My Trader Joe’s Shopping list

Recently, a friend posted on Facebook that she was going to Trader Joe’s for the first time in a long time, and did anyone have items they LOVED she should add to the list?

After commenting using a quick cut and paste of my Trader Joe’s shopping list I keep in Evernote, it hit me: I need to share this list with you guys since we talk about food occasionally here on the Piano Pantry blog!

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In this post, I’ll give you a brief explanation of why Trader Joe’s is popular, share a couple of sources where I frequently get ideas for fun things to try from there, and finally, my own shopping list!


What’s So Special About Trader Joe’s?

This niche grocery store is especially known for its unique food items, quirky culture, cozy size, and special experience. There’s something about shopping there that just feels good.

For me, the unique food items are the biggest reason I shop there; that feature is best displayed in their freezer section. Never have I been one for buying pre-made meals of any kind in a regular grocery store because they’re never that good (or that healthy, for that matter).

Trader Joe’s does it differently, though.

When I go there, I take my time and slowly peruse the freezer section, taking in each item. Being that all of their product brandings are completely different than the mainstream brands you are used to seeing in most grocery stores, it can feel a little strange (and perhaps overwhelming) at first looking at a whole new line of products.


Everyone Loves Sharing Trader Joe’s Favorites

The list I’m sharing with you today is items that I love. They may not make it into my cart every time I go, but I consider them winning products – many of which I like to keep in stock at home.

Besides my repeat list, I also try to buy half-a-dozen new items each time. Sharing favorite items at Trader Joe’s happens a lot on the internet.

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A couple of places I frequently get ideas from are The Kitchn website (and yes, it’s spelled “Kitchn”) and the Trader Joe’s Podcast.


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My Trader Joe’s Shopping List

Keep in mind I’ve only been lucky to have a Trader Joe’s nearby (well, 35 minutes away) for the past year. Before that, I only got to go a couple of times a year when I was in Indianapolis (90 minutes away) – usually for my state music teacher’s board meeting! Ha!

My list would likely be longer if I could be a more regular customer, but this is what I have thus far.


  • Classic Creamy Hummus (light blue lid) 
    • I find the large container of Trader Joe’s hummus to be too garlicky
  • Chorizo
  • Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls
  • Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains


  • Authentic Greek Feta Cheese in Brine
  • Ovoline Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella
  • Unexpected Cheddar (#1 favorite!)
  • Gruyere
  • Asiago
  • Goats cheese
  • Light String Cheese


  • Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherries
  • Dried Apricots
  • Chocolate Coconut Almonds
  • Black Mission figs
  • Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Plantain Chips and Crispy Plantain Slices
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • Milk/Dark Chocolate Almonds
  • Triple Ginger Snaps
  • Fig Bites (like Fig Newtons, but even better!)
  • Soup & Oyster Crackers


  • Frozen Mango
  • Frozen Organic Blueberries
  • Cauliflower Gnocchi & Gorgonzola Gnocchi
  • Roasted Corn
  • Petite Peas 
  • Gyoza Pork Potstickers
  • Mandarin Orange Chicken
  • Vegetable & Chicken Fried Rice
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls


  • Mini Cheesecake Cones
  • Macaroons 
  • Brownie Coffee Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Croissant (Plain – I actually don’t care for the chocolate ones and have yet to try the almond ones.)


It’s Not All Good/Perfect

In reality, while there are a million reasons (and items) to love from Trader Joe’s, but like any product or grocery – it’s not all perfect. 

Besides keeping a list of items I love, I also track items I tried but wouldn’t necessarily buy again. Rarely is it because the product is bad – it’s more that I didn’t especially love it.

I don’t know that it’s useful to share my “don’t-buy-again ” list – I just want to encourage you to keep one yourself – especially if you aren’t able to go there frequently as it can be easy to forget from trip to trip, which items you liked and didn’t like!


Your Turn!

Now, tell ME: What are some of YOUR must-buy items from Trader Joe’s?

Pretty please?

Share in the comments!



  • Just went to Trader Joe’s last week for the first time in Fort Wayne. I agree with you about the Mandarin Orange Chicken. Easy & yummy!

  • Ah, but have you had the scones? The lemon scones are 6 to a bag and the larger vanilla ones are 4. They are to die for.

    I also love the fig butter. Combined with a finely-diced sautéed shallot, a bit of melted butter and some balsamic vinegar, it makes a delicious sauce for pork tenderloin which is a actually a quick dinner.

  • I have several I-only-buy-at-TJ’s items, but several of them are personal care items, not groceries: laundry detergent, shampoo, face soap, etc. For groceries, my favorites include peanut butter and marinara sauce. As a big family, we can’t do most of the freezer meals because they really only serve 2-3 people. (That said, I do love that orange chicken!)

    • Yes, my husband recently discovered he loves the Honey Oatmeal bar soap! I haven’t used too many other household products other than some of the bar soaps and dish soap. That makes sense about the freezer meals being harder to take advantage of by the whole family.

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