16 Items That Deserve To Be In The Trader Joe's Hall Of Fame

Talk to a Trader Joe's devotee, and they'll tell you that TJ's is much more than a grocery store. It's a supermarket, sure, but it's also an experience. For the superfans, a way of life. Trader Joe's founder, Joe Coulombe, created the grocery store chain in 1967 with aspirations of bringing unusual foods from around the world to American consumers at a reasonable price. The store has flourished since its inception, and today, there are 560 Trader Joe's locations in the United States (via ScrapeHero). It's not uncommon to hear about people driving several hours to stock up on their favorite TJ's products (stores tend to be located in highly populated areas, leaving rural dwellers in the dust), and when certain items get discontinued, all hell can break loose.

The store and its products have such a devoted following that in 2009, the Trader Joe's Customer Choice Awards were unveiled in an effort to honor customers' favorite items each year. However, over the last 14 years, certain honorees repeatedly cropped up on the list, so in 2023, the Trader Joe's Product Hall of Fame was introduced to celebrate those time-tested favorites. The inaugural group included cult favorites like mandarin orange chicken, soy chorizo, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Obviously, there's a limit to the spots available on this coveted list, and many favorites didn't make the cut ... We can all agree there are more items that deserve a place in the Trader Joe's Product Hall of Fame.

Shawarma chicken thighs

Chicken shawarma originated in the Middle East, but today, you can find shawarma all around the world at specialty markets, festivals, and Greek restaurants. While shawarma is typically prepared on a vertical rotisserie (and make no mistake: The rotisserie element is crucial for texture in truly authentic shawarma), luckily, the flavors of shawarma can be achieved without investing thousands of dollars in a traditional rotisserie.

In fact, TJ's sells pre-marinated shawarma chicken thighs right in the refrigerated section. Preparing them is as easy as removing the chicken thighs from the packaging and roasting them in the oven, cooking them on the stove, or slapping them on the grill. When you're craving a meal that tastes like it took hours to prepare but, in reality, goes from fridge to plate in about 20 minutes, these bad boys are a great bet. With warm, buttery spices like garlic, paprika, and turmeric, Trader Joe's shawarma chicken thighs pair wonderfully with naan, tzatziki, tahini, and other Mediterranean-style food items.

This Strawberry Walks Into a Bar

The product folks at TJ's adore quirky wordplay when it comes to naming foods, and the This Fruit Walks Into A Bar line of cereal bars have proven to be a continual delight. Trader Joe's is constantly innovating when it comes to cereal bars, and there's something about the combination of jammy strawberry and organic grains in This Strawberry Walks Into a Bar that holds a special place in shoppers' hearts.

The low-fat bars are made without hydrogenated oils and pack a fair amount of B vitamins into an easily portable package. A Daily Meal taste test of This Strawberry Walks Into a Bar claims that the bars are likely intended to be a dupe for Kellogg's popular Nutri-Grain bars. It points out that "the Kellogg's brand contains ingredients like niacinamide, potassium bicarbonate, and dicalcium phosphate, whereas the Trader Joe's ingredient list is made up entirely of easy-to-pronounce words like organic wheat bran, baking soda, and invert cane juice." At heart, while there are far more nutritious breakfast and snack choices available at Trader Joe's, one could do far worse than wolfing down a This Strawberry Walks Into a Bar in a pinch.

Pecan praline granola

Unlike some of its other products, Trader Joe's has a sizable collection of specialty granolas to choose from — but the 16-ounce bag of pecan praline granola is a longtime fave. Intended to mimic the taste of a praline, this granola elevates the sugary confection with whole-grain oats, pecans, and maple syrup without being overly sweet.

Although this granola, like many others, is fairly high in fat (11% daily value for the suggested serving size of ½ cup), it's low in sodium and packs 5.2 grams of fiber and 2.2 milligrams of iron per serving (via Nutritionix). Pecan praline granola is habit-forming, and although it's very tasty eaten on its own with a spoon (or straight out of the bag), it can also be consumed with milk like a bowl of cereal, sprinkled on top of a cup of yogurt, or mixed in with a salad.

Jingle Jangle

TJ's is perhaps best loved for its seasonal items, and talking about the best holiday products at Trader Joe's without mentioning Jingle Jangle is blasphemy. The dessert snack mix features milk and dark chocolate-covered pretzels, caramel popcorn, Joe-Joe's, and miniature peanut butter cups: an amalgam of sweet, salty, and buttery flavors that keeps customers coming back for more. It's so popular that some stores have imposed limits on the quantity shoppers are permitted to buy at one time to keep hoarders from clearing the shelves.

The 22.7-ounce tin typically sells for $9.99 (price subject to change) and has become such a cult favorite that Trader Joe's has come out with two more Jingle Jangle-inspired products in recent years. In the springtime, Springle Jangle (a mix featuring lighter snacks like yogurt-covered pretzels and butter toffees) lines the shaves; and this past holiday season, TJ's unveiled Jingle Jangle pretzel twists (giant, chocolate-covered pretzels drizzled with peanut butter and encrusted with chocolate gems and crushed cookies).

Chips in a Pickle

Trader Joe's has been having a field day with dill pickle-flavored items lately: Products like dill pickle mustard, the dill-icious chopped salad kit, and even a dill pickle-inspired seasoning dubbed Seasoning in a Pickle are flying off the shelves. The concept of taking a flavor and developing an entire line of food products around it is just one of the things that set TJ's apart from its competitors, and this line of dill pickle items might be the most expansive yet.

Dill pickle chips are hardly a new invention, but the grocer's chip game is pretty next-level, and when a new chip is introduced, TJ's does it right. Enter Chips in a Pickle. Per the Trader Joe's website, the chips are made with Russet potatoes from Canada, and they're created by cooking small batches of potatoes kettle-style for maximum crunch. Though many of the store's dill pickle items are seasonal, these tangy, crunchy chips are available year-round for pickle lovers to enjoy.

Honey mango shave cream

Though Trader Joe's is first and foremost a grocery store, a sizable collection of non-food items is available. The beauty and personal care section features quality products at TJ's signature affordable low prices, and if ever a non-food item deserves a rank in the Product Hall of Fame, it's this honey mango shave cream. The shave cream is a true cream, so it doesn't foam up when applied to the skin; rather, it provides a soft, smooth, almost butter-like texture to the skin when slathered on.

The Trader Joe's website states that the honey mango shave cream was created with sensitive skin in mind; hence, aloe and vitamin E are included in the formula (it's also paraben-free and 100% vegetarian). The sweet, tropical honey and mango scent is discernible but not overpowering, and the product has amassed a loyal band of followers. At only $4.49 for an 8-ounce bottle (per TJ's website), this non-grocery product is well worth a try.

White cheddar corn puffs

Snack foods are a huge part of the appeal when it comes to shopping at Trader Joe's. Because many of the store's snacks are seasonal, it's not uncommon to develop an attachment to a non-permanent item like pumpkin spice almond milk or the seasonal kringles, only to return to your store to find it sold out for the season. Thankfully, there are still plenty of year-round snack offerings at the grocery chain, and the "world's puffiest" white cheddar corn puffs are a classic.

These airy, puffy, Cheeto-like morsels are made from cornmeal and doused in powdered cheddar cheese (via Trader Joe's). Cheese lovers beware: It wouldn't be difficult to eat the entire 7-ounce bag in one sitting, and at $2.49 for a package, it won't break the bank to restock once a week or more.

Chocolate Chip Hold the Cone

Trader Joe's Hold the Cone mini ice cream cones come in flavors ranging from chocolate to pumpkin, ginger to peppermint — some varieties are cycled out seasonally while others have earned a more permanent place in the freezer. Each Hold the Cone version has something special about it, but the chocolate chip flavor might take the cake — or in this case, the cone.

Unlike other Hold the Cone flavors, which usually come with a simple sugar cone, the chocolate chip Hold the Cone treat features chocolate cones lined with even more cocoa on the inside. Think that's enough chocolate? Nope. The silky-smooth scoop of vanilla ice cream topping the cone is dotted with semi-sweet chips, and the entire confection is covered in a decadent shell to sweeten the deal. These mini desserts are the perfect bite-sized treat for a hot summer day. The recommended serving size is a whopping three cones (bear in mind that they're miniature), and while there are virtually no health benefits, one serving will only set you back 280 calories.

Cold brew coffee and cream liqueur

Coffee and cocktail aficionados rejoice: Trader Joe's has a cold brew coffee and cream liqueur that makes for a smooth transition from workday to happy hour. Like similar coffee-based liqueurs, it comes with a fairly boozy punch — for reference, Kahlua's coffee liqueur is 16% alcohol by volume, while Trader Joe's cold brew coffee and cream liqueur rings in at 17%. There's also the caffeine factor: the premixed bottle is made with real coffee, and those who are caffeine-sensitive might want to steer clear in the hours before bedtime.

The drink is a creamy, coffee-esque concoction that tastes great over ice, added to a cocktail, or poured into a cup of coffee. This coffee and cream liqueur strikes a great balance between the classic taste of coffee and the mediating element of cream and makes a fun addition to a Sunday brunch table or a holiday cocktail party.

Everything But the Bagel seasoning

TJ's seasonings might deserve a fan club of their own. The supermarket chain's product innovation team knows no bounds regarding seasonings. While innovative dried blends, like a multipurpose umami seasoning and the infamous Everything but the Leftovers (a Thanksgiving-inspired medley of herbs and spices) mix, are constantly being churned out, one seasoning has stood the test of time: Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning.

As the name might suggest, this savory mix of sesame seeds, sea salt, dried garlic, dried onion, black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds was inspired by everything bagels, whose tops are sprinkled with similar ingredients. Health nuts love it because of its simple, accessible ingredient list, and it can be used to jazz up just about any food one can imagine. Try sprinkling Everything but the Bagel seasoning on air fryer Brussels sprouts, using it to crust a chicken, or mixing it into guacamole. Plus, TJ's seasonings are notoriously affordable, and at $1.99 for a standard 2.3-ounce bottle, it's a tasty and effective way to brighten up a snack or meal without breaking the bank.

Hatch chile mac & cheese

Trader Joe's is a mecca for frozen, ready-to-eat foods. Whether you're looking for a full-blown meal, a side, a dessert, or some frozen fruit for your morning smoothie, you're sure to find what you need (and probably more than that) in the frozen aisle at your local TJ's. Though many frozen items could present a strong case for earning a spot in the Product Hall of Fame, the hatch chile mac & cheese is truly one of a kind.

For starters, the hatch chiles used in this rich mac and cheese dish are legit. Trader Joe's reports that they're grown right in Hatch Valley, New Mexico, which bills itself as the hatch chile capital of the world (via New Mexico True). Combine these sweet and spicy chiles with another all-American classic — mac and cheese — and it's tough to go wrong. The hatch chiles used in the dish aren't overly spicy, but their flavor is distinct on the plate and adds an exciting, unusual kick to the finished product.

Cauliflower gnocchi

The past few years have seen humankind truly pushing the limits of cauliflower, and TJ's cashed in on the phenomenon. There are plenty of great reasons to consider substituting cauliflower for other products: It's high in fiber, a good source of antioxidants, and low in carbohydrates (via Healthline). Take a stroll through Trader Joe's (or any other grocer, for that matter), and you'll see a myriad of cauliflower products lining the shelves — everything from cauliflower rice to pizza crust is there and ready to eat.

Regarding cauliflower products at TJ's, few items have garnered as much praise as the cauliflower gnocchi. Traditional gnocchi recipes contain a simple mix of semolina flour, eggs, and mashed potatoes. Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi follows a fairly similar recipe: The only ingredients are cauliflower (which the manufacturer claims makes up roughly 75% of the pasta), cassava flour, potato starch, EVOO, and sea salt. A big part of the appeal here is that this gnocchi is gluten-free, vegan, and contains fewer carbs, fat, and calories than the traditional version. On top of that, there are abundant ways to prepare Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi.

Speculoos cookie butter

Almond butter has been in the limelight for some time (and TJ's has a couple of great nut butter varieties on its shelves), but when it comes to pure, delectable dessert spreads, Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter is a massive fan favorite. It starts with actual speculoos, a Belgian cookie that Culture Trip claims can be traced back to the 17th century. Flavored with warm baking spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, TJ's Speculoos cookie butter is concocted with speculoos along with some additional sugar and oils.

Speculoos cookie butter is sold in the same section as the nut butter spreads at Trader Joe's, like almond butter, sun butter, and cashew butter, but it is, in fact, nut-free. Unsurprisingly given that cookies are a main ingredient, it's also a heck of a lot sweeter than nut butter, and a little goes a long way: For those in a constant battle against their sweet teeth, Speculoos cookie butter is probably best reserved for an after-dinner treat or eaten in small amounts with veggies like baby carrots or celery. 

Truffle aioli

Trader Joe's loves to take a flavor and create an entire line of products around it. As with the dill pickle collection, TJ's shoppers can find many truffle-infused products permeating the shelves during the summer months — truffle hot sauce, cheese, truffle crunchies, and truffle cream-filled gnocchi, oh my! Truffles have an extremely delicate flavor and can become overpowering if not incorporated correctly. Some of TJ's truffle products boast more of a truffle presence than others, but its truffle aioli perfectly balances the umami element of truffles with the tangy relish of an aioli.

A common misconception about aioli is that it's simply mayonnaise and seasonings; however, there are some key differences between aioli and mayonnaise — one of the most important being that aioli does not need to include eggs. This is the case with TJ's truffle aioli: It's a vegan sauce (no egg involved), and its primary ingredients are sunflower seed oil, water, and garlic. Truffle aioli makes a great spread for a burger (veggie or otherwise), is a delicious accompaniment for crudites, and can even be used as a marinade.

Honey Moon 2019 Viognier

Not all Trader Joe's stores sell booze. Some states don't allow alcohol of any kind to be sold in grocery stores — and the laws for what kind of alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, etc.) can be sold in supermarkets vary from state to state. But, per RV & Playa, Trader Joe's does sell alcohol in every state that allows it. In these locations, those in the know flock to the liquor sections to stock up on specialty wines, beers, and liquors that are often exclusive to Trader Joe's.

One such bottle is Trader Joe's Honey Moon 2019 Viognier. Viognier isn't a very common white wine varietal, but with the Honey Moon 2019 Viognier ringing in at just $5.99, it shouldn't be overlooked. Currently holding a 3.7/5 star ranking on Vivino, reviewers describe it as dry and fruit and citrus-forward. It might not knock the socks off your sommelier friends, but for the price, it's a worthy pick for a luncheon or even as a base for a floral white sangria.

Thai lime and chili cashews

If you're looking for specialty nuts to snack on, elevate a salad, or round out a charcuterie board, there are a few better places to look than Trader Joe's. The grocery store has an impressive troupe of flavored nuts and seeds, some of which are seasonal and others with a year-round spot on the shelves. One of the fan-favorite permanent varieties is the exotic Thai lime and chili cashews.

TJ's doesn't skimp on authenticity here: The cashews are actually produced in Thailand. According to the Trader Joe's website, the supplier for the Thai lime and chili cashews "seasons whole, crunchy cashews with a mix of chili powder, dried Thai lime leaves, and salt, to create a flavor sensation that starts with a serious kick of spice, and only builds in heat the more you eat." Loaded with flavor, these cashews are a must-try the next time you find yourself meandering the aisles of Trader Joe's.