the bakery area
- ALL Cheese Varieties
- Organic Yogurt Cups
- Oatmeal Cranberry Dunkers
- PB&J Dunkers (Eliza loves these!)
- Joe O’s — the seasonal varieties are lots of fun
- Applesauce pouches — so inexpensive, quick and Eliza loves them! They come in a few applesauce flavors.
- Mini Brioche Toasts
KID TIP: THIS little bowl has been perfect for Eliza while she’s sitting in her highchair, especially when eating her Trader Joe’s yogurt and applesauce. Unlike a lot of children’s suction bowls (that don’t actually provide suction), the bottom of this one does! Bonus points for it being white and gray marble and pretty 😉
- Flowers (especially silver dollar & seeded eucalyptus & tulip bundles) Tip: Check out THIS POST where I shared several arrangements I created from under $5 all the way to $55, using Trader Joe’s flowers, exclusively.
- Charlee Bear Dog Treats Tip: Keep your dog treats in THIS POP canister for easy access, storage, and quick, one-handed handling! I have these for so many uses throughout our kitchen and laundry room, from plastic bag storage to storage for dishwashing tabs and laundry pods.
- Small House Plants Tip: I recently picked up a $10 small fiddle leaf fig from TJ’s and it fits perfectly in THIS inexpensive and versatile pot from Amazon! I love the black color and texture and with PRIME, it ships free and comes in at under $15 HERE.
- Pumpkin Bread Mix TIP: split this single large loaf recipe between multiple mini loaves (HERE) and either freeze to enjoy throughout the season in smaller batches, or wrap them up as gifts!
- Boxwood Wreaths
- Olivewood Spoons and Boards (see below)
Reader Trader Joe’s Must Haves
I had a ton of feedback when I asked for reader Trader Joe’s must haves but these are the most replicated answers, in addition to some of my own personal favorites above. So, what’s everyone else purchasing?
- Cookie Butter
- Chili Lime Seasoning
- Reduced Guilt Guacamole
- Chocolate Croissants
- Gnocchi (cauliflower & sweet potato)
- Orange Chicken
- Microwave Jasmine Rice
- Spatchcocked Chicken
- Plantain Chips
- Pot Stickers
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Olive Oil
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Roasted Cauliflower & Cheese Ravioli
- Cowboy Caviar
- Linguine w/ Clam Sauce
Have your own favorites / Trader Joe’s must haves not mentioned? Let us know in the comment section at the bottom of the post!
Other Posts You May Be Interested In
- Trader Joe’s Flower Arrangements from $5 to $50
- Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice Hack
- Rise & Shine Breakfast Charcuterie Board
- 6 Ideas for Fruit & Floral Statement Arrangements