Kitchn Love Letters

This New $3 Snack from Trader Joe’s Is Really, Really Good

published Aug 10, 2022
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Trader Joe's canvas bag filled with groceries on countertop.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

One thing I love about Trader Joe’s is that any day I can walk through the aisles, spot a new item, and say, “That sounds absolutely intruiging; I’m buying it.” If that happens to also be you, meet your new snacking bestie: Trader Joe’s Chili Pineapple Kettle Popcorn.

It’s a mouthful in more ways than one, taking the irresistible quality of their chili-spiced pineapple and adding it to sweet, caramelized kettle corn. This was the first thing I ripped open after a recent TJ’s run, and it was a total shock to my taste buds.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

What’s So Great About Trader Joe’s Chili Pineapple Popcorn?

This popcorn is a complete flavor trip. It took my tastebuds swiftly from, “Do I actually like this?” to “No, I’m actually enamored of this.” I served it to a few friends and they all made the same range of faces, like the viral “Trying kombucha for the first time” meme, before solidly landing in consensus: Surprising, but really, really good.

Each bite is a rollercoaster ride, starting with tart lime-pineapple fruitiness that morphs into a mellow burn from the kick of chili. Imagine if a bunch of yellow and green Froot Loops fell into a container of Tajín, and you’ll have a sense of what you’re in for. Every handful feels a bit like a game of flavor roulette. Sometimes it’s more pineapple-dominant, other times more spicy caramel, or tart lime. But when you get a magical handful of just the right combination, you’ll quickly get the full picture of this truly delicious popcorn.

It’s more than great on its own, of course, but I can’t wait to see how this will do in a batch of chocolate bark or a sweet-savory trail mix, or made into popcorn bars à la Rice Krispies Treats. Even if you just eat it straight-up, you can’t go wrong; this spicy-tangy popcorn is begging for a crisp beverage or to be smuggled into a movie. And it’s easy to see why.

Find it in stores: Trader Joe’s Chili Pineapple Popcorn, $2.49 for 5.5 ounces

What new Trader Joe’s groceries are you loving right now? Tell us in the comments.