Trader Joe's is an exceedingly in-demand grocery chain, and shoppers love perusing its aisles looking for the unique products that have contributed to the chain's popularity. The store isn't all cookie butter and seasonal treats, though.
Trader Joe's also keeps its shoppers stocked with grocery staples. While essentials like bread, cheese, and rice can be found at nearly any grocery store, shoppers pick up thesee items at Trader Joe's for a multitude of reasons—the store's affordable prices and quality of food are just two of them.
From pantry basics, like pasta and bread, to handy snacks, like rice cakes and yogurt, Trader Joe's is stocked with the essentials. Here are some of the grocery staples that regular shoppers say you should always buy there.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Sometimes, there's hardly any time in the day to make dinner. That's why Trader Joe's vegetable fried rice is extraordinarily helpful. The rice, which comes frozen and takes just minutes to prepare, can be paired with a protein, like chicken or tofu, for a quick, filling dinner. The flavorful fried rice also can be enjoyed purely on its own.
"We always keep five bags of the frozen veggie fried rice in stock," one Reddit user wrote. "Perfect for making on-the-fly dinners out of whatever's in the fridge."
The veggie-packed fried rice, which is filled with edamame, carrots, corn, green peas, leeks and red bell peppers, contains just 230 calories per serving, and no saturated fat.
A morning staple in some households, breakfast potatoes can be a pretty versatile item, and they can be sold in a variety of ways. Some grocery shoppers purchase home fries, while others prefer grated hash browns. Trader Joe's shoppers are big fans of these patty-shaped hash browns—some even consider it a necessity.
"[Hash browns] are the things we always get when we go to [Trader Joe's]," wrote one fan on Reddit.
The store's hash browns, which come in a 22-ounce package, are sold frozen but are already cooked, and can be quickly heated up in a skillet or oven.
When it comes to Trader Joe's most exciting foods, rice cakes are probably never going to make the list. But, these organic brown rice cake thins, flavored with a sprinkle of sea salt, are a reliable staple that shoppers frequently return to at the grocery chain. Priced at $1.99 for a package of six, these rice cakes are formed into squares and sliced thin, making them ideal substitutes for bread.
"[Trader Joe's] rice cakes certainly aren't making a top 10 list of their tastiest items, but they do exactly what they're supposed to for a decent price," a Reddit user wrote.
The store also sells Korean rice cakes, which come in 16-ounce packages, and are made with white rice. The Korean rice cakes are primarily used in stir fries.
Trader Joe's has plenty of yogurt options, but shoppers continue buying the store's Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt, a staple which can be eaten on its own, or combined with fruit, seeds, or honey for a flavorful breakfast. Some shoppers even use it as a healthier substitute for sour cream, which tends to have more calories and less protein than Greek yogurt.
"The full fat, plain Greek yogurt is a staple," a Reddit user wrote. "It's replaced sour cream in my house and now my toddlers get their calcium in and despite not trying to trick them, they still think it's sour cream."
The store's Greek yogurt has 15 grams of protein per serving and only 90 calories. Even better: the 5.3-ounce tub costs just 99 cents.
Dried pasta can be found at almost any grocery store, but Trader Joe's shoppers stock up on the store's house-brand pasta due to its affordability.
"Ninety-nine cent dried pasta, especially fusilli," a Reddit user commented. "Cheaper than bulk pasta at other stores. It's the same size and shape as the more expensive tricolor pasta in the bulk bin at WinCo."
Trader Joe's has seven house-brand dried pasta varieties, all of which cost 99 cents and come in one-pound packages.
Chocolate Hazelnut Ground Coffee
Coffee is an essential part of the morning routine for many people, but it can often turn into a pretty expensive habit. The average price for a large drip coffee at Starbucks is $2.45. Rather than spending a fortune buying a coffee every morning, Trader Joe's shoppers can pick up a 12-ounce bag of the grocery chain's ground coffee, including its seasonal chocolate hazelnut flavor.
"If you like your coffee a little sweet and nutty, their seasonal chocolate hazelnut ground coffee is top tier," a Reddit user commented.
The chocolate hazelnut coffee is a seasonal product, so coffee lovers shouldn't expect it to stick around forever.
Many shoppers buy staples at Trader Joe's because the grocery chain offers high-quality products, which are often times cheaper than other stores. That's not the case with the store's organic chicken breast. At $7.99 per pound, it's more expensive than other stores, like Walmart, which sells a pound of organic chicken breast for $5.96. But shoppers still say that it's worth the cost, because of the quality.
Many shoppers make a point to pick up several cuts of chicken, including breasts, thighs and wings, at the grocery chain because of the high quality of the poultry at the store. Trader Joe's sells organic, free range chicken breast that never contains antibiotics or hormones.
"The quality of the chicken is high and it isn't injected with a salt solution like most frozen chicken found in the mega mart," a Reddit user wrote.
Used in recipes throughout numerous cuisines, garlic is a kitchen staple. Many people have cloves of garlic in the kitchen that can be minced or sliced and added to food, but Trader Joe's sells garlic cubes—a frozen cube that melts in the pan and infuses food with a garlicky flavor. The cubes are a timesaver, because shoppers no longer have to mince or chop individual cloves of garlic themselves.
"I buy multiple packs at a time because we love garlic and those are super garlicky," a Reddit user wrote.
Vegetarian shoppers love Trader Joe's because it has an abundance of foods that are plant-based and vegetarian-friendly, including a majority of the store's cheeses. While cheese might seem to be naturally vegetarian, some cheeses are set with rennet, a curdled milk product made from the stomach of calves. Instead of using that in its cheeses, many of Trader Joe's products are set with plant enzymes and microbial-based rennet instead.
"I am a vegetarian, and 90 percent of all Trader Joe's cheese is made with microbial and plant enzymes instead of animal enzymes," a Reddit user wrote. "It's very affordable compared to other brands."
Shoppers specifically love the store's burrata cheese, which is sold in an eight-ounce container for $4.99. The cheese, which is praised by Trader Joe's customers for its quality, goes well on pizzas and in salads.
"They have the best and most reasonably priced burrata I've found," another Reddit user commented.
Trader Joe's sells all sorts of milk—both dairy and plant-based alternatives included—but for shoppers whose digestive systems can't handle lactose, the retailer comes through with lactose-free milk. While still made from cow's milk, the store brand is ultra-filtered, which gets rid of the milk's lactose, as well as some sugars naturally found in the product.
"Their lactose free milk is cheaper than the fairlife which we usually get at the regular grocery store," a Reddit user commented. "Also, it lasts forever, I've kept half gallons in the fridge for literally three weeks."
Trader Joe's also sells lactose-free ultra-filtered chocolate milk, for shoppers with a sweet tooth and a sensitive stomach.
Peanut butter sounds simple enough. It's just mashed up peanuts, after all. But, plenty of peanut butter brands also include added sugars and other additives that make the spread less nutritious.
That's not the case at Trader Joe's. The store's peanut butter only contains two ingredients—dry roasted peanuts and salt. That's why many Trader Joe's shoppers always buy their peanut butter at the grocery chain. Not only does the peanut butter not contain excess sugar and additives, but it's also free of palm oil, which is another perk for the store's customers.
"The natural peanut butter [is] reasonably priced too," a Reddit user wrote. "Love that it doesn't have palm oil in it, hard to find that."
The peanut butter contains eight grams of protein per serving, and only two grams of sugar. The 16-ounce jar costs just $2.49.
Some Trader Joe's products are loved for their prices, others for their quality, but the store's ciabatta rolls are beloved by shoppers because of the bread's longevity. According to one Reddit user, these rolls take a long time to go bad, and the long-lasting bread makes an ideal sandwich.
"[It] never goes stale and hard, warms up beautifully both in the oven and in the microwave," a Reddit user wrote. "My favorite sandwich bread at this point."
A 12-ounce package, which holds four ciabatta rolls, costs $1.99, and contains just 210 calories per serving.