14 Best Trader Joe's Canned Foods

Shopping at Trader Joe's is always an adventure. From its cheerful tropical decor to its friendly, Hawaiian-shirt-clad staffers, and an ever-changing selection of fun and unusual products, it's a grocery store unlike any other. Even those who find grocery shopping a chore can find joy in a trip to a Trader Joe's thanks to its cute signage and its ever-changing food samples, not to mention an affordable wine and beer section.

And whether you're just stocking up on groceries for the week or on the search for the best Trader Joe's snacks for your next get-together, you'll always find something fun and interesting in the aisles. Grab a copy of the Fearless Flyer, Trader Joe's monthly newsletter to see what's new and get inspired with recipes and serving suggestions. 

Trader Joe's is a great place to stock up on a wide variety of canned foods, from basic staples to more innovative products. And if you've ever wondered where Trader Joe's food comes from, you might be surprised to learn that much of it is made by well-known companies under the Trader Joe's private label. We braved the crowds of shoppers to round up the best Trader Joe's canned foods. Add these to your shopping list the next time you head to the store.

Greek chickpeas with parsley and cumin

Trader Joe's Greek chickpeas are seasoned with lemon juice, garlic powder, parsley, and cumin and packed in oil. Packed in a 9.88-ounce can that serves two, they're perfect for a quick lunch or a no-prep weeknight dinner staple, especially if you warm them up for a few minutes in the microwave or on the stove and serve them on a bed of wilted spinach. Canned chickpeas have many uses and in many cases, Trader Joe's seasoned version can be subbed in for a regular can. 

The chickpeas themselves have a firm but creamy texture and would make a flavorful ingredient in a pasta salad or spooned on top of roast chicken or grilled fish. With a tab-pull lid, you could even pack a can of these chickpeas in your lunch to take to work — they'd be delicious scooped up with a piece of pita. 

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of protein and fiber. These Greek chickpeas have 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. 

Crispy jalapeño pieces

You'll want to eat these crunchy, spicy bits by the handful, but that's really not what Trader Joe's crispy jalapeño pieces are for. They're really a fresh take on French fried onions, those crispy bits that are sprinkled on many a green bean casserole on Thanksgiving day. You'll definitely want to change up that favorite turkey day side dish by using these instead, but in the meantime, there are plenty of other ways of using these crispy jalapeño pieces. Try them on top of nachos or tacos, as a topping for poke bowls, or sprinkled onto mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, or chili. The crispy jalapeño pieces also make a spicy swap for croutons.

Breaded with flour and deep-fried in sunflower and safflower oil, these jalapeño pieces have just enough bite without searing your taste buds. The 5.5-ounce container contains 40 servings, but we wouldn't fault you for going through them much more quickly than that.

Lightly smoked salmon

Trader Joe's lightly smoked salmon just may spoil you for any other canned fish... whether it's tuna, sardines, or mackerel. For one thing, there's the cute pink tin emblazoned with aqua-blue lettering and a retro fish drawing. It's like something straight off a Wes Anderson set — you may find yourself wondering if you can wash it out to put it to another use. But it's what's inside the adorable tin that matters. The boneless, skinless salmon chunks are packed in extra virgin olive oil and have a lush texture and a subtle smoky flavor.

You'll find so many ways of using this salmon. It would make a delicious quick dinner on a pasta dish topped with an easy alfredo sauce. It's a natural topping for bagels and cream cheese. Smoked salmon pairs well with avocado, so it would be excellent on avocado toast or in a salad. And it makes a delicious snack or quick lunch just spooned onto buttery crackers.

Trader Joe's has a number of different varieties of tinned and canned fish in its aisles, from mackerel to smoked mussels, but lightly smoked salmon is one that we buy on repeat.

Giant baked beans in tomato sauce

Usually, the mention of baked beans conjures up syrupy-sweet beans spooned alongside a serving of pulled pork. But Trader Joe's giant baked beans in tomato sauce is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, specifically a flavorful Greek dish known as gigantes plaki. The traditional dish usually includes gigante beans, but Trader Joe's version uses cannellini beans that are soaked and cooked until tender, then mixed into a sauce of tomatoes, onion, parsley, dill, and crushed red pepper.

This unique riff on canned beans is delicious spooned onto a bowl of brown rice or other grains, served in a meze spread, warmed up, and served as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, or simply eaten out of the can for a quick and portable lunch. We also like it stuffed into a warmed pita, along with baby arugula, for a filling vegetarian lunch. The 9.6-ounce can contains two generous servings ... unless you don't feel like sharing.

Organic vegetarian chili

Canned chili can be a lifesaver come dinnertime. Just open the can, heat it up, and spoon it into a bowl. Having ready-to-eat chili means you can focus on all the fun fixings and sides: a delicious homemade cornbread, perhaps, or a big spread of toppings, from chopped green onions to grated cheese to sour cream (and don't forget the crispy jalapeño pieces that are also on this list!).

Trader Joe's organic vegetarian chili will appeal to both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It's made with an unusual meat substitute: textured pea protein, which adds a meaty element and is appropriate for those who can't — or don't — eat soy or wheat. The chili also contains red beans, onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeños, and all the seasonings you would expect: chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.

If you prefer the real deal, Trader Joe's also makes two chili versions that contain meat: beef chili with beans and turkey chili with beans. It's nice to know there's a chili option for everyone. If you're hosting chili night you could even get all three varieties.

Diced and fire roasted organic tomatoes

If you're looking for an easy way to add flavor and complexity to pizza sauce, chili, or soup, Trader Joe's diced and fire roasted organic tomatoes are just the ticket. These canned tomatoes are charred over a flame to add smokiness, then diced and combined with organic diced green chiles, which add just the right amount of heat.

The tomatoes are great to keep on hand for parties: they're a delicious base for fire-roasted salsa or black bean dip, or they can be used to make a tangy, spicy queso dip. Simmer a couple of cans with sauteed onions and vegetable or chicken broth and blend with a splash of heavy cream for a quick, delicious homemade tomato soup.

Trader Joe's also sells a crushed version of fire roasted organic tomatoes with green chiles. This version would make a delicious arrabbiata sauce for pasta. Or pour a can into a slow cooker with a few chicken breasts, simmer until the chicken is tender, and pull it apart with a fork for a zesty taco or burrito filling.

Whole artichoke hearts

Canned artichoke hearts are a great "fancy" ingredient to have on hand for a multitude of uses, and Trader Joe's whole artichoke hearts are one of our favorite brands to buy. Sometimes canned artichoke hearts can be mushy or bland, but TJ's version is always firm and flavorful. They're packed in briny water (pro tip, a splash of the brine in a dirty martini is fantastic!), and are ready to use in a variety of recipes.

Some of the best ways to use canned artichokes are to chop and scatter them over a homemade pizza (or to dress up a frozen pie), toss them in a green salad or pasta salad, or of course, make spinach artichoke dip. If you're building a dream meze platter with all the Greek-inspired canned foods on offer at Trader Joe's, tossing the artichokes in olive oil with a sprinkling of Greek seasoning would make a great addition.

Organic coconut milk

We're never without a can of coconut milk in the pantry, whether it's to use as the cooking liquid for rice, to make a curry, or to make a vegan version of a baked good. One of our favorite brands is Trader Joe's organic coconut milk. The product comes in both regular and reduced-fat versions. The regular version, which doesn't seem to get as solid as other brands, is excellent in richer dishes like curries or to make super-moist muffins and cakes, while the reduced-fat version, which is thinner, adds a creamy flavor and subtle coconut notes when it's used in soups or as a cooking liquid for grains. 

Once you've gotten comfortable cooking with coconut milk, you'll find lots of ways of using it. The diverse ingredient can add a rich element to Indian and Thai food, tropical dishes, frozen drinks, ice creams, and many other recipes. Coconut milk can also give vegetables a creamy update. For this reason, we stock up on coconut milk whenever we're at a Trader Joe's.

Green jackfruit in brine

If you haven't learned yet what jackfruit is and how to cook with it, you might want to read up on this unusual Asian fruit that is quickly becoming a meat substitute of choices for vegetarians and others who are trying to adopt a more plant-based diet. With its ability to take on the flavors of what it's cooked with, Trader Joe's Green Jackfruit in Brine is an excellent substitute for pulled pork in sandwiches, rice bowls, and barbecue platters. Just drain the jackfruit, remove the seeds, and chop the jackfruit and it's ready to be simmered in your favorite barbecue sauce.

Based on the success of its canned green jackfruit, Trader Joe's has developed a number of other jackfruit-based products, such as a frozen entree of yellow jackfruit curry with jasmine rice and gluten-free battered plant-based fish fillets that are made with a mixture of mushrooms and jackfruit. It's fun to experiment with the different ways you can use Trader Joe's canned jackfruit product in place of meat, such as in a BBQ sandwich, and since it's chock-full of nutrients (via Healthline), it's a healthy choice as well.

Grecian style eggplant with tomatoes and onions

Trader Joe's Grecian style eggplant with tomatoes and onions is made with eggplant that's been fried and packed in a tomato sauce. If it sounds a lot like eggplant parmesan, you'd be right, and you can use it in similar applications. Try topping it with a slice of mozzarella, sticking it under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, and serving it on a bed of spaghetti with marinara sauce. In fact, you can use it as a stand-in for fresh eggplant in any baked eggplant parmesan recipe

Warm or room temperature, Trader Joe's eggplant is also delicious as a sandwich, tucked into a ciabatta roll with a piece of provolone cheese and some baby arugula or spinach, or in a muffuletta sandwich with olive tapenade. Or try cutting the eggplant pieces into quarters and using it as a topping on homemade or frozen pizza. If those all sound like meals that will require a nap afterward, never fear: there's a scientific reason why eating eggplant will actually prevent you from falling asleep.

Fire roasted diced green chiles

There's no doubt that green chiles — especially those that are unique to Hatch, New Mexico, are having a moment. And that's evident if you wander up and down the aisles of Trader Joe's. There's the company's frozen Hatch chile mac and cheese that deserves to be in the Trader Joe's Hall of Fame, as well as green and red chile flakes and cheese and green chile tamales, among other products.

The company's four-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced green chiles are a versatile ingredient that lets you get your chile fix in countless ways. The chiles are roasted over a flame for a smoky flavor and packed in water. While the packaging doesn't indicate if the chiles are authentically from Hatch, they are a worthy imitator nonetheless. Of course, these chiles are great in tacos, burritos, salsa, and other Mexican food. But they can also add zip to meatloaf, cornbread, burgers, corn casserole, and many other dishes.

Organic lentil vegetable soup

Canned soup makes for a quick, easy, and filling meal, and Trader Joe's has a number of popular canned soups that will make you look forward to lunch. One of our favorites is lentil vegetable soup. The current version on the market is a revamp of an old standby, and it's organic, vegan, and gluten-free. The soup includes a whole host of veggies, including potatoes, green beans, onions, carrots, and spinach, combined with tender lentils and simmered in a tomato-based broth. The 15-ounce only serves one, though, so be sure to throw a few cans in your cart if you're planning a meal for a family.

Sure, it's fine dumped into a bowl and microwaved. But if you want to get fancy, this soup is ready for your special touches. Dress it up with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, serve it in a bread bowl, or float a slice of toasted cheesy bread on top. Or, use Trader Joe's biscuit hack and use a can of refrigerated biscuits to simmer dumplings in a pot of soup.


Dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, may seem exotic but they're actually a good shelf-stable item to have on hand. You should keep stuffed grape leaves in your pantry for adding to salads, serving as a side dish, or adding to an appetizer platter. The powers that be at Trader Joe's seem to have a lasting obsession for Mediterranean foods, and the brand's dolmas fuel this passion.

Trader Joe's canned dolmas are stuffed with rice and seasoned with onion, dill, and spearmint. Another version, quinoa stuffed dolmas, is stuffed with tri-color quinoa seasoned with lemon juice, herbs, garlic, and onion. The 9.9-ounce can contains 10 dolmas, enough to serve as a side dish or to add to an appetizer platter at a party. They can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or warmed, and are delicious alongside hummus and pita, on a falafel plate, or with a creamy dipping sauce like tzatziki. And because Trader Joe's dolmas are vegan, they can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

Mandarin oranges

Mandarin oranges are such a retro ingredient, found in such dishes as old-fashioned ambrosia salads, sticky-sweet Chinese dishes, or molded jello concoctions. And if Trader Joe's was around during our grannies' time, they'd surely be buying up cans of the brand's mandarin oranges.

Packed in light syrup, Trader Joe's mandarin oranges are juicy and plump, and the 11-ounce can is enough for two generous servings. Mandarin oranges are a great canned fruit to stock in your pantry, especially in the winter when many fresh fruits are not at their peak. They're delicious layered in a breakfast parfait, chopped up and added to muffins, topping a fruit tart, or tossed in an Asian salad. This versatile, sweet-tart fruit definitely stands the test of time, and even though it may have vintage connotations, it has plenty of uses in today's kitchen. If you're a fan, you might want to check out Trader Joe's other mandarin orange products, such as its Mandarin orange chicken and dried Mandarin oranges.