Trader Joe's isn't just a supermarket. It's a lifestyle. And while the national chain is beloved for so many of its signature items like Cauliflower Gnocchi and Speculoos Cookie Butter, there are a few seasonal specials and consistently hard-to-find unicorns that avid Trader Joe's shoppers can't get enough of. These products are so coveted, in fact, that sometimes the store has to put strict limits on the number of items that you can buy.
Thanks to Trader Joe's prevalence and popularity, entire online communities on Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are dedicated to sharing shoppers' love and enthusiasm for certain items—many of which can be tricky to source. Tips on restocking, when to hoard, when to be polite, and what's worth dedicating freezer space to before it's too late keeps Trader Joe's fans on the forums. And that's just the beginning.
Plenty of shoppers have their own methods of grazing through the grocery store, be it starting in the frozen section to search for a rare but excellent staple item or zipping through the cookie aisle to try and exhibit some self control while grabbing a favorite treat.
Ready to join the ranks of Trader Joe's obsessives? Put down the Fearless Flyer, pack up your reusable shopping totes, and head to your local Trader Joe's to stock up on the most popular items that have shoppers screaming, crying, and overfilling their red carts.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
There may be no better flavor combo known to humankind than chocolate and peanut butter, and naturally Trader Joe's does it right. These dark chocolate peanut butter cups come in both plastic containers and smaller bags, and once snackers open their pack, well, it's hard to stop. At $4.49 for 16 oz, it's a small price to pay for true bliss. "I just cannot have them in my house and not finish them in the span of 3 days," wrote one fan on Reddit. "They're so damn good!!!!!"
Tiniest Chocolate Chip Cookies
What is it about micro desserts that makes them so appealing? Whatever it is, Trader Joe's nails it with its tiniest chocolate chip cookies, a Reddit-approved favorite to eat by the fistful. Made with butter and almost as small as a standard chocolate chip, these cookies are very easy to snack on. They can be served in milk like cereal, scattered across a frosted treat like sprinkles, mixed with pretzels and nuts to create a snack mix, and enjoyed in so many ways. "These are unbelievably good for something so small," raved one fan on Reddit. "I could eat 3 bags in a day if they weren't horrible for you."
The first stop in the frozen aisle for many, Trader Joe's kimbap is a next-level, ready-to-eat microwaveable sensation. In fact, the packaged kimbap is such a hot-ticket item that some stores have had to put limits on how many of these each customer can buy. The plant-based dish has wide appeal, wrapping sautéed greens, crunchy root vegetables, and crisp pickles around a base of braised tofu, all with seasoned rice and seaweed. "I saw it in my store today for the first time so I grabbed two," one shopper wrote recently on Reddit. "I had one for lunch and it is sooo delicious."
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
The first sign of fall to many, Trader Joe's frozen butternut squash mac and cheese is an autumn-only pasta dish that brings shoppers flocking into the store to stock up. The dish blends three types of cheese—gouda, cheddar and parmesan—into an orange cheese sauce with squash, all to coat mezzi rigatoni noodles. It's a bit more sophisticated than the standard frozen mac and cheese, but just as comforting.
"My store didn't have a limit but I limited myself to 3 boxes…it's so dangerous in our household," wrote one fan on Reddit. "Kids would eat this every day if they could so each kid only gets one box and one for me."
Mini Almost Everything Bagel Sandwich Crackers
They're cute! They're crunchy! They're crisp, salty, and sandwiched with shelf-stable cream cheese that has you reaching back in the box for more. Redditors 100% get the hype about these often sold-out crackers, which echo the popularity of Trader Joe's beloved Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning. "I tried them in the car in the parking lot and I told my boyfriend we should've got two boxes," raved one satisfied customer.
Shrimp Pouches of Many Colors
New to Trader Joe's this fall, these colorful shrimp dumplings are somewhat polarizing, but quite quite beloved by those who can't get enough of the dim sum. The colorful wrappers are certainly a draw, and the versatility of these steamed dumplings—dunk them in sauce, add them to soup, fry the bottoms to crisp them up—keeps them constantly in rotation in their fans' carts and freezers. "It's absolutely nuts how good these are," raved one fan on Reddit.
The humble potato really levels up in Trader Joe's hashbrowns. A known shortage in the freezer aisle earlier this year showed just how feral shoppers are when they see these in stock. Sold 10 to a pack, these popular potato patties can be easily heated up to feed a crowd. Fans say they're especially good in the air fryer. "They get sooo crispy, they're perfect," wrote one Reddit user.
Fried Olive Bites
Easily disguisable as a pricey appetizer from a trendy wine bar, these frozen fried olive bites are reason enough to throw a party when they return to the shop during peak entertaining season, the holidays. The breaded Calestravano olives are stuffed with kalamata olive pieces and cheese. Fans stock up when they're available, as they're known to disappear. "I also am checking on a weekly basis for the fried olives," one Redditor wrote recently. "These are soooo good with a cold beer," added another.
Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Quiche
An oldie but a goodie, this broccoli and cheese quiche is a TJ's staple and the staple of many meal plans across America. When it briefly disappeared from the freezer aisle, fans were outraged, but luckily the beloved dish is back. The crust is buttery and crumbly, the filling is fluffy, cheese and full of greens. There's so much to love with this dish. "Absolutely one of their classics," wrote one fan recently. "Just as good as it ever was," added another.
Pretzel Bread Pudding
Some of Trader Joe's strongest dishes are the hybrids, like this bread pudding made of soft pretzels that has Reddit going wild. "This is so dangerous!" wrote one fan recently. "The sound that came out of me when I took the first bite was embarrassing." The single-serving cups are topped with salted caramel sauce and can be baked individually for a personal gooey, indulgent dessert. Top with whipped cream and crushed pretzels for a gourmet flare.
A true 10/10 among many superfans, these frozen croissants taste like they're straight out of a boulangerie. The uncooked pastry defrosts on a countertop overnight, proofs until puffy, and then goes into the oven or air fryer to crisp up. The croissant is butter and delicately layered, the rich chocolate in the middle is perfectly melty. It's no wonder why shoppers hoard these from the freezer section. Chocolate lovers are also very into the double chocolate croissants.