16 Aldi Summer Finds, Ranked

With temperatures soaring, summer has arrived with a vengeance. If you are looking to beat the heat and stock up on a wide variety of products to help you make the most of the dog days of summer, Aldi has you covered. We dropped by to see what we could find to cool us off, help us entertain a crowd, nibble poolside, grill up, and whet our whistles.

Not only did we find what we were looking for, we stocked up on a wide array of items for pennies on the dollar, which is why everyone loves Aldi. We even found one product that had summer in its name. Talk about great marketing.

For every product we sampled, we gave it a letter grade based on taste, texture, quality, and whether or not we would purchase that item again. Where applicable, we will include suggestions for the best way to eat or cook the product and recommendations on how the product could be made better. Without further ado, these are our 16 Aldi summer finds, ranked from least to most favorite.

16. Barissimo Coffee Summer Blend

When your lowest-ranked item gets a passing grade, competition is stiff. The Barissimo Coffee Summer Blend scored an average C grade. Though a hot cup of coffee doesn't necessarily scream summer, the name of this brew did. While we love that this coffee is Fair Trade Certified and independently inspected for quality, that alone couldn't overcome all of our concerns.

We suggest purchasing whole-bean coffee and grinding it fresh before brewing it every time. Coffee beans lose 60% of their flavor within 15 minutes of getting ground. Pre-ground coffee has already lost most of its flavor, which means it can never compare with whole beans. This coffee came pre-ground, which most definitely impacted its quality.

The best way to describe this coffee is flat. It lacks nuance and sophistication. It has a grassy aftertaste, although it isn't bitter, which is the sign of coffee that has been well roasted. We would equate this coffee to a cheap bottle of wine versus a slightly more expensive one. And, finally, our biggest litmus test for a cup of coffee is if it can be consumed without cream or sugar to doctor it up. This coffee could, which is why as far as ground coffee goes, we'd say this is serviceable.

15. Simply Nature Coconut Cashew Crisps Vanilla

These vanilla flavored Coconut Cashew Crisps are part of Aldi's Simply Nature product line. This exclusive line of products was developed by Aldi to be Non-GMO Project verified, free of 125 ingredients, including artificial colors, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), and added MSG, and many are organic. Eighty of the products in this line have received the honor of obtaining the Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem. This honor is bestowed on those products that have undergone rigorous quality control testing by an in-house registered dietitian. All products must be nutritious, made with whole ingredients, and accurate in marketing claims.

Though these crisps come in three flavors, vanilla, chocolate, and sea salt caramel, we opted for the vanilla to get a good sense of the inherent flavor of the crisp. We liked that the ingredients list was relatively short, containing just organic coconut, cashews, coconut sugar, cassava flour, sea salt, natural vanilla flavor, and organic natural almond flavor. And considering a serving includes eight pieces for 170 calories, it is a relatively healthy snack.

As far as flavor is concerned, we found them very coconut-forward, with just a hint of vanilla in the background, and the cashew flavor was almost non-existent. We liked the texture, which melted in your mouth but wasn't crumbly. Though these are somewhat thinner, they reminded us of Nilla Wafers. We enjoyed these, but they may be an acquired taste because of the strong coconut flavor, which led us to give it a C grade.

14. Fit & Active Vanilla Cream Bars in 3 Fruit Flavor Varieties

If you are looking for a sweet treat to cool off and satisfy an after-dinner craving, look no further than these Fit & Active Vanilla Cream Bars in 3 Fruit Flavor Varieties. The three flavors are Strawberry & Vanilla, Orange & Vanilla, and Cherry & Vanilla. Each bar has 20 calories and only 2 grams of total sugar. The bars are made without synthetic dyes and sweetened with Splenda. 

Though they appear to be gluten-free, they are not dairy-free. They are made with a vanilla dairy mix containing several additives, including carrageenan, to help provide a creamier texture. Carrageenan has been banned in infant formula in the EU due to the potential for causing gastrointestinal distress, even though the evidence is anecdotal and has only been seen in lab rats.

As for the flavor, these were a delicious, refreshing treat, though if you look at the bars in the box, they look nothing like the striated images on the box. Either way, they were sweet but not cloying, and they certainly hit the spot on an exceedingly hot day. Our favorite flavors from last to first were the orange, followed by strawberry, with the cherry on top. 

We could see making this a part of our regular Aldi rotation, even in cooler weather. Our overall rating for these is a B, not because we didn't enjoy them but because we had to be more discerning in our rankings to accommodate some of our other finds.

13. Zarita Lemonade Freeze Pops

No summer BBQ would be complete without a little alcoholic libation to loosen up the flow of conversation. When searching for a spiked treat that will also help cool you off, Zarita Lemonade Freeze Pops deliver. The box of 12 comes in three hard-seltzer flavors, including lemonade, mango lemonade, and strawberry Lemonade. At 6% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and 80 calories per pop, you can sample all three flavors throughout one afternoon.

Though these pops are intended to freeze and squeeze, we found a slight hitch in the giddy-up. From the moment we left the store until we got home, a couple of pops had melted in the box. We placed them into our freezer, expecting they would refreeze, but several didn't, and some only partly froze. This may be an issue with our freezer rather than the product, but we left them in there for over 24 hours to no avail, which was a bit disappointing.

As far as the flavor, these are like a grown-up version of an Otter Pop with a kick. We were getting flashbacks of being in elementary school while also getting slightly buzzed. They are super refreshing and would be the ideal elixir during a heatwave. Our favorite flavor was the mango, followed by the regular lemonade and then the strawberry. Overall, we'd give these a solid B grade, and that's because of the freezing issue we encountered. Their taste deserves an A.

12. Gambellino Watermelon Bellini

When you think of summer, one of the first things that comes to mind is noshing on a sweet wedge of fresh watermelon on a hot day. Now pair that with a refreshing sparkling alcoholic beverage, and you may think you have been transported to a tropical island. 

The Gambellino Watermelon Bellini aims to do just that, combining fresh watermelon juice with a sparkling cocktail. At $5.99 and 8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV), this is not only an affordable libation, it's delicious.

Very drinkable and refreshing, the aroma and flavor of watermelon spring forward from the moment you pour this beverage into a glass. Though you would anticipate this being extremely sweet, in the way a peach bellini might be, it is surprisingly not. It almost has a slightly bitter aftertaste reminiscent of grapefruit, which we enjoyed. That juxtaposition with what we perceived to be a rather potent alcohol content made it feel more sophisticated.

Our only complaint, and this is minor, was that it wasn't particularly fizzy. It was just barely effervescent when we opened the bottle. We were anticipating something with more bubbles, which may have helped distill the alcohol-forward flavor slightly. 

We gave this beverage a solid B+ and would gladly purchase it again. For a special treat, we could see creating a type of summer punch with this, combining fresh fruit and perhaps a splash of vodka for a party-popping potable.

11. Park Street Deli Cauliflower Dip Roasted Chile & Pepper Jack

For a simple dip to serve with crackers and chips at an impromptu pool party this summer, look no further than the Park Street Deli Cauliflower Dips available at Aldi in Buffalo or Roasted Chile & Pepper Jack flavors. We picked up the latter and were not disappointed. These dips are considered keto-friendly, and because they are made with a cauliflower base are appropriate for those with myriad dietary restrictions.

At first sniff, you'd almost think you were about to dive into a container of hummus. If you didn't know there was cauliflower in this dip, you'd never recognize it as the dominant ingredient. The texture is somewhat creamier and less grainy than hummus, with little bits of chile and peppers scattered throughout, although it isn't spicy. The taste is marvelous and addictive, as evidenced by us consuming the whole container in one sitting.

Our only complaint was that the list of ingredients was so tiny you needed a magnifying glass to read them, and there were many. This dip contains both mayonnaise and cheese, which means it would not be suitable for anyone with an egg or dairy allergy, unlike hummus. Though it is nutritionally similar to hummus at 60 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, it does contain marginally more cholesterol and sodium. Overall we gave this dip an A- and would eat it again in a heartbeat.

10. Simply Nature Cauliflower Crackers Cheddar Flavor

We grabbed a box of the Simply Nature Cauliflower Crackers Cheddar Flavor to accompany the cauliflower dip. These crackers are gluten-free, and each serving is only 110 calories. What is impressive is that a serving included a whopping 44 crackers, which, though these are tiny, are still substantial. And frankly, after sampling these, we could consume the whole box in one sitting, which contains four servings.

We were not entirely sure what to anticipate from these dainty delectables but were pleasantly surprised by their taste. Since cauliflower is one of the primary ingredients, we expected to taste that first. You cannot taste cauliflower at all. The flavor is mildly cheesy, with a salty bite to finish. These are crispy, and their texture held up perfectly when we dipped them into the Park Street Deli Cauliflower Dip. Frankly, those two items were a match made in Aldi heaven, so we'd highly recommend investing in both as a team.

Overall these crackers were faintly reminiscent of Cheez-Its but with less of a synthetic flavor or artificial coloring that leaves a coating on your fingers and lips. We gave these a solid A and would most certainly purchase them again, although next time, we'd like to sample the sea salt flavor if they are still available.

9. Vita Life Strawberry Mint Peach Organic Sparkling Probiotic Drink

We all know we should have more probiotic-rich foods and beverages in our diets due to their many purported health benefits. Unfortunately, not all probiotic-rich foods and drinks are as palatable as we'd like. No offense to kimchi or sauerkraut. As avid kombucha fans, our eyeballs lit up when we saw the Vita Life Strawberry Mint Peach Organic Sparkling Probiotic Drink at Aldi. This beverage also comes in a pineapple mango flavor. Both screamed summer to us, so we decided to pick up a can.

Each 12-ounce can contain 80 calories and is packed with Bacillus Subtilis probiotics. It also boasts 16 grams of sugar, roughly 22% of the recommended daily value. That said, we loved the flavor of this beverage. It was super refreshing, and the fizziness gave it a delightful mouthfeel. Considering the amount of sugar in this drink, we expected it to be sweeter than it was. And while you could taste the peach flavor, the strawberry was far more subtle. The most pronounced flavor was the mint, which made us think of a mojito.

We highly recommend these if you enjoy mint and are looking for a fun alternative to kombucha to fulfill your probiotic beverage needs. Just keep in mind the sugar content of each can. We give this a solid A ranking and would love to try the pineapple mango flavor the next time.

8. Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips

While we enjoy classic potato chips, we know they can be high in fat and sodium, so we were delighted to find an alternative with the Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips from Aldi. Though we love sweet potatoes, we were skeptical about these chips. We were not sure they could have the crispiness and flavor of a traditional chip. We are pleased to report that they most certainly did. Not only were they delightfully crisp, every chip was perfectly seasoned with just a hint of salt. And they were not greasy at all.

But what we loved the most was the simplicity of the ingredients in these chips, which include only sweet potatoes, oil, and sea salt. Each serving, about 14 chips, has 150 calories and only 70 milligrams of sodium, 3% of the recommended daily value. For comparison, Lay's Classic potato chips have 170 milligrams of sodium for a similar size serving, making these a marked improvement. These chips are gluten-free, produced without artificial flavors or colors, have no preservatives, and are vegan.

The kettle-cooked texture of these chips made them perfect for dipping, and their flavor is neutral enough that it will not overwhelm a dip. We loved these and gave them a solid A grade. The only reason they did not rank higher was because there were so many great products that were more distinctive among the items we sampled.

7. Emporium Selection Pepperoni Marinara Semi-Soft Cheese

No summer party would be complete without a cheese tray, but we get sick of the regular sampling of cheeses. We are always searching for something special to serve our guests, which explains why the Emporium Selection Pepperoni Marinara Semi-Soft Cheese piqued our curiosity. Its name elicited images of a pizza, one of our guilty pleasure foods, so we knew it would probably be a great cheese.

We were not wrong. This cheese has an exterior coating of what appears to be sun-dried tomato and herbs, and its interior is dotted with tiny pieces of pepperoni. If these seasonings were applied with a heavy hand, this cheese could easily be overwhelmed, yet it was not. The harmony of flavorings with the creamy Monterey jack-like cheese was perfectly balanced.

While this cheese would be great on a cheese tray, we think it would be a superb alternative to shredded mozzarella on a homemade pizza and an even more epic cheese in an Italian-inspired grilled cheese sandwich with pesto and prosciutto. We are drooling just thinking about it. Our grade for this cheese is an A.

6. Never Any! Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage

Having sampled our fair share of virtually every chicken sausage on the market, we were eager to try the Never Any! Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage from Aldi. We love grilling out in the summer but are constantly looking for a healthier alternative to a hot dog. 

The Never Any! brand seemed to fit the bill. It is distinct in its quality, commitment to sustainability, humane treatment of animals, and USDA organic certification. In 2018, the brand obtained the Good Housekeeping Seal for meeting outstanding health standards and transparency in marketing.

We were not disappointed with this sausage, which tasted more like a traditional sausage than any other chicken version we previously consumed. These sausages stayed juicy, were not greasy, and had a snappy texture. The spinach and feta were present, yet not overpowering, and subtle hints of fenugreek and garlic shone through, accentuating its Greek theme. 

We'd eagerly purchase these again and give them a solid A ranking. The next time we are at Aldi, we will search for the Tomato Basil, Apple, and Mild Italian chicken sausage flavors to sample for comparison.

5. Specially Selected Mild Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

We adore chips and salsa with our alcoholic libations at a summer pool party. We don't particularly love the dull and saccharine flavor of jarred salsa. For this reason, we decided to try something different and pick up the Specially Selected Mild Avocado Tomatillo Salsa. This brand, which is Aldi's premium store brand, has two other salsa flavors, including Wild Roasted Verde and Wild Four Pepper.

Since we are avocado and salsa verde aficionados, we skeptically dove in and are glad we did. This is by far the best-jarred salsa we have ever consumed. Its texture was similar to most salsa verde recipes, more liquidy than chunky, but had a creaminess conferred by the avocado, which made it special. The flavor was mildly spicy with a hint of sweetness and quite a kick of acidity from the lime juice.

While this salsa would be great with chips, we put it on salmon and imagine it would be supreme as a sauce for any seafood. We'd also use it in a classic bean dip recipe instead of plain salsa for something unique. To say that we were fond of this salsa would be an understatement. It earned a fervent A+ from us, and we look forward to trying the other Specially Selected Aldi salsa flavors.

4. Park Street Deli Half Sour Fresh Deli Pickles

Having grown up in a Jewish household that frequented delicatessens on the regular, we feel as though a half-sour pickle is our birthright. Because of this, we have strong opinions on the matter. Before delving into our review of the Park Street Deli Half Sour Fresh Deli Pickles, let's do a bit of a pickle review. Sour pickles undergo a lacto-fermentation process versus being brined in a vinegar solution. 

As a result, sour pickles contain those healthy probiotics we all seek to incorporate into our diets. A half-sour has undergone a shorter fermentation period in the water, salt, and spice bath, generally making them less acrid and giving them a crisper, fresh-tasting flavor and texture. This texture makes them a fabulous accompaniment to grilled or smoked meats at a summer barbecue.

Generally speaking, finding a true half-sour pickle outside of a deli is a challenge. And if you do find some, these tend to be imposters, namely sour pickles pretending to be half sour. Much to our giddy delight, these half-sours were the real deal. 

They were delicately salted with aromatic garlic and mustard seed flavors shining through with every snappy bite. For those unaccustomed to this type of pickle, you may be caught off guard. For the initiated, these are a spectacular find. We won't go back to any other kind of pickle again. Our final grade was a resounding A+.

3. Specially Selected Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon

Yet another staple of the Jewish diet happens to be lox served alongside a good quality bagel. No combination screams home more than a schmear of cream cheese on an everything bagel piled high with luscious smoked salmon. It is the perfect Sunday brunch meal and something super easy to pull together when you want to entertain on a busy summer weekend. For this reason, we were eager to try out the premium Aldi brand Specially Selected Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon.

This salmon is cold smoked with beech or hardwood, Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certified, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Certified, and has garnered a Gold Seal Award. Frankly, all that is fine, but the proof is in the taste and texture. Many types of cold smoked salmon tend to be chewy and stringy, making them unappealing. 

This salmon melted in your mouth like butter and had a mild flavor that wasn't aggressively fishy. And there was no stringiness or chewiness to be found. To say we were thrilled with this product would be putting it mildly. We will be re-purchasing this salmon. Another solid A+ grade in the Jewish delicacy department. Well done, Aldi.

2. Simply Nature Keto Coconut Clusters in Dark Chocolate

Aldi Simply Nature Keto Coconut Clusters come in two flavors, Original and Dark Chocolate. We picked up the Dark Chocolate flavor on a whim, thinking they'd be a nice gluten-free and low-carb snack or after-dinner treat after indulging in a few alcoholic beverages and some hefty barbecue on a sweltering summer night. 

Purely based on ingredients, you probably wouldn't expect much. With organic coconut, 82% dark chocolate, tapioca syrup, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, inulin, sea salt, natural flavors, and erythritol, these sound more like glorified bird food rather than something you'd feed a human.

We were so wrong. Frankly, it was love at first sniff. And by the time we popped a cluster into our mouths, we were addicted. These have a satisfying crunch and are sweet but not overly so, preferable for people like us who lean toward savory flavors. Additionally, the chocolate is bitter but not overpowering. 

If we had no self-restraint, we'd eat the whole bag in one sitting. Perhaps our only complaint was that the clusters sometimes fell apart into smaller chunks, which can appear more like breakfast cereal than what appeared on the front of the bag.

If you like Almond Joy or Mounds, prefer dark chocolate, and find that chewing on something increases your satiety, these are for you. We gave these an A+.

1. Fremont Fish Market Wild Caught Chipotle Alaska Salmon Burgers

And the winner of the top summer find we obtained at Aldi was the Fremont Fish Market Wild Caught Chipotle Alaska Salmon Burgers. These frozen salmon patties come in an 11.2-ounce container with four individual burgers. While they come in two flavors, Teriyaki and Chipotle, we opted for the latter. Based on our satisfaction, we imagine the Teriyaki is equally as flavorful.

Each 2.8-ounce patty has 140 calories, 15 grams of protein, is low in carbs, and relatively low in saturated fat. They are made with wild-caught pink or keta salmon that is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified. Our only disappointment was that they were not soy or gluten-free due to including soy sauce as one of the ingredients.

Though you can grill, bake, or pan-sear these patties straight from the freezer, we prepared this stovetop in olive oil. They took roughly four minutes per side to cook through, developing a nice brown exterior crust. The aroma was slightly fishy but not overly so, the texture was tender and juicy, and the flavor was delicately salmon-forward with a hint of sweetness and just a tiny spiciness from the chipotle. 

The burgers were so moist we didn't need a sauce. For argument's sake, we tried these topped with the Specially Selected Mild Avocado Tomatillo Salsa, which was out of this world. For a convenient, quick, healthy dinner, these earned well above an A+.