12 under-the-radar Trader Joe’s products you need to try immediately

Put down the basket and grab a cart. You're going to need the extra room . . .

Published March 24, 2022 5:45PM (EDT)

 (Bobbi Lin / Food52)
(Bobbi Lin / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

Shopping at Trader Joe's can feel less like a necessity and more like a never-ending hunt to find your new favorite product. There are hundreds of items to choose from, making it easy to overlook some real gems that haven't received the same fanfare as a block of Unexpected Cheddar or Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.

But consider us Trader Joe's investigators because we've uncovered 12 sleeper hits that are more than deserving of a spot in your future cart or basket. Check out our list below, which we're almost reluctant to share because we selfishly prefer that these remain in stock and don't develop cult followings.

Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip

Cauliflower isn't the first ingredient we're likely to gravitate towards if seeking a decadent dip. Bring on the cheese, bring on the ranch, bring on anything dairy-based, but, by all means, please don't bring us vegetables. Until now. This cheesy concoction with subtle spice is a wonderful departure from the quesos and creams of days past, especially if tossed in the oven for a few minutes and served with crackers (or even cauliflower if you need to double down).

Crispy Onion Chips

Avoid these on a first or second date for onion breath reasons, but finish an entire bag if you're not planning to be in public anytime soon. They are, perhaps, the most addictive snack on this list with a soft crunch and harmonious balance between sweet and sharp flavors. Add them to salads in place of croutons or even on top of burgers for a clever way to bring in notes of onion without having to serve them raw.

Dukkah Nut and Spice Blend

This Middle Eastern nut and spice blend is so much more than a bread and olive oil topper — it's a lifestyle. You'll soon find yourself using it as a rub for meats or a seasoning for roasted vegetables to create an effortless crust with flavors enhanced by the warmth of the oven. It is very licorice-forward with anise and fennel seeds, so be forewarned if you classify yourself a picky eater.

Mochi Cake Mix

The only reason why you may not have heard about this cake mix is because it flies off the shelves almost instantaneously when restocked. True Trader Joe's fans know just how scrumptious the delightfully chewy treat tastes and feels, so they go a bit hog-wild and buy two or three boxes whenever it makes its triumphant return. Trust us when we say to follow suit — it's one of our all-time favorite desserts from the store and one of the easiest to make in a pinch.

Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings

"Chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side," except swap the noodle for dumpling skin and the soda for a Trader Joe's Pineapple Sparkling Water and you've got yourself an exceptional feast. This is also a wonderful dinner option if you're feeling under the weather and that boring can of Campbell's just isn't hitting the spot.

Cherry Icelandic-Style Skyr

Your Greek yogurt is quivering. This thick, ultra-high protein breakfast product with an unrivaled creaminess and tartness is an upgrade from anything else that may be accumulating mold in your refrigerator. Eat it straight from the container or toss it in a bowl with granola, nuts, or fruit slices for a gourmet morning dining experience.

Vegan Pasta Bolognese

Proud carnivores and Italian food purists may be tempted to scoff at a vegan bolognese, but hear us out when we say that this frozen entree is one of Trader Joe's finest. Its silky pasta is made from red lentils for extra protein, but it's the aromatic, slightly sweet tomato, carrot, onion, garlic, mushroom, and wheat protein sauce that really makes this nonna-approved.

Kalua Pork Spring Rolls

You don't need to fly to Maui to experience a taste of Hawaii with Trader Joe's newest app on the block: Kalua Pork Spring Rolls. Smoked shredded pork is wrapped with cellophane noodles, cabbage, onions, carrots, and scallions to create a crispy spring roll that will only be enhanced by the presence of a sweet and sour sauce. Serve this on game day and you'll find your guests snacking instead of yelling at the television.

Chocolate Whole Milk Fair Trade Cocoa

Kids aren't the only ones drinking chocolate milk. And if they are in your household, they better appreciate the fact that this decadent bev's special (and fair trade!) cocoa is sourced from small family farms in Northern Peru. Pour yourself a glass to satisfy any sweet tooth at any time of the day or use it as a post-workout pick-me-up to feed those aching muscles.

Buffalo-Style Chicken Poppers

Has your air fryer seen anything better? We think not, at least when it comes to these Buffalo-Style Chicken Poppers that boast grilled and diced white meat with cream cheese, fontina, cheddar, and Monterey Jack. The filling, spiced with a hot cayenne pepper sauce, is folded into layers of filo dough, battered, and then fried to create a bite that will give any standard Buffalo wing a run for its money.

Cinnamon Bun Spread

My anaconda don't want none unless you got cinnamon buns, hun. The spread, that is. Speculoos Cookie Butter may get all of the love and publicity, but this Cinnamon Bun Spread is an absolute star. Put it on toast, dab it on apple slices, or sneak it straight from the jar (we won't tell). There is no wrong way to eat it and it will surely become a pantry staple.

Lavender and Chamomile Hand Soap

Consider this a friendly reminder that Trader Joe's offers so much more than just food and beverages. They have an entire beauty section with plant-derived products that not only nourish and clean the skin, but also leave it feeling smooth and smelling fantastic. This herbaceous Lavender and Chamomile Hand Soap is no exception and will actually make you want to sing "Happy Birthday" twice as you wash up (per the CDC's recommendations).

By Joey Skladany

MORE FROM Joey Skladany

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