Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Foods
Going grocery shopping while you're hungry is always a mistake, but it's extra problematic at Trader Joe's. If grocery chains ran a contest for best frozen food, Trader Joe's would win by a landslide.
Almost all of the popular chain's dishes are hits, which is why the Trader Joe's frozen food section is a goldmine. Since you can't try everything in one go, we picked out 15 of our ultimate favorites that you don't want to miss.
15. Sriracha Shrimp Bowl
Most of our favorite Trader Joe's frozen options are fit for a family, but there are also a number of single-serving meals that are great for lunch or dinners on your own. The sriracha shrimp bowls are one of TJ's best inventions.
What do you get when you combine heart-healthy brown and red rice, broccoli, bell peppers, edamame and other Asian-style veggies with perfectly cooked shrimp, all in a spicy, sriracha sauce? An addiction.
14. Chicken Burrito Bowl
Another one of Trader Joe's hit single-serve frozen foods is the chicken burrito bowl. It has all the standard suspects one usually expects from a burrito bowl but costs about half as much as a trip to Chipotle.
Adding avocado isn't necessary, but it's a nice touch for sure.
13. Chicken Fried Rice
Yes. That's all you need to know. Chicken fried rice from Trader Joe's is guaranteed to please just about any palate.
It's so much less greasy than it is in most restaurants, but we don't miss the excessive oil at all, as this version is flavorful, tastes fresh and can be ready to go in under five minutes.
12. Pork and Ginger Soup Dumplings
If you think you don't like dumplings, that might be because you haven't tried these. We weren't sure about them at first, but they taste just as good as the real thing.
The ginger adds a warm kick to the light, doughy dumplings, and the broth is perfectly seasoned. On a chilly night, soup dumplings are super satisfying.
11. Family-Style Meat Lasagna
A good lasagna is a lifesaver for families on busy weeknights. It's hearty, filling and effortless. Both Trader Joe's meat lasagna and veggie lasagna are wonderful, with copious amounts of gooey cheese on top and just the right amount of sauce and ricotta inside.
Buy a couple of Trader Joe's salad kits, and dinner can be on the table with very little work required.
10. Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones
Do you love ice cream? Do you lack willpower? If so, same, and Trader Joe's offers a scrumptious solution: mini ice cream cones. They come in a variety of flavors, from mint chocolate chip to coffee, and some have cones lined with chocolate.
They're all delicious, and they make it easy to enjoy some ice cream without downing an entire pint — just as long as you don't eat the entire box of cones in one go. It's not like we're speaking from experience or anything...
9. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Trader Joe's is amazing at mac and cheese, and the seasonal offerings are no exception. The butternut squash mac was originally released in fall, but some locations offer it year-round.
For your sake, we hope that's the case near you. It's extra creamy, and you can sprinkle the top with parmesan, thyme and sage and bake it in the oven for a crispy top.
8. Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli
The flavor of this one is mild, but it's still a winning Trader Joe's frozen food in our book. Dress it up with olive oil, sea salt, a sprinkle of sage and roasted butternut squash. Serve it with a side salad, and dinner is complete.
Bonus: Your kids (or spouse) will have no idea they're eating spinach.
7. Burrata, Prosciutto and Arugula Flatbread
The more toppings on a flatbread, the easier it is to lose fans. Trader Joe's chose wisely with this combination. Unless you're a vegetarian, it's hard to find anything to complain about here. The prosciutto gets nice and crispy in the oven, and the creaminess of the burrata is a pleasant contrast with the sharp, peppery notes of the arugula.
Somehow, you'd never guess the entire flatbread has been frozen solid. You could serve us this one in a restaurant, and we'd never know the difference.
6. Chicken Tikka Masala
Something about warm, spicy Indian food with plenty of rice and sauce is so comforting. Trader Joe's gets it right with its chicken tikka masala. It's just as good as ordering takeout, only cheaper. Plus, you don't have to put on pants or pay an extra $10 for the Doordash treatment.
Warning: Once you try it, it'll be hard not to stock up enough to eat it five nights a week.
5. Chocolate Lava Cake
Sometimes, buying an entire cake for a small get-together or birthday celebration feels like overkill. Sometimes, we want a tasty treat for no reason at all. In either circumstance, Trader Joe's chocolate lava cakes are sublime. Each box comes with two cakes that cook in just a few minutes.
They turn out perfectly every time, as long as your idea of a perfect cake is rich, chocolatey and fudgy on the inside. Get a couple of boxes if you're hosting, and pick up some vanilla ice cream, fresh raspberries and tart raspberry syrup to top it all off.
4. Chocolate Croissants
We would absolutely rank Trader Joe's chocolate croissants first if they were more of a food and less of a dessert. We love authentic French pastries. The kicker? The Trader Joe's version trumps a lot of the pain au chocolat from real bakeries. We feel like we're cheating on them, but we're powerless to the seductive frozen aisle of Trader Joe's.
We're not sure how Joe does it, but we want to know his secrets. His chocolate croissants proof on a sheet of parchment paper overnight. In the morning, they're ready to pop into the oven, after which they come out light, buttery, flaky and filled with the perfect amount of rich dark chocolate.
3. Mandarin Orange Chicken
Why go to Panda Express when you can have orange chicken at home? The sweet-and-sour flavor of this Trader Joe's frozen masterpiece is spot on.
Add it to one of the stir-fry kits or any veggie blend of your heart's desire for a quick, satisfying meal with a nice balance of protein and greens. Don't forget crunchy bell peppers to really bring it home.
2. Pizza Margherita
This unfussy classic landed second place because of how versatile and crowd-pleasing it is. The simplicity of a cheese pizza won't throw off picky kids, but it's flavorful enough that adults can appreciate it, too.
It also makes an amazing base for additional toppings. Add a drizzle of BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, banana peppers, blue cheese and pineapple for a quick and easy BBQ chicken pizza. What can we say? We're pineapple-on-pizza people. Sue us, or just come up with your own winning combination.
1. Mac 'n Cheese
It was a tough call, but Trader Joe's Mac 'n Cheese is our first pick. It's so much better than Stouffer's or Kraft. It's right up there alongside fancier mac options like Beecher's — and Beecher's is a cheese company. It takes about five minutes to cook in the microwave, and the entire dish is loaded with real, gooey, flavorful cheese.
Forget that lame, yellow cheese sauce with no substance. This is so much better. Put it in the oven for a crispy top, and serve it with a side of creamy tomato soup and a slice of crusty bread.