The 23 Best Trader Joe's Candies, Ranked

Go to any Trader Joe's and you will find a massive selection of snacks and candies. But when presented with dozens of chocolate and gummy treats, which all have wonderful packaging mind you, it can be tough to choose. That's why we did the tasting for you and determined which Trader Joe's candies were the best of the best. 

When we visited our local Trader Joe's, we picked up the 23 candies that were available at that particular store. Since these change seasonally and from location to location, this is just a sampling of what Trader Joe's offers. However, you'll likely find most of these at your nearest TJ's. 

In order to create a reasonable list, we decided to exclude nuts and pretzels as candies. Even if they are dunked in chocolate and made up to be as sweet as candy, nuts aren't candy. Pretzels are also not candy. So those are the ground rules. Without further ado, let us rank these 23 Trader Joe's candies, from worst to best.

23. Fruity Licorice Twists Trio

It was tricky to determine which Trader Joe's candy we tasted was the worst, and to do so we had to balance expectations with results. These fruity licorice bites end up dead last because they were the most disappointing. 

Trader Joe's Trio of Soft Licorice Twists features three flavors: raspberry, mango, and green apple. For starters, all of these flavors are odd choices. The Green Apple bites were the most tasty, due to that sour edge. The raspberry and mango flavors did little to live up to their namesake.

What truly sinks this treat is the texture of the licorice. Even compared to Trader Joe's black licorice, these twists were dry and hard. The soft and chewy texture you would expect from licorice was absent here, therefore they wind up in the last spot. 

22. Donut Forever Truffles

This Trader Joe's treat, released in May 2023, is a bummer. While there is potential in these donut-shaped chocolate truffles, the knee-jerk response to assume these might be more gimmicky than quality is a correct one. Upon trying them, it was immediately clear these were the worst chocolates we had bought. 

The Donuts Forever! pack comes with three varieties of truffles; milk chocolate with caramel, dark chocolate with chocolate, and white chocolate with cinnamon and speculoos cookie bites. Both the white and milk chocolate caramel truffles were sickeningly sweet and the chocolate quality was a significant downgrade from many of the options we tried. The dark chocolate donut was only slightly more bearable, due to Trader Joe's dark chocolate itself being pretty good. Still, we don't recommend indulging in these artificial chocolates.  

21. Black Licorice Twists

Let's start this off by saying that if black licorice is your thing, Trader Joe's makes a decent one. The texture is certainly closer to what a good licorice should be than the fruity trio option led us to believe. It still doesn't hold a candle to Wiley Wallaby's licorice, or other similar gourmet brands, but the Trader Joe's variety is fine. 

The problem is that black licorice is a candy that only appeals to a small portion of the population. We can't say we know many folks who go straight for the licorice when their sweet tooth starts aching. This is all to say, we just didn't find that this tasted very good. If you like that bitter, medicinal flavor, though, more power to you.

20. Jelly Beans

Trader Joe's labels its jelly beans are gourmet, but the truth is they are as standard as they come. The biggest pitfall with this box of candy is that you never quite know what flavor you are going to get among the dozen or so bean varieties found in this assortment. The fact that none of them have a super distinctive flavor doesn't help much. 

Unfortunately, the most distinct Trader Joe's Jelly Beans flavors were the most offensive ones — enter the presumably coconut-flavored jelly bean, which tasted like sunscreen. We did manage to identify the tasty pink jelly bean as grapefruit and were pleasantly surprised. By and large, though, we found these to be underwhelming — especially compared to the store's other jelly bean assortment. 

19. Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a thing of legend. But the grocery chain also offers alternative nut butter fillings that offer various health benefits. The blandest one of these is Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups. According to Nutrionix, this treat is lower in total fat and sodium contents compared to the beloved Trader Joe's peanut butter cups. 

Calories-wise, though, these end up in a similar ballpark, which makes the disappointing flavor of the sunflower seed butter a true shame. The dark chocolate in these cups tastes good, but the sunflower seed butter truly lacks that salty element to contrast with that cocoa bitterness. We could even taste bits of sea salt added in to try and enhance that salty element of the snack, but it wasn't enough to bring the flavors into balance.

18. S'mores Clusters

The bright orange bag of S'mores Clusters features an image of a chocolatey treat bursting with marshmallow bits. In reality, that is a bit of false advertising, as the ultimate downfall of this Trader Joe's candy is the quality of its marshmallows. 

These clusters get two-thirds of the way to achieving proper s'mores flavor. The milk chocolate (not as good as TJ's dark chocolate) and graham cracker flavors are apparent. But the marshmallows we got were often far from soft and pillowy. These hard and flavorless blobs do little to replicate the toasty marshmallow that is required to make something truly taste like s'mores. That failure makes these a less desirable option for chocolate fans.

17. Beary Tiny Gummy Bears

This might win the prize for most adorable packaging, but overall we found this take on the traditional gummy bear to be ill-advised. Traditionally a perfectly fine candy, Trader Joe's shrinks the gummy bears down to an adorable size that ultimately gives the snack a weird texture. Something about shoveling a handful of four or five bears into your mouth is odd and unsatisfying. 

The flavors of these organic gummies are all pretty fruity and good. The problem is you get a mixture of a bunch at a time since these candies are so small. Eating one of these bears by itself is unsatisfying, but eating a whole handful muddles the flavor. 

16. Ginger Chews

This is going to be a polarizing candy for sure. The Ginger People Ginger Chews are more of a remedy for a sore throat or bad congestion. However, if you are a fan of ginger, it might be worth trying out these chewy candies. 

The Ginger Chews you can get at Trader Joe's are quite chewy and strong in ginger flavor. We know this isn't exactly what most people would reach for when wanting something sweet, but there is a nice natural spice that lingers. Although, one reason for that might be the sticky bits that get stuck in your teeth long after chewing your way through one of these candies.

15. Cinna-Dragons

As established, spicy candy is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But we have to admit that the Cinna-Dragons sold at Trader Joe's are a good option for what they are — even if we never want to eat them again. 

While Hot Tamales might come to mind, these cinnamon-flavored red gummies are most comparable to Cinnamon Bears in terms of texture and flavor. There is a solid balance between the cinnamon spice and the sweetness of the gummy candy. This is a treat for a niche craving, but when it comes to cinnamon candy you can do a whole lot worse than Trader Joe's Cinna-Dragons.

14. Oat Chocolate Bars (plain)

This chocolate bar is totally vegan and free of soy and gluten as well. In terms of offering a chocolatey treat to those with any of a long list of dietary restrictions, these Trader Joe's chocolate bars are pretty solid. This variety of Trader Joe's Oat Chocolate Bars comes with three small chocolate bars. 

Made from oat milk these bars are texturally on point. The flavor may not be as sweet or rich as even Trader Joe's regular dark chocolate bar, but we were still glad this option existed for those who need it. Plus, the small chocolate bars are great for portion control.

13. Tangy Turtles

These ring-like candies are an old-fashioned gummy. With a white gummy base, these turtles are colorful and fruity on top, making them one of the cutest treats on the list. If only they tasted as good as they looked. 

Trader Joe's Tangy Turtles deliver on being both sweet and tart, but they are also remarkably chewy. The sweetness overwhelms the tartness and if we are being completely honest guessing the flavors of the different colors of turtles was a futile task. 

This isn't to say this candy is bad. These are decent gummy candies, but you can find better. Even at Trader Joe's.

12. Sour Jelly Beans

We obviously weren't super into Trader Joe's regular jelly beans. This dissatisfaction made the Sour Jelly Beans one of the most pleasant surprises of the taste test. These candies are quite good, even if they are not the best sour candy we found. 

The Trader Joe's brand Sour Jelly Beans delivers on the sour, first and foremost. We were impressed by the tartness of each of the variety of the jelly beans. Among the sour treats we tried, these were definitely the most sour. This once again runs into the issue of not quite being able to discern one flavor from another due to the overwhelming tartness of each of them.

11. Beach Day Gummies

These beach-themed treats are hitting TJ's shelves just in time for summer. Falling somewhere between fruit snacks and the gummy candies of yore, the Trader Joe's Beach Day Gummies are tasty and tropical. 

These gummies come in easily identifiable beach shapes like sunglasses and palm trees. The flavors are less immediately recognizable, although one definitely stood out as watermelon, which was a refreshing change of pace. If anything, the flavors of these candies are a lot less muddled than the Tangy Turtles or Trader Joe's jelly bean varieties. Overall, we found these to be pretty crave-able, even if the texture might be too close to childhood fruit snacks for some to consider as a legitimate candy option.

10. Oat Chocolate Bars with Rice and Cocoa Nibs

While we were a bit tepid on the regular variety of Trader Joe's Oat Chocolate Bars, this one was a bit of a game-changer. The addition of crispy rice and cocoa nibs gave this chocolate bar a textural element that we realized was deeply missing in the other pack. 

These bars eat like a vegan, gluten-free, version of a Crunch bar.  And while the flavor isn't quite one-to-one, there is a natural bitterness to this chocolate that the Nestlé milk chocolate lacks. The slightly salty crunch of the crispy rice plays on this bitterness and elevates this to be a genuinely great option for a vegan (plus soy- and gluten-free) chocolate bar.

9. Dark Chocolate Coffee Buzz Bar

Here's another one that isn't going to be for everything. But for what it is, Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Coffee Buzz bars are an excellent combination of coffee and chocolate. Plus, with 70mg of caffeine per bar, these chocolates do pack a significant punch. For context, according to the USDA, one 1.5-ounce shot of espresso has around 90 milligrams of caffeine, making one bar of this chocolate almost comparable to your morning coffee. 

In terms of flavor, these bars obviously have the downside of being pretty bitter, given that both dark chocolate and coffee are naturally bitter. However, we were impressed by the richness of the coffee flavor and felt like there was just enough sweetness in the Coffee Buzz bar to make it all work. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, these caffeinated chocolate bars are a great option.

8. Bite-Sized Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Candies

Candy-coated candy, you say? How absurd! Don't laugh, though, since Trader Joe's Bite-Sized Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Candies are a perfectly acceptable alternative to one of the most popular candies on Earth — M&Ms. 

In reality, this mouthful of a name is a clumsy way around trademarks. But when it came down to the tasting, these Trader Joe's candies tasted pretty much exactly like the Mars-branded favorite. In fact, the milk chocolate on the inside of these candies is creamier than the popular alternative. The only downside is that our Trader Joe's doesn't carry any peanut or peanut butter-filled varieties. 

7. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Honey Grahams

While these chocolate grahams don't look as pretty as the packaging suggests, they taste as good as you might hope. If you are still thinking of picking up the S'mores Clusters, check out these wonders instead. Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams are a rich, sweet (and salty) little treat. 

The salt might not be as visible on the outside, but after trying one of these Grahams it was clear that element was present. The salt is balanced quite nicely against the chocolate and graham cracker flavors. It all works together to create an insanely crave-able dessert that will leave you reaching into the bag for just one more.

6. Dark Chocolate Caramels

These caramels are a pretty traditional take on a classic candy. Good thing they are delicious. Unlike many of Trader Joe's chocolate desserts, this one doesn't lean into the saltiness factor. Instead the silky caramel and bittersweet chocolate are a marriage made in heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth. 

These Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels don't mess around. Inside a seriously solid (but not break-your-teeth-hard) chocolate shell, there is a pleasant, creamy caramel. The caramel inside isn't too sticky so your teeth won't be covered in caramel bits once you've eaten one candy. No, the texture of these Trader Joe's treats allows you to keep going back for more than you know you should. 

5. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

If you haven't cheated and just skipped ahead you know how much we love Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cups. These Dark Chocolate Almond Butter cups offer a delicious alternative that has a slightly different flavor profile.

While these candies are only marginally more healthy than the peanut butter variety, they are pretty much just as tasty. The almond butter brings more of a natural sweetness to the salty interior of the candy. Additionally, the creamier almond butter makes for a textural difference that makes the cups fall apart more easily. We can't say that's a major downside, though, since we loved this almost as much as the original. 

4. Sour Scandinavian Swimmers

While there weren't any regular Scandinavian Swimmers on sale at the Trader Joe's we visited, we were more than happy to try the sour variety. Both of these are premiere Trader Joe's candies, and of all the gummy-esque candies we tried, these Sour Scandinavian Swimmers were number one with a bullet. 

The texture of these gummies resembles Swedish Fish, but they are all tossed in a sour sugar coating that is surprisingly mild. These candies all have a pretty good balance of sweet and tart, with the blue raspberry dolphins being the only ones we weren't super into. The rest of the other flavors check the appropriate boxes for what you would want from a mix of sour, fruity candies. 

3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These candies are old and reliable and come in a variety of different packages, depending on just how big of a stockpile of Peanut Butter Cups you need. We will just be straight up and say it: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups rival Reese's. These candies are among the best in the whole store. 

For starters, the high-quality dark chocolate goes a long way to give these an edge over your standard Reese's cup. Now, take into account that the peanut butter to chocolate ratio in these small cups is nearly perfect and you've got yourself a quick and easy dessert or late-night snack. Just do yourself a favor and don't eat them all in one sitting.

2. Milk Chocolate Bar with Corn Flakes

This chocolate bar is excellent. With chocolate imported directly from Belgium, at least according to the wrapping, the Milk Chocolate Bar with Corn Flakes managed to outrank all of Trader Joe's (admittedly tasty) dark chocolate options. The quality of chocolate on display here is hard to beat, and we haven't even gotten to talking about the cornflakes. 

The cornflakes seriously add so much depth to the flavor of this basic chocolate bar. Bits of cereal throughout add a delicious crunch and salt to each bite, elevating this candy bar to the top of these rankings.

1. Cocoa Truffles

These Cocoa Truffles might just be Trader Joe's best-kept secret. The only negative that we can possibly conjure is that eating more than one of these in a sitting might feel too indulgent for some less committed chocolate fans. But at 180 calories in a four-piece serving, that's only 45 calories per truffle which isn't the worst ... relatively speaking. 

These lightly dusted truffles will get a bit of melty chocolate on your fingertips, but it is worth it to experience the melt happening in your mouth. The truffles are creamy as can be, and the flavor is outrageous. The chocolate shines but is complemented by a really pronounced saltiness. Of all the Trader Joe's candies that we tried, these are the ones we are still going back to every day.