I Tried Trader Joe’s New Sugar Cookie Dough — But Is It as Good as Pillsbury?

published Oct 12, 2023
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Someone holding up container of sugar cookie dough in store.
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

If you need a fast track portal to Cozytown, baking up a batch of sugar cookies is the quickest and most delicious way to get you there as far as I’m concerned. Seeing as I largely eat for a living, I’ve certainly sampled and taste-tested my fair share of them: Chewy, lace-edged, rolled in cinnamon sugar or lemon zest, or merely just the crispy ones (my favorite, sorry!). I’ll slide down a chimney Santa-style for the promise of a still-warm sugar cookie. However, actually mixing them up is a whole different story, which is why I hit up my local Trader Joe’s to track down their new All-Butter Sugar Cookie Dough (spoiler: they had it in stock!)

I’d heard all the buzz about how this new log of buttery cookie dough possibly out-does Pillsbury’s classic sugar cookie dough. So, after I was done gasping, I picked up a package of both to conduct some very scientific research (i.e. baking and eating both).

How Does Trader Joe’s All Butter Sugar Cookie Dough Measure Up?

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Before I start, here is a quick metaphor, if you will: If Pillsbury is your middle school crush, perfectly sweet and irresistibly nostalgic, then the Trader Joe’s All Butter Sugar Cookie Dough is that dreamy study-abroad crush you had that had a bit more dimension to it.

While I’ll gladly eat Pillsbury by the stack like Scooby Doo, I like the idea of gussying up a batch of the All Butter Cookies for those occasions when I want something that tastes a bit more complex and semi-homemade. All you need to do is roll them up to see that their all-butter moniker is no joke. The dough is rich in your hands and ready for pressing into fun shapes, sprinkling with jimmies, or simply slicing into Ted Lasso-style buttery biscuits.

Fresh out of the oven, these cookies also have an added cake-y fluffiness to them that gives way to a tender crumb with a deeper vanilla flavor I can only describe as likely being sourced from what seems to be Top Shelf Vanilla Extract. Truth be told, these cookies have stumped me because they really do have something special about them that I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s also Very Good Butter? Magically rich egg yolks? The lightest sprinkle of sea salt? I may never know, and that’s totally fine. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Trader Joe’s All Butter Sugar Cookie Dough Vs. Pillsbury’s Cookie Dough

Let me be clear: I don’t like pitting two cookies against each other. And when it comes to both of these ready-to-bake cookies, it’s somewhat  like comparing apples to oranges. Pillsbury’s sugar cookie dough is always a solid bet for when you want to have an all-ages crowd-pleaser, no-frills needed. But I’d say Trader Joe’s All Butter Sugar Cookie Dough is ideal for when you want something a bit more upscale. 

While you can’t eat the raw sugar cookie dough from Trader Joe’s (Pillsbury is safe to eat raw), it has the quickest bake time of the two (10 vs. 17 minutes), meaning you’re slightly closer to sinking your teeth into a wildly good cookie that tastes like you mixed up this batch of cookies yourself. It comes down to what you’re looking for — but suffice it to say I wouldn’t turn up my nose at either of these.