I Tried Dozens of New Groceries Hitting Shelves This April — These Are the 14 I’m Most Excited About

published Apr 19, 2023
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Graphic treatment with various grocery products. Clockwise top right to top left, Magnolia Bakery banana pudding cooki, Grillo's Pickles, Goodles pasta, Lundberg basmati rice, JUST meal kit. Milton's cauliflower crust pizza.
Credit: Clockwise top right to top left: Magnolia Bakery; Grillo Pickles, Goodles, Lundberg, JUST, Milton's Craft Bakers

I’m peachy keen on the arrival of spring and, as you’ll see, so are some of my favorite brands! This month, we’re starting our mornings with fresh ways to eat our (plant-based) eggs and sip our fruits. Lunch and dinner newbies promise bold flavors, and light lifts (who doesn’t love a shortcut?). You’ll also find the latest noods in multiple shapes, sizes, and flavors on the internet and store shelves, a trio of frozen pizzas, and a bevy of between-meals bites that hit the cheesy, slightly spicy, sweet spot.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I found exciting new launches from classic brands and up-and-comers, and tried dozens of just-launched groceries to find the best, most interesting ones. These are the 14 products we’re most excited about. Happy spring!

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

1. Lifeway Kefirs 

Probiotics are everyone’s favorite bacteria, and lightly effervescent kefir is one of the easiest, most pleasant ways to get ‘em when time and spoons are scarce. This brand is aces at balancing sweet, natural-tasting fruit flavors with that signature yogurt tang. The new Guava one is tropical and perfect for summer smoothies, while Strawberry Banana’s getting a whole-milk makeover option for a creamier, richer version of the existing low-fat kefir. Black Cherry is my personal favorite; it tastes just like the six-packs of kids’ yogurts my mom used to get for me. 

Buy: Lifeway Kefir (Black Cherry, Lowfat Guava, and Strawberry Banana), starting at $3.99 for 32 ounces at Fresh Thyme; Black Cherry and Strawberry Banana also available at Sprouts

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

2. Wildway Peach Pecan Granola

Don’t you just love when a guest star becomes a full-time cast member? Because that’s exactly what’s happening with this chewy grain-free granola brand’s Peach Pecan flavor. Since its launch two years ago, it’s been a highly anticipated seasonal mix and now it’s being honored with a permanent place in the roster. 

Naturally sweet, chewy dried peaches and dates are complemented with cinnamon- and nutmeg-scented pecans and vanilla beans, a fragrant combo inspired by Texas summers. They’re an obvious topping for yogurt or cottage cheese, but try it on almond milk overnight oats or a waffle sundae with some vanilla ice cream — or, even better, the Jeni’s Biscuits with the Boss, if you have any left over from last month

Buy: Wildway Peach Pecan Granola, $5.99 for 8 ounces at Wildway; select retailers to come

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

3. JUST Egg Chili Crisp

While egg prices have dropped in recent weeks, they remain a precious commodity. So is time, which lets this freezer-to-skillet solution kill two (strictly metaphorical!) birds with one stone. In its debut flavor, breakfast scrambles take on an Asian angle with sugar snap peas, roasted red pepper, and carrots mixed in with the firm, big bites of the plant-based eggs. 

Also sprinkled throughout: Sichuan Chili Crisp sauce from Fly By Jing, one of the (also metaphorically) hottest condiments to have hit the shelves in recent years. I love that the bag is resealable so you aren’t committed to polishing off the whole thing at once, but as a big fan of breakfast for dinner, I also appreciate that I can make a big meal of it, too. I’ve happily topped a bowl of steamed Koshihikari or sticky rice with this blend to end the day on a high note. 

Buy: JUST Egg Chili Crisp, starting at $5.99 for 12 ounces at Target; also available at Whole Foods Market and select locations of Albertsons, Fresh Thyme, Raley’s, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Wegmans, and natural food stores

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

4. nutpods Cold Brew Coffees

I can’t get enough of ready-made cold brew and, judging from the refrigerated coffee case that’s taken over the dairy section, I’m not the only one. This month, nutpods just took another step out of my morning to-dos by pre-mixing the good black stuff with its signature almond- and coconut-based no-sugar creamer. 

Those who like a little flavor in their morning sip will like the Vanilla Caramel, which uses a blend of natural sweeteners, like stevia, and relies on aroma to fill out the taste experience. I love that there’s a “sweetness meter” on the carton, too — this one is three out of six. Whole30-approved Classic is unsweetened, letting the brew shine through the smooth and balanced richness of a generous splash of the creamer. 

Find it in stores: nutpods Cold Brew Coffees, $5.99 for 32 ounces at Sprouts; coming soon to select national retailers and Amazon Fresh

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

5. Kevin’s Natural Foods Pasta Meal Kits

This sous vide easy-dinner brand is one of my go-tos for protein-heavy entrees, and with the launch of these pasta meals, I don’t even need to mess with making an accompanying carb! This is the first and only Paleo-certified pasta meal kit in existence, and Kevin really nails it with truly excellent cauliflower pasta. 

All the chicken kits come with penne: there’s Pasta Primavera with zucchini and carrots in a tomato basil sauce that’s lightened up with Chablis wine, an Alla Vodka you can add your own veggies to (I like broccoli or zucchini), and a bright Lemon Garlic flavor that gives me Francaise vibes, thanks to the splash of wine (add spinach to this one!). I’m also a sucker for a twirly ribbon pasta, which is what you get with the Beef Bolognese and Beef Stroganoff flavors. I really appreciate the subtlety of the coconut milk in the latter, and the creaminess of the mushroom-heavy sauce. 

Find it in stores: Kevin’s Natural Foods Pasta Meal Kits, $12.99 for 26 ounces at Target and Sprouts

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

6. Milton’s Craft Bakers Grilled Chicken & Garlic Cauliflower Crust Pizza

There are a lot of contenders for the title, but to me, Milton’s is the king of thin, crispy cauli crusts with a hint of cheese. (They remind me a bit of pão de queijo.) So I was eager to try the latest and most unconventional flavor to date. While the combo of garlic, grilled chicken, and mozzarella sounds pretty staid, it’s what’s between the toppings that’s a departure from the expected. 

Instead of tomato sauce, you’ll find a mild red bell pepper sauce that’s enhanced by the sweetness of the generous spread of roasted red peppers and smattering of red onions. I liked it even better topped with raw baby arugula and balsamic glaze! Plus, it’s gluten-free, which means more people can join in this pizza party. Good thing it comes in a two pack!

Find it in stores: Milton’s Craft Bakers Grilled Chicken & Garlic Cauliflower Crust Pizza, $14.89 for 2 (2.16-pound) pizzas at Costco locations in the Midwest; coming to Los Angeles in May

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

7. California Pizza Kitchen Croissant-Inspired Crust Pizzas

The brand that put the genre-crossing West Coast pizza on the map is doing it again, and this time, from the bottom up. The popular thin crust is layering up this spring with an ultra-thin, flaky dough (think: a cross between puff and phyllo pastry). You do have to eat it before it cools, as the bottom hardens and gets chewy quickly. CPK, as it’s affectionately known, teamed up with Mike’s Hot Honey for an Uncured Pepperoni & Hot Honey pizza that brings sweet and heat together with an included packet of this fan-favorite condiment. I appreciate the DIY drizzle (I drizzle more evenly than any machine can)! 

The other option is rich and savory: Bacon and Caramelized Onion uses a creamy Brie sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese — a riff that reminded me of Alsatian flammkuchen — with bold bites of garlic. Both flavors are so tasty that I really wish this pizza went heavier on the toppings.

Find it in stores: California Pizza Kitchen Croissant-Inspired Crust Pizzas, $10.91 for 10.8 ounces at Target, Meijer, and other select retailers

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

8. Grillo’s Pickles Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips

This new flavor — voted on by fans — is further evidence that sweet heat is hot! And per today’s zeitgeist, while no fried chicken sandwich is complete without pickles, fried chicken is best with sweet heat. (Ask anyone from Nashville.) This lets you have a little of both in just one condiment. 

They’re generously thick-cut and full-flavored, leading with sugary pickle juice followed by a mild trace of spice at the finish. They have all the fresh crispness that people love from this brand, plus seedless pickled jalapeños and vibrant red pepper flakes. Don’t worry — both are more for show than heat. They’ve elevated my at-home chicken sandwich game; try them piled on some air-fried tenders on buttery buns (I recommend Tyson’s on St. Pierre’s) for a DIY fix, or on their own for casual snacking.

Find it in stores: Grillo’s Pickles Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips, $5.99 for 16 ounces at Target; coming soon to Whole Foods, Ralph’s, and Amazon

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

9. Goodles Noodles

I don’t know about you, but the swirlier the pasta, the better I think it tastes, which was the number-one reason I was excited about the expansion of one of my favorite boxed mac-and-cheese brands. While my pantry is already full of exciting new ways to enjoy pasta, I’m reaching for the new Curveball shapes first (a cross between elbows and shells), then the Loopdy-Loos, which are like hollowed cut ramen or thin cavatelli. For the more straight-laced, there’s Lucky Penne. 

They all look, taste, and cook up just like satisfying everyday enriched pasta and grip sauce like a dream. No one would know that they’ve got 25% of the daily value fiber, 10 grams of wheat and chickpea protein (9%) per two ounces, and hidden nutrients from broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, and mushrooms!

Buy: Goodles Noodles, $3.99 for 8 ounces at Goodles

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

10. SOMOS Mexican Street Corn White Rice

There’s more to Mexican corn than elote and, with this new release, less in your teeth, too, as they take this trendy snack right off the cob and put it in a pouch. This Mexican American-founded brand is branching off from beans (which hit Whole Foods nationwide for the first time this month) with its take on esquites, an Aztecan street snack. 

In this modern iteration, it’s mixed with long-grain white rice and the chewy corn is fire-roasted rather than steamed. What Mexican food-lovers will recognize is the flavor of fresh epazote, an herb that’s herbaceous, citrusy, and aromatic in this dish, and the smallest smidge of chile de arbol flakes. Add big chunks of sharp cheese like cotija, queso fresco, or feta for protein and contrast to make this 90-second side a quick vegetarian lunch. 

Buy: SOMOS Mexican Street Corn White Rice, $8 for 2 (8.8-ounce) packs at SOMOS; also available at Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Market, H-E-B, Hungryroot, and Amazon

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11. Lundberg Regenerative Organic Certified Rice

Rice is nice, and nicer still when it’s grown in a way that’s good for the planet. This family-owned and -operated California brand has been a leader in sustainability practices for rice farming and have now launched its first Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA)-certified varietal. The grains are grown with recycled, multi-use water, soil health in mind, and in fields that support wildlife.

Best of all, it’s delicious and a textural delight. This delicate, long-grain basmati cooks up fragrantly and in well-defined, individual grains that fluff up in a cloud of sweet steam when stirred. An Indian rice, it’s the perfect accompaniment to pouched curries; I like to nuke up a bag of Saffron Road or Tasty Bite ready-to-eat pouches for a natural pairing and no-fuss vegetarian dinner.

Buy: Lundberg Regenerative Organic Certified Rice, $9.49 for 2 pounds at Lundberg; also available at Whole Foods

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12. Sundays Zero-Sugar Crème Cookies

There’s a reason everyone keeps trying to reinvent creme-stuffed chocolate wafer cookies, and that’s because the classic is damn delicious. Now we can add another contender to the mix. This nascent brand — after two-and-a-half years of development to eliminate the aftertaste and textural issues of other challengers — has ambitiously come out with the first-ever zero-sugar, sugar alcohol-free, and gluten-free version with added protein (5% of the daily value) and, by George, I think they’ve done it. They have a strong structure and solid bite that may arguably make them even more dunkable than its predecessors. The wafers are cocoa-forward as opposed to chocolate, and the creme filling is pretty spot-on, albeit a bit less sweet. 

Buy: Sundays Zero-Sugar Crème Cookies, $35.97 for 3 boxes at Eat Sundays; also available at Foxtrot and Amazon (coming soon)

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13. Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Cookies

As a native New Yorker that’s had this famous bakery’s banana pudding fresh out of the tub at the store and also shipped to me, you could say I’m a believer. But the downside of that treat is that it’s a race for time, as it has to be consumed quickly, lest it spoil. No wonder, then, that putting all of its components — including vanilla wafer chunks — in soft-baked cookie form went over so well when it debuted at the bakeries. 

The recipes for all three Banana Pudding Cookies use butter and bananas for a richness and freshness you can taste. The white chocolate chunks in Classic Vanilla add meltiness to each extra-soft, chewy bite; Chocolate Chunk feels like a chocolate-covered banana chased down with a cookie; and the addition of the bakery’s signature round sprinkles in Confetti offers a pleasant crunch. Heat these up in the toaster oven for just a few minutes for a real crossover treat.

Find it in stores: Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Cookies, $7.99 for four cookies at Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, and other select markets

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

14. Whisps Baked Cheese Bites

Size matters, and sometimes, it’s better to be small. This new bite-sized version of the toasty cheese crisps proves that bigger isn’t always better. Available in the brand’s foundational Cheddar and Parmesan flavors, the slightly thicker, half-inch coins are truly a one-bite wonder, which means less mess when snacking. The bold flavor is the same as the original all-cheese crisps, so extra crumbs are all you’ll be missing. These little minis are ideal for smaller hands and mouths, making them a great lunch-box stuffer for kids, too. 

Buy: Whisps Baked Cheese Bites, $4.98 for 3.75 ounces at Walmart; coming soon to other retailers in July

Which of these are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.