7 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee
You don’t need to check the weather outside to know that we are entering the official Dog Days of Summer — you can simply just stroll the aisles at Trader Joe’s to get the full report. The consensus? All the best new summertime foods are to be eaten off a stick, outside, or stashed in a purse as your crunchy co-pilot to whatever potluck/pool day/heated game of spikeball you’ve got on the agenda.
There are endless thrills ahead at Trader Joe’s this month, to say the least, including — wait for it — a real plot twist: One of my personal favorite thought-to-be-discontinued snacks is back at long last! Dreams coming true? Scoopable and skewer-able treats? And three products that basically have dinner covered? That’s 100% what’s new at Trader Joe’s this month.
1. Taco Gouda Cheese, $12.99 per pound
In this month’s installment of Trader Joe’s Mad Libs, I present to you maybe the best combination of three words possible: Taco Gouda Cheese. This cheese truly has everything going for it. An ultra-savory Dutch gouda? Positively riddled with smoky cumin seeds, jalapeño peppers, and garlic? It’s a real slam-dunk of a cheese — one that you’re going to want to slam dunk into your next grilled cheese, quesadilla, or stuffed peppers.
I first used this cheese for what made the most sense: tacos. More specifically? Tacos that star two other items in this month’s roundup, so stay tuned.
2. Dark Russet Potato Chips, $2.99 for 7 ounces
No, you’re not dreaming. They’re really back! As was noted last year, the spot that used to house the Dark Russet Potato Chips went dark. At first, fans (me) thought they would be definitively discontinued, but it turned out that it just took longer than usual for Trader Joe’s to find a new supplier to keep up with producing this objectively perfect chip.
Earthy, salty, toasty, these chips can be dipped into anything from a sour cream dip to Buffalo chicken dip. My favorite use? Folding a hearty handful into a mean Spanish tortilla, while I wait for my other seasonal potato chip (Trader Joe’s Peruvian Potato Chips). Don’t be shy — grab a few bags.
3. Sea Breeze Castile Hand Soap, $3.99 for 8 ounces
Unpopular opinion, I know, but I find myself more often at a river/lake/spring over the beach. That being said, there’s something undeniably special about the way everything smells downright idyllic at the end of a long day at the beach. Thankfully, this new Sea Breeze Castile Hand Soap can make you feel like you just got back from the beach — even if you’re completely landlocked.
This soap steers clear of that faux, chemically “beach potpourri” scent that makes you wonder if the scent-makers are actually familiar with the concept of a beach, too. With bits of salty floral notes, this olive oil and coconut oil soap is a trip in a bottle that’ll have you feeling like a peak Coastal Grandmother.
4. Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Thigh Skewers, $7.49 for 10.5 ounces
I’m already beelining for another skewered favorite come summertime: Trader Joe’s Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers with Mango Chutney. So during my recent shop, when I spotted a new companion, it was a no-brainer, add-to-literal-cart moment. If you’ve yet to convert to Team Chicken Thighs, now is the time. These pre-cooked, pre-skewered chicken thighs are totally foolproof (they just need 6 to 8 minutes in the air fryer).
Incredibly juicy, with an herby-spicy chimichurri glaze, these skewers have many fates ahead of them. Most notably, my cashier surveyed my goods during my shop. “Looks like dinner’s already covered,” he said. Was he flirting with me? Were we about to run away to eat tacos? I looked down: Taco Gouda, tortillas, hot sauce, and chicken skewers. Okay, so I did not run away with my Trader Joe’s cashier, but there’s always next month. Instead, there were tacos. His suggestion was match-made, at the least.
5. Snacky Clusters, $3.99 for 8 ounces
If there was ever a collection of words I’d love to co-opt as my new nickname, it would 100% be Snacky Clusters. Aren’t we all a Snacky Cluster deep down? In this case, Snacky Clusters are bundles of potato chips, pretzel nuggets, and corn chip dippers mixed up and coated in milk chocolate.
Time-saving (no more alternating bites between your favorite sweet snack with your favorite salty snack) and delicious, this is the ultimate treat for the indecisive, FOMO snacker out there. Can you even imagine how many movies you’re going to sneak these into this summer? The number doesn’t exist, I think. It’s a lot, though.
6. S’mores Ice Cream, $3.79 for 16 ounces
I love any discussion on s’mores because it literally gets so heated. For some, there’s horror realizing someone close to you hates marshmallows, or actually puts peanut butter on theirs instead of chocolate, or, I shudder, doesn’t like s’mores at all. Personally, I like to tweak the proportions of s’mores just a bit and really focus on the graham cracker that gets so little love in the equation.
If that sounds like you, the new S’mores Ice Cream that Trader Joe’s has rolled out will finally give you s’more of what you want (I’m so sorry). A rich and toasty graham cracker (!) ice cream base is swirled with a light marshmallow fluff, chocolate chunks, and a chocolate ice cream that really lets the graham cracker have its own, well-deserved moment. Go the next step and crumble more graham crackers on top — you deserve it.
7. Chunky Garlic & Jalapeno Hot Sauce, $3.69 for 10 ounces
Hot sauces are like a painter’s palette. You can’t just have one color (or hot sauce) for everything — that just wouldn’t work. My hot sauce rack, runneth over as it does, certainly didn’t need another addition, but I couldn’t pass up this new variety from Trader Joe’s this month.
That being said, I’ve yet to find a meal that this sauce hasn’t improved. Leftover stir-fry? Yes. Breakfast tacos? You bet. Lunch/dinner tacos? Big duh. This infinitely pourable sauce is delightfully smooth (I’d say it’s thick, rather than “chunky”) with plenty of pickled jalapeño heat that builds with each smoky, garlicky bite. If you love the buildable heat of slightly briny hot sauces like Cholula, Tapatio, or Valentina, your hot sauce shelf will certainly need to make room for this bottle.
Which of these newbies are you most excited to try? Tell us in the comments below.