Every Soup At Trader Joe's, Ranked Worst To Best

Whether you shop at Trader Joe's religiously or only stop by from time to time, there's a good chance you've stumbled across the soup section. Tucked neatly into the long stretch of refrigerated goods, Trader Joe's offers quite the assortment of ready-to-go soups — and, by ready-to-go, we mean that you can pop one of the containers into the microwave and slurp on warm soup in a matter of minutes. 

Naturally, the chain's vast soup selection offers convenience, especially for those who live alone and don't need a batch big enough to feed a crowd. These soups come in resealable containers, yielding roughly two to four servings each. Should you pay closer attention to the specific soup offerings, you'll find comfort classics like kettle-cooked chicken and tomato feta soup along with more loaded kinds like New England clam chowder or harvest chili, as well as several seasonal offerings, including pumpkin bisque.

So, we know that Trader Joe's is rich in soup, but are they any good? We've put the popular grocery store's 11 soups to the test to let you know which ones are a hit and which miss the mark. Our methodology is simple — we bought and taste-tested all the soups to determine the ultimate ranking for Trader Joe's soups. Some ranking factors include overall flavor quality, texture, and how well a given soup bodes as a meal on its own.

11. Hearty Minestrone Soup

Diehard minestrone fans may strongly disagree with the soup's placement on this list, but unfortunately, Trader Joe's hearty minestrone just can't compete with the others. Let's start with the positives: This soup is indeed hearty, loaded with plant-based goodness, and makes for a pretty full meal on its own, or at least a nourishing side dish. That said, its blandness can't be denied, and you'd be better off enjoying any of the other options on this list.

Aside from the blandness, one of this soup's biggest downfalls is the orzo, or more specifically, the lack thereof. As you swim through a brothy bowl of Trader Joe's minestrone, you'll find an assortment of vegetables and a few beans, but you'll be straining to locate the alleged rice and quinoa orzo. If you manage to muster up a spoonful that has a little bit of everything, it's a pretty satisfying bite of soup. Ultimately, however, this soup is a little too broth-forward for its own good, and that wouldn't be such a problem if the broth wasn't in desperate need of salt.

If you absolutely love minestrone, you won't be completely disappointed by Trader Joe's hearty version, but we suggest making a batch of your own. And, if you could either take or leave minestrone, do yourself a favor and leave this one at the grocery store.

10. Organic Creamy Mushroom Soup

Whenever a product boasts both a vegan and creamy title, you can safely assume that one of those titles isn't entirely true. Well, Trader Joe's organic creamy mushroom soup is indeed vegan (not to mention gluten-free), so you can probably figure out where the lie factors in here. Don't get us wrong, this soup isn't downright horrible; in fact, it packs in quite a bit of flavor complexity, especially given the dietary restrictions it tiptoes around. This soup really isn't creamy, though if you aren't vegan and plan on enjoying it, you could easily add a splash of cream to help your bowlful live up to such a standard.

While this mushroom soup certainly doesn't come close to the top of the list, there are still a few highlights worth mentioning. This soup manages to capture an umami flavor profile without being overly mushroomy or even super earthy; the flavor is mostly very savory and almost meaty, thanks to the mushrooms. Vegetables like carrots and kale help balance out the meaty mushrooms, though combined, the ingredients do lend to an overall awkward texture. This soup is also chunky in a bad way, meaning that you'll find lots of little chunks of mushrooms or carrots that just don't come across as appealing.

9. Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a bowl of pumpkin or butternut squash soup knows this rare variety tends to lean into a sweeter flavor profile. Trader Joe's pumpkin butternut squash delivers a two-for-one combo, combining both autumnal squashes into a fall-forward soup that perhaps leans into sweet flavors a bit too much. Don't get us wrong, we love a sweet aftertaste when enjoying a bowl of squash soup, but Trader Joe's version doesn't have a sweet aftertaste so much as a sweet all-over taste.

Sweetness aside, this soup also just isn't very interesting. Sure, no bisque will be texturally exciting (unless, of course, you find ultra-smooth broths to be exciting), but the flavor doesn't give much, either. And, when you think about it, you can somewhat understand why this soup is a little bit bland. After all, pumpkins and butternut squash are pretty bland on their own, so when you transform them into a soup, you have to rely on other flavors to make them pop.

The other flavors in question here are brown butter and sage, which ultimately miss the mark. The sage shines through a little bit, helping provide some extra autumnal flavor and warmth, but the brown butter gets lost in the sauce. It's a shame because nutty brown butter would taste delicious in a pumpkin bisque, but the flavor simply isn't strong enough to contribute anything to this one.

8. White Bean Chicken Chili

Trader Joe's white bean chicken chili leans heavily into Southwestern flavors, with strong notes of poblano pepper, cumin, and chili powder. This soup also has a very cilantro-forward flavor — a win for those who love cilantro but unforgivable for those who can't stand the herb (or for those who have the cilantro soap gene). Of course, the cilantro seems right at home amongst the other Tex-Mex flavors, so while we feel a responsibility to warn people about the cilantro flavor, we certainly aren't going to fault this chili for it.

We will, however, fault this chili for its less-than-desirable texture. Many people avoid chili for fear of beans, and if you're one of those people, steer clear of this mushy mixture. The two most abundant ingredients — white beans and chicken — aren't particularly flavorful on their own, so each bite is kind of confusing. On the one hand, you've got this smoky broth but on the other hand, you've got bland and unexciting add-ins. If you need something to fill you up in a pinch, then this chili will certainly suffice, providing lots of protein. We do appreciate any soup that is a full meal on its own but can't help but think this white bean chicken chili could taste a whole lot better if the chunky elements tasted as good as the soup itself.

7. Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup

There's arguably no soup more comforting than classic chicken soup, especially one brimming with carrots and celery, all simmered together in a rich, buttery, savory chicken broth. Interestingly enough, chicken soup is one of the most basic kinds out there, boasting a simple broth and classic additions, yet the combination manages to avoid being boring by tasting so darn good. And, if you have an upset stomach or feel a bit under the weather, it can be hard to get food down even when necessary, which is where chicken soup famously comes into play. 

We can happily report that Trader Joe's kettle-cooked chicken soup is not only as good as the stuff you enjoyed from a can as a kid but even better. The chicken broth is nice and buttery, while the chunks of chicken are nice and tender and the carrots add just the right pop of earthiness. You certainly won't be disappointed if you pick up Trader Joe's chicken soup, though you would be playing it safe. After all, would we expect a chicken soup to taste anything other than savory and comforting?

Though there's nothing overtly wrong with this chicken soup, there are simply tastier options on this list. We also think that this soup would benefit from the addition of noodles; the lack of pasta does make this soup gluten-free, but it also keeps it from being as hearty as it could be.

6. Harvest Chili

Who said that a chili needs meat to be nice and filling? We'd argue that Trader Joe's Harvest Chili is one of the most nourishing options on this list. Loaded with black beans, squash, pumpkin puree, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes, this soup is chockful of hearty goodness. And, as the name and ingredients heavily imply, this chili delivers comforting and hearty autumnal flavors, perfect for warming you up after a long day of chilly fall or winter weather.

While we appreciate this chili's heartiness, it ultimately falls victim to a conundrum similar to Trader Joe's pumpkin butternut squash bisque: It features an assortment of ingredients that are relatively bland on their own, and it doesn't do a whole lot to jazz them up. You will find some subtly smokiness and a spice that warms the palate, though the chili ultimately could benefit from even more seasoning. And once again, we should warn you that this harvest chili contains cilantro, and you can certainly taste it. While the herb made sense in the white bean chili, it doesn't fit in here, though it's subtle enough that you can enjoy the other flavors of the chili without it turning into a cilantro-forward dish. 

5. Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains

If you're looking for a nutritional powerhouse of a soup, then reach for Trader Joe's lentil soup with ancient grains the next time you go grocery shopping. This soup boasts a high fiber content, and considering that lentils make up the vast bulk of the product, it's easy to see why. We found the lentil-forward flavor and texture of this soup surprisingly refreshing, as the lentils provide an earthy taste all on their own, whereas the broth provides a nice cumin-forward taste. You'll also find grains like quinoa and millet to help round out the heartiness.

Speaking of the broth, it almost feels wrong to call it that, seeing as it's so incredibly thick. Some folks might not like the thickness, and those who don't care for the texture of beans should probably avoid this soup. If you happen to enjoy thicker soups, however, then this one is a winner — and you could always thin it out with some stock or even a bit of water to make it more soup-like.

Overall, we appreciate the nutritional benefit that this soup has to offer and the fact that it could operate as a full meal on its own. Also, it gets bonus points for relying on plant-based ingredients, so vegetarians and vegans can also get in on the action.

4. Tomato Feta Soup

Truthfully, we didn't expect Trader Joe's tomato feta soup to rank this high. While we certainly have nothing against tomato soup, there's no denying that it's not the most exciting bowlful out there. Luckily, Trader Joe's take on the classic soup doesn't rely only on tomatoes to make the magic happen; you'll find small chunks of feta cheese amongst the smooth broth, which helps make this soup much more exciting than your average soup.

Even if you don't like feta cheese, there's a good chance you might enjoy this soup. The feta cheese almost functions in the same way that grated Parmesan functions in spaghetti sauce; it adds tiny bursts of cheesiness rather than large, pronounced flavor. It improves the soup's taste better and it makes it more texturally intriguing, two things that we can get behind when we're talking about tomato soup. 

Of course, we'd be remiss not to highlight the tomatoes themselves, as this soup manages to nicely capture that acidic goodness. The soup certainly isn't sour or overbearing, but it does provide that nice tomato tanginess that tingles on your tongue. Pair this tomato feta soup with a grilled cheese, and you'd be in lunchtime heaven.

3. Lobster Bisque

Sure, lobster has a subtle fishiness to it, but more than anything, it tastes rich, buttery, and even a bit sweet. All of these flavors lend themselves well to Trader Joe's lobster bisque, which is every bit as decadent as it sounds. This thick bisque is one of the creamiest on the list, so if you prefer your soups more creamy than brothy, you've met your match.

Something we like about this soup, aside from the lobster flavor, is how much the sherry wine and thyme shine through. Though this isn't the most texturally thrilling soup, it boasts surprisingly complex flavors that many of Trader Joe's other soups just can't compete with. You don't need much to round out your bowl of lobster bisque, though some crackers might help break up the richness and add a little crunch amidst the creaminess.

All that said, we must acknowledge one undeniable issue: There are very few actual lobster pieces in the soup. This qualm is somewhat expected in such an inexpensive soup, but we certainly hoped for some meatiness to back up the abundant lobster flavor.

2. Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The only thing unexpected about Trader Joe's broccoli cheddar soup is the namesake; after all, would we really expect a classic soup that features the iconic Trader Joe's cheese to be anything short of delicious? Needless to say, this soup includes everything you could want. The broccoli florets are abundant, the cheesy broth flows, and altogether, it's a bowlful of savory goodness, just like it should be.

In case you aren't familiar with Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar Cheese, it's the chain's unique blend of sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheese. We appreciate that the cheese has made its way to soup, as this broccoli cheddar offers a nice break from those varieties that rely on Velveeta or American cheese. We hate to say it, but soup can be too cheesy, though this one achieves the perfect balance. You will taste notes of sharpness here and there and maybe even get hints of tanginess or nuttiness from the Parmesan side of the cheese. Any cheesy flavors are easily balanced by the subtle earthiness of the broccoli, so if you're going to reach for any soup at Trader Joe's, consider this a great option.

The only real con to this soup? It can come across as boring, especially if you aren't big on broccoli. This soup also wouldn't make for a full meal on its own, though a simple sandwich or even some crusty bread might help round things out.

1. New England Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is a thick, rich, and creamy soup that dates back much longer than you'd expect. We're talking pre-founding of the United States far back. No one can deny that clam chowder is one of the most classic and iconic soups out there, but that said, it also polarizes people. Some folks revere the creamy broth and fishy flavor that this soup has to offer, gleefully piling in oyster crackers to round out their bowlful. Others find the soup a bit too fishy for their tastebuds. And we have to say, Trader Joe's version definitely hits all those fishy notes.

Of course, we find the fishy flavor nothing short of delightful. This New England clam chowder has secured its spot at the top of this list, and there are a few important factors contributing to its victory. First, it tastes exactly like a clam chowder should — creamy, rich, fishy, and savory. No shortcuts were taken here, resulting in a soup that's nearly as good as a fresh batch. This chowder is also very filling, laden with potatoes, clam chunks, and a thick broth. You could easily enjoy this soup as a meal all on its own and finish feeling full and satisfied.


A few factors played into our ranking of these Trader Joe's soups, with the biggest one simply boiling down to how good the soup tasted. Was it rich and creamy as promised, or did the broth come up a tad too bland? We also considered how well each soup would function as a full meal on its own. While this wasn't a make-or-break factor, as not all soups need to double as a well-balanced meal, some soups certainly provided more bang for your buck in terms of heartiness and the additions of meat, vegetables, or grains. Finally, we also focused on the soups' texture, considering which ones delivered on being smooth, chunky, creamy, rich, or possibly (and sadly) none of the above.