We’re all in agreement about Trader Joe’s, right? Best store, worst parking lot (I don’t care where you live, TJ’s has a thing about cramped, terrible parking lots). The employees are always cheerful, your kids leave happy with lollipops and stickers, and those TJ’s labels look so cute in your pantry.
Sharing my favorite things to buy from Trader Joe’s today!
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t buy a ton of produce at TJ’s. I’ve had bad luck with their packaged greens, pre-cut veggies, and onions going bad quickly. That being said, they have all the basics at good prices! And a few fun seasonal items like brussels sprouts on the stalk around Thanksgiving/Christmas time. Here are a few of my favorite fresh foods at TJ’s:
- The CHEESE! Trader Joe’s has the BEST cheese selection, at the best prices! Too many favorites to list, but here are a few that I love to buy from TJ’s – gruyere, fontina, halloumi, feta, ricotta, low-moisture mozzarella for pizza making, and seasonal goat cheeses.. basically whatever you need, they have it!
- Apple smoked bacon, prosciutto and pancetta – they have a good selection of cured meats and their bacon is my fave!
- Kerrygold butter – you know my love for Kerrygold, and TJ’s has it at a reasonable price!
- GTs Kombucha – big kombucha drinker (watermelon wonder is my fave atm) and again, the price is good at TJ’s
- The basics – TJ’s has great eggs, milk, yogurt, cream, buttermilk etc. at good prices!
I haven’t tried many of the pre-made meals from TJ’s, but I do have a few freezer staples I like to keep on hand:
- Dorot frozen garlic and ginger cubes – I am in love with these! Each cube equals 1 tsp of minced garlic or ginger, perfect for soups, dressings, stir fries, etc.
- Frozen brown rice – I keep a box of these in the freezer for when we need rice in a pinch. I don’t love the frozen quinoa, I find it’s a little mushy after being microwaved.
- Roasted corn – a staple!
- Mexican Style Roasted Corn – I buy this only to make the BEST corn dip appetizer (along with TJ’s chile lime seasoning). Recipe is on my Instagram!
- Garlic Naan – a yummy side when we make Indian curry.
- Ice cream & frozen treats – my kids are loving the Mini Hold the Cone ice cream cones for a little summer treat! I also like their French Vanilla ice cream, Gone Bananas chocolate covered banana slices, and mochi.
Trader Joe’s has so many great cooking and baking staples! It’s a great place to pick up baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, beans, rice etc. Hard to narrow it down, but here are a few of my must-haves:
- 10 Minute Farro – I talk about this one a lot! Farro is a chewy, nutty grain – similar to brown rice but I think it’s better! TJ’s farro is especially great because it is par-cooked, so it only takes 10 minutes to cook vs. 30 minutes for normal farro. I always have some on hand for an easy side or to throw in salads like my Peach Farro Arugula Salad with Candied Hazelnuts!
- Honey Pale Ale Mustard – I swear by this mustard for sandwiches! Really slather it on there.
- Pasta – TJ’s has a great selection of pasta. These Organic Italian Artisan Pastas are a favorite lately.
- Italian Tomato Paste – the tube of tomato paste is so convenient! Just squeeze out what you need and store it in the fridge for next time.
- Tahini – we go through a lot of tahini, and TJ’s is delicious!
- Oils and vinegars – they have a wide variety of oils and vinegars, including imported olive oils. Loving this Italian aged balsamic vinegar, and I always keep their Organic Toasted Sesame Oil, Rice Vinegar and Coconut Oil Spray stocked.
- We also buy TJ’s Sweet Chili Sauce and Red Enchilada Sauce for when we are in a pinch!
A few more pantry staples:
- Pound Plus Chocolate Bars – really good quality chocolate for such a great price! I chop up a whole bar of the 72% chocolate for my Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies. And the smaller chocolate bars at the front of the store are great for s’mores!
- Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce – a favorite for drizzling on top of ice cream or making carmelitas.
- Candied Pecans – not overly sweet, perfect for salads. TJ’s entire nut section is fully stocked for great prices!
- Whipping Cream – these little boxes of whipping cream are one of my favorite TJ’s finds. They are shelf stable, so you can keep cream on hand anytime. Just keep them in the fridge and whip them with a little sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt for delicious whipped cream!
- Braided and Sliced Brioche – makes the best french toast!
Trader Joe’s is a snack mecca. Here are a handful of our favorites, but there are countless options to choose from!
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – possibly my #1 favorite item at TJ’s. Can’t leave the store without buying a little bag of these.
- Pitted Salted Manzanilla Olives – if you are an olive lover, these make the best little snack!
- GoMacro Bars – my favorite clean bar. These are my 3 favorite flavors – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate with Peanut Butter Chips. TJ’s carries them for a good price.
- Snacks for the kids – my children would happily eat 3 square meals a day of only TJ’s snacks. Their favorites include Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies, Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks, Bambas, Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Bars, Fruit Leather Buttons, Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Organic Whole Milk Yogurt pouches, trail mix and dried mango.
The Best Items to Buy from Trader Joe’s
Can’t forget the fresh flowers at the front of the store – TJ’s has the best selection at amazing prices. What did I miss?! What are your favorite things from Trader Joe’s?