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Shoppers Say This is Their Favorite Trader Joe's Item

The winners of the Customer Choice Awards are finally being unveiled.

Trader Joe's began selling groceries in 1967, and every store now stocks about 4,000 items. During the grocery store chain's 55 years in business, fans have never hesitated to make their favorite items known.

For the 13th year in a row, TJ's asked customers to crown the top products on its shelves. After thousands of shoppers answered the call to vote online, the winners of the latest Customer Choice Awards are finally being unveiled. Read on to discover the first-place finisher in the "Favorite Overall" category, as well as which items nearly snagged the coveted title.

Related: 6 Things You'll See at Costco This Year

The runners-up are…

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

Even though this seasonal item was brand new in fall 2021, it squashed the competition to finish as one of the runners-up in this coveted category. The dish stars butternut squash purée and rigatoni pasta, a tube-shaped pasta that can really hold sauce. It also features a blend of béchamel, cheddar, gouda, and parmesan.

This frozen pick isn't available right now, but it will likely return to shelves later this year, thanks to its newly-minted star status.

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Blend

trader joes everything but the bagel seasoning
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

The spice section at Trader Joe's is continuing to grow. New releases that hit store shelves last year included the Cheesy Seasoning Blend, Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic, and Za'atar.

Though you can easily make your own version at home with only six ingredients, TJ's shoppers never fail to vote the Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Blend as one of their favorites. It's the OG for a reason.

Unexpected Cheddar

This is another beloved item that inevitably winds up on the annual list of favorite overall products at the Trader Joe's Customer Choice Awards.

Unexpected Cheddar starts off tasting like regular ol' cheddar. "And then something unexpected happens," Trader Joe's says. "The smooth creaminess of the Cheddar gives way to a tangy flavor and slightly crumbly texture, a subtle hint of salt crystallization is discovered, and it begins to taste like an aged Parmesan." 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are another usual suspect on the Customer's Choice Awards finalists list, thanks to their creamy and sweet peanut butter filling. They come in 16-ounce tubs, as well as smaller bags sold near the checkout—both of which you may find impossible to resist. 

While these old favorites remain as popular as ever, the grocery chain is constantly launching new items. Here are the 5 Healthiest New Trader Joe's Foods, According to Dietitians.

And the winner is…

Mandarin Orange Chicken

trader joes mandarin orange chicken
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

Once again, shoppers have voted the Mandarin Orange Chicken frozen meal as their #1 favorite overall Trader Joe's item. According to the retailer, there are two ways to cook this dish: in the microwave or the oven. Serving it with some rice and vegetables makes it "a complete meal that doesn't take much time to prepare, and delivers big flavors at a small price."

Clearly, shoppers agree, as the $4.99 chicken covered in crispy breading and coated with a sweet and spicy orange sauce continues to outpace the pack.

Whether this item is already a permanent fixture on your shopping list or you're newly curious to give it a try, here are 5 healthy dinners you can make with just one bag of Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda