18 Trader Joe's Seasoning Blends, Ranked

If you're a weekly (or sometimes multiple days per week) Trader Joe's visitor, then you probably know how extensive the spice and seasonings section of the store is. Even as a professional chef, before starting to work on this story, I didn't realize that there were so many seasoning blends at Trader Joe's — but here we are.

If TJ's has anything, it's range. A wide range. And the brand's proprietary spices and seasoning blends are no exception. From Japan to Cuba, the seasoning blends at Trader Joe's span a wide swath of cuisines and cultures, and also happen to span an extensive flavor spectrum, from delicious to ... well, not.

We test drove 18 Trader Joe's seasoning blends and ranked them in order from worst to best, so you don't have to. We judged each one equally, tasting for truth to form, palatability, and versatility. Use this as a guide to see the must-haves, what's hit-or-miss, and what you can definitely leave to collect dust on the shelf.

18. Cheesy Seasoning Blend

Here we have, it folks: the worst seasoning blend at Trader Joe's. We admittedly went into this taste test a little skeptical, especially when we didn't see any nutritional yeast listed as an ingredient on the bottle on this seasoning blend — which we typically believe to be the best powdered cheese alternative. TJ's Cheesy Seasoning Blend promises the taste of cheddar cheese with a blend of herbs, but instead this leaves an inedible flavor of artificial cheese on the tongue that is hard to shake or mask.

Despite containing familiar ingredients like cheddar cheese and garlic, the overall taste is reminiscent of processed cheese, like Cheez Whiz or those little powdered cheese packets you get at pizza parlors — but much worse. Whether sprinkled on popcorn or pasta, Cheesy Seasoning Blend seems to ruin everything it touches. This one is a big no-go for us.

17. Ketchup Flavored Sprinkle Seasoning Blend

We feel fortunate to report that Trader Joe's Ketchup Flavored Sprinkle is only the second-worst seasoning blend at the grocery chain. But that doesn't do it much justice. This stuff is gross. We mean, like, really gross.

Despite containing familiar ingredients like tomato powder and kosher salt, the overall flavor comes across as synthetic and unpleasantly sweet. For comparison, think of the flavor of Heinz ketchup, then make it taste 100 times more artificial. We tried this on chips and on eggs, and were unable to eat more than two bites of either. This "ketchup" sprinkle completely fails to capture the tangy sweetness of real, classic ketchup. We would absolutely never buy this seasoning again. If you're craving ketchup, just find a bottle of the real thing. 

16. Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend claims to infuse dishes with the flavors of a classic pizza, but honestly, we'd rather get our pizza taste with pizza. With a bland and uninspired flavor profile, this pizza seasoning seems to be completely devoid of character. It tastes like pizza-flavored seltzer water with a bunch of ice left to melt in it, if we can compare it to anything at all.

While it contains traditional pizza ingredients like tomato powder, garlic, and oregano, we can hardly discern any of these flavors at all. We tried this blend by itself, on snacks, and even on some pasta, and none of it seemed to work. We think that if we were to taste this seasoning blend in a blind test, we'd never guess "pizza" as the intended flavor. Stay away and save your money. 

15. Ranch Seasoning Blend

Another one we had some high expectations for was Trader Joe's Ranch Seasoning Blend. Most of us have had ranch powder before, right? It's hard to mess up, being pretty much dehydrated ranch sauce. This blend sounded promising as a mix of herbs, black pepper, and buttermilk flavor powder. From the description, it sounded like the taste of classic ranch dressing in a convenient shaker.

Unfortunately, artificial-tasting dairy powder strikes again. This blend is surprisingly and overbearingly sweet. The "buttermilk flavor powder" ingredient is the only potential culprit imparting an awful flavor in this ranch powder, and we lament it so. Who wants to eat sweet ranch? Gross. We'd like to have a word with the food scientists and taste-testing groups who sent this to the shelves. Leave this one at the store and find another option somewhere else, or just mix up your own homemade ranch powder

14. 21 Seasoning Salute

TJ's answer to Dash and other no-salt seasonings is its 21 Seasoning Salute. And as suggested by the name, there are a ton of spices mixed in here — everything but the kitchen sink, it seems, from orange peel to mustard. With no single ingredient taking the lead, it's hard to say what this seasoning blend tastes like, exactly. The best answer we can come up with is "too much."

While marketed as a no-salt seasoning, the lack of sodium means that the blend is, unfortunately, missing a key flavor component. It simultaneously and paradoxically tastes like way too much and of nothing in particular. We are truly lost as to what we could possibly use this blend in, but nothing but a recipe for pickles comes to mind. Seek out something more focused.

13. Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend

We had high hopes for Trader Joe's Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend. Who doesn't like Mexican street corn? We thought that being in the "Everything But" family would set this blend up for success, but we were wrong. So wrong.

While this blend definitely captures the flavors of elote, it doesn't necessarily taste very good. The reason for this, we found, lies in the unpalatably artificial-tasting cheese flavor that seems to overpower every bite of this stuff. It's convenient to add this to some buttered and mayo-slathered corn — especially compared to grating cheese and adding all the spices yourself — but there's something about a scratch-made elote that just doesn't make the real deal comparable with this seasoning blend. We would leave this one on the shelf.

12. Italian Style Soffritto Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Italian Style Soffritto Seasoning Blend offers a mix of dried minced onions, tomato flakes, garlic, and chili peppers. Here's the thing, though: It's not really Italian soffritto. You can't use this stuff in place of the real thing — as a base for sauces. We're not sure that this is its intended usage, but the labeling does concern us that some might perceive it as such. 

Beyond that, this blend is very chunky, so it would be difficult to add it as a topping or finishing ingredient without getting some large, unpleasant, tough bites of dried bits under your tongue and in your teeth. Blech. Third strike? Something in this blend gives off a really bitter note, and it's a turnoff, sadly.

With all that said, we think the best application for this blend would be for use as a pickling spice, or as an infusing agent for flavoring olive oil. Because of its particle size and flavors, it's hardly suited for anything else.

11. Smoky & Hot Chile Powder

Exactly as it states on the packaging, Trader Joe's Smoky & Hot Chile Powder offers a straightforward blend of chile powder and smoked paprika, delivering a bold, spicy, and smoky flavor profile. While it may lack a ton of complexity on its own, this blend shines when mixed with other spices or ingredients — such as the Salmon Rub or a honey glaze — to create dynamic and more interesting flavor combinations.

While we've used smoked paprika and chile powder together in recipes before, we love that they're blended together in this way. It's a good idea, but hey, we could probably just do it ourselves. For those who would rather not go through all the fuss, it's a good pantry item to add to meats and veggies, or even into some pre-made spice rubs for an extra kick.

10. Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend is made with brown sugar, smoked paprika, and thyme, but it tastes like the emphasis is on brown sugar — this stuff is very sweet, almost to an overpowering point. We don't mind some caramel flavors on our salmon from time to time, but we think it's a little too sweet to use as an all-purpose, everyday rub. That said, the paprika's smokiness adds some complexity to the sweetness of this blend, which hints to us that this product would lend itself well to rubbing on salmon before smoking it.

We found that, under less time-consuming cooking methods like searing or baking, this blend is best accompanied by something spicy to balance the sweetness. We're not totally sold on this stuff, and our bottle will probably last a while, but we're not upset about that.

9. Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend

Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend is Trader Joe's answer to the call of mojo criollo, a classic Cuban marinade made from sour oranges and minced garlic. This dry version of mojo criollo wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. The garlic flavor is good, but it's more or less ruined by the very artificial-tasting citrus ingredients, which we can only accurately describe as like chewing a vitamin C pill.

We really wish this was more reminiscent of the aromatic, sour-sweet-bitter bite of those Caribbean sour oranges, but alas, it was not. We probably wouldn't use this blend for topping our food, but we could potentially use a small amount of it in a marinade with other ingredients. Maybe some fresh citrus juice and sugar would counteract the less-than-authentic flavor. 

8. Onion Salt

Being a savory allium blend, Trader Joe's Onion Salt is like garlic salt, but much better. This particular blend, in spite of its name, actually includes minced onions, garlic, scallions, and chives, which makes it multi-dimensional and much more complex than your run-of-the-mill garlic salt. In fact, we happen to think that this seasoning blend even tastes a bit like ramps — those fleeting spring onions that are fawned over by chefs since the last decade or so.

While TJ's Onion Salt is rather consistent and even complex to a certain extent, this seasoning blend is definitely on the saltier side (hence the name), so use it sparingly — it's certainly possible to overdo it. We think that this stuff is best used in marinades, rubs, or lightly added to dips and dressings. How about an extra allium-y sour cream and onion dip? 

7. Sriracha Sprinkle Seasoning Blend

This next seasoning blend from Trader Joe's brings us well into middle-tier territory — those products we felt were decent and not bad by any means, but not particularly great, either. Trader Joe's Sriracha Sprinkle Seasoning Blend tastes almost identical to the chain's sriracha sauce. We like that it's familiar, but the Trader Joe's version of sriracha is pretty average compared to Sriraja Panich, the original sriracha sauce, and we happen to feel the same about the seasoning.

That said, this blend is a unique way to add the flavor of sriracha to foodstuffs in a situation where you wouldn't want to add moisture — think a seasoning dust for fries, or a spicy addition or a dredge for fried chicken. What we like most about this dry sriracha is that it adds a bit of heat and sweetness without being too intense.

6. Green Goddess Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's surprised us with its Green Goddess Seasoning Blend, which ended up being quite a pleasant one, we must admit. This seasoning is a mix of herbs and spice that tastes pretty on par with the namesake salad dressing. Interestingly enough, the flavor also reminded us vaguely of sour cream and onion chips, but in the best way.

With plenty of garlic, chives, and onion, this blend has a rather refreshing profile that is neither artificial-tasting nor overpowering, but perfect for adding to salads, creamy dips, or even on yogurt (green goddess tzatziki, anybody?). This blend reminded us of spring — all those new vegetables popping up in the garden, waiting to be seasoned with something light and bright. Trader Joe's green goddess seasoning is a pretty versatile addition to any kitchen, good for sprinkling on roasted vegetables or mixing into homemade dressings.

5. Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend

The Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend by Trader Joe's is a savory powerhouse featuring porcini and white button mushrooms — in powdered form, of course. We're a bit weary of condiments claiming to elevate umami, as they can often taste artificial or overpowering, but this mushroom mix has magic (but no, not that kind of mushroom).

We love how much mushroom flavor is packed into this jar. The powdered mushrooms flower on the palate with an earthy umami that is neither overly intense nor lacking in flavor. That said, this seasoning is a little saltier than we expected, and because of how finely it's granulated, it's easy to over-season with it, so use this stuff sparingly. We liked this best on starchy snacks and hearty veggies like green beans and broccoli. Consider mixing this into mashed potatoes or dusting it over the top of a baked potato for a little extra somethin'-somethin'.

4. Aglio Olio Seasoning Blend

Inspired by Italian flavors, Trader Joe's Aglio Olio Seasoning Blend packs a punch with its overtones of garlic and chili flakes. This stuff is intense; we love that the garlic and pepper are so strong and aromatic, but aren't overbearing. After the heat and allium flavors subside, the palate is balanced by the freshness of parsley.

We were honestly surprised by Aglio Olio — it's a lot better than typical "Italian" dry herb seasoning blends we've tasted, and the addition of sea salt helps draw out the flavors of the other ingredients in the blend. We love using this seasoning on starchy things like pasta, potatoes, and corn; as a topping or garnish on snacks like popcorn, crackers, and chips; or even as a pick-me-up for a simple vinaigrette. 

3. Chile Lime Seasoning Blend

Trader Joe's Chile Lime Seasoning Blend strikes a solid balance between heat, tanginess, and sweetness. If you've ever had Tajín — the popular Mexican seasoning blend — this is Trader Joe's proprietary version of it. Combining the kick of chile powder with the zest of lime juice powder, this seasoning adds a layer of high notes to sweet and savory foods alike.

While the lime flavor does come across as slightly artificial-tasting — and therefore cuts down this seasoning's ranking a few notches from the top — it's not a deal-breaking flaw for us. We actually might like this seasoning even more than Tajín because its slight sweetness cuts the sharp acidity and heat. Chile Lime Seasoning Blend goes well with fruits like apple slices, especially when drizzled with honey. 

2. Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

As one of the most beloved fan-favorite Trader Joe's products, Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend captures the essence of an everything bagel within a convenient shaker. It tastes almost exactly like an everything bagel, so we say this seasoning blend succeeds in its mission.

With a harmonious mix of sesame seeds, garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and sea salt, this seasoning's components are all just about the same size and mixed well, so the seasoning tastes consistently the same throughout (unlike some competing brands, such as the version sold among the lineup of Kirkland spices and seasonings at Costco). Whether sprinkled on chips, mixed into creamy dips, or generously added to plain bagels, this seasoning features a consistent flavor and a really nice crunch. The more we eat this stuff, the more stuff we'd like to try it on.

1. Nori Komi Furikake Japanese Multi-Purpose Seasoning

Trader Joe's Nori Komi Furikake Japanese Multi-Purpose Seasoning is by and large our absolute favorite of these 18 seasoning blends. Furikake is a traditional seasoning usually used on rice, fish, and vegetables in Japan. We love the Trader Joe's version for its simplicity but solid execution, combining the savory richness of nori (seaweed) flakes with the nuttiness of sesame seeds.

Unlike many other Trader Joe's seasoning blends, the furikake doesn't try to do too much and thereby get lost in the sauce. Nori Komi Furikake balances the bold flavors of seaweed and sesame with just the right amount of salt and kelp powder, which helps enhance its already aromatic and umami-rich taste. Though the flavors are bold, it's a rather forgiving blend, so don't worry about sprinkling a little more than you originally intended. Try this stuff on anything from white rice, fish, and eggs to popcorn and chips.


In our evaluation of Trader Joe's seasoning blends, we applied a systematic approach, focusing on three primary criteria: truth to form, palatability, and versatility. We began by assessing how accurately each blend represented the flavor profile advertised on the bottle. This involved scrutinizing taste, aroma, and overall fidelity to the blend's intended flavors. Did it surprise us? If so, was the surprise good or bad? If not, were we satisfied anyway?

We then judged each blend's palatability blend to determine its overall deliciousness, taking into account factors such as flavor balance, intensity, and any discernible unpleasant tastes. We learned that, unfortunately, cheese, ranch, and pizza are difficult for Trader Joe's to replicate in a powder; bagels and mushrooms, however, were not.

Finally, we explored the versatility of each blend by testing it on a variety of foods, particularly starches like chips and fries. This allowed us to assess how well each blend complemented and enhanced different basic, neutral foodstuffs. We thought it important to taste each blend by itself and then on a vehicle for the flavor, in order to ascertain both the theory and practice of each seasoning.