7 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee

published May 5, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Canvas bag filled with Trader Joe's groceries on countertop.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

The grocery store is a little bit stressful these days. Shrinkflation this, egg shortages that, and even my precious Doritos are close to $7 a pop (the horror). We’ve seen it in all the listicles scattered over our newsfeeds — I’m sure there’s no need to regale you. So this week I was determined to bring a bit of lightness (and perhaps even silliness) to my weekly shop.

Thankfully, Trader Joe’s has rolled out a bunch of new items that, while not essential, have certainly perked up my shopping cart. Sometimes it’s those non-essential treats and new-to-me dinner items that really make the kitchen feel like it got a culinary spring cleaning, too. These items certainly gave me a skip in my step (and even include a white whale-esque product I’m still trying to track down, so now there’s already more to look forward to for next week’s shop). Let’s dig in.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. PBC Bars, $3.29 for 7.4 ounces

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of novelty when I’m grocery shopping, but I’m definitely not immune to overdoing it when I really like something. Namely, I never get tired of Trader Joe’s ABC Bars (which stand for Almond Butter & Chocolate). So imagine my surprise and delight when I found they had taken my favorite breakfast bar and turned it inside out. Easy decision! Get in my cart. 

Similar to the aforementioned ABC Bars, which have a chocolate-oat base and are filled with almond butter, these chewy peanut butter cookie-inspired bars come with a rich chocolaty filling that’ll have you thinking, “Hey, my peanut butter got into my chocolate” like those 70’s Reese’s commercials. It’s a win across the board: peanut butter and chocolate (10 points for Gryffindor), great for breakfast (big duh), and, if you’re like me, they’re a delightful find for when you’re scavenging your bag for a quick snack (future me thanks past me).

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Dorothy’s Garden Secrets, $7.99 for 7 ounces

I’ve long been a fan of Dorothy’s cheeses since I was a wee cheese girl working for my local Trader Joe’s. What immediately attracted me were the incredible names given to each seasonal cheese (like Dorothy’s Keep Dreaming and Dorothy’s Comeback Cow), but I stayed for how much depth is packed into these American-made cheeses — it’ll convert any French-cheese lover. 

Much like the other Dorothy’s cheeses, Garden Secrets is a soft-ripened flower-shaped cheese that’s similar to a Brie in both texture and taste. This spring-y take is laced with a subtle sprinkle of herbs (like oregano, sage, and basil) that’s perfect spread on your favorite cracker or baked for digging in with sliced baguette or brioche toasts. Pro tip: Add some fig preserves on top before serving if you go the baking route. You’ll be very glad you did.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Sfogliatella Pastry, $4.49 for 14.1 ounces

I’m a huge fan of anything lobster-adjacent; cheap lobster grilled cheeses at dive bars, Red Lobster cheddar biscuits, and lobster-shaped pastries, of course. Sfogliatella, which are often called “lobster tails” at many bakeries, are just as rich and delicious as their name suggests. Literally meaning “small leaves” in Italian, sfogliatella are flaky, many-layered pastries that can either come with savory and sweet fillings. 

Trader Joe’s eggplant Parm variety that came out last year were a cocktail-hour favorite for me, and this sweetened version just might be my favorite in the series. Filled with a rich ricotta punctuated with candied orange peel, these crackly sfogliatella pastries are just begging to be dipped in your next cappuccino. I’m pretty much always trying to pretend I’m in Naples, so for $4.49 I’m a big fan of the flavor trip these pastries provide.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Avocado Mash, $3.49 for 8 ounces

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Did we really need this?” And well, no. One does not really need a container of pre-mashed avocado. But here we are. We have it, and it’s honestly delicious. I file this product under a category I call “nice to have,” and I stand by my purchase of this pre-mashed avocado. Why? Well, often I just want to know I have avocado at the ready during those weeks where, if I even breathe near my slow-ripening avocados, they’ll morph into unusable, mushy baseballs. I know I’m not alone in this curse, so that’s where Trader Joe’s Avocado Mash comes in to save you from yourself. 

Made with just three ingredients (avocados, lemon juice, sea salt), this Avocado Mash is ready and ripe for anything: avocado toast (with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast), avocado salsa, or wait for it: an avocado margarita. Yes, I said it. It’s the easiest shortcut to making a creamy, spicy margarita that’ll shake up your at-home bartending game and make you seem very in-the-know. Most other pre-mashed avocados often contain garlic and/or black pepper, making them decidedly not the best candidate for a margarita; this one is basically a jigger of tequila and triple sec away from an even happier hour.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Ube Pretzels, $3.49 for 7 ounces

The ube train continues onwards at Trader Joe’s and I’m basically conducting it at this point. Entering: Ube Pretzels station. The yogurt-y coating (with all the vanilla-pistachio notes you’d expect from ube) fills in each little salty nook and cranny of these mini pretzels, and thank goodness for that. If you’re new to Team Ube: Yes, it’s a beautiful (and naturally) purple yam that goes almost too well in sweet products. 

Does the purple hue of these make them even more fun to eat? Also yes. Once again, no notes for this ube-flavored treat. By my estimations for this ube season, these pretzels are sure to pair excellently in a trail mix, sandwiched around Trader Joe’s Ube Spread, or crumbled onto some Ube Ice Cream.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Gluten-Free Battered Plant-Based Fish Fillets, $4.49 for 9.5 ounces

I’m fully convinced Trader Joe’s product development department is run by a special class of mad scientists, because how else could (or would) they create such a fantastically great product? As a full-time omnivore (with a rabid fascination for all the new meat alternatives out there and an intense love of fish tacos), I knew I’d have to try this gluten-free and plant-based take on breaded fish filets. 

And let me just say, these filets are scary good, with a flaky, briny interior — made from king oyster mushrooms and jackfruit — and a crisp and crunchy batter that would be perfect chopped into a fish taco bowl or a plant-based po’boy. These filets really brought me back to a day at the beach, with a bit of salty air and a warm basket of fish and chips in my lap. So basically, heaven?

7. Garlicky Pasta, $4.29 for 16 ounces

It just wouldn’t be a Trader Joe’s run if I wasn’t eluded by a new product that was sold out before I got there. Garlicky Pasta was my white whale of the week, so to speak. Crew members around my local store told me it was top of their favorite list that week, and the empty spot in the freezer aisle confirmed these noodles’ popularity. 

While it might seem like an Italian-style pasta dish, its flavor notes take a lot of inspiration from umami-packed San Francisco-style Vietnamese-American noodles, with nutty pecorino, garlic, fish sauce, and soy sauce to coat each spaghetti strand. One Redditor described their recent Garlicky Pasta-scouting experience as such: “I only saw one thing of garlicky noodles yesterday and I snatched that like my grandma snatched up a Cabbage Patch Kid in 1983.” Let’s just say, I’m going to absolutely be adopting that same mindset my next shop. 

What new Trader Joe’s groceries are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.