Most of the time when we hit the grocery store, we shop according to a list or meals we plan to cook. But have you ever let your eyes (and stomach) drive the cart? We perused the shelves at Trader Joe’s, letting edible intrigue and our penchant for unconventional snacks lead the way. With 12 enticing products in our tote bag, we ate our way through them to find out how many were genuinely worth the buy—and how many we’d skip. Here, 12 random Trader Joe’s products, ranked from meh to most delicious.
We Tried 12 Random Trader Joe’s Products to Find Out Which Were Actually Worth the Buy
12. Skip: Sriracha-Flavored Baked Tofu
We were psyched to try this ready-to-eat, plant-based protein over some dressed greens. But alas, the tofu is basically flavorless, despite the neon sriracha chili sauce marinade. No heat, no sweetness, just soybeans. Sigh.
11. Skip: Peanuts in a Pickle
Again, we wanted to love this one…but it fell short of our expectations. Despite looking pretty plain (most of the dill-vinegar seasoning was at the bottom of the bag), the peanuts had slight tang, but mostly just tasted like regular peanuts.
10. Skip: Garlic Sauce Thai Noodles
You can never have too many heat-and-eat meals in your pantry to make in a pinch. But if you’re stocking up at TJ’s, go ahead and skip these. The noodles were doughy and toothsome, which we loved, but the sauce was pretty one-note. Definitely zhuzh the noodles up with fresh veggies, chicken, pork or rice if you want to try them anyway.
9. Try: Ketchup-Flavored Sprinkle Seasoning Blend
Tomato powder, sugar, salt, onion powder and garlic powder make for a sweet base that can go on everything from potato chips to popcorn to scrambled eggs. But we think a touch more vinegar powder would really take the seasoning over the edge; it’s mostly fruity and sweet as it is, rather than decidedly tangy like ketchup.
8. Try: Organic Sparkling Lemon + Strawberry Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage
Have you been fantasizing about becoming one of those people who take a shot of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning? Ease into the wellness trend with a surprisingly tasty sparkling drink that’s equal parts sweet, tart and refreshing. Each can is only 35 calories, despite containing real fruit juices.
7. Try: Zhoug Sauce
Consider this Middle Eastern condiment Yemen’s cilantro-based version of chimichurri. It’s herbaceous, fragrant and vibrant in both appearance and flavor. Our one bone to pick? It’s labeled as “very spicy,” but those who like spicy foods will likely find it to be medium heat at best.
6. Try: Cinnamon Roll Drizzled Granola
Picture cinnamon-brown sugar oat clusters coated in sweet yogurt drizzle. Yeah, we’d leap out of bed for a bowl of that too. As true to the name as this granola tastes, we wished Trader Joe was a bit more generous with the yogurt drizzle…but we’d still buy it again.
5. Try: Crispy Onion Chips
We truly can’t decide what we’re most obsessed with, the silky sweetness of the onions, cooked in rice bran oil, or the inexplicably satisfying texture that’s like, um, airy Styrofoam but in the best way. Full disclosure, we inhaled the bag in one sitting. Sorry not sorry.
4. Try: Bananas Bananas! Candy
They’re chewy! They’re crunchy! They’re chocolatey! And we’ve never seen another candy like this on the market. (Banana is *so* slept on, but we digress.) Think banana-shaped milk chocolates filled with banana-flavored crème and teeny-tiny cocoa nibs. If you’re a Chunky Monkey stan, add this gem to your shopping list, stat.
3. Try: Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions
You’re a proud member of Unexpected Cheddar’s cult following, but instead of making a beeline to it, add this mellow, creamy, balanced pick to your cart next time you visit. (It’s a Customer Choice Award winner for a reason, folks.) We savored it plain, but are eager to try it on a burger or grilled cheese sandwich.
2. Try: Organic Cacio e Pepe Puffs
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, flatbread, mac and cheese—at this point, we’ll bet that the cheese-and-pepper treatment makes everything better, and these corn and rice snacks are no exception. Their flavor is lip-smackingly sharp (thanks, Romano and cheddar cheeses), and the black pepper’s fruity heat shines through gorgeously. Good luck not devouring the whole bag in one shot.
1. Try: PB&J Snack Duo
One bite and boom: You’re chillaxing in the cafeteria with your BFFs, back when people still said “chillaxing.” These peanut butter-filled wafer sticks are very similar to Pirouline cookies in that they’re flawlessly crisp and flaky. The sweet-tart raspberry fruit dip takes them from tasty to deliciously nostalgic.
Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.