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

published Nov 3, 2023
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Trader Joe's shopping bags in kitchen.
Credit: Diana Liang

I am sincerely happy no one usually sees me on a day I call “Big Silly Sample Day,” a once-a-month occasion in which I gather all the new items I got at Trader Joe’s and take mini bites of each for taste-testing to see what I want to hype-team for that month. Admittedly, sometimes it can be the best lunch of them all or the wildest snack of the day. Most likely, the month’s selection includes a menagerie — a mixture of pumpkin-pumpkin-pumpkin, three distinctly different ice creams, the newest alternative meat, or shot glasses of salad dressings, yogurts, and probiotic drinks.

Thankfully, for my stomach’s sake, November was one for the scrapbooks because I basically had the most balanced Big Silly Sample Day meal of all: a sweet snack, a savory snack, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One should be so lucky to have such an Everlasting Gobstopper of a mini feast! Here’s what made the cut this month. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Thanksgiving Stuffing Seasoned Popcorn, $2.99

Some Trader Joe’s finds I file under a category called, “Uh oh, they did it again,” and that’s for sure the case for the Thanksgiving Stuffing Seasoned Popcorn. Taking all the flavor notes from the other seasonal great, the Thanksgiving Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips, this popcorn version is coated in a blend of thyme, celery seed, sage, black pepper, parsley, and black pepper. 

The mix of the buttery, airy popcorn and the seasonings yields a flavor combo that is, big duh, just a legendary duo. If I don’t finish the bag this week (likely story), I’m imagining this will be the best base for a bomb snack mix (along with dried cranberries, dried olives, and, spoiler, another snack you’ll see in just a few minutes) for the holidays. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Dutch Griddle Cakes, $3.49 for 14.11 ounces

I love the Trader Joe’s products we don’t really need. Did we need Dutch Griddle Cakes? Absolutely not, but after popping one of these in the toaster — as soon as I got home today — they are now one of my core basic needs, after water and air. These not-too-sweet, puffed-up silver dollar-sized griddle cakes have made me feel almost too powerful, because now I can, at long last, recreate a McDonald’s McGriddle right at home

Better yet, these fluffy crumpet-adjacent cakes taste like a way more homemade version of the fast-food favorite, with a slightly eggy richness that makes these the perfect vehicle for smearing with peanut butter, topping with whipped cream, or, my favorite, sandwiching two around an egg, sausage patty, with a tiny dollop of maple butter.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Double Chocolate Croissants, $5.49 for 12 ounces

Once again, Trader Joe’s wins the “All the Best Words in the Best Order” game, because its newest contribution to the croissant world is absolute poetry. Are we really shocked anymore? We really can’t be, especially not after it doubled-down on the already-very-good Chocolate Croissants. But of course, TJ’s couldn’t stop there: the new Double Chocolate Croissants are not only filled with two sticks of semi-sweet chocolate, but the dough itself is also laminated with cocoa powder so that no inch has been left up to chance. There will be several bits of chocolate in each bite. 

The hardest part about making these croissants involves no complicated know-how, but simply the virtue of patience: You must wait for these croissants to proof overnight. I promise it’s well-worth it (and a super-fun science project — they’ll nearly triple in size by morning).

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Spinach & Feta Egg White Burrito, $4.49 for 7.10 ounces 

If you check my Starbucks Rewards balance you’ll notice one major finding: I am perhaps its spinach-feta egg white wraps’ biggest fan. Tattoo it on my forearm; I am very much in love with those wraps. And yet, I have to say, Trader Joe’s burrito version just might have dethroned my drive-thru usual. 

I know you can’t quite quantify this, but this burrito just tastes like it was made by someone who loves you: The spinach still has a bit of crunch, the feta-covered egg white patty is way fresher-tasting and super fluffy, and the sun-dried tomato spread is creamy and loaded with jammy tomatoes — I got a full chunk of sun-dried tomato on the second bite, in fact! Not to start a frenzy, but you’re going to want to maybe swap this in to accompany your cold brew for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Avocado Ranch Salad Kit, $3.99 for 12.8 ounces

Admittedly, I could use more vegetables in my life, and one way I know I’ll be able to do that super easily is by picking up any salad kit from Trader Joe’s. No surprise, the newest — an Avocado Ranch Salad Kit — is already back on my buy-again list. If there’s one thing Trader Joe’s salad kits do well, it’s making sure each bite is a textural feast for the senses, with this one at the top of that chart. 

This salad stars the following: green and red cabbage, carrots, kale, and green onions that are then greeted with a cast of colorful characters, namely corn chips and white cheddar, and it all gets drizzled in a creamy, herbaceous, slightly tangy buttermilk avocado ranch dressing. It’s so good that I’m already anticipating how this will go on my next salad pizza, so that I can be sure to not waste a drop of that dressing.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Garlic & Black Pepper Almonds, $4.99 for 12 ounces

I’m by no means an “Almond Mom,” but I am certainly a newfound Almond Fan after picking up Trader Joe’s newest roasted and seasoned Garlic & Black Pepper Almonds. Typically, I’m Team Cashew, but these nuts have made me waver — especially after I sampled them between bites of the aforementioned Thanksgiving Stuffing Seasoned Popcorn. 

The seasoning, to me, is edging towards everything bagel seasoning territory (a great place to be), with a blend of black pepper, sea salt, and both dehydrated onion and garlic that makes these a strong contender to become your new favorite backpack/gym bag/purse snack. The spicy-fruity black pepper moment in these nuts is really what makes them stand out, and they’d be a dream on a cheese board alongside Trader Joe’s Black Pepper Toscano Cheese or chopped up on the BBQ & Black Pepper Toscano Salad Kit for added crunch. 

Which new Trader Joe’s items are you adding to your cart? Tell us in the comments below.