We Compared Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Against Aldi’s New Version

updated Apr 14, 2020
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Trader Joe’s launched its now-famous Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend back in 2017. It became a cult-favorite practically overnight, and the grocer has since launched an Everything but the Bagel Greek-style dip and we heard on a recent Inside Trader Joe’s podcast episode that they’re working on Everything but the Bagel potato chips. While TJ’s execs work on perfecting those chips, Aldi just came out with its own version of the seasoning blend, called Who Needs the Bagel? Seasoning. Aldi’s is technically an Aldi Find, which means its supposed to be a limited-time item, but we can definitely see this being so popular that it becomes an everyday item.

Trader Joe’s version is $1.99 for 2.3 ounces, while Aldi’s is $1.95 for the same amount. Is there much difference, aside from the four cents? I got a bottle of each and did a scientific side-by-side comparison.

First, I looked at the ingredients listed. They’re the exact same AND in the same order (ingredients are listed in order of quantity; so there’s the most of whatever is listed first and the least of whatever’s listed last).

Next, I uncapped them. The Trader Joe’s jar (on the left) looked a little toastier. I scooped out 1/4 teaspoon (a serving) of each and put them on a piece of white paper to take a closer look.

Yup, the Trader Joe’s blend (left) still looked toastier. Next, it was time to try them. Like any self-respecting bagel lover, I poured 1/4 teaspoon into the palm of my hand, stood over my sink, and tossed a handful (one at a time) into my mouth. My first thought, once I had the Trader Joe’s blend in my mouth, was that it was incredibly garlicky and onion-y. (I have some stinky breath now and it is a very good thing my husband is currently traveling for work!) I tried Aldi’s next and found that it was a little less garlicky and onion-y and definitely saltier.

I had grand plans to take a full 1/4 teaspoon of each blend and separate out the pieces, but honestly, that is hard and meticulous work! Instead I took a pinch from each jar and worked with a smaller sample size.

My salt theory behind Aldi’s version became clear. The salt in the Aldi column is the second pile, right under the black sesame seeds. In the Trader Joe’s column, it’s on the bottom left — and more of a big flake situation. While the pieces of onion and garlic are about equal in both columns, I think the extra flavor in the TJ’s bottle comes from the darker color. It looks like the TJ’s stuff is toasted just a little more (and that releases flavor).

I honestly liked both versions. I feel like Aldi’s would be better on, say, avocado toast or in eggs, when you want the salt. And the Trader Joe’s version would be better on yogurt or in cornbread. (Also, I highly recommend eating either one right out the jar.) But I realize it’s slightly ridiculous to have two jars of the same thing so, honestly, I’d say to get whichever one is more convenient for you! You really can’t go wrong.

Have you tried either of these? What’d you think?