14 Best Chicken Products At Trader Joe's You Can't Miss Out On

When it comes to nutritious proteins, chicken is a tough one to beat. Nutritional benefits of the bird vary depending on which part you're eating, but chicken is generally stocked to the gills (or should we say beaks?) with lean protein, vitamins, and important minerals like zinc, copper, and iron. Chicken is also an incredibly versatile ingredient: It pairs well with any number of sauces, can be jazzed up with hundreds of different herbs and spices, and can serve as the perfect filling for everything from salads to nachos to lettuce wraps.

There are many chicken offerings on supermarket shelves today, but most stores carry the same products: chicken salad on a croissant. Frozen chicken Alfredo. Smoked chicken breast deli meat. While these are all fine and dandy in and of themselves, chicken has a whole lot of potential that's not being recognized by most stores.

Enter Trader Joe's. It isn't a store to do things like the rest, and when it comes to chicken products, this cult favorite grocer doesn't fail to disappoint. At an affordable price point, Trader Joe's sells a plethora of chicken products ranging from items that would be approved by a bodybuilder to items approved by a group of college students on a Friday night — some, of course, better than others. Wondering what the absolute standouts are when it comes to poultry at Trader Joe's? We're glad you asked! Here are 14 of the best chicken products the store has to offer.

Shawarma chicken thighs

Shawarma is a flavorful type of meat peppered with exotic spices like cardamom, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon. It's traditionally roasted on an upright stick, allowing the juices from the chicken, beef, or lamb to drip down and marinate the rest of the meat. It's a genius cooking hack and leads to insanely flavorful, tender meat. However, let's face it, in this bonkers economy, most of us don't have the space, time, or funds to install gigantic vertical rotisseries in our homes. Fortunately, there are plenty of recipes for baked, sous vide, pan-fried, and even air-fried shawarma to discover on the internet — and if you're pressed for time, Trader Joe's offers a fantastic solution in the form of its shawarma chicken thighs.

Pre-marinated in aromatic spices like paprika, cumin, garlic, coriander, and cinnamon, Trader Joe's shawarma chicken thighs are flavorful, fragrant, and easily prepared in the oven, stovetop, air fryer, or grill. Chicken thighs are fattier than breasts, leading to a juicier texture in each bite. Trader Joe's shawarma chicken thighs absolutely slap when bundled up gyro-style in a pita with some cucumber, tomatoes, and tzatziki, but you could also use them to top a Greek salad or simply serve them over rice or roasted veggies of your choice.

Mandarin orange chicken

Trader Joe's Mandarin orange chicken might just be the king of the chain's cult-followed items. Trader Joe's knew its Mandarin orange chicken would be a hit from the get-go when it passed the company's intensive tasting panels with rave reviews. It's been winning the hearts of shoppers since its release in 2004, earning multiple of the chain's Customer Choice Awards and finally snagging a long-overdue spot in the Trader Joe's Hall of Fame in January of 2023. Hailing from the frozen aisle, these vibrant, crispy battered chicken pieces offer all the allure of Chinese takeout without the outrageous Uber Eats fees.

Mandarin orange chicken rings in at just $4.99 for a sizable 22-ounce bag of frozen chicken, a real steal these days. The package includes crispy chicken and a separate sauce packet — which is where the magic comes from. The chicken sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sake, orange juice, and Mandarin orange peel. It's bright and citrusy and gets lightly caramelized when tossed with the chicken pieces after baking. Serve Trader Joe's orange chicken with rice and stir-fried veggies for a filling and delicious comfort meal.

Organic free range chicken broth

A good broth is the cornerstone of many a great dish. Although homemade broth can offer the most flavor and control over ingredients, making broth at home is lengthy and may not be practical for a weeknight dinner. Fortunately, there are tons of boxed chicken broth brands available on supermarket shelves these days, and Trader Joe's has one of the best. Trader Joe's organic free range chicken broth is a wholesome, aromatic, buttery broth that makes a perfect base for soups, ramen, sauces, mashed potatoes, and more.

Sold in a sizable 32-ounce container, this chicken broth is made from organically raised chickens and supplemented with sea salt, canola oil, and organic carrot, onion, and celery juice concentrates. Though the ingredient list is short, the kicker is these components give you all the depth and flavor you need without the superfluous artificial ingredients found in many other broths. It's a win for those with gluten intolerances, as the broth also happens to be gluten-free — unfortunately, many broth brands contain gluten. Finally, Trader Joe's sells this broth for a mere $1.99, representing a deep discount compared to many other boxed broth brands. All in all, this broth is hands-down one of the best chicken products Trader Joe's has to offer.

Butter chicken with basmati rice

Trader Joe's is a reigning champ in the frozen, ready-to-eat meals game. Items like the aforementioned mandarin orange chicken and the frozen pasta selections can typically go from freezer to plate in under 20 minutes, but many of the store's microwavable meals come together in under 10. The grocery giant has a particular knack for crafting frozen Indian delicacies such as lamb vindaloo, palak paneer, and even a vegan tikka masala — but perhaps the greatest of these is the butter chicken with basmati rice.

Trader Joe's butter chicken comes separated into two compartments: one holding a serving of basmati rice, the other hosting the chicken and sauce mix. It's the chicken and sauce that seals the deal for this magical freezer-friendly entrée. Chunks of chicken swim in a silky sea of curry made from tomatoes, cream, aromatics like ginger, garlic, and onion, and, of course, butter. Once heated, the overall effect is a mouthwatering menagerie of exotic, comforting, and mildly spicy flavors, all for the price of a few minutes in the microwave. The downside? In recent years, the amount of chicken per serving seems to have decreased, as pointed out by some disgruntled shoppers who ranted about the problem with Trader Joe's butter chicken on Reddit. However, at $4.49 per serving, this quick-fix lunch is still a pretty darn good deal.

Wine country chicken salad

Chicken is a versatile protein, and it's easy to dress up with different ingredients in salad form. Thus, chicken salad is a great item to have on hand for quick meals, from a creamy curried chicken salad for a little heat to a fruity, refreshing pear and walnut chicken salad. While chicken salad is a breeze to make at home, you can make things even easier on yourself by picking up a container of Trader Joe's wine country chicken salad.

This Trader Joe's chicken salad is made with chicken breasts cooked in broth, then tossed with a sauce made of mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, sea salt, and white pepper — all of which is then combined with pecans, celery, and sweetened dried cranberries. It's miraculously vibrant, saucy, tangy, and sweet, with a creamy texture studded with crunchy celery and pecan bits. Keep a container in the fridge to add protein to salads or whip up some lightning-fast sandwiches on a busy day. Oh, and there's a curried version. 

Chicken cilantro mini wontons

The importance of having access to quick, yummy snacks cannot be underestimated. Trader Joe's has plenty of options, but if you're looking for a relatively healthy one that's also bursting with flavor, look no further than the chicken cilantro mini wontons. These bad boys are sold fully cooked and frozen. They're good to go in under five minutes in the microwave or can be pan-fried on the stovetop for more of a crispy effect. The bite-sized wontons are made with chicken, cabbage, onion, green onion, cilantro, and garlic, then enrobed in wheat flour wrappers.

When steamed in the microwave, the chicken cilantro mini wontons have a dumpling-like texture that's perfect for adding to broth for a healing and hearty soup. Cooking the wontons on the stovetop gives them more of a crunch, making them a satisfying appetizer, especially if doused in soy sauce and drizzled with Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch condiment. However you choose to cook and eat them, these mini wontons provide a blast of flavor in quick, poppable form. They make a great snack on their own or can be added to soups, salads, or bowls for an extra flavor and protein hit.

Organic chicken nuggets

Who doesn't love a golden, crispy chicken nugget dinner? Chicken nuggets are often thought of as kids' food, but let's be honest, most adults find them just as delightful — a comforting throwback to the time when our biggest worry was likely whether we wanted to wear the red or blue sweater to school tomorrow. Luckily, frozen chicken nugget brands are abundant on the market today — some good, some bad, and some in between — and Trader Joe's organic chicken nuggets have shoppers divided.

TJ's organic chicken nuggets, made from chicken breasts and rib meat coated in a layer of breadcrumbs, cornstarch, and aromatic seasonings, come refrigerated in a 12-ounce package. There are a couple of different ways to prepare them, which is where the division in opinions kicks in. While most folks seem to agree that the nuggets are fantastic in the air fryer, the consensus is that they lose much of their appeal in the microwave, growing soggy and lacking in flavor. Air frying or baking the nuggets in the oven appears to be the way to go, resulting in crispy, crunchy nuggets. Once you've finished cooking your nuggets (hopefully in the air fryer), try eating them with TJ's organic Kansas City-style barbecue sauce or plain ketchup — with a side of fries and ideally a '90s movie. 

Smoked, apple chardonnay chicken sausage

Shoppers are not left wanting more options when it comes to Trader Joe's chicken sausages. True to form, the unconventional grocery store has a wide array of whimsical, tasty, and easily prepared options here — in fact, there are far more chicken sausage options than traditional pork. It's tough to go wrong with any of TJ's chicken sausage options, but the smoked, apple chardonnay chicken sausage reigns supreme in our book. Putting the "banger" in bangers and mash, this pre-cooked chicken sausage packs a powerful punch of flavor.

The primary ingredients are the delightful duo of chicken and dehydrated apples, so we're off to a great sweet and savory start already. From there, aromatics and herbs like onions, ginger, nutmeg, celery powder, and thyme all come together with undertones of zesty, buttery chardonnay. In short, a masterpiece. Suitable for any time of the day, roast the Trader Joe's sausages up with some veggies for an easy sheet pan meal, or cook and add them to your salad for a tasty and filling protein.

Chicken meatballs

Meatballs are traditionally made with beef, pork, or both, and for a long time, they were used primarily as a way to round out spaghetti and marinara. In more recent years, restauranteurs, foodies, and home cooks have unlocked meatballs' real potential. Nowadays, you'll find meatballs made of every type of meat imaginable with all sorts of add-ins, sauces, and ingredients, alongside convincing plant-based dupes. Sure, they'll always taste great atop a mountain of spaghetti doused in red sauce, but they're also put to work as appetizers or in stir-fries, soups, wraps, and more.

Trader Joe's offers a number of meatball varieties, and the store's chicken meatballs are one of the best bets, meatball-wise. Released in stores in 2022, the paleo-friendly, gluten-free, fully cooked, and seasoned meatballs had Trader Joe's shoppers excited almost instantly. What's not to love about clean, easily prepared meatballs for $3.99? The ingredients list is refreshingly short — the meatballs are primarily made with chicken (no binding ingredients, which is where gluten would sneak in) and seasoned with familiar herbs and spices. TJ's chicken meatballs offer a healthy, protein-packed addition to pesto pasta, are fantastic when cooked down with sauce for toothpick-friendly cocktail meatballs, and serve as a lighter alternative for a meatball sub.

Hardwood smoked pulled chicken

There's one major grocery store staple Trader Joe's stores don't carry, and it's a fan favorite at many other stores: rotisserie chicken. There are tons of delicious ways to use rotisserie chicken, and the cost for a whole bird is generally quite low. Ah, well, such is life — there are plenty of other chicken options to enjoy at Trader Joe's. For something rotisserie chicken-adjacent, check out TJ's hardwood smoked pulled chicken. This fully-cooked chicken comes in a nicely sized 16-ounce package. Inside, you'll find white chicken meat seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, along with baking spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

This whole shebang is then smoked over hardwood logs in a small-batch rotisserie smoker before being packaged up, leading to a rich, deep, smoky flavor not at all unlike that of a whole rotisserie chicken you'd find at Costco. At home, all you need to do to prep the chicken is pierce the plastic pouch it comes in and microwave it for three minutes (although it's tastier in the oven). The hardwood smoked pulled chicken is phenomenal for barbecue-pulled chicken sliders, loaded up over nachos, or in a big pot of homemade chili.

Sun-dried tomato and basil chicken tenders

Marinating chicken leads to deeper flavors, a juicier composition, and usually a better entrée overall. It's not difficult to marinate at home — really, all that's involved is soaking the chicken in the marinade of your choice for 30 minutes or overnight. But marinating meat at home is not always a convenient option. Trader Joe's sells quite a few excellent pre-marinated chicken products in the refrigerated section, and the sun-dried tomato and basil chicken tenders are 10 out of 10. These bright, sunshiney tenders are soaked in a creamy sauce made from sun-dried tomatoes, tomato powder, salt, dehydrated onion and garlic, and cream flavor. Then, they're spiked with seasonings like basil and parsley.

Pleasantly tangy sun-dried tomatoes are the star of the show here, melding beautifully with the cream in the sauce and the subtle herbal notes. The tenders will rock your world when they're fresh off the grill, adding that hard-to-get charred element, but can also be prepared on the stovetop or baked in the oven. Use them to bulk up a Greek salad, toss them with pesto pasta, or eat them as a snack with your favorite dipping sauce.

Unexpected Cheddar Chicken Sausage

Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar Cheese has been a primo pick in the cheese section for over a decade now. A unique cheese that's mostly cheddar but part parmesan in flavor, Unexpected Cheddar hits all the high notes. Sharp, tangy, creamy, nutty, buttery, earthy, and umami-rich, this cheese is such a cult favorite that it's inspired a humble but growing line of products, including a broccoli cheese soup, a cheese spread, and now, chicken sausage. The brand's Unexpected Cheddar Chicken Sausage features chicken mixed with the Unexpected Cheddar cheese along with bits of caramelized onions, red peppers, and spices, all wrapped up in natural pork casing.

It's not super traditional to see cheese inside of sausages, but that's Trader Joe's for you. While the cheese blends well with the savory chicken, it's the bits of smoky and sweet red bell pepper and rich, toothsome caramelized onions that seal the deal. These cheesy, savory sausages are ideal for a spruced-up spin on sausage and peppers, make an excellent addition to a breakfast sammy, or could even be used in a hearty, warming zuppa Toscana.

Lemon chicken and arugula salad

Grab-and-go salads have been a fixture in supermarkets and even gas stations for years. Although convenient for an office worker with a far-too-short lunch break or a road-tripping family looking for lighter options, most stores' pre-made salad options are underwhelming, to say the least. How appetizing can a wilted Caesar or a soggy-looking southwestern salad really be? Trader Joe's ready-made salad section, on the other hand, boasts a large assortment of fresh, innovative salads that are sure to shake you out of your mid-day slump, and one of the very best options is the lemon chicken and arugula salad.

This flavor-packed meal is inspired by the faraway tastes of Morocco. It begins with nutty red quinoa and a smoky couscous, both of which play well with sweet red currants, fresh mint, and parsley. Arugula's signature peppery bite is tempered by lemony seasoned white chicken, and it's all tied up with a bow in the form of a spicy roasted red pepper dressing. This nutritious, tasty, and quick chicken product takes the palate on a journey in just a matter of minutes. As a bonus, the lemon chicken and arugula salad toppings are separated in individual plastic bags, so if you're not a fan of one particular ingredient, it's easy to leave it out.

White bean chicken chili soup

Trader Joe's seems to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to soup. There aren't an overwhelming number of soup options, but those available tend to be absolutely delicious. Case in point: TJ's white bean chicken chili soup. Nestled somewhere between chicken soup and white chicken chili, this hearty creation marries chicken, white beans, corn, and poblano peppers with a creamy base, accompanied by seasonings like garlic, cumin, cilantro, oregano, cayenne, and a hint of lime juice.

This is an A+ option when you're looking for a quick and easy lunch — it takes under 10 minutes to heat in the microwave or stovetop. There's quite a bit of dairy involved, so those with intolerances may want to steer clear, but on the other hand, you're getting a good bit of vitamins and minerals from those beans and the chicken. Enjoy Trader Joe's white bean chicken chili soup on its own, with a light side salad, or take TJ's suggestion of eating it over baked potatoes for a heartwarming and truly decadent meal.

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.