The Frozen Pastry at Trader Joe’s That’s Even Better than Homemade

updated Feb 5, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Masur

There are few frozen items at Trader Joe’s that are more beloved than their frozen chocolate croissants. They’re by no means a new, buzz-worthy item — simply an Old Faithful offering that will likely remain on shelves as long as TJ’s keeps its doors open. My fiancé and I have adored them for years and have them just about every Sunday morning. While the frozen croissants also come in almond and plain flavors, there’s nothing like the chocolate ones. Let me tell you why.

Credit: Lauren Masur

This pack of four costs just $4.99 a box. At $1.25 per croissant, it definitely beats the overpriced ones I can get at a local bakery. They come in small boxes that are easy to stack in even the tiniest of freezers. (I’ll admit there are usually four or five boxes in mine at a time.) Not to mention, they’re the closest-tasting to true Parisian croissants that I’ve ever had — and they couldn’t be easier to make.

Credit: Kate Oczypok

The directions are pretty simple if you remember just one thing: The night before you want to eat them, simply take them out of the box and lay them on a greased baking sheet to proof overnight. While the instructions on the box recommend seven to nine hours, I’ve done it for even longer after accidentally sleeping in. After 10 or 11 hours of proofing, they’ve turned out just fine.

I’ll always remember the first time I woke up to check out the croissants the following morning and was amazed by their size. Definitely don’t get discouraged if you pull them out of the box and they seem small — because they truly get gigantic!

Credit: Kate Oczypok

For a shinier finish, you can brush the dough with a beaten egg. I did that once or twice and it doesn’t change much in terms of look or taste. (If you’re feeling lazy or pressed for time, you can probably avoid that step.) The best way to eat them is fresh from the oven. The dark chocolate inside is luscious and melty and the croissant is perfectly warm and crispy.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned on the soundtrack to Midnight in Paris and curled up on the couch with my French bulldog and croissants and coffee. As I nibble on the treat, I like to pretend I’m in Paris — and until COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, this is as close as I’m going to get.