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The Best & Worst Pumpkin-Flavored Food Items at Your Grocery Store

We put our taste buds to the test and tried all the pumpkin products we could find. Here's what we loved—and what we'd leave behind.
The Best & Worst Pumpkin-Flavored Food Items at Your Grocery StoreAnn Marie Langrehr

It's finally sweater weather and you know what that means: Pumpkin everything! The kick-off of fall usually means dusting off your favorite cardigan and stopping by Starbucks for the Pumpkin Spice Latte or a Pumpkin Cold Brew. What it also means is that big brands want you to get in the seasonal spirit by adding a pumpkin twist to your normal groceries going into your cart. But just how good though can some of those pumpkin-flavored food options really be?

We took to our local grocery stores to see what products were stocked on the shelves that had a fall twist. We came up with a list of 21 different pumpkin-flavored food items to put to the test.

How We Graded Them

List checkmark boxes Shutterstock

Our pumpkin loving team members were very excited about this taste test. We also had a handful of non-pumpkin lovers on the taste test to see what products actually shine with a pumpkin twist. We wanted the pumpkin flavor to come through without overpowering the original product we were trying.

Ideally, if you closed your eyes and ate the product, you would want it to feel like fall and taste more like a pumpkin than just cinnamon. We tried everything from cheesecake, to tortilla chips, to cold brew, to cereal. And this is what we thought was the best pumpkin-flavored food you have to try.

The pumpkin-flavored foods we tried, in alphabetical order, included:

  • BelVita Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Biscuits
  • Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee
  • Chobani Greek Yogurt Pumpkin & Spice
  • Entenmann's Pumpkin Loaf Cake
  • La Fermière Pumpkin Spice Yogurt
  • LÄRABAR® Pumpkin Pie
  • Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread
  • Thomas'® Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice English Muffins
  • Trader Joe's Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
  • Trader Joe's Organic Frosted Toaster Pastries: Pumpkin
  • Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bagels
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bisque
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ginger Hold The Cone!
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's Cereal
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin Spice Icing
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Tortilla Chips
  • Trader Joe's This Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar… Cereal Bars

See what we thought made it feel like fall, ranked from best-tasting to worst-tasting pumpkin-flavored foods.

First, our favorites…

10

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

trader joes pumpkin tortilla chips

These were fun to try. We didn't think there would be something like pumpkin tortilla chips, but Trader Joe's did it again. If you're more of a salty snack connoisseur, these could be your next go-to snack.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Some of our editors thought these chips didn't have enough pumpkin punch to them. One editor, however, wrote that they "really enjoyed these. I enjoyed tasting pumpkin in a light savory way with a salty crunch."

One taster argued that these "didn't taste like pumpkin, but these were high-quality tortilla chips." Another said the pumpkin was "virtually nonexistent until the aftertaste."

Overall these had a "nice faint pumpkin smell and a very subtle pumpkin flavor. These would be great with salsa."

9

BelVita Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Biscuits

belvita pumpkin spice breakfast biscuits

BelVita is a great morning breakfast option. These are filling and we love that this brand brought out a fall flavor to let us try. We were very excited to try these in hopes of a perfect pumpkin crunchy snack.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Sadly, the pumpkin we were hoping to get was a tad underwhelming. Some loved these bars because the pumpkin flavoring was subtle. One editor said, "I am a big fan of belVita bars and I think the graham cracker taste mixed with subtle pumpkin spice blend harmoniously here."

But some disagreed saying there was, "no pumpkin flavor. This just tasted like a cinnamon crisp." Another said this just "tasted like a very bland graham cracker."

There is nothing wrong with belVita bars, we just wanted more pumpkin to scream at us. Most of the comments just talked about the lack of flavor. It's a "solid cookie" but you "can't taste the pumpkin flavor at all. Just tastes like a regular belVita."

8

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bisque

trader joes pumpkin bisque

There's nothing better than a hot bowl of soup in the fall. Usually, one orders a butternut squash version, but Trader Joe's takes things up a notch by giving us a perfect fall option of pumpkin.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The flavors in this were surprisingly delicious. Some were a bit hesitant to try it, but the sweet and savory mix in this jar were very pleasant. One editor said, "I love this bisque. It's wonderful, and it takes the quintessential pumpkin flavor to a sophisticated level. Brilliant texture too."

Another just said, "yum! A delicious savory pumpkin product. Give me more!" But a different taster wrote that "the texture is soothing, but butternut squash has better flavor." Fair argument, but for a pumpkin twist, this was a decent crowd-pleaser.

Some thought this "tasted more like sweet curry than pumpkin … but good." Others said they were "barely getting any of the pumpkin flavor." This had "very present spices, just not very pumpkin-y. It was a nice soup though," one taster wrote. Considering we served this cold, this was good to hear.

7

Trader Joe's This Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar… Cereal Bars

trader joes pumpkin cereal bars

These Nutrigrain look-alikes had us excited. We were hoping the gooey middle would be pumpkin perfection and give us the perfect grab and go breakfast/snack for fall.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

We were pleasantly surprised by these Trader Joe's cereal bars. Although, we don't know why they're called cereal bars, because these were soft and chewy. Fortunately, some thought these were delicious. These brought back nostalgia for some editors, with one saying the box "reminds me of Nutrigrain Bars I used to eat in elementary school." However,  that taster thought that "the pumpkin flavor was a bit too overbearing to enjoy."

Others loved the pumpkin filling. One editor said these had "really great pumpkin flavor–definitely would buy these." Another said these were "yummy! The pumpkin flavoring is just right. I'm a fan."

Some weren't huge fans, saying the "pumpkin filling has a too-sweet flavor and an almost medicinal aftertaste." Another said, "Tthe filling tastes like fake orange to me (like a basic Nutrigrain Bar)." But others thought "the pumpkin spice flavor creeps up on you last-minute, but pleasantly stays forever."

6

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

trader joes pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds

Can you get any more pumpkin than pumpkin-flavored pumpkin seeds? These weren't the traditional white pumpkin seeds you get when you carve your own pumpkin, but we were excited to try this bag that we found at Trader Joe's.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Some of our testers liked these but others thought these "just tasted like basic nuts." One editor argued that these, "had pumpkin flavor and even though I'm not a seed fan I can say the fall flavors were certainly there."

Others were surprised by these, saying they "didn't think these would be that good, but the spiced flavor actually makes them addictive—so good!" Another said these were "addictive. The perfect combo of sugar, salt, and crunchiness."

We loved these thinking these had a "great pumpkin/sugary flavor. One editor said they would "snack all day all fall long on these." We just liked the sweeter products more.

5

Trader Joe's Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli

trader joes honey roasted pumpkin ravioli Ann Marie Langrehr

OK, pumpkin ravioli threw us off too. But these were the dark horse among our products. These precooked ravioli came in a perfect dinner for 2-pack. We were eager to see just what a pumpkin stuffed pasta would bring to the table.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The noodles were soft but just the right amount of al dente. Right off the bat thought we had "many questions. First being why put pumpkin spice in ravioli." Our comments began with the idea that these "tasted like pumpkin pie with pasta as the crust." Maybe an uncooked crust? These were odd but also displayed a perfect pumpkin taste. One editor thought this was a "pleasant surprise! The filling is equatable to pumpkin pie–so smooth."

These had a delicious "savory pumpkin flavor" on the inside but had a "very unappealing color" on the outside. We couldn't get the pie idea out of our heads after one person said it. One last editor said, "These tasted like a pumpkin pie in a ravioli. Just a tad offputting."

4

Thomas' Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice English Muffins‎

thomas pumpkin spice english muffins

We love a good breakfast option. These English muffins with a pumpkin spice twist were crowd-pleasers right off the bat. Thomas' is normally a go-to bread brand, so we were very excited to see if these would give us pumpkin without washing out the delicious flavors of a thick and wheat-like English muffin.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Most of our testers loved these. One editor started off by saying these were "better than a plain English muffin." They thought that these English muffins had a "slight pumpkin taste. Not overwhelming at all."

For the most part, we all agreed that these "definitely had the original Thomas' consistency, but with way more flavor." We just weren't sure if the flavor really was very pumpkin-like. However, this product had a "great texture and would be perfect toasted with butter" slathered on top. We just didn't rank these higher because there was "not much pumpkin flavor."

3

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ginger Hold The Cone!

trader joes pumpkin ginger ice cream cones

Three words. Pumpkin ice cream. We were very excited to try these pumpkin ginger cones from Trader Joe's. A little hesitant that the ginger was going to be the star of the show here, but our testers loved the mix of the two so much these landed a #3 spot on our list.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

One editor said "I loved these! These are very good and the ginger doesn't overpower the pumpkin undertones." Another wrote, "So tasty! I thought the ice cream was creamy and the spice was pleasant. The pumpkin flavor was prominent and not overbearing."

Others who wanted more pumpkin out of these snack-sized cones disagreed. One editor stated, "The ginger is the overwhelming flavor–not the pumpkin. Still very good ice cream size and taste though!" Another thought these were, "super sweet. Great ginger flavor. Just not enough pumpkin. These would be a great dessert option and a great size for a sugary sweet snack."

Overall we thought these cones tasted a little too much more like ginger than pumpkin. In the words of one taster, these cones were "delicious but not the best pumpkin product."

2

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin Spice Icing

trader joes pumpkin rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a classic delicious breakfast treat. So when we saw a pumpkin version from Trader Joe's to enjoy on a crisp fall morning, we had to try it. Our tasters seemed to love them since these ended up #2 on our list.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

These were a little softer than normal cinnamon rolls. They were even left in the oven longer than the preferred time. The moist pumpkin flavoring shined throughout each spiral insides of the rolls. One editor couldn't get enough, saying, "Oh my. These are heavenly. I love how soft the cinnamon roll is. The icing really makes it. Perfect fall morning breakfast." After the taste test was done these were snagged almost immediately for someone to finish.

What kept it from landing the #1 spot? Not enough hints of pumpkin. One editor stated that the roll "doesn't taste like pumpkin spice. It tastes more like an egg roll with brown sugar icing." Another said these were "tasty but no pumpkin flavor."

But one thought the others were wrong about what was missing here, stating, "These definitely have the pumpkin flavor, but lack in typical cinnamon roll consistency." Another said, "These honestly just taste like normal cinnamon rolls with a little bit of spice. For someone who LOVES cinnamon rolls, I was sad this was lacking pumpkin flavor."

Overall, these were a great pumpkin pick. "The icing makes these very soft and simply delicious. But definitely great served warm!"

1

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread

pepperidge farm pumpkin spice swirl bread

Just the packaging of this bread got us excited to sink our teeth into a fall-flavored goodie. Big points all around for this product's look inside and outside the packaging which made sense it ended up being #1 on our list.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Our editors loved this bread. The beautiful swirls in the center of this squishy soft bread made for a great food to enjoy any time of day. One editor said, "wow, this is delicious. pumpkin/cinnamon sugar ratio is absolutely bomb." Another said this was, "delicious!! makes a wonderful buttered toast."

Another taste wrote that this was "more of a cinnamon than a pumpkin smell. The cinnamon/pumpkin taste was not overwhelming. It tastes like dessert and captured the flavors of fall." What more could you want from a product?

Our taste testers raved on and on about Pepperidge Farm's swirl bread, with one tester saying, "This bread is amazing. I will definitely be switching out my regular for this one. Pumpkin and cinnamon is a great combo."

One of our editors was shocked by how much they liked this. "Ohh!! I love this! who knew bread could be so good? Very subtle but very good pumpkin spice." Another said that "each bite feels like fall."

One last editor (whom we might add is not a pumpkin fan) added that this bread "tastes like childhood to me. I think the pumpkin flavor is very subtle but I am not mad about it."

And the ones we could live without, ranked from least-worst to the absolute worst…

11

La Fermière Pumpkin Spice Yogurt

la fermiere pumpkin spice yogurt

Most of the shelves we searched were stocked with Greek yogurt, so we were excited to try a regular yogurt that had a pumpkin spice twist. We were eager to see if the pumpkin on the bottom could actually come out on top.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

This wasn't really anyone's favorite yogurt of all time. We had to do some digging to get to the pumpkin. It had an interesting crunchy texture for some, but others liked it. One editor said this was very "tart and the pumpkin is hard to taste. This would be good if you aren't a huge pumpkin fan."

Another editor was very much not a fan."This has a terrible crunch to the bottom flavoring. Disgusting. Zero good flavors here and it just tastes like old yogurt," they wrote. Ouch. Another had a similar opinion, stating, "This tasted like cheese that had gone bad. No pumpkin in it at all. The flavor is overpowering and kicked my socks off."

Some really liked this yogurt, though, saying it "tasted like Chobani with honey. So delicious." And another said this was "heavenly. Light and creamy. Absolutely delicious pumpkin flavor." But again another knocked it down a peg by stating, "The pumpkin flavor is at the bottom, which is a testament of how the flavor is: bottom-tier."

RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.

10

Trader Joe's Organic Frosted Toaster Pastries: Pumpkin

trader joes pumpkin toaster pastries

We sadly couldn't find the regular PopTart brand in any of our local shops (they may have been sold out), but Trader Joe's gave us (yet again) another intriguing pumpkin-flavored snack.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

One editor loved these and already knew when they would attempt to eat these next. "These were very cinnamon-y. They would be perfect with tea on a rainy fall day." Another liked these, disregarding the absence of the pumpkin flavor, stating these were, "SO GOOD but tastes more like maple than pumpkin."

Some thought this had a "strong pumpkin flavor, but it was overpowered by the sugar icing." But others disagreed, with one person saying, "Yuck. this is so repulsive. I also hate PopTarts so this is not enjoyable for me." One last editor thought these were "kind of dry, with not much pumpkin flavor" and also "wanted more frosting."

9

Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's Cereal

trader joes pumpkin os cereal box

These could possibly be compared to Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, but we wanted to see if Trader Joe's could do the cereal justice.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The texture of these was sadly very disappointing. These were more like the inside of a cheese puff. One editor said these "didn't really resemble Cheerios, but had a good pumpkin flavor to it. Sweet too."

The flavor of these saved them from ranking lower on our list. But still weren't a preferred cereal to buy. One editor stated these had the "most natural pumpkin flavor but the texture is like bootleg Cheerios. I wouldn't buy these but I would still eat them."

If you want something sweet in your bowl in the morning, we definitely recommend these. But one taster wrote that "the flavor is there, but these are way too sweet for a breakfast cereal." Another said these had an "artificial flavor to them and very subtle pumpkin flavor."

8

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bagels

trader joes pumpkin bagels Ann Marie Langrehr

Finally, bagels! We were very excited about these, but after we unwrapped the packaging, things just went downhill for our team.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

One editor loves these bagels and ranked them #1 on their list stating that these were, "perfectly pumpkin. Not too sweet, exactly what I want in a pumpkin product."

Sadly, the rest of the team was not too happy with this product, and their comments showed just as much. One editor said the "pumpkin flavor is underwhelming and the spice that kicks in is rather unpleasant." Another said, "there's no pumpkin and no spice. Save your money and just buy plain bagels, that's what these were."

This was sadly just a "very bland and chewy bagel." One editor disliked these very much, stating these were, "very chewy. Couldn't taste the pumpkin. The bread has a horrid aftertaste—like it was sprayed with hairspray and now it's in my mouth." Sorry, TJ's.

7

Entenmann's Pumpkin Loaf Cake

entenmanns pumpkin loaf cake

These were no black and white cookies, but we were excited to try another pumpkin sweet treat, especially from a brand most of us know and love.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Right off the bat, our testers thought this loaf cake was "nice and moist! The pumpkin flavor was subtle, like a homemade muffin. Very sweet."

This loaf, however, lost points for its artificial taste. One editor said this had a "great consistency, but definitely artificial pumpkin flavor and color." Another said this was, "very soft and fluffy—great texture but the pumpkin flavor is very artificial." And a third editor just thought this loaf cake was "bland except for the chewy pumpkin bits."

We did have a few tasters who very much enjoyed this loaf cake, though. One person said this was "amazing! Great pumpkin flavor and the texture is soft. Great product, I would buy this to bring slices up for a fall party for people to nibble on." Another said they thought this loaf was "so sweet and crumbly! Definitely a nice fall pumpkin treat."

6

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cheesecake

trader joes pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake sounded like the perfect storm. We love a good dessert and one that will also get you in the seasonal spirit. Unfortunately, this did not make it higher up on the list based on the presentation and the absence of pumpkin.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Our editors "disliked the crust in this cheesecake very much. The aftertaste of the cheesecake was very off-putting and kind of bitter." It wasn't necessarily terrible, but it was a hard block of cream cheese, from the looks of it. One editor could "only taste cream cheese" and was "NOT a fan of this cheesecake. Didn't get much of a pumpkin flavor and was a weird consistency too."

Some, however, did enjoy this cheesecake despite its look. One editor stated that this was a "good cheesecake but if you hadn't told me this was pumpkin spice, I would have never known. This tastes more like maple syrup." Another agreed, stating this was a "nice thick cheesecake, but wouldn't have known it was pumpkin. More cinnamon-y."

One last editor tried to save this product, saying, "I love this stuff! Nothing beats The Cheesecake Factory, but it's great for a store-bought option."

5

Chobani Greek Yogurt Pumpkin & Spice

chobani greek pumpkin yogurt

Chobani's Pumpkin & Spice Greek yogurt ended up low on our list because the yogurt couldn't mask the overpowering taste of pumpkin. And for our non-pumpkin lovers, this was a no-go.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Greek yogurt arguably is an acquired taste, just some thought there was "way too much pumpkin. Yuck. Really not into this." Our testers were very much "not a fan of this yogurt. Not a good way to represent pumpkin."

One editor said this was too "high on the spice. Not as much the pumpkin. It's good if you don't like sweet flavors but I prefer pumpkin Noosa yogurt."

Another editor who normally eats this brand stuck up for the product, boosting it a tad on our list. They stated that this yogurt has a "great mix of spices and flavor. Same smooth consistency as other tubs. I eat this every morning." Another shared this take saying this was, "perfect yogurt and pumpkin spice balance! They managed to perfectly balance the flavors."

4

LÄRABAR® Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie lara bar

We wanted to get some healthier options on our list to see if something not so hard on your waistline could outshine our more indulgent products.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Sadly, this Lara bar did just as well as the Chobani Greek yogurt did and landed very low on our list. One editor thought the "pumpkin flavoring was fine, but I've had better Lara Bars." Others "loved this product. Great balance of pumpkin and nutty flavor. A lovely earthy tasting snack." Another said this had, "good pumpkin flavor. Very pie-like. I wouldn't buy this, but it's an authentic flavor."

Most of the other tasters, however, agreed with the first statement. One editor stated the "texture was terrible. Very chewy and didn't taste like pumpkin at all." Another said this "tasted kind of plastic-y." And one last editor said, "This will give you cavities. Sticks to your teeth like saltwater taffy."

Sadly the bad rating outshined the good. One editor wrote this was "terrible. Coats your mouth and has no pumpkin flavor."

3

Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee

califia pumpkin spice cold brew

We wanted to find something to stand up against a PSL or Pumpkin Cold Brew from Starbucks. We wanted something that was perfectly pumpkin and, in the long run, would save you money by having this at home. Sorry to disappoint, but you may be better off spending your bucks at coffee shops to get your pumpkin beverage fix.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

This cold brew from Califia didn't pack the pumpkin punch we wanted. One editor said this "tastes like a chai latte." Another said this tasted artificial and "fake. Disappointed in this. Would rather drink a Pumpkin Cold brew from Starbucks."

We didn't have very many positive notes to say about this. One editor said this "doesn't taste like cold brew. Just a sugary chai latte or more of a chai tea flavor. Zero pumpkin."

2

Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark

trader joes pumpkin spice granola bark

Bark is usually reserved for Christmas time with peppermint pieces sprinkled on white and dark chocolate. We were excited to try a fall version that seemed healthier. Granola, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate looked like a perfect storm, but sadly taste and texture landed it as the second-worst product on the list.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Separately, these ingredients would have been great. The dark chocolate was rich, and the pumpkin seeds were salty and crunchy. But the bark was too hard for some of us, and breaking off a piece turned into a crumbly mess.

One editor stated, "I like how the pumpkin seeds are on the top of the bark! The texture is very hard for a bark but the pumpkin flavor is overwhelmed by the chocolate coating on top." We agreed that a bark should snap easily and melt in your mouth while you discover each flavor separately.

Another editor agreed, saying the "dark chocolate was good, but the pumpkin was non-existent and it was too hard to chew." Another said you "can only taste the chocolate and they're too hard."

We all agreed that the "chocolate was too overwhelming to taste the pumpkin" in this bark. Pumpkin was our #1 priority on our list, so its absence took it out of the race early on.

1

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter

trader joes pumpkin butter

Pumpkin butter at first was thought to be a delicious honey butter taste to put on our pumpkin bagels and English muffins. But boy were we wrong. The jam consistency and the pumpkin super punch this packs landed this product in the worst spot on the list in an almost unanimous vote.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The only positive thing we had to say was that it was a different and interesting product. This was before we tried it for ourselves though.

Our editors were very frank about how this made them feel with comments like "just no" and "not into this at all." Some argued this wasn't even pumpkin-like at all stating, "this is literally apple butter."

Overall our editors thought "this was just not good. Very bitter and had a weird jelly-like texture." It was "WAY too overpowering. Really not into it."

While everyone's taste varies, our editors were fairly united in their love of the pumpkin swirl bread and distaste for the pumpkin butter. Whatever pumpkin products you decide to try for your own, they're sure to make your fall that much more festive.

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Ann Marie Langrehr
Ann Marie Langrehr is an assistant editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in social media and trending food coverage. Read more
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