30 Trader Joe's Holiday Items, Ranked

The holiday season is always the best time of year (apologies to the Grinch). And Trader Joe's knows how to make it that much better with its extensive seasonal offerings. If you're a TJ's super fan, we're sure you're familiar with the chain's beloved Jingle Jangle, peppermint chocolate goodies, and spiced savory snacks. But this year, Trader Joe's has rolled out some new holiday items along with those classic favs.

From sparkling drinks for toasting the New Year to gingerbread flavored, well, everything, Trader Joe's has you covered. Though it might require a quick fact-check of your local Trader Joe's website to see which items are currently in stock (and a phone call to ask when they're being restocked) that little extra bit of effort has huge payoffs when you realize just how tasty many of these treats are. We went ahead and sampled a wide variety of Trader Joe's holiday foods and beverages and ranked them so that you know which items to snatch up and which ones to avoid.

30. Vegan Gingerbread Loaf

Truth be told, we had high hopes for this one. We've tried other vegan items at Trader Joe's that have been amazing, and expected this Vegan Gingerbread Loaf to follow suit. Don't get us wrong — this bread was moist, bouncy, and had all the makings of an amazing gingerbread, but the ginger flavor in this was ridiculously overwhelming.

Similar to the Gingerbread Oat Latte which was part of the Trader Joe's Thanksgiving lineup, the ginger flavor in this wasn't holly or jolly — it was very abrasive on the tongue, making this item land in the bottom spot on the list.

29. Dark Chocolate Orange

Trader Joe's is known for adding unique twists on familiar favorites, but the Dark Chocolate Orange is essentially a rip-off with any innovation. It's just like the iconic Terry's Chocolate Orange with the chocolate being shaped like an orange and the ability to easily pull out the "slices" of chocolate, only TJ's version is a far inferior product. We found the combination of citrus and cocoa flavors in this quite awful. Something about it didn't quite balance right, and we don't know if we just got a bad apple (um, orange), but this product was pretty gross. Save your money and try one of the many, many other chocolate items available at the chain.

28. Minty Flavored Cocoa Truffles

We were not loving these. Trader Joe's Minty Cocoa Truffles taste just as advertised, and they're frankly kind of boring when compared to the exciting new flavor combinations many of the other items offer. With a plethora (literally, so many) of mint chocolate items to choose from this season at Trader Joe's, these just happen to be at the bottom of the bunch of ones we tried. The exterior is very messy and you'll probably get chocolate powder everywhere. The texture was one-dimensional and very rich — a bit too rich for our taste.

27. A Trio Of Almonds

A Trio of Almonds is a tin filled with, you guessed it, three flavors of almonds. While we enjoyed the sweet and extra crunchy sesame honey almonds, the other two options were lacking. The toasted and salted almonds were rather boring and needed more salt while the caramel coffee almonds were quite possibly the worst-tasting item we tried in this whole list. Unless you really, really love almonds or are just morbidly curious about these flavors, don't waste your money on this trio.

26. Maple Cranberry Orange Spread

Trader Joe's Maple Cranberry Orange Spread suffered from a lack of balance. The maple flavoring completely overwhelmed the spread, and while we could taste a hint of orange, the cranberry flavor just got lost in the mix. We did, however, enjoy the consistency, which reminded us of jam. This would work well paired with an English muffin, but unless you're a huge maple fan, it's best to opt for another spread.  

25. Mini Peppermint Meringues

These Mini Peppermint Meringues were like peppermint-flavored air. We enjoyed them, but like most meringues in general, we found them a bit lacking in substance. If you enjoy meringues, you are sure to enjoy these, but if you're not a superfan of the crunchy and chewy cookie, you'll likely find yourself wishing there was more of a peppermint flavor happening, as well as more substance to the bite. Though Trader Joe's insists that these will "melt in your mouth," they pretty much evaporated the second the cookies hit our tongue.

24. Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix

The good parts of this Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix: The instructions are easy to follow and it requires very few ingredients added to make the final product. The less good parts of this Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix: The gingerbread flavor is so overpowering you can barely eat it. As we found with the premade Vegan Gingerbread Loaf, too much gingerbread flavor results in an almost acidic taste in your mouth. It's not a fun time.

23. White Truffle Popcorn

If you've tried any of the truffle snack items from Trader Joe's in the past, you'll probably have an idea of what we're about to say. This popcorn is ridiculously truffle-flavored. Now, we enjoy the flavor of that pricey fungus and think it's delightful when conservatively applied, but that's not the case here. However, our opinion of this item may not be shared with Trader Joe's diehards, as the first time we attempted to acquire the item it was sold out. The popcorn was well-popped and we didn't find any burnt pieces, we just wish there was some salt or another spice in here to balance out the truffle. The flavor is so strong that you can only have a few pieces of White Truffle Popcorn before you need to put the bag down.

22. Gingerbread Ice Cream

Can you tell we're not the biggest fans of gingerbread? We think it's okay, and we enjoy it when balanced well with complementary flavors, but on its own in large quantities we find it to be abrasive. This Gingerbread Ice Cream is perfectly fine — not horrible but not outstanding. We enjoyed the chunks of gingerbread cookies in the ice cream and thought they added some nice texture and variety to an otherwise plain flavor. Overall we wouldn't go out of our way to find this ice cream flavor unless, perhaps, we had a nice slice of apple pie to pair with it.

21. Decked Out Tree Cookies

If you like sugar cookies, you'll enjoy these festive treats. We think the decoration of the icing is beautiful and these cookies look very festive. The flavor was also your standard sugar cookie; nothing new or unique. Sometimes the basics are the basics for a reason, and that is evident with the  Decked Out Tree Cookies. There's nothing inherently bad about them at all. They just ranked this low because, frankly, they failed to make much of an impact flavor-wise. If you need some cookies to bring to a holiday party and you want to avoid potential nut allergies, these would be a good pick.

20. English Toffee With Nuts

More of a biscuit than toffee (or maybe we've just had really sticky toffee in the past), this English Toffee With Nuts pleasantly surprised us. We appreciated the nice crunch with each bite, and while the flavor was enjoyable, it could have benefited from a touch of salt.  Even though the crushed almonds on the exterior attempted to provide a bit of relief from the hardcore sweetness, the sugar was still too intense. If you're a toffee lover with a sweet tooth you'll probably enjoy this tin, but otherwise, we think there are better dessert items to spend your money on at Trader Joe's.

19. Winter Wassail Punch

This holiday classic reminded us of the fruit punch we'd have as a kid. The ruby red beverage offers a lot of flavors working in harmony, including apple juice, black currant juice, lemon juice, and a variety of spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and even orange peel. The combination worked well, though, as we found all the flavors coming together in a delicious fruit juice concoction. The Winter Wassail Punch was good, but a little goes a long way. If you're inviting some friends over for a holiday get-together consider heating up a batch and spiking it with some rum or bourbon.

18. Hot Cocoa Ornaments

The perfect stocking stuffer, Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Ornaments make giving hot chocolate to your friends and family that much easier. We thoroughly enjoyed the mini marshmallows that are included in this pack, but the hot chocolate itself isn't anything we haven't had before. We will say, though, that the fact you could just dunk the entire outer shell (minus the plastic) right in your warm milk made it very user-friendly. We also enjoyed the subtle mint flavor here, which makes this a good option if you're not in the mood for the intensity of TJ's Peppermint Hot Chocolate, but still want a bit of that flavor. The packaging and concept are creative, but the standard hot chocolate flavor (even with the whisper of mint) was a bit underwhelming.

17. Mini Hold The Cone! Peppermint Flavored

We do love a good pun, and Trader Joe's sure knows how to dish them out in the form of product names. Mini Hold the Cone! is a long-time TJ's favorite and this holiday version is among the best versions. The mini scoop of peppermint-flavored ice cream in a tiny chocolate cone is a wonderful bite-sized dessert. It's minty and refreshing, even in the cold winter. We also enjoyed the surprise morsel of chocolate that awaits at the bottom of the cone. But, like a lot of the other items in the middle of this list, it didn't blow us out of the water.

16. Decorate Your Own Holiday Ornaments Cookie Kit

Perfect for little kids or people looking to heal their inner child, this Holiday Ornaments Cookie Kit combines crafts with snacks, and we like that concept. The kit comes with sugar cookies in various holiday shapes like presents and Christmas trees, three icing colors, and two sprinkle packs. To our delight, we thought the sugar cookies were delicious and not hard or stale as they tend to be in many other cookie decorating kits. This kit got points for creativity and execution, but other than that it didn't blow us away on the flavor front like some of the other items on this list.

15. Quite Possibly The World's Largest Fusilli

Trader Joe's sure loves its adjectives in product names, alright. The Quite Possibly The World's Largest Fusilli (yes, that's really the name), is certainly eye-catching, and thankfully, not merely a novelty act. This popular type of pasta, even in giant form, is very tasty, easy to cook, and a great vehicle for your favorite sauce from pesto to creamy vodka, but beyond the size, there's nothing new or exciting going on with this macaroni.  

14. Dark Chocolate Covered Minty Mallows

Many things are dark chocolate-covered this holiday season at Trader Joe's, and we're not complaining. These Dark Chocolate Covered Minty Mallows are essentially square marshmallows covered in a hard layer of dark chocolate, and we love them. While these are enjoyable on their own, they're even better as an add-on to other amazing items. Consider these for a decadent hot chocolate topper or as a filling the next time you prepare a batch of s'mores (yum, imagine the extra chocolate goodness). 

13. Winter Wake Up Tea

More of a sleepy tea than a Winter Wake Up Tea (in our opinion) we thoroughly this hot sippsr. We found the flavors to be exciting and fresh, with notes of cinnamon at the forefront. One downside for us, though, was that we were confused why each tea bag had to be individually wrapped in plastic. Overall, this was an above average tea most people would enjoy, but it wasn't the unique specialty item we tend to prefer when we're shopping at Trader Joe's.

12. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Two of our favorite flavors, what could be better? The Peppermint Hot Chocolate is a holiday classic in our opinion, and this one is really customizable. Coming in a metal tin, you can add virtually anything you want to this minty hot chocolate. Marshmallows, or more specifically, the Dark Chocolate Covered Minty Mallows (now there's an idea), would be an excellent topper and we'd suggest a touch of cinnamon to spice things up. Though this is a step above your standard peppermint hot chocolate, don't expect anything too special.

11. Sugar Plum Sparkling Beverage

If your familiarity with sugar plums is exclusively through stories you've heard and not in your actual real life, you're missing out. While not for everybody, we think Trader Joe's has done a solid job of taking this underused holiday flavor and transforming it into this Sparkling Sugar Plum Beverage. The combination of sparkling water, plum juice, and white grape concentrates impresses. Even if you've tried grape juice before and are thinking this product sounds similar, fear not. We found that the carbonation and plum juice balanced well with the white grape concentrate, so it doesn't taste like your standard glass of Welch's. It's actually quite sweet, a bit fruity, and an overall enjoyable drink. 

10. Jingle Jangle Pretzel Twists

Jingle Jangle fiends, welcome to your new favorite dessert/snack. The Jingle Jangle Pretzel Twists are some of the most interesting flavored pretzels we've ever come across. Jingle Jangle, if you're unfamiliar, is a hearty combination of crushed Joe-Joe's (chocolate sandwich cookies bits akin to Oreos), mini chocolate candy bits, a coating of peanut butter goodness, and this time, the geniuses at TJ's put that all on a hard pretzel twist, making this the ultimate sweet and savory item. We loved it, as far as pretzels go, but it didn't wow us enough to make it any higher on the list.

9. Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's

Ah, the Joe-Joe's. The chocolate sandwich cookie (think of an Oreo) covered in a blanket of chocolate is a quintessential Trader Joe's item beloved by many. This concept allows Trader Joe's to make many different-flavored iterations of the classic Joe Joe's, including the seasonal Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's. We appreciated the strong peppermint flavor and thought it balanced well with the dark chocolate, and we loved the crunch the cookie on the inside brought. As much as we loved the outstanding flavors we just thought these were a little messy and hard to eat so be sure to grab a napkin.  

8. Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Almonds

They're almonds, they're covered in candy cane bits and white chocolate, and they're delicious. What else can we say? No, really, these Candy Cane Covered Chocolate Almonds are as straightforward as they sound, and we appreciate that. This is the perfect snack (ahem, dessert?) to pop in your mouth for a burst of seasonal peppermint flavor, and they're so good you may find your hand drifting toward the container unbeknownst to you for more. These bite-sized treats are good, simple, and well-executed.

7. And The Astounding Multi Flavor Joe Joe's Chocolate Enrobed Sandwich Cookies

The Astounding Multi-Flavor Joe-Joe's are aptly named in our opinion because we were astounded at the incredible flavors, variety, and just how many cookies fit into the tin. The package includes the Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's, Vanilla Ginger (not too heavy on the ginger flavor, thankfully), Double Chocolate (a basic for a reason), and Peanut Butter (reminds us of Girl Scouts' Peanut Butter Patties). If you're a Joe-Joe's fanatic, go ahead and pick these up. 

6. Apple & Pumpkin Hand Pies

If you're a fan of the warm pumpkin pies you can get at McDonald's, your mind is going to be blown with these Apple & Pumpkin Hand Pies. Perfect as a breakfast pastry before setting out on a cold winter day, or even better warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire after dinner, these tasty treats blew us away. The balance of the apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, and spices is ideal. We also appreciated the soft (but not chewy) crust and the easy handheld shape. We think you'll love them as much as we did.

5. Mini Chocolate Mousse Desserts

We're not sure about you, but one of our family traditions on Christmas Eve each year is to end the meal off with chocolate mousse. So when we saw these Mini Chocolate Mousse Desserts in the frozen section in Trader Joe's, we jumped at the chance to try them (and mentally compare them to our own mousse we have each year). Luckily, these bite-sized desserts are a winner in our book. The packaging style of these makes them mess-free and easy to pop out, and you can eat them either as a frozen ice cream-esque dessert, or follow the instructions and let them thaw for two hours before eating. 

4. Whole Colossal Kalamata Olives

Compared to the inventiveness and unexpected flavor combinations of many of the other items on the list, you may be wondering why Whole Colossal Kalamata Olives made it this high up in our ranking. Simply put: They're delicious. These olives sit in a vinegar marinade with various spices, and the result is just straight-up magic. The only pitfall of these guys is the fact they're not pitted, so be warned before you pop one in your mouth.

3. Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Beverage

When we opened this drink, we weren't sure what to expect. Would it be more of a juice, a soda, a seltzer, or something we've never even tried before? Well, we're happy to report that the Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Beverage is delicious with the tart pomegranate notes balancing wonderfully with the kick of sweetness. It reminds us of a White Claw (albeit a non-alcoholic one, though you can always spike it).  Sipping on the cute 8.45-ounce can of this sparkling juice is a great alternative if you're sober or want to slow down on the drinking for the night.

2. O'Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage

Even if you've disliked previous egg nogs you've tried in the past, you have to give this one a try (seriously, it's that good). This O'Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage made us non-nog lovers fall head over heels for the drink. Because this product is non-dairy, it makes it the perfect beverage to bring to that holiday party where you know some people are lactose intolerant. Plus, the cinnamon and spice flavors in this blend perfectly with the creamy oat milk, and you'll be coming back for a second glass. It's tasty on its own, but adding a shot of bourbon, brandy, or rum wouldn't hurt.  

1. Traditional Latkes Potato Pancakes

Obviously, nothing beats homemade latkes, but Trader Joe's Traditional Latkes Potato Pancakes come pretty darn close. Easy to make, quick to cook, and with a delicious outcome, it's everything you'd want in a Trader Joe's product. These rank at the very top of the list because we could eat about 100 of them. These potato pancakes are warm, flavorful, and the perfect savory balance to all those sweets you'll be having this winter. If you need a cooking reprieve during one of the eight Hannukah nights, grab a box of these.