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

published Sep 4, 2022
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New Items sign at Trader Joe's
Credit: Lauren Masur

The sunlight is streaming through windows just a bit differently, a few cheeky leaves are starting to fall, and pumpkin-spice-everything is slowly filling the shelves. Can you feel it? It’s nearly, yes, pumpkin season.

Not ready for it? Same. Trader Joe’s is still a couple of weeks away from transforming into a cinnamon broom-filled wonderland, so the grocer’s new products are still safe for all the pumpkin-neutral folks out there. For now! Here’s what you can look forward to picking up at Trader Joe’s this month.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Instant Boba Kit, $5.49 for 4 pouches

When I spotted this new frozen item on a recent girls’ trip, I jumped (there were witnesses). On a joint co-working day during the trip, I mixed up a boba tea for each of us. One sip in, we texted each other from our separate workspaces the same resounding review of this delicious milk tea: We need to buy more of these! Each pouch comes with a brown sugar flavor packet, plenty of delightfully chewy tapioca pearls, and a wide paper boba straw. Simply microwave the boba pouch for 1 minute, mix with your favorite milk, add ice, and stir. The brown sugar syrup is pretty sweet, so I’d suggest opting for cow’s milk or an unsweetened, plain milk-alternative.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Korean Beefless Bulgogi, $4.49 for 10 ounces

If I get to steer the ship when it comes to choosing the takeout spot, we’re always going to head toward Korean BBQ, so there was no question that I had to buy Trader Joe’s new Korean Beefless Bulgogi. As an occasional meat-eater (who also really loves tofu and seitan), I was excited to give these a try. The beef-like strips perfectly mimicked the tender, marinated chew of beef without being too chewy and were both sweet and savory. They make an easy, satisfying dinner when served with rice, along with a scrambled egg, kimchi, and gochujang.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Gochujang, $1.99 for 7.05 ounces

Speaking of gochujang, I’m not afraid to admit that I’d probably grab my condiment collection first in case of an emergency. I’ve spent years gathering hot sauces, fruity syrups, pickles, and more; they’re the key to so many of my favorite meals. Now that Trader Joe’s finally (finally!) carries gochujang — the Korean fermented red pepper paste you’ve likely added to your Korean fried chicken, tteokbokki, and bibimbap — restocking my condiment corner just got a lot easier. Pungent, spicy, and a bit sweet, gochujang is the backbone of so many Korean dishes, as well as an amazing base for a marinade when you want a subtle build-up of heat.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Jamaican-Style Beef Patties, $4.49 for 9 ounces

Beef patties were a staple of my childhood, and arguably one of my favorite lunches at school. So there was never a reality in which I didn’t immediately heat up a batch of these spicy, savory, handheld meat pies as soon as I got home from a recent grocery run. The combination of flaky, turmeric-laced crust and rich curried beef filling didn’t disappoint. The patties are great on their own as part of a meal or as a street-food-esque snack (along with a fizzy ginger beer or Red Stripe).

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Spicy Buffalo Cheddar, $8.99 per pound

I am a bit of a cheese fanatic. My current cheese count in the fridge? Eight. And I’m beyond glad this new spicy, strangely (yet delectably) vinegary cheddar is a part of my cheesy ensemble this month. When it comes to cheddar, I usually opt for crumbly, rich English cheddars, but this American-made cheddar (made by a specialty cheesemaker in Upstate New York) is a smooth, melty dream. With enough creaminess to temper the heat from the hot sauce, jalapeño, habanero, and dried red pepper flakes, the Spicy Buffalo Cheddar is perfect for even those not seeking a thrill when buying cheese. I promise this cheese won’t make you feel like you’re on an episode of Hot Ones, but it will taste amazing on your next burger, in a batch of stuffed peppers, or melted into mac and cheese or queso.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Extra Virgin Kalamata Olive Oil, $4.99 for 16.9 ounces

When it comes to Trader Joe’s olive oil, I try not to get too attached — the olive oil market is a fickle, fickle thing, which means that I usually have a revolving cast of oils in my kitchen depending on what’s in stores. I’m also a total sucker for cute packaging, so into the cart TJ’s newest Extra Virgin Kalamata Olive Oil went. Lightly buttery and grassy with a fruity bitterness, this olive oil is my new favorite addition to my olive oil gang. Grown, produced, and packaged entirely in Greece (which is how it earned its coveted PDO moniker), Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Kalamata Olive Oil does what I wish most olive oils did: actually taste like olives. As soon as you can, marinate mozzarella or goat cheese in this oil, use it in you next batch of granola, or keep it simple as a dip for crusty focaccia. And at $4.99 a bottle? O-live this olive oil so much. (Sorry, I had to.)

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