The Trader Joe’s Pastry That Makes Me Feel Like a Kid on Christmas Day

published Dec 21, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: The Kitchn

Spiral ham, peppermint, mulled wine, and gingerbread are just some of the foods that are evocative of Christmas. Like many people, I have tasty traditions that represent the holidays — and not having them would simply generate catastrophic effects in my universe. For me, the O&H Danish Bakery Kringle from Trader Joe’s is a holiday institution I really cannot live without.

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

I discovered the allure of the kringle almost seven years ago while spending Christmas with my boyfriend (now husband) and his family for the first time. A gaggle of edible gifts arrived at their doorstep from friends and family. But the one they looked forward to the most, and still do, is a parcel from Wisconsin with a kringle tucked inside. 

Shortly after this delicious introduction, as I was lazily perusing the aisles at Trader Joe’s, I spotted a flat square with blue and red lettering, the words “kringle” and “Wisconsin” printed across the top. Could it be? Could it really be? And it was! Technically, it wasn’t the same brand from my in-laws, but it didn’t matter. This kringle became my kringle and I’ve had it every year ever since.

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

Wisconsin, specifically Racine, is the American land of the kringle where multiple brands offer their prized pastry for mail-order. Even O&H Danish Bakery offers a postal dispatch, selling kringles for $22.49 a pop. Call it a Christmas miracle, but Trader Joe’s sells these same kringles for $7.99 each! TJ’s is currently the only nationwide retailer that stocks the O&H Danish Kringle (read: another Christmas miracle).

Find it in stores: Almond Kringle, $7.99 for 24 ounces at Trader Joe’s

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

I haven’t really encountered any obstacles when shopping for kringles in my neighborhood Trader Joe’s. But when I’m home in North Carolina for the holidays, it can be a bit of a dance. I’m talking, calling the store for the latest shipping updates, getting there right when the store opens, and semi-hostile interactions with fellow shoppers on a mission. So, no matter what flavor you see at your local TJ’s (that’s right, there’s usually a variety of flavors available, like almond, raspberry, and pecan), I strongly suggest you snatch one up immediately with zero hesitation.

This frosted ring of pastry is made up of 36 ultra-thin flaky layers. It’s buttery, rich, and stuffed with a sweet filling. It’s a seasonal item that usually starts to pop up on the TJ’s scene around Thanksgiving and stays on the shelves throughout the holiday season. While there are a variety of flavors available, there’s usually only one flavor sold at a time. So again, grab what you see! 

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

They can be eaten at room temperature or warmed in the oven, and they store beautifully in the freezer. I prefer room temp, but often find myself eating slivers of kringle straight from the freezer, its chilly filling cooling my mouth.

I wait for kringle season all year. As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I enter Trader Joe’s with giddy, childish expectation, running to the bakery to see if Santa’s delivered yet. That’s honestly one thing I love about it — the festive frenzy and excitement that runs through my veins at the thought of getting my hands on one. Once I do, it tastes exactly as I remember: divinely scrumptious. The kringle is a great companion to a coffee, satisfies afternoon sugar spells, and comes with built-in cozy hygge vibes. It also reminds me of family, and that’s probably the best gift of all.

Have you tried this kringle? Tell us about it in the comments below!