This is the best time of year to shop at Trader Joe's because the grocery chain has all sorts of fun stocking stuffers, holiday dinner-worthy sides, and surprising new party appetizers. The latter of which just may be my top reason for popping into the store on a semi-weekly basis these days. Just the other day I saw what may be Trader Joe's best invention yet: French onion soup bites.
As a huge French onion soup fan, I wanted to see if these bites really tasted like the real deal, so I bought a box for just $4.49.
The soup bites come in an oven-safe tray, so all you have to do is remove the plastic wrap, place the tray on a baking sheet, and pop it in the oven at 400°F. Super easy and, bonus, I didn't even have to wash the baking sheet when I was done!
After the first 10 minutes, you'll want to turn the tray around so that they cook evenly, then leave them in for another 10 to 12 minutes (or until they're golden-brown). I cooked them the full 22 minutes because I like it any time cheese gets a little browned and bubbly, and I wanted the pastry on the bottom to be crisp.
Once the bites were done, I opened the oven door and was pleasantly surprised that they looked a lot like a bowl of French onion soup — only in mini puff pastries! There was plenty of gooey cheese on top that had the browned bubbles like a real bowl of French onion. I let them cool for a few minutes, then used a knife to carefully wiggle each bite out of the cooking tray. I was worried they'd be like soup dumplings and I'd have to worry about them popping, but that's not the case (they're more like puff pastry cups). None of them broke, and when I separated them from the tray, the bottoms of the pastry were perfectly cooked.
I shared these with my family and I have to say, we were surprised by how much they tasted like the real deal! The inside was somehow juicy, giving you all of the flavors of that first big spoonful of French onion soup — loaded with onion, broth-soaked bread, and a lot of melted, salty cheese. As my family and I devoured these delicious bites, we all commented on how they matched the appearance on the box. They weren't sloppy or messy, either, so they would be a great app to put out for guests. Way better than trying to feed a crowd actual French onion soup during a cocktail party!
Related: How To Make French Onion Soup
The final verdict? These are my new go-to for the holiday season. Whether I'm hosting at my place or going to a friend's (I'll just bake them at home and reheat them when I arrive, if needed). And actually, I might even keep a few boxes in the freezer for those times when I want French onion soup but don't have a day to devote to all that simmering.
Have you tried these? What'd you think? Do you have a different go-to holiday appetizer? Discuss in the comments below!