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

published Oct 2, 2023
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Hand holding Trader Joe's bag with groceries in it on green floral background
Credit: Joe Lingeman

After a real steamer of a summer, I know I’m not alone in greeting my sweaters with open arms this month. Even if you’re not dipping your pumpkin biscotti into your pumpkin-spice latte while basking in the glow of a pumpkin candle as soon as it hits below 70 degrees, there’s plenty of reasons to be excited that a new season is upon us. While I’m no longer getting my school supplies rounded up, heading to Trader Joe’s (with its literal cornucopia of fall-themed items) to grocery shop is absolutely how I get into the spirit of things.

If you’re at all familiar with Trader Joe’s, it should come as no surprise that the store has rolled out the edible version of sweater weather with all kinds of new items. Even if you’re slowly accepting that summer is over (and you’re not ready to retire your swimsuit), don’t worry. As you’ll find, there’s new treats for all the pumpkin-neutral people out there, too. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Salted Maple Ice Cream, $3.79 for one pint 

For the sake of journalistic integrity, I must admit that I have a strong bias towards maple-flavored items when fall rolls around. Maple just really gets my heart aflutter all year round, and especially when I’m solidly in Practical Magic-rewatch mode, making this Salted Maple Ice Cream the perfect +1. 

This ice cream might be the richest I’ve sampled at Trader Joe’s as of yet, with a double dip of dense, creamy, sea-salted maple ice cream with a swirl of salted maple syrup. Can you just imagine how good this would be sandwiched between a pair of waffles or Stroopwafel cookies? I think you can. Also, fun fact: this pint is so smooth and soft that I nearly lost my spoon in it at first bite? I guess I’ll have to eat the whole pint to get it out. Oops!

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Baked Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with Herbes de Provence, $11.99 per pound

Another game I love to play at Trader Joe’s is what I call “All My Favorite Words All At Once.” This newest cheese certainly wins all the accolades in my book: Sheep’s Milk! Ricotta! Herbes de Provence! Even if you’re a bit hesitant to try sheep’s milk, especially if you’re averse to the “sheep-ier” (i.e. grassy, barnyard-y) varieties, this is such an accessible pathway to newfound love of sheep’s milk cheeses (other faves of this variety include Manchego, Pecorino, and feta). 

Baked into a festive little orb and studded with a blend of herbes de Provence (a classic blend of savory, thyme, marjoram, basil, rosemary, tarragon, and bay leaf), this dense, fudgy cheese immediately filled me with visions of Mediterranean-themed meals that would only be improved by including this cheese. This ricotta is essentially the savory version of Trader Joe’s mega-popular Baked Lemon Ricotta.  It’s, of course, a dream on a cracker, but be sure to slice this up for your next mezze plate, crumble it on a salad, or fold it into an omelet.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Caramel Apple Mochi, $4.99 for 6.8 ounces

I’ve said it before: Trader Joe’s often makes a product that, while none of us really needed, is just really fun to eat. The Caramel Apple Mochi is absolutely in that category. I certainly didn’t need another ice cream in my already stacked freezer, but I’ve gladly made space for these. The Powers That Be at Trader Joe’s really packed in the magic that happens between the sweet-tart bite of a green apple when it hits crackly caramel. 

A whole state fair in two bites, these mochi have a caramel-apple flavored ice cream (complete with apple puree and caramel pieces) wrapped in its own caramel-colored rice dough to make these a real portable treat. Can we bob for these mochi instead of actual apples? Seems like that would be the ultimate upgrade, TBH…  

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Mini Maple Marshmallows, $2.99 for 6 ounces

Maple fans, it’s clearly our year! I breathed a sigh of relief this year to get an armful of maple-flavored everything, and these Mini Maple Marshmallows truly made me feel seen this fall. I immediately ripped into these as soon as I skipped my happy self out of Trader Joe’s, and they really pack in all the goodness of breakfast maple syrup and roadside maple candies all in a soft, chewy marshmallow-y package. 

Melt these bad boys into your next batch of Rice Krispies Treats or use them to top your hot chocolates and steaming mugs of coffee; you’ll be very glad you did.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Pumpkin Cheesecake Croissants, $4.99 for 7.4 ounces

Trader Joe’s pastry game is hard to beat. The newest jewel in its crown? These Pumpkin Cheesecake Croissants. Not only are they cartoonishly adorable (they bake up looking like they were plucked from a Miyazaki movie), but they have a velvety, smooth filling of tart-earthy pumpkin cheesecake surrounded by a crackly, flaky, buttery croissant dough. 

Plus, no pesky proofing necessary! Just simply pop them in the oven, try to distract yourself for 25 to 30 minutes (very hard while the scents of pumpkin cheesecake waft their way towards you), and then debate how much space you can make in your freezer for a few more of these boxes.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Red Boat Kho Sauce, $4.99 for 11.8 ounces

If there’s one cooking tip I learned this year, it is that fish sauce is often what many of my meals are missing, especially when I want some restaurant-level depth. So when I saw a familiar Red Boat bottle on my most recent Trader Joe’s run, it was an instant buy for me. 

Kho Sauce (“kho” means braise in Vietnamese) is a signature sauce composed of fish sauce, ginger, coconut sugar, red pepper flakes, and shallots, meaning Red Boat’s Kho Sauce will absolutely appeal to all the “swicy” (sweet and spicy) lovers out there. Use this for braising chicken (chicken thighs are particularly the bomb with this sauce), fish, or vegetables like bok choy for a meal that absolutely feels like it came right from your favorite Vietnamese spot. Be warned: It has a very noticeable, immediate kick to it. She’s not subtle, but I love that about her (this sauce, of course).

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

7. Brigadeiros, $3.79 for 4.94 ounces 

While some might want cake for their birthday, I am solidly Team Brigadeiro. A beloved Brazilian and Portuguese confection (and the so-called “national truffle” of Brazil), brigadeiros are a fudgy, dense bonbon made of sweetened condensed milk, cultured butter, cream, and cocoa. They are then, wait for it, rolled in any manner of sprinkles. 

Personally, I think the rainbow ones always taste the best, but I won’t turn away these chocolate sprinkle-covered ones made by good ol’ TJ’s; they’re just as rich and fun to eat as ones I’ve eaten in Porto, all without the jet lag. 

Have you spotted anything you’re excited about at Trader Joe’s recently? Tell us in the comments below!