The 21 Best Groceries at Trader Joe’s, According to Store Employees

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Trader Joe’s 12th Annual Customer Choice Awards are swiftly approaching — we’ll have results of the store’s yearly survey at the end of this month. The moment when TJ’s reveals their shoppers’ favorite store items for the past year is a highly anticipated moment here at Kitchn — we’re so curious if all of our favorites will make the cut too!

While we wait for the news (coming out January 25th!), the folks over at the Fearless Flyer were kind enough to keep us at bay with a different list of favorites: Those of their very own Crew Members! Here are 21 products that are most beloved among Trader Joe’s employees.

1. Trader Joe’s Brookie

A “Brookie” is a brownie batter base topped with a layer of chocolate chip cookie. No wonder it’s a Crew Member favorite. Who wouldn’t love this? These rectangular loaves are pre-cut into eight pieces, so that you get a center and an edge in every bite.

More info: Trader Joe’s Brookie, $3.99 for 11 ounces

2. Vegan Banana Bread with Walnuts

Trader Joe’s is committed to making vegan products that please both vegans and non-vegans — and this loaf is no exception. To be honest, with the banana bread frenzy of 2020, we’re not surprised that this item made the Crew Member list of favorites.

More info: Trader Joe’s Vegan Banana Bread with Walnut, $4.29 for 16 ounces

3. Organic Coconut Smoothie

This two-ingredient drink (made with coconut water and meat and blended to perfection) is “at the top of the list” of Crew Member favorites. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll find it in the refrigerated section.

More info: Organic Coconut Smoothie, $1.99 for 8 ounces

Credit: Amazon

4. Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

You won’t find a better deal on high-quality cold brew than Trader Joe’s version. Each serving is 66 cents and when diluted with water, milk, and/or milk alternatives, you’ll eke out 96 ounces.

More info: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, $7.99 for 32 ounces

5. Blueberry Lemonade Sparkling Water

Trader Joe’s sparkling water selection is unmatched. This Blueberry Lemonade flavor is a Crew Member favorite. It contains zero calories, zero grams of sugar, and zero milligrams of sodium … until you add a scoop of ice cream to make it a float (which is an actual suggestion in the Fearless Flyer).

6. Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions

According to the Fearless Flyer, this cheddar is “firm, creamy and adorned throughout with bits of onion, just the combination of elements to make it a darling amongst customers and Crew alike.”

More info: Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions, $8.99 for 1 pound

7. Le Delice De Bourgogne

Anyone who has made a cheeseboard knows that you must balance out firm wedges with at least one soft one. Crew Members vote for this one, which has been in stock for more than a decade. Billy at Store 633 in Jenkintown, PA calls it “cheddar butter.”

More info: Le Delice De Bourgogne, $12.99 for 1 pound

8. True Thai Vegetable Pad Thai

As we make our way to the frozen case, this microwave dinner makes an appearance. After four to six minutes in the microwave, you end up with a flavorful noodle dish, with still-snappy veggies, and a flavorful sauce (that’s also vegan).

More info: True Thai Vegetable Pad Thai, $2.99 for 10.5 ounces

9. Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese

This diner-style mac and cheese is so good, it’s been in TJ’s frozen aisle since 2006. And it likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!

More info: Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese, $2.99 for 14 ounces

Credit: Courtesy of Trader Joe's

10. Mandarin Orange Chicken

We knew this was a customer favorite (many years running!), so it makes perfect sense that this frozen dinner is a Crew Member favorite in a bag. For best results, TJ’s recommends baking the bag’s contents at 400 degrees in the oven for the crispiest and quickest dinner.

More info: Mandarin Orange Chicken, $4.99 for 22 ounces

Credit: Trader Joe's

11. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

A list of Trader Joe’s best products would be incomplete without mention of Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend — another Crew Member and customer fave that truly pairs well with (nearly) everything. (We haven’t sprinkled it on ice cream yet, though.)

More info: Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, $1.99 for 2.3 ounces

12. Envy Apples

As the Fearless Flyer reports, Victor at Store 743 in North Charlotte, NC, says, “This is the very best tasting apple, period!” That’s why it’s called the “Envy” — it makes all other apple varieties jealous.

More info: Envy Apples, $1.29 each

Credit: Grace Elkus

13. Southwestern Chopped Salad

This time-saving salad kit was a favorite amongst Kitchn staffers back when we tried them all. And it’s a Crew Member favorite, too! Made with green cabbage, carrots, radishes, romaine lettuce, green onions, cilantro, pepitas, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, and a spicy avocado dressing, this salad truly has it all.

More info: Southwestern Chopped Salad, $3.29 for 13.6 ounces

14. Hass Avocados

Trader Joe’s has quite the avocado selection and Crew Members can’t get enough: You can get a bag of four Hass avocados; a bag of four Organic Hass; a bag of six Teeny Tiny avocados, individual Hass avocados and individual organic ones. Whichever option you choose, the price is always right at TJ’s!

More info: Hass Avocados, from 99 cents

Credit: Trader Joe's

15. Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto

Kale, cashew butter, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, water, and seasonings are blended to perfection in this vegan-friendly sauce — a favorite in the refrigerated section! It’s great as a sauce, dip, sandwich spread, or marinade.

More info: Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto, $3.79 for 8 ounces

16. Peanut Butter Cups

The “snacks & sweets” section had a total of five runaway winners from Crew Members, making it the most represented category on this list. Kicking off the snacks & sweets are TJ’s Peanut Butter Cups, made with “superior” chocolate, natural peanut butter, and all-important salt.

More info: Peanut Butter Cups, $4.29 for 36 cups

17. Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers

TJ’s Crew Members have sung the praises of Scandinavian Swimmers’ pucker-y counterpart since bags first hit shelves. Each bag is outfitted with a resealable top — if you can manage to put them away mid-munch.

More info: Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers, $2.99 for 14 ounces

18. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

According to the Fearless Flyer, this beloved snack is so popular amongst customers and Crew Members alike that it’s “more or less synonymous with the store itself.”

More info: Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels, $2.49 for 1 pound

19. Chili Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

The Fearless Flyer notes that “near the top of our towering snack stack is Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips.” In fact, these chips came in second on the Crew survey of all the snacks in the store.

20. Organic Corn Chip Dippers

Not only are these crispy, crunchy, sturdy corn chips a Crew favorite, they’re also a customer favorite and Fearless Flyer favorite! Perfect for scooping salsas and dips, these simple dippers are a staple.

More info: Organic Corn Chip Dippers, $1.99 for 9.75 ounces

21. Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Hair Mask

When it comes to the beauty aisle, Trader Joe’s employees swear by this hair mask. Like most of TJ’s beauty finds, this tube is an excellent value for a salon-quality product. And … it smells really good.

More info: Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Hair Mask, $3.99 for 5.1 ounces

Is your favorite on this list?