The Best Trader Joe's Foods That Had Customers Talking in 2022
With all the uncertainty going around the food retail industry for the last few years, Trader Joe's has been unwavering in its mission to provide high-quality products at everyday low prices. Shoppers also love the experience of shopping in person at the neighborhood grocery store. From friendly crew members who greet you at the register to generous policies for samples and returns, every detail is intended to delight the customer—and that includes all of the standout products that are curated for the shelves.
Here are the Trader Joe's items that have had people talking in 2022. These products might be brand-new or veteran on the shelves, but either way, they brought a lot of joy to customers this year.
Crunchy Jalapeño Lime & Onion Seasoning Blend
You've heard of the cult-favorite Everything But The Bagel. And just like that seasoning mix, Trader Joe's lovers have banded together to figure out the myriad ways to use this new summer item and add a zesty, zingy layer of flavor to their dishes.
Reddit users recommended incorporating the TJ's blend of olive oil, dried onions, garlic, jalapeño, and green pepper, salt, and cilantro into ranch dressing to coat chicken wings, in lime crema for fish tacos, and as a marinade for salmon, but the possibilities are really only limited to your imagination.
The spice mix isn't currently available, but based on its popularity, we suspect it'll make a reappearance during the next beach season.
Korean Beefless Bulgogi
Not only are vegans rejoicing at the juicy imitation"fire meat" that Trader Joe's debuted in Aug. 2022, but meat-eaters also sing its praises. Traditionally, marinated in soy sauce, pear, garlic, ginger, sugar, and green onions, this beef-less bulgogi is made with textured soy protein.
And Redditors agree, not only does this deserve a permanent spot in your freezer, it may even be better than the version with real beef. "When I got this yesterday the cashier said she keeps seeing people buy this and wonders if it's any good. I preached about it and it got her excited to try it!" said one user. "I love the taste of beef but I HATE the chew texture. Even properly velveted beef is barely edible for me. This stuff is AMAZING! It melts in your mouth. So good!"
Trader Joe's seems to be building out a hefty portfolio of vegan options, so add this one to the list. To jazz up a basic dinner, you can get this for $4.49 a package.
Blueberry Dream Frozen Dessert Bars
In the heat of summer, nothing tastes better than an ice cream bar made with real, seasonably sweet fruit. Not only can we vouch for the dreaminess of this dessert, but so can all of social media.
Instagram reviewer @traderjoeslist posted about the new frozen treat in June, which garnered over 13,000 likes from fans. "These creamy blueberry bars are a dream come true for your tastebuds," the Instagrammer said. "No natural flavors used here, just 100% flavor from real fruit."
Many were impressed by the novel confection. "OH MY GOSH!!!! The best things ever. Taste better to me [than] my favorite ice cream," commented one person. "My hubby and I are still in shock about how good they are." The only caveat to note – if you don't like a lot of sweetness, you may find these overwhelmingly sugary.
It'll be summer before we know it, and when the season rolls around, we're hoping to see these again in the freezer aisle.
Instant Boba Kit
Boba, a flavored tea drink with chewy tapioca pearls from Taiwan, has become joined the mainstream these past few years. Costco brought boba to the warehouse in March 2022, and in August, Trader Joe's followed suit.
Instagram fans said they saw it flying off shelves shortly after the product dropped. "I see people FLOCKING to buy this," said one person said on Instagram.
Given that just one drink from a boba shop will cost you around $5 alone, this box of four ready-to-make drinks for $5.49 is an easy buy. Plus, it includes a fun and environmentally-friendly paper straw with every packet, so you can capture the full cafe experience at home. Just heat the tapioca, brew your favorite tea or coffee with a milk of your choice, mix in the pearls and brown sugar, and voila! No boba run needed.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
If you've been a fan of this pasta dish during the past few fall seasons since its release, you're in good company. This comfort food combines a blend of cheddar, parmesan, and gouda with butternut squash pureé, garlic and onion powder, mustard seed, and fall spices on top of ridged rigatoni.
Customers are even trying to reconstruct a copycat recipe to tie them over until next fall. On one Reddit user's post about their last box of the pasta, u/johnny_rico69 commented, "Haha I went back to load up and they never got them back in stock. Such a fantastic item. Fall is right around the corner."
Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi
There seems to be no end in sight for the cacio e pepe trend at Trader Joe's. Ever since the grocer hopped on this Italian bandwagon, they've created several hits for this cult obsession, including a versatile sauce, a spaghetti dish, and a cheesy, corn-based snack.
But shoppers were still wowed in July by this addition to the product line. Instagrammer @traderjoeslist posted about it and received nearly 30,000 likes. "We tried it today, the crew LOVED it!" commented one user.
Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones
TJ's keeps releasing new flavors of these beloved mini ice cream cones, so it's a safe bet that they'll make the favorite items list every year. The only question is: which flavor has won shoppers over this time? The return of Pumpkin Ginger this past fall.
The gingerbread waffle cone filled with pumpkin spice ice cream and topped with a white chocolate coating premiered on the official TJ's Instagram in 2017, and many fans since have deemed this mini ice cream combo their favorite, including @traderjoesfoodreviews and Reddit.
In September, a post by one Redditor about the treat was met with comments that this was a popular favorite flavor. One user was even having trouble finding them in stock during the fall season. "I hadn't tried them before and I managed to get the LAST BOX at my store the other day, they're so good!"
As you might suspect, these are no longer available. But there are plenty of other Hold the Cone! varieties to eat while you're waiting for fall to roll around, like this limited edition Peppermint for the holidays.
Kung Pao Chicken
This frozen ready-to-cook version of the Chinese classic dish has been around since at least 2016 at TJ's, but it recently received a lot of attention. Some even say it beats out the Mandarin Orange Chicken, which was named a customer favorite in 2021.
"IMO the kung pao is a much more well-rounded meal that you can eat more often," said one Reddit user on the r/traderjoes subreddit in December. "Orange chicken maybe tastes a bit better but it's also usually way too much and not something I could eat very often."
The package includes four servings of frozen chicken, eggs, soy ginger sauce, vegetables, and peanuts for $5.99.
The love for peri-peri started with Nando's chicken, but people love the spicy sauce so much that Trader Joe's brought it to households last year, with hot fermented chilies, a hint of zesty lemon, garlic, and an extra kick with some chili flakes.
It's been marketed as a "sauce that goes with everything." Perhaps a bold claim, but shoppers agree that it holds up – maybe even better than Nando's.
"My husband is obsessed with this. The first time we tried it, I marinated some chicken breasts in this sauce overnight, grilled it, and used more peri-peri as a dip. Now, he tries to find an excuse to dip anything in it," said one Redditor on an appreciation post for the sauce. "I had him try Nando's and he says he prefers Nando's for chicken but TJ's is a better all arounder."
Whether for marinating meat or for dipping with chips, it's only $3.29 a bottle. Trader Joe's carries it year-round so you can always be equipped—as long as you can handle the heat.
Cilantro Chicken Mini Wontons
In the winter, few things are more comforting than a savory, flavorful soup to warm you up from the inside. These tasty morsels gained the attention of TikTok viewers in March because they were a key ingredient in a quick, simple, and delicious soup hack.
A TikTok video by @kelseysfoodreviews went viral when Trader Joe's fans learned from the creator that combining the chicken wontons with Miso Ginger Broth and frozen vegetables made an affordable 10-minute chicken wonton soup. "Literally so good!! I cook the wontons on the stovetop and then add them into the soup!" said one person.
A package of around 36 bite-sized dumplings costs $2.99. According to the TJ's product page and Reddit, it looks like they may be experiencing some production issues at the moment, so ask your local crew members to see when they might be back in stock.
Unexpected Cheddar Cheese Spread
Remember when Unexpected Cheddar was voted America's favorite Trader Joe's cheese? We do, and lucky for us, the cheese line is expanding. Introduced last September, you can now add all that creamy, crumbly aged Cheddar to your charcuterie board as a dip with this spread.
The cheese is combined with butter and whey. It's just as good as the original, if not more. One Reddit user posted that it was "life changing," and others jumped in to add their ideas for how to use it.
"I picked up this combo today and it's perfect with the pumpkin cran crisps!" said another Redditor, while yet another said: "I put a tablespoon in my Mac and cheese! Delish!"
Even those who'd never tried the original sang its praises. one person commented, "This is heavenly..I've Never had the harder version of this but WOW I'm gonna go buy 3 more lol literally the best product for this month." And it's only $4.99 for the nine-ounce tub. So skip the butter board and try this instead.