25 Best And Worst Snacks At Trader Joe's

25 Best and Worst Snacks at Trader Joe's

Shopping at Trader Joe's is unlike any other grocery store experience. With so many private-label products that are made exclusively for Trader Joe's and sold nowhere else, it can be a little daunting to try and figure out what's worth your money and what isn't. That's why we've partnered with the folks behind the popular blog What's Good at Trader Joe's? to bring you the low-down.

#1: Best Summer Snacks

It's summertime — better hit up the snack aisle to spend it in style. Whether you're at the beach, the mountains, or the backyard, TJ's is bound to have some perfect snackage ready to go.

Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Gelato — 9.5/10
The Lemon Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream will always hold a special place in our hearts, but sadly, it's no longer with us. The Salted Caramel Gelato is, though, and man... smooth, creamy, and cold, with a perfect balance. Perfect for a hot, sticky night.

Summer Snacks: Trader Joe's Key Lime Pie — 9/10

In a pinch for a dessert to take to a cookout? We dare you to try to pass this Key lime pie off as your own. Bright and citrusy with an unexpected touch of a delicious gingery crust, this pie is worth every bite. 

Summer Snacks: Trader Joe's Organic Strawberry Lemonade — 8/10

Sometimes, the best summer treat is a tall, cold glass of iced refreshment. Trader Joe's offers several different terrific fruity lemonades, but take it from us, the Organic Strawberry is the best. Perfect for after mowing the lawn, we wish this would fill the pools at the local water park. Just hope the kids won't pee in it.

Summer Snacks: Trader Joe's Zucchini Fries — 7.5/10

This frozen variety isn't quite as good as homemade fries right from the backyard garden, but the taste is just good enough to conjure some fond memories of doing just that growing up. There's a good mix of crispy and squishy, but an accompanying dipping sauce would have put these over the top. 

Summer Snacks: Trader Joe's Fruit Frenzy Bars II — 7/10

Some summer nights ain't right without a frozen treat on a stick. Featuring an unusual (but tasty!) mix of grape, tangerine, and blood orange, these bars are one summer sequel you don't need to experience the original to appreciate. 

#2: Best Party Snacks

Lame snacks = lame party. Don't commit a party foul: Just make a TJ's stop for one of these and you'll be the MVP.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bites — 9.5/10
You can't talk TJ's snacks without talking at least one cookie butter product. Really, speculoos could've had its own category, but we chose the cheesecake bites because they're super shareable (well, in theory, at least) and would be the star of an informal get-together. Pick up a couple boxes to make a splash.

Party Snacks: Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips and Trader José's Chunky Spicy Guacamole Autèntico — 9/10

Chips and dip — always good in theory, but sometimes the pairings have a "meh" outcome. Not here. More sweet potato-ey than tortilla-ish, the chips make a decidedly different pick-up, while the guacamole knocks flavor out of the park, with the added bonus of big chunks of avocado.

Party Snacks: Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad — 9/10

Make your dull crackers all fancy with a dollop of this chicken salad — it contains lots of white meat, with pecans, cranberries, and celery. Delicious snacking is well within your "pinkie-optional" grasp.  

Party Snacks: Trader Joe's Barbeque Popped Potato Chips — 9/10

Take a good, tangy barbeque chip but add a unique twist, and here you go. Neither baked nor fried, these chips were popped under pressure, adding a fun crunch that's different from the same old, same old.

Party Snacks: Trader Joe's Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip — 7/10

Okay, truth be told, the Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip doesn't belong on this list, but my wife insisted I put it on here. More ranch than anything else, I'll admit it makes for decent enough dip for chips or veggies, but could use a little more bacon. If you love ranch, though, don't pass it up. 

#3: Best Non-Traditional Salsas and Dips

Don't settle for a jar of the same old — go for the gusto! Your chips and taste buds will thank you.

Trader Joe's Tropical Mango Pineapple Salsa — 9/10
Fruit salsas can be too much fruit without enough heat. Not here. Though plenty sweet (especially with an agave base), there's plenty enough bite and heat from the jalapeños, onions, and cilantro to make this one awesome, versatile salsa. 

Non-Traditional Salsas and Dips: Cowboy Caviar — 8.5/10

Saddle up, partner. Adobo base, with peppers, black beans, and corn, with nary a tomato in sight. Chunky and rugged, this makes a worthy bite after a day of cattle steering. Or so we hear. Clint Eastwood approves. 

Non-Traditional Salsas and Dips: Avocado Salsa — 8/10

Thinner and smoother than normal guacamole, this avocado salsa has classic, time-tested flavor that harkens to the taquerías on Olvera Street in LA. Never been? A jar of this gets you halfway there. 

Non-Traditional Salsas and Dips: Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa — 8/10

Mild and fruity, this salsa had the chance to be disappointing, like a lot of fruit salsas... but no. TJ's executes the flavor and balance just well enough to make us fans. 

Non-Traditional Salsas and Dips: Trader Joe's Spicy, Smoky, Peach Salsa — 7.5/10

Super chunky, super peachy... while not overly spicy or smoky. Still, it's another primarily fruit salsa worth the pick-up even if they're not your usual kinda thing. 

#4: Best Oddball

We can't talk TJ's without highlighting some of their unique offerings that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Some are hits, others are slight misses, but as always, they're intriguing to try.

Trader Joe's Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky — 9.5/10
Sriracha. Bacon. Jerky. Try to say that without drooling. Although not like most jerkies (think stick bacon strips instead of the usual stringy chunks), if bacon or sriracha is even remotely something you're interested in, this is a must-try.

Oddball: Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn — 9/10

"Why haven't we bought that again yet!?!?!" my wife just exclaimed. Excellent question. Not quite fluffy popcorn, and not quite the "widows," a bag of these palatable popcorn pieces makes for some fine snackage. 

Oddball: Trader Joe's Fireworks Chocolate Bar — 8.5/10

Chocolate with some sort of chili powder? Been there, done that. But adding Pop Rocks? Genius! This is one of the funnest things we've ever eaten.

Oddball: Trader Joe's Rosemary & Thyme Maple Toffee Sunflower Seeds — 7/10

Can't find these at the Scarborough fair. A bit bizarre, and certainly not a pairing we expect to see too often if ever again, but the herbs and sugary sweetness on crunchy roasted sunflower seeds actually works, if you're willing to give it a try.

Oddball: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter & Jelly with Nonfat Greek Yogurt — 6/10

Yeah... this was a little bit of a misfire, but not many companies are willing to roll the dice on a product like this. Certainly a "love or hate" snack cup, we try to placate the masses by being in the middle here. 

#5: Worst Overall

Yeah, even Trader Joe's makes some mistakes. Though few and far between, you'd do well to avoid these pitfalls.

Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat — 2/10
Ugh. Neither "fruit" nor a "treat" at all. OK, technically, there are dried mangoes, blueberries, and cranberries, but any natural goodness is blasted out by added oils and sugars, making these tidbits a waxy shadow of the real thing. 

Worst: Trader Joe's Chicken Parmesan Lollipops — 2/10

Could've been a fancy hors d'oeuvre if they remembered to put in the chicken. These breading, cheese, and sauce lumps on a stick were epically disappointing and not worth the five-dollar price tag. Save the dinero for another round of cookie butter cheesecake bites.

Worst: Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger — 2/10

Napalm in a bag. We probably erred by trying to eat them straight, but still. Even if you like ginger, or even if you really, really, really love it, you're not going to like the way these suckers burn.

Worst: Trader Joe's Pad See Ew — 3.5/10

Emphasis on the "ew". Bland and uninspired, unlike most other TJ's Asian dishes. Avoid for any buffet you're planning.

Worst: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Greek Yogurt — 4/10

You know how it is every fall: pumpkin this, pumpkin that, pumpkinpumpkinpumpkin. Somebody tried to be cutesy and blend it with Greek yogurt — ugh. Unless sour-tinged nutmeg is your thing, avoid.