9 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee
It’s very clear that the creative team at Trader Joe’s has mastered, what I call, “Girl-Scout-Cookie-fication.” What I mean by that is, Girl Scouts could absolutely sell Thin Mints all year long if they wanted to, but the seasonality of them is part of the secret sauce that makes you excited year after year.
With that in mind, I will tell you that the spring and summer are my favorite times to scour the TJ’s aisles for new and returning seasonal items. Lemon and mango top everything, the sour gummies seem to split and multiply into all sorts of shapes and flavors, and even my favorite popcorn snacks get reinvented. Of all the new and seasonal items hitting the shelves, these are the very best ones. Tip: Stock up now so that you have a supply once the weather turns cold again!
1. Synergistically Seasoned Popcorn, $2.29 for 5.5 ounces
This popcorn’s seasonal release is practically built into my internal clock. And in case I forget, I still get texts from old co-workers alerting me of its sweet, salty, tangy arrival. This popcorn delivers a meal’s worth of flavor in one bite. It has the zip of a vinegary barbecue sauce, dilly pickle brininess, the sweetness of kettle corn, and spicy-smoky-saltiness that reminds me of my favorite chip (ahem, Sweet Spicy Chili Doritos). I truly believe this seasoning could absolutely be the next bottled option. It’s so good, it needs its own shaker.
2. When Life Gives You Lemons Make Ice Cream, $3.49 for 16 ounces
This new spring ice cream was the clear standout for me. When I walked through the store with my citrus gold, even crew members stopped me to tell me I was making, maybe, the best purchase of my shopping career. The lemon flavor is at volume 11 here, and it almost makes you think there’s actual lemon rind in there. And the balanced creaminess hits that magic mark between ice cream and sorbet. Think: lemon creamsicle with bits of nutty shortbread cookies. Trader Joe’s truly made some proverbial lemonade here.
3. Thai Banana Fritters, $3.79 for 6.7 ounces
These sweet street-food fritters made me feel like I was on a vacation in Thailand. Thai Namwa bananas are the key to these fritters, providing a more vanilla-y flavor to the treat. A crispy, coconut-studded batter encloses a creamy, rich center — these are just begging to be dipped in a salted caramel sauce or topped with vanilla ice cream. Bonus: They’re vegan, gluten-free, and perfect in the air-fryer.
4. Incredisauce, $3.29 for 11 ounces
This sauce truly earns its name. Just like their Magnifisauce, the Incredisauce mimics a sauce from a fast-food favorite. Magnifisauce could be thought of as the relishy-creamy burger sauce of the duo, while Incredisauce is sweet, tangy, and smoky with a honey mustard base. Both are amazing on french fries, but my favorite use for Incredisauce is squeezing onto a buttered bun for a pickle-brined fried chicken sandwich.
5. Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins, 4.99 for 14 ounces
Okay, wow. I’m not sure what magic Trader Joe’s performs on their gluten-free baked goods, but these muffins are incredibly fluffy and not-at-all dry or crumbly. I loved dipping this into my hot coffee, which made the chocolate chips melt in the process and really took me to another place. These muffins are so decadent they could easily pass as a cupcake, too. Top with some frosting or nut butter and you won’t be sorry.
6. Vegan Buffalo Dip, $3.49 for 9 ounces
I’m a sucker for Buffalo-flavored anything, and am always glad when it’s not limited to just wings. The classic Buffalo chicken dip at Trader Joe’s is an all-time favorite (especially when topped with Monterey Jack cheese and baked), so I was really excited to try the new vegan Buffalo dip. The slow-build kick of cayenne in this is no joke, with just the right amount of tang from lime juice. I loved this for dipping celery and mini-peppers, spread onto a sandwich, and even for topping baked potatoes.
7. Non-Dairy Oat Creamer with Brown Sugar, $1.99 for 16 ounces
I really didn’t think I could love a coffee creamer any more than TJ’s Sweet Cream creamer, but then this bad boy came along. I’ll take any opportunity to make my own homemade versions of Starbucks drinks, and this creamer transformed my homemade cold brew into a not-too-sweet Iced Oat Milk Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso, yet cost mere pennies. I also loved this in an iced chai latte or milk tea (especially with iced Earl Grey tea).
8. Ranch Seasoning Blend, $2.99 for 2 ounces
Seeing as ranch dressing was a pillar of my childhood eating habits, I snatched this seasoning up as soon as I spotted it. It’s perfect whipped into sour cream for a low-effort dip, obviously, but I can’t wait to add it to pizza dough, use it in olive oil as a dip for bread, or sprinkle it on chickpeas before roasting. Add this to some grilled corn, elote-style, if you really want to live a little.
9. Chimichurri Sauce, $3.49 for 8 ounces
Composed of fresh herbs, red wine vinegar, and plenty of olive oil, chimichurri sauce is classic paired with grilled steak. But please don’t stop there: This is bound to be the sauce you’ll want to drizzle on everything. I have yet to find something this herby, tangy sauce doesn’t go with or improve. Mac and cheese? Yup. Breakfast tacos? Absolutely. Marinated tofu or fish? You bet. I could go on. Mix it with mayo for an amazing sandwich spread, too. Okay, I’ll stop now.