Kitchn Love Letters

The $3 Trader Joe’s Grocery I’m Stocking in My Freezer All Year Long

published Feb 23, 2024
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Los Angeles, California, United States - 04-03-2019: A view of the frozen food section at Trader Joe's, with a shopper looking at products.
Credit: The Image Party/Shutterstock

Trader Joe’s has secretly been rolling out lots of Korean products lately, including the viral frozen kimbap that’s been selling out and the pantry staple gochujang. One of the best Korean products that you can pick up at Trader Joe’s, in my opinion, can be found in the freezer section — and it’s only around $3.

Credit: James Park

Sliced Korean rice cakes are not something I can typically find at most grocery stores near me because they are not as easily available as gochujang, for example, so I was really happy to see them at Trader Joe’s. Some rice cakes could be mushy, not delightful chewy. Knowing not all Trader Joe’s Korean products hit the spot, I was a bit hesitant, but I’m so excited to report that these Korean rice cakes taste just as good as the ones at H-Mart.

Credit: James Park

What’s So Great About Trader Joe’s Sliced Korean Rice Cakes?

Trader Joe’s Sliced Korean Rice Cakes are fantastic in so many ways! First of all, there are only two ingredients (white rice and water), so these rice cakes are exactly how they should be: bouncy and chewy. Because they’re frozen, that texture remains consistent each time you use them. 

Rice cakes also come in different shapes, like cylindrical and sliced. Trader Joe’s Sliced Korean Rice Cakes are sliced like coins. They are slightly thin, so if you want to char them for stir-fry, they have the maximum surface to absorb all the sauces. They also cook fast — within only a few minutes.

Credit: James Park

What’s the Best Way to Use Trader Joe’s Sliced Korean Rice Cakes?

There are truly infinite ways to use rice cakes; adding them to my ramyun is one of my go-tos. Sometimes, one portion of ramyun isn’t enough, but making two portions feels a bit too much. So I throw a handful of rice cakes into the soup to make it more satisfying. The rice cakes absorb the spicy, savory broth as they get tender, and slurping the bouncy noodles with the rice cakes is absolutely delightful! 

You can also add them to any types of soups for starch. Rice cakes naturally thicken the soup as well, so whether you are making a chicken soup or something spicy, add these bouncy rice cakes to add chewy texture.

If you want to go for a stir-fry situation, you can slightly char them in the pan for maximum flavors. Instead of boiling them, simply add water to soften them up first, then add different seasonings. For an easy, two-ingredient dinner, mix them up with Trader Joe’s Stir-Fried Garlicky Cabbage

Find it in stores: Trader Joe’s Sliced Korean Rice Cakes, $3.29 for 16 ounces

What Trader Joe’s find do you always have in your freezer? Tell us about it in the comments below.