Grocery

17 New Trader Joe’s Products to Stock Up on ASAP

Plus, some old favorites make a triumphant return.

November 18, 2020
Photo by PHOTO BY BOBBI LIN. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG. PROP STYLIST: BROOKE DEONARINE.

Every time I go to the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood, there’s a line out the door (even pre-pandemic!). That’s got to mean everyone waiting is onto something. The grocery store, of course, is known for its indefatigable ability to launch crowd-favorite products seemingly all the time, and this year has proved no difference. When it comes to the best Trader Joe’s products of 2020, there’s plenty to choose from—and I’m not just talking about this year’s hottest purchases, toilet paper and yeast. If you’re looking for something new to pop in your cart the next time you find yourself at Trader Joe’s, these are some of the best.

Note: While every product on this list has been spotted at a Trader Joe’s location in 2020, we can’t guarantee that they’ll be at your local store.


17 Best Trader Joe’s Products of 2020

Everything But the Leftovers Turkey Seasoning

This blend of dried rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, onion, and celery seed has a secret ingredient for a bit of umami-cheesiness: yeast extract! The spice mix is obviously great on turkey, but I’m more interested in showering it on popcorn, carrots and fennel before a long roast, and pre-seared chicken thighs.

Photo by Trader Joe's

Gluten Free Panettone

Ah, Panettone, the gift no one wants but always receives… and then, when left alone with the giant bread-cake, accidentally nibbles away half the thing. We’ve all been there, right? Anyway, now you can gift one to your gluten-intolerant and celiac friends, because TJ’s launched a version made with rice starch, cornstarch, psyllium husk, and Xanthan gum instead of flour.

Non-Dairy Mint & Chip Bon Bons

I’m not vegan, but I still know it’d be extremely possible for me to finish an entire package of these minty, chocolatey, frozen non-dairy ice cream bites.

Mini Peanut-Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

While peanut butter and pretzel is not a singular food, I still know that the combination is my favorite flavor (sweet, salty, nutty—come on!). Just try to name a better snack to keep in your bag or desk drawer.

Lucy Glo Apples

Some snacks you eat for the flavor, some you eat for the Instagram; pretty-in-pink Lucy Glo apples let you have both (check out this review.) Like your favorite tie-dyed sweatshirt, these apples don’t even need a slather of nut butter. Well. Maybe I’ll still go for it.

Spicy Chakri Mix

I love a snack mix something furious, so please feel free to send me several packages of this Chakri Mix, a spicy blend of turmeric-cumin-coriander-dusted chickpea and rice flour crispy-crunchies. Shout-out to the addition of fried curry leaves and roasted peanuts.

Chile Garlic Cashews

Eating roasted cashews makes me feel fancy, like I don’t even care how expensive they are in the bulk bin—I simply eat what I love, thank you so much. This TJ’s offering is no different, if perhaps even more luxe thanks to the fact that they ensure my cashews are pre-seasoned before I shovel them into my mouth.

Spicy Cashew Butter Dressing

If you’re wondering how I feel about cashews, please see above. Now, you can catch me free-pouring this dressing over roasted sweet potatoes and squash. And salad. And soba noodles. And a spoon.

Mini Cornbread Biscotti

All the sweet, buttery flavors of cornbread packed into a crispy biscotti? Yes please. I’ll take five with my morning coffee… and another big handful to snack on with some cheese and wine later. (Recommended by Courtney Kassel.)

Photo by Trader Joe's

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla extract is so last year. Well, it’s still available, but why would you bother when there’s vanilla bean paste on the shelf. The thick, vanilla bean-flecked paste brings way more vanilla flavor, so it lasts even longer than a bottle of extract. (Recommended by Billy Green.)

Cold Brew Black Tea Concentrate

If cold brew coffee exists, why not tea? Trader Joe’s agrees! This black tea concentrate can be mixed with hot or cold water and other accoutrements (lemon, milk, honey, and such) for your preferred tea experience. (Recommended by Justine Lee)

Maple Butter

Forget nut butter or Speculoos—maple butter exists and is readily available. Made with just one ingredient (maple syrup), it’s essentially maple candy before it turns hard: the boiled syrup is immediately flash-cooled and jarred, where it takes on a spreadable consistency. “I’ve added the maple butter to caramel and also used it as a schmear on the bottom of a galette,” says pie whisperer-slash-genius Ellen Gray.

The following items were launched in earlier years, but have been re-released and spotted at TJ’s locations in 2020:

Chocolate Orange

A chocolate orange was one of my favorite holiday treats as a kid. It sounds like an odd snack, but opening that ball of citrusy chocolate and breaking off wedges is a true delight.

Photo by Trader Joe's

Organic Italian Nocellara Olives

Green olives are my snack plate kryptonite. These are actually quite mild when it comes to that classic briny “olive” flavor, more rich and fruity and salty and tangy.

Nuts About Rosemary Mix

DIY nut snack mixes are genuinely easy, but does that mean I make them all the time? Nope. Thankfully, mixes like this, toasted almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews are dusted with a salty rosemary herb mix and just a little bit of sugar, so it’s truly impossible to stop snacking.

Cornbread Bites

If arancini, tamales, jalapeno poppers, and cornbread did a big brainstorm session, this is probably what they’d end up with. The sweet and spicy balls are easy to reheat in the oven, which makes them an easy choice for an afternoon snack.

Green Goddess Dip

Speaking of snacks you have the technology to DIY but rarely do: green goddess dip. So thank you, Trader Joe’s, for doing the work. A creamy blend of sour cream, mayo, avocado, garlic, herbs—just hand me some sliced radishes and leave me to dunk.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I buy several of the pre-made Southwestern salads to use for lunch. Only $3.95 and 210 calories and so fresh and delicious. ”
— Mo W.
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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl. She tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

45 Comments

Mo W. February 4, 2021
let's not forget the Rosemary and Sea Salt Marcona Almonds. A great house gift with a bottle of wine or cocktail napkins.
 
Not K. February 4, 2021
We desperately need to find TJ's Sea Salt Caramels! Anyone?
 
Barbara B. February 3, 2021
I’ve been thrilled with TJ’s frozen cooked shrimp with tails removed. That’s a time-saving blessing when making stir fries with their frozen stir fry vegetables! I also always pick up a container of wine-country chicken salad. Yummy.
 
Candice K. January 12, 2021
Wish we had a Trader Joe’s in Charleston, WV
 
Patty W. January 12, 2021
Chili-lime chicken burgers, gyoza, the bag salads, French baguette, pancake bread, omg~ their cheeses, the fiocchetti (pasta “purses” in pink sauce), the inside-out gnocchi, I love their ready-made boxed miso soup along with their chicken/cilantro wontons, pepperoni Mac and cheese, ALL mac and cheese there, mushroom risotto, the refrigerated tikka masala and chicken medallion coconut red curry sauce-TO DIE FOR, IMO- desserts, sorbets...And I’m just getting started! 🤣🤣
 
bobbie January 11, 2021
PLEASE start online ordering and delivery!!!
 
tkp January 11, 2021
Really wish they'd do delivery or online ordering. There's just no way we're going into that tiny store during the pandemic.
 
Gammy January 11, 2021
Timing is everything. Most times of the day our local TJ is no more crowded than our Publix grocery store. TJ also puts limits on in-store shoppers and has areas outside for a waiting line. I have noticed that they also have a greater ratio of staff to shoppers than the typical grocery store. Make a list and you will breeze thru.
 
Patty W. January 12, 2021
I agree! VERY Covid conscious!
 
Mellen January 9, 2021
I like the dark chocolate espresso beans. Miss that my TJ’s no longer has the instant onion dip mix - no preservatives and just simple ingredients.
 
Gammy January 4, 2021
I STILL wish Trader Joe's would bring back the Mango Bon-bons from a couple summers ago. So yummy enrobed in that dark chocolate.... Sigh......
 
Ms. S. January 4, 2021
Woooweee! Have you tried the all year around tamales?! It doesn’t matter which ones you try, they are all delicious. Chicken, Beef or cheese and green Chile.
 
Heidihelm January 3, 2021
mint chocolate covered shortbread stars! Also the cauliflower gnocchi are surprisingly good and a simple dinner. The frozen french green beans (haricot verte) are also a freezer staple for me.
 
Mo W. January 3, 2021
We also love the Indian Butter Chicken and usually pair it with the TJ Indian Vegetable Biryani with dumplings. My husband and I split the two dishes and it is as good as if not better than local Indian restaurants. Easy peasy when there isn't time to cook. I also loved the frozen stacked eggplant.
 
MLHE January 12, 2021
Because of this comment, I tried the Butter Chicken (and I really try to be vegetarian). Just: thank you. Thank you. (Sorry, chickens.)
 
scoot87501 January 3, 2021
No Trader Joe list I have ever seen includes Butter Chicken. I can't imagine why. For me and my wife it is by far the best item in the frozen section. I buy two so she gets one and I get one. It comes with Basmati rice. It is a bit spicy so she adds some yogurt to hers. I like to pair it with the Chana Masala for a knock-out Indian meal. It tastes just like it came from the best Indian restaurant.
 
Hannah January 3, 2021
For a little while I saw the joe-Joe’s ice cream pints in my TJ’s, but not anymore. I so wanted to try it!!
 
Rockstargirl January 3, 2021
Aaaah, those cornbread bites are a party in your mouth. I also really love the sweet and spicy jelly, with a baked brie. The TJ Puff pastry is amazing and also seasonal, so I tend to stock up on it, as well as the cornbread bites. They each have their own sections in my freezer.
 
Cynthia F. January 3, 2021
Wish these lists didn’t focus so much on snacks and sweet items. Would love to see more savory and substantial items reviewed.
 
Jen January 3, 2021
My life and my freezer isn't complete without the Frozen Veggie and Frozen Chicken Fried Rice. They both seem like such simple things but they are the best tasting and most convenient building blocks for the rest of my meals.
 
susan January 5, 2021
TJ's Frozen Chicken Fried Rice, for the win.
 
Mo W. January 3, 2021
The box of chopped yellow onions are fabulous to sauté and add to anything. Brioche French toast, all prepared and ready to warm in the microwave is a huge hit at our house. We also adore the scallion pancakes - just warm them in the over as a super side dish for fish or chicken. T J Mac'n Cheese is as good as it gets. Our new favorite is the marinated chicken thighs all ready for the grill. I buy several of the pre-made Southwestern salads to use for lunch. Only $3.95 and 210 calories and so fresh and delicious.
 
MLHE January 3, 2021
Do you know how many complete boxes of Peppermint JoJos I've eaten all by myself? Neither do I, but with each one consumed, my mouth was on vacation.
 
barbara S. January 3, 2021
Get your hands on a jar of Trader Joe's Black Truffle Cashew Pesto Sauce! OMG it is amazing on crostini with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey