8 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Items That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee

published Jul 10, 2022
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New Items sign at Trader Joe's
Credit: Lauren Masur

Summer is when my fridge is probably at its happiest and most overstuffed. I get inspired by all the bright summer peaches that can be roasted and made into ice cream; all the charred, crispy burgers fresh off the grill; and all the new seasonal items I can’t wait to pack up for a day at the beach. In my opinion, everything somehow tastes better after a day spent outside in the sun and the sand.

Whether you’re beaching it or enjoying summer from the comfort of your own personal kiddie pool, Trader Joe’s has packed its shelves with all manner of exciting, new items to help make those lazy days even better. There’s TikTok-viral sunscreen, even more pickle-flavored treats, and tons of other great stuff. Here are eight of my favorite new TJ’s finds.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Horchata Inspired Ice Cream, $3.49 for 16 ounces

If I were a cartoon character, my cartoon eyes would turn into big, red hearts upon the first bite of this ridiculously good ice cream. It takes the creamy Mexican rice-based drink and reimagines it in frozen form. The ice cream is cinnamon-y and not too sweet and is studded with churro-esque cookie pieces. I can’t wait to add a scoop of this to my next affogato, milkshake, or makeshift ice cream sandwich. I think it would be delicious squished between a pair of snickerdoodles — or tucked Sicilian-style into a toasted brioche bun

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Dill Pickle Mini Falafel, $3.99 for 12 ounces

Whoa, these are good. I’d call the dill flavor more of an essence, so it’s possible you might enjoy these even if you’re not the hugest pickle-flavored-everything fan. I promised myself I wouldn’t describe these as “moist,” but let it be known that these dill pickle mini falafels are nowhere near dry and are also so fluffy in the middle. My favorite way to use them? I crisp them up in the air fryer for about eight minutes, and then assemble my favorite low-effort lunch mezze: mini falafel drizzled with tahini, marinated artichokes and chickpeas, cubes of briny feta, and plenty of dolmas. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers with Mango Chutney, $6.99 for 13.5 ounces

Some people wait all year for their favorite Girl Scout cookies, a seasonal beer, or a chill in the air that means they can start eating pumpkin. Me? I wait all year for this favorite Trader Joe’s frozen item. Where do I even start? That they come on their own little wooden skewers? How they only need a quick warm-up in the oven to taste like they’re fresh off the grill? The nearly drinkable mango chutney sauce? These grilled jerk skewers get me through summer dinner doldrums. I love serving them with a side of rice and peas, or on top of a salad with plantain chips as croutons.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries, $3.49 for 20 ounces

I’m going to ruffle some feathers: When it comes to ranking the best fries, I rank waffle fries way above all other french fries (other honorable mentions: smiley face fries and seasoned curly fries). Waffle fries mean more surface area for dipping and seasoning, and just more potato. So I jumped when I saw that Trader Joe’s finally had their own waffle fries, and they already came seasoned. Coated in a seasoned batter and then seasoned again with salt, paprika, black pepper, and garlic, onion and chili powders, these fries brought me right back to the Checker’s (or Rally’s) drive-thru. Upon popping these out of the air fryer, I added my own Old Bay seasoning to turn them into “crab fries,” but these are also perfect when dipped right into a mix of mayo and another seasonal favorite: the black truffle ketchup. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Gluten Free Uncured Pepperoni Pizza, $6.49 for 12.87 ounces

I have had my fair share of gluten-free pizza. Most were dry, crackly, and/or really, really bland. I get it: It’s hard to maintain a good bit of chew, fluffiness, and create those iconic dough bubbles without super-stretchy gluten, which is why this pizza surprised me. I’ve tried TJ’s gluten-free pizza crusts and those just scream, “I’m made of cauliflower and broccoli,” but this one landed somewhere close to a thin-crust Pizza Hut pizza. And it’s loaded. Getting it out of the box without losing an olive or three was a task, but a task that I was very OK with. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Salsa Verde Tortilla Chips, $2.99 for 9 ounces 

It’s so hard to find a tortilla chip that stands up to the homemade tortilla chips of my favorite taco joints. You know the ones made from freshly made corn tortillas and deep-fried to crispy perfection that almost shine from the hot oil? These chips somehow nail all of that and they’re coated in a tangy, garlicky, ever-so-spicy flavor dust that makes them almost impossible to put down. They’ve got vibrant tomatillo, cilantro, lime, and a bit of heat from chile pepper. These are like if your chips and salsa got combined into one bite. That said, they’re also totally delicious dipped into queso, bean dip, any avocado-based dip, or more salsa

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

7. Layered Beef Tostada, $3.99 for 8 ounces

Considering it’s the Summer of Mexican Pizzas, it only made sense that Trader Joe’s joined in on the trend. This was the product that probably surprised me the most, in that it was actually … pretty good? I thought it would taste like an elementary school lunch, to be honest. Once I popped it out of the oven, it didn’t look anything like a sad frozen item, let alone taste like one. The tortillas were perfectly toasty around the edges, the filling was hot, and the green onions were still crisp. The layering, ingredients, and flavors are very Taco Bell-esque: two crispy flour tortillas are sandwiched with cheesy refried beans and ground beef, and then it’s all topped with green onions, olives, cheese, and tomatoes. I topped this with a healthy slash of sour cream, and it was a fun, quick, filling lunch. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

8. Daily Facial Sunscreen SPF 40, $8.99 for 1.7 ounces 

If you’re reading this now, it may be too late to grab this one. Still, get in your joggers and run, don’t walk, to grab this new TikTok-viral sunscreen moisturizer. Having heard the inside scoop from former coworkers, this sunscreen has been likened to Super Goop’s Unseen Sunscreen (which retails for $36) and it’s easy to see why. Both sunscreens are super light, gel-based sunscreens that make your face feel plush and soft, and act as a primer too. This sunscreen is technically unscented, but still has that classic cocoa-butter-and-zinc smell that makes me feel like I’m on day one of a vacation. As someone who has very sensitive skin and finds that most sunscreens are too thick, cause me to break out, or burn my eyes, this velvety sunscreen is absolutely going to be a staple in my bag well after summer is over.

Have you spotted anything you’re excited about at Trader Joe’s recently? Tell us in the comments below!