7 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee
Sometimes I truly feel like Trader Joe’s is listening to my thoughts and dreams, because this month the store’s new offerings really nail all the qualities I love in my food: tiny things, nostalgic favorites, a nearly instant dinner combo, and even more tiny things. Every single item I got this month hit all those marks — and then some.
Even the produce comes in all kinds of shapes and colors this month, what with the stacks of summertime hybrids of cherry-plums (basically cherries after taking an Alice in Wonderland-style “Drink Me” growth potion) and, yes, yellow watermelons. A true funhouse mirror of a grocery shop awaits us all, that is for sure. So what hopped into my cart this month? Let’s review.
1. Tiny Fruity Cuties, $3.99 for 16 ounces
I solidly file this cereal under a Trader Joe’s category I call, “Did we really need this?” The answer is, of course, no. But I’m still so glad it exists.
This cereal really encapsulates all the crunchy, tart, fruity fun of a childhood favorite cereal. Each crunchy bite of cereal features tiny multi-colored moons and flower shapes that are just as fun to chase around your bowl with your spoon. All you need are some Saturday morning cartoons, and bam — back to some child-like sweetness.
2. Mini Cheeseburgers, $4.49 for 7.02 ounces
Child of the ’90s that I am, burgers from Krystal and White Castle were definitely some of my favorite road trip dinners. If that also sounds like you, you’re going to love these upgraded versions of the diminutive sliders. Each teensy-weensy beef burger patty is nestled between a sweet Hawaiian roll-adjacent bun, topped with melty cheddar, and then a dollop of Trader Joe’s “burger sauce” (which is super reminiscent of its creamy, tangy Mac sauce-inspired Magnifisauce).
It took little to no effort for me to down two of these in quick succession. The sweetness of the bun pairs very nicely with the bite of the cheese and sauce. My only note, and I’m likely alone in this, is to add some finely diced white onions to really bring in that White Castle feeling and add a bit of freshness to this delightfully nostalgic semi-homemade dinner. But other than that? These are such a nice snack — and they are even better made in the air fryer.
3. Chocolate & Vanilla Bean Swirl Gelato, $5.49 for 1.9 pint
If there’s ever been a rule of thumb for the Trader Joe’s frozen section, it is the following: If you spot a new gelato flavor, you grab a tub or two ASAP. Trader Joe’s tends to offer more affordable options that are just classically so good (see: the pistachio gelato and the strawberries and cream gelato).
4. Organic Pasta Quintet, $1.99 for 16 ounces
You know that moment when you find yourself with a few pasta boxes of barely a serving left each, so you just combine them all into one magical Strega Nona-esque pot of pasta? This is absolutely the experience of Trader Joe’s newest organic pasta, which features all the standard classic noodle shapes: fusilli, spirals, wheels, cavatappi, and shells.
Much like a boy band in perfect harmony, each of the five shapes go super well together and feel not at all accidental, with an al dente bite that makes them perfect when slicked with your favorite sauce (I went with pesto), or even as the heart of a chicken noodle soup. With all the delicious surface area of each noodle at your disposal, there’s really no limit to what you can use these noodles for. I mean, can’t you imagine how good these would be in a mac and cheese — all those nooks and crannies covered in all sorts of melty cheese? Perhaps some smoked Gouda and mozzarella? My heart.
5. Dark Chocolate Pineapple Sticks, $3.49 for 10 ounces
Any time you see the newest roll-out of Trader Joe’s chewy, jelly-centered chocolate-covered treats, you should do yourself a favor and grab yourself a bag. This most recent seasonal selection (other flavors star watermelon and orange) has the volume 15 fruitiness of its predecessors, with a tropical pineapple flavor that you can truly smell through the bag.
While you might expect these to contain dried fruit, they actually contain a more gummy center covered in a crackly chocolate coating that makes you wonder, Wait, do I really like this? That then gets followed with, Oh, for sure. Straight out of the bag, these have a refreshing pop of pineapple tartness that only gets better when you pop them in the freezer for a cool future treat, skewer them to garnish a cocktail, or use them as a nice extra something-something on top of a frosted cupcake.
6. S’Mores Bars, $4.99 for 7.5 ounces
These bars truly live up to their name. You’ll take one bite, and then want s’more, and s’more, and then, yes, a little s’more just for good measure. And they really live up to their internet hype, too, with a graham cracker crust stacked with a fudgy brownie that’s then topped with a fluffy marshmallow creme topping. They’re good any which way you choose to enjoy them: thawed at room temperature, in the air fryer for a minute or so to get as toasty as their namesake, or eaten right out of the box. I said what I said.
7. Mutti Tomato Purée, $3.99 for 19.7 ounces
Much like the aforementioned s’mores bars took me back to my Girl Scout days, this jar of pasta sauce really took me back to a pasta-making class I took last fall in Rome. Not just from the taste, but because it was the actual, honest-to-goodness brand of tomatoes my pasta-making teacher used to make a life-changing Bolognese sauce with. One bite of that Bolognese imprinted the Mutti brand in my mind forever, but it wasn’t until I came back stateside that I realized how tricky it would be to find it at my local market.
No more! Trader Joe’s has finally stocked this iconic brand, known for its juicy, sweet San Marzano tomatoes. Anything tomato-related you want to cook should start with Mutti’s ultra-smooth tomato purée — no matter if it’s a spaghetti pomodoro or a Bloody Mary (seriously — just trust me).
Which new Trader Joe’s items do you have your eye on? Tell us in the comments below.