The 26 Best Things at Trader Joe's, According to Their Employees

By now, our secret relationship with grocery store boyfriend Trader Joe is no secret at all. From stellar snack deals to the best cauliflower gnocchi on the market, he certainly has a lot to offer—sometimes we walk in a store and don’t even know where to start. So we asked Trader Joe’s employees from across the country for their (anonymous) top recommendations. Here, the 26 best things at Trader Joe's that made the cut.

Trader Joe’s Tell-All An Employee Just Answered Some Burning Questions and Shared Secrets on Reddit

trader joe s jerk style plantain chips employee favorite
Trader Joe's

1. Jerk-Style Plantain Chips

“It’s a healthier alternative snack packed with great flavor. They’re easy to eat on the go or at work…and they’re flipping delicious.”

Trader Joe’s ($1.79)

2. Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto

“I was skeptical at first, but this is so much better than regular pesto. It’s not as salty or oily, so it lends well to other things that are already salty and oily (like pizza, mac and cheese or avocado spread). It’s super versatile and refreshing.”

Trader Joe’s ($3.69)

3. Fresh Mozzarella Log

“Simple fresh mozz, sliced and ready to go. It’s easy for salad and pizzas and only $4.99 for all that cheese!”

Trader Joe’s ($4.99)

trader joes pancake bread employee favorite
Trader Joe's/Background: amguy/Getty Images

4. Pancake Bread

“AMAZING. The best product, in my opinion. It’s like pancakes on-the-go but better. I love not cooking.”

Trader Joe’s ($3.99)

5. Triple Ginger Snaps

“The best!!! Nice and crunchy with chewy bits of ginger. These cookies are great for pie and or cheesecake crusts.”

Trader Joe’s ($3.99)

6. Super Lemony Lemon Bites

“They’re less tart than lemon bars and almost fudge-like in texture. Good luck eating ‘a couple.’”

Trader Joe’s ($3.99)

7. Salted Caramel Gelato

“Don’t even look at the other ice creams. This one has crazy deep flavor and is super-creamy.”

Trader Joe’s ($4.99)

trader joes bbq rub with coffee and garlic employee favorite
Trader Joe's/Background: amguy/Getty Images

8. BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee and Garlic

“This is a fantastic rub without too much sugar. It’s great for more than just meat—I use it on eggs, sweet potato fries, salads, you name it. The only downside? It’s only available for grilling season!”

Trader Joe’s ($1.99)

9. Ketchup-Flavored Spud Crunchies

“Two words: HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. Better than most French fries, less messy and won’t burn your mouth. Snack heaven.”

Trader Joe’s ($1.99)

10. Garlic Spread Dip

“SOOOO GOOD!! This dip has amazing garlic flavor, and it’s delicious on pita bread or any sandwich.”
Trader Joe’s ($2.99)

11. Yuzu Hot Sauce

“Love this stuff. It’s citrusy and not too spicy, so you can put it on just about anything.”
Trader Joe’s ($4.99)

trader joes dark chocolate almond butter cups employee favorite
Trader Joe's

12. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

“They’re even better than the peanut butter cups, because they’re not overly sweet and have a great nuttiness.”

Trader Joe’s ($3.99)

13. Scandinavian Swimmers

“I love the unique flavors and that there’s no chalky aftertaste. I also like that these gummies don’t stick to your teeth.”

Trader Joe’s ($2.99)

14. Organic Dark Chocolate PB&J Minis

“They’re individually wrapped but that doesn’t stop me from eating half the bag. They’ve got a good peanut butter to jam to chocolate ratio and they’re organic!”

Trader Joe’s ($2.99)

15. Chocolate Brooklyn Babka

“I grew up in New York City and this is a godsend of a baked good—heavy on the chocolate and great with coffee.”
Trader Joe’s ($4.99)

trader joes popcorn in a pickle employee favorite
Trader Joe's/Background: amguy/Getty Images

16. Popcorn in a Pickle

“Sadly, this is seasonal, but it’s practically made for pickle lovers. Such a fun summertime snack.”

Trader Joe’s ($1.99)

17. Dolmas

“These stuffed grape leaves are way easier than making yourself. They’re not too citrusy, very tender and filling.”

Trader Joe’s ($2.49)

18. Cornbread Crisps

“These are literally cornbread pressed into crackers. Sweet and salty goodness, and they’re awesome with chili.”

Trader Joe’s ($2.49)

trader joes cauliflower gnocchi employee favorite
Trader Joe's

19. Cauliflower Gnocchi

“I love the pillow-y texture without the guilt! These are so easy to air-fry or crisp in a pan. I have at least two bags in my freezer at all times.”

Trader Joe’s ($2.69)

20. Mandarin Orange Chicken

“It’s a classic Trader Joe’s meal, not to mention the closest thing to a Chinese restaurant-style orange chicken in flavor that you can make at home quickly.”

Trader Joe’s ($4.99)

21. Black Bean & Jack Cheese Burrito

“My go-to work lunch—cheap and delicious.”

Trader Joe’s ($2.99)

22. Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad

“Convenient and low calorie, with a good balance of sweet, spicy and salty. Need I say more?”

Trader Joe’s ($4.49)

trader joes rich hydrating face sheet mask employee favorite
Trader Joe's/Background: amguy/Getty Images

23. Rich Hydrating Face Sheet Mask

“A great 20-minute rejuvenation for the skin, this product leaves my skin soft and glowing. It has a cooling, soothing feel in-use and my face looks completely refreshed after. Plus, at just $1.99, this spa-level treatment is a complete steal.”

Trader Joe’s ($1.99)

24. Nourish Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum

“It keeps your skin hydrated longer than you knew it needed to be and is awesome in combination with the Antioxidant Facial Serum. My face has a completely improved texture.”

Trader Joe’s ($8.99)

25. Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum

“My face has never been softer. And it smells like freshly peeled oranges!!”

Trader Joe’s ($9.99)

26. Formula No.3 ‘One for All, All for One’ Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash

“This is the only shower soap I need. It’s conveniently sized, priced and smells great. Even better, it doesn’t dry out my skin.”
Trader Joe’s ($7.99)


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...