Every Saint Patrick's Day Find At Aldi, Ranked

Saint Patrick's Day festivity has landed, and no grocery store goes all-out with their holiday themes like Aldi. From Valentine's Day to Halloween, you can find specialty food products in all the relevant colors, flavors, and cultures of the occasion. In this case, we got lots of green, hearty Irish fare.

Between Pub-Style Battered Shrimp Bites and Shamrockin' Mint Swirl Ice Cream, we found lots of pots of gold at the end of this rainbow. And lots of cheese. Maybe the best part of this project was discovering, yet again, that Aldi really is such a great resource for budget-friendly buys. But some products were better than others, so read this roundup before you go out and buy your whole Saint Patrick's Day spread at Aldi. We found everything edible we could get our hands on, taste-tested it, and ranked each product from worst (which was still pretty good) to best (which was hard to single out). Luckily, we didn't feel green after all this food, but we come on — we are professionals.

14. Two-Bite Saint Patrick's Day Mini Cupcakes

Sometimes you run out of time and need a holiday-ready dessert to serve up at a get-together. That's when you would have loved to bake your own secret-recipe cupcakes with plenty of love mixed in and plenty of fresh buttery buttercream piped in Instagram-worthy rosettes on top. But alas, the time has evaporated, and the party is an hour away. That's when you have to run over to Aldi and hope for the best from some premade baked goods. Cupcakes are particularly divisive because they can be dry as cotton balls when badly baked. That's what we nervously anticipated when peeling back the wrapper on these 2-Bite Saint Patrick's Day Mini Cupcakes.

The review: They are slightly dry, far too sweet, and exactly what you would expect from grocery-store cupcakes. The vanilla cupcakes have a swipe of green-colored frosting, while the chocolate cupcakes have a swipe of white. Though the cake bases come in two flavors, in both cases, the frosting is the same basic vanilla buttercream: Only the color tint changes. We wish that there was some variation in the frosting, maybe chocolate on the chocolate cupcakes, though we know that would make it harder to color. Oh, how about cream cheese frosting? Or, in keeping with what seems to be Aldi's favorite Saint Patty's Day flavor profile, how about an Irish Creme icing? They're cute, but they're not Aldi's best special-edition item.

13. Park Street Deli Shepherds Pie

This was one of the heftiest Saint Patrick's Day items we found at Aldi, both in terms of ingredients and price tag. At 6.99, the Park Street Deli Shepherds Pie is still relatively inexpensive for what can be a complete, one-and-done, utterly Irish dinner for two. Shepherd's Pie consists of spiced ground meat and vegetable filling covered in a thick mashed potato cap.

This Aldi version gets points for piped presentation and the way those little star tips gave the potatoes a bit of crispiness and texture once we baked them up. Underneath, the potatoes were somewhat bland as opposed to velvety and buttery: The meat mixture, though flavorful, needed more vegetables. We still prefer our simple and foolproof homemade version, though. So we suppose that if you're looking to really just kick back and relax this Saint Patty's Day without boiling a potato, but you crave some hearty Irish fare, this frozen dinner has its purpose.

12. Clancy's Lucky Crunch Snack Mix

We've got all the good stuff in here. There are white candy-coated pretzels because nobody's messing around with yogurt or faint claims at 'health' with this mix unless you're counting joy as health, which we always do. The bulk of the mix is green-icing-striped caramel popcorn. Pun intended because the popcorn is light and crisp, not at all bulky. Last but not least, there are literal green candy-smothered cookies to round out the "luckiness." We recommend popping it open on the car ride back home to reward yourself for a successful Aldi grocery store haul. The obvious caveat here is that this is by no means a trail mix. There are zero nuts, zero fruits, and 1 gram of protein per serving. It's just for fun, but honestly, you can make it yourself by throwing some sugary pretzels, popcorn, and cookies together. Meanwhile, if you're looking for the best trail mixes for when this Saint Patrick's Day-themed product leaves the shelves, you will want to read our roundup of the best packaged trail mixes, ranked, of course.

11. Sundae Shop Mint Swirl Lepre-Cones

Did mint become the unofficial dessert flavor of Saint Patrick's day for any particular reason, or just because it's usually colored green? Whatever the reason, you're sure to find lots of minty food products on shelves once March rolls around. Aldi gave us a refreshing pint of ice cream which you shall encounter shortly, but also these Sundae Shop Mint Swirl Lepre-Cones just for fun. They are super small handheld treats that, in our humble opinion, are simply delightful. Crisp mini wafer cones lined in chocolate fudge hold swirls of mint and chocolate ice cream, and as if that wasn't enough, get showered in cookie crumbles. 

They sure managed to pack a lot into such a little vehicle, but despite the business, it tastes rather tame. Both the mint and chocolate ice creams are very, very mild, and the cone doesn't have any flavor on its own. The best part is the gimmick and the variety of textures you get in each bite. If they bring you joy, we recommend them, but if you want rich flavors, this is child's play.

10. Sundae Shop Shamrockin' Swirl Ice Cream

Saint Patrick's Day gives us a great excuse to buy mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of our usual flavors. Aldi's Sundae Shoppe Shamrock Swirl Ice Cream is mint chip, but the chips are a pale yellow for some reason. Though we hoped that meant that they were white chocolate, the container says they're "fudge." When tasting the ice cream, we tried to isolate the chips and found them essentially flavorless. This is a problem because our biggest issue with mint chip ice cream is the frozen, rock-hard texture of chocolate chips, interrupting the creaminess. So, we removed points. But we had to add points for the chocolate cookie crumb swirl, which actually added a pleasant texture. Why throw in a chocolate swirl but take the chocolate out of the chips? This one's a head-scratcher, Aldi. But the bites without fudge chips were pretty good, thanks to a nice mint flavor and the complementary swirl. Not the best mint we've tried by a long shot, but not the worst, either.

9. Emporium Selection Irish Porter Cheddar Cheese with Porter Ale

Aldi really went all-out for us in the cheese section this holiday! Well, it's just our luck because we are a team of cheese lovers. The same cannot be said for Irish Porter, however, because we admit to never having tried it before. Many of us don't like beer or beer-like alcohols — Porter, Stout, or otherwise — but we loved this cheese. It's sharp and slightly crumbly when cutting into it but melts in our mouths with surprising creaminess. This twofold tasting experience makes for a nuanced, complex cheese.

The "beer" flavor also adds to this nuance. We didn't taste beer in particular, just an extra nutty, slightly caramelized, and toasted profile that only accentuates cheddar's natural taste. We also found it a lively, jaunty cheese that can stand on its own feet without any supporting crackers or meats. But if you want to pair it up, don't forget to buy some Aldi corned beef to roast: The leftover beef plus a generous layer of this rich cheese would make a mean sandwich. Our one gripe was that the cheddar didn't taste the highest quality, so the Porter was doing most of the heavy lifting here.

8. Emporium Selection Irish Cheddar with Irish Beer

Irish beer is probably the most revered Saint Patrick's Day food or beverage, and sipping some on the holiday is widely accepted as normal behavior. But eating it in cheese? Maybe not as much. At first, we were leery of the Emporium Selection Irish Cheddar with Irish Beer. It seemed to be part of the cohort of wacky cheese flavors popping up all over to lure consumers into buying just one more wedge (when they really just came for a hunk of parm, dang it! Guilty as charged). But then a taster remembered the prevalence of Beer Cheese Dip, especially in the Midwest, and this Aldi product made much more sense. It's a smooth, light, and very mild cheddar taking a backseat to the nutty, malty flavor of robust Irish beer.

Some of us on the team aren't big beer drinkers but admitted it didn't matter one bit in order to enjoy this cheese. Other more hops-happy team members found it funky and fun and actually had hoped for a more pronounced beer flavor. It's a snappy special occasion buy, maybe for the game day snack or game night curio. If you want to discover the very best brand to enjoy alongside your cheese, check out our roundup of 9 popular picks, ranked from worst to best.

7. Irish Cream Whipped Dairy Topping

Of all the fun and frenzied flavors of whipped cream — pardon us, whipped dairy topping — that we have witnessed hitting supermarket shelves, this one probably makes the most logical sense. The Irish Cream Whipped Topping is the perfect way to infuse cream with, well, more cream. We had a feeling this would go over well, and we were right. The subtle depth and sensuous undertones of Irish Cream simply add a festive flair to a classic topping. As long as we did our part and shook the can accordingly, the product was fluffy and light yet rich enough to have a satisfying mouthfeel. Aldi's Friendly Farms brand turns out to be just as good as Reddi-Whip.

Since the flavor isn't as in-your-face as pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha whipped toppings, we could see ourselves putting it on everything from a celebratory coffee beverage on Saint Patrick's Day morn' to an ice cream sundae made with either of the limited-edition ice creams we tried. Or, you know, straight out of the can and into your open mouth.

6. Sundae Shop Luck O' The Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Okay, paying only $1.99 for a pint of ice cream has got to be a mistake. Aldi, are you sure you know what you're doing? We feel like thieves. And yes, that's because this ice cream is, in fact, good. We're a team of cookie-dough lovers over here, so just about any spin on it will go over nicely. Even so, this Sundae Shop Luck O' The Cookie Dough Ice Cream took the classic to a whole new level. Cookie Dough ice cream is typically just a vanilla base with chunks of the good stuff. Aldi's Saint Patrick's Day product flavors the base itself with cookie dough, plus adds fudge chips, and swaps the chocolate chip cookie crumbles for green sugar cookies. The new choice of cookie puts all the focus on the cookie flavor since there's no chocolate element.

Overall, the result is somewhere between Cookie Dough and Cake Batter ice creams, and while we loved the commitment to sugary sweetness, we couldn't eat a whole pint without feeling some kind of way. And hey, that's probably a good thing. Kids would love this, but adults who like sprinkling salt on their chocolate chip cookies or eating 100% cacao dark chocolate will probably not. In the end, the team members who had a major sweet tooth so adamantly vouched for this ice cream that we had to rank it high.

5. Beer Battered Fish Fillets

Has anyone realized that Saint Patrick's day always corresponds with Lent? Well, just in case you're unable to eat meat and the holiday falls on a Friday, do not despair. Eat fish, and you sacrifice nothing, particularly if you go all-out and fry it up in a beer batter. Or, you know, reheat it up. Aldi's Beer Battered Fish Fillets are frozen for your convenience and come out of the oven after a beautiful makeover. A golden-brown, buttery but not greasy crust gives way to tender wild-caught pollock, and they taste excellent with tartar sauce. We agreed that they were so much better than those fish sticks we'd eat as kids, and they definitely rekindled our love for the grown-up version.

How do they compare to name-brand products? Honestly, we couldn't taste a difference, so it's another win for Aldi. They aren't perfect, but frozen breaded fish fillets never are: They can't help but taste like they came from a cardboard box rather than a deep-fryer. Obviously, beer-battered fish is great, exactly as is, but if you want to find new ways to use the flavor and texture, stick it in a taco shell. No, really: Homemade fish tacos just got a major upgrade in this ingenious recipe.

4. Pub-Style Battered Shrimp Bites

Aldi was prolific for Saint Patrick's Day in two particular categories: cheese and fish. We chomped our way through cheese with happy abandon but approached the fish with more trepidation. There was no trepidation in our consumption of these Pub-Style Battered Shrimp Bites, though. Of all the products we tried, these are the only ones that completely disappeared during our taste test. Have you ever had popcorn shrimp or shrimp burgers? These bites are a conglomeration of the two. The shrimp is ground and shaped like a shrimp burger but gets breaded and fried like popcorn shrimp. But here, we get the added bonus of golden beer-batter coating.

"These are magical," someone said. We loved that they weren't too fishy but still very savory. Plus, the exterior stays extra crispy and really does resemble good late-night pub fare, but the inside is succulent and juicy. Cocktail or tartar sauce would suit these snacks equally, but we think this would be the perfect occasion for some of that beer cheese dip. Don't try to have a package of these go too far for too many people — you will want at least half all to yourself.

3. Emporium Selection Aged Irish Cheddar

With such fun products and such reasonable prices, is it any surprise that the gold, silver, and bronze medals all go to cheese? The Aged Irish Cheddar definitely was one of the first things we thought of when imagining the kinds of Irish-themed foods Aldi would drum up. So we weren't surprised at all to find a timely version on the store shelves. We were surprised to find two other riffs on it, which you have already discovered above. Though the Beer- and Porter-infused cheddars were super fun to taste and test, they just can't hold a candle to the original. Most of us on the team really prefer a nice, sharp cheddar as opposed to a mild one. The sharper, the better, honestly. And even though this is no fancy-schmancy, million-year-old cheese wheel, it still brought enough aged tang to satisfy us. Lots of grocery store cheese is imported, but they don't all taste like it. This one reeks, in the best way, of the Emerald Isles. Though hard cheese like this doesn't melt without effort, we think that this would be delightful in grilled cheese. The salty, feisty finish makes it a real standout. But the real key to the kingdom: It's a steal at $3.99, so you can feel fancy and festive on the cheap.

2. Emporium Selection Pesto Gouda

Amidst beer and whisky-flavored cheeses and the mandatory Irish cheddar, this was a surprising find. If you're a big fan of pure, straightforward gouda, be aware that the vibrant pesto does eclipse the natural cheese flavor just a bit. This gouda has a creamy, approachable texture rather than a shatteringly hard aged version of the cheese would have (see Trader Joe's 1000 Day Gouda for a stark contrast). And regardless of whether or not you typically partake of gouda over any other kind of cheese, if you love pesto, you're going to want to grab this seasonal find. Cheese always has a certain decadence, so the light, fresh taste of pesto is a neat balancing act.

We couldn't taste any herb in particular because we found the pesto to be more of a flavorful wash. Still, we agreed that there was a certain sweetness likely attributed to basil, a zesty and peppery aroma potentially thanks to oregano and the mellow fruitiness of olive oil. We want another sliver just thinking about it. Too bad Aldi doesn't keep this one in stock year-round. The pesto would be a perfect flavor profile in warmer months on a Mediterranean charcuterie board or mixed into a summery version of Mac n' Cheese. In March, pesto feels a little ahead of its time, but we'll take it when it comes. Any hints of the ensuing sunnier days are welcome around here!

1. Emporium Selection Sage Derby

Though the Kentucky Derby, another springtime staple event, does not occur until the first weekend of May, Aldi is giving us a different kind of derby to tide us over in the meantime. Perhaps it's even the better of the two. Along with the Pesto Gouda, this Sage Derby is the other green-hued cheese you can pick up for a tantalizing Saint Patrick's Day cheese board or festive snack. This cheese is a spin-off of the classic, semi-hard British Derby cheese, a national treasure that incorporates fresh sage leaves in careful layers and lets it mature for months on end, resulting in a through-and-through flavor. That meticulous layering process also leads to our favorite thing about this cheese, the thing that makes it perfect for March 17th: The visual appeal. Come on, admit it: This is one gorgeous cheese.

We would buy it just based on that kelly-green marbling, using it as the piece de resistance on a charcuterie board or a pretty garnish on soups, salads, and toast. We would use this pattern to redo our kitchens with Sage Derby marble countertops, too. As for the flavor, sage typically appears as a key ingredient in Thanksgiving recipes, lending stuffings and side dishes a full-bodied aromatic depth. We love it here, and though it got a little intense after a few slices, this cheese tastes heavenly in small doses. Try it on top of any baked good or cracker made with rye flour.