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.
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.
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.)
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
Did we call out your favorite? What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments.