Trader Joe's 6 best frozen meals to add to your cart right now

Because TJ's has so many options, it's hard to pick what to add to your cart first. Here's some advice from Reddit

Published July 17, 2022 4:55PM (EDT)

Trader Joe's Entrance (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Trader Joe's Entrance (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

One of the great joys of shopping at Trader Joe's is walking down the vast frozen food aisle, which is generously stocked with an assortment of packaged meals that ring up at affordable prices. It seems like there's always something new for shoppers to discover as they peruse the supermarket's wide selection, which includes Indian, Italian, Mexican, Thai and more choices perfect for lunch or dinner.

Because TJ's has so many options, it's hard to decide what to add to your cart first. If you're a newcomer to the cult-favorite grocery chain, or perhaps unfamiliar with its best offerings, here's a helpful list of the top 6 frozen meals to add to your cart right now at Trader Joe's, according to Reddit users who love everything the store has to offer. 

01

Paneer Tikka Masala with Spinach Basmati Rice

Paneer Tikka Masala with Spinach Basmati RicePaneer Tikka Masala with Spinach Basmati Rice (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

This fan-favorite item is a classic rendition of Paneer tikka, an Indian dish made from hearty chunks of grilled paneer — also known as Indian cottage cheese — marinated with yogurt and spices like chaat masala, coriander powder and red chili powder.

 

Many Reddit users agree the Paneer Tikka Masala with Spinach Basmati Rice is the best Indian-inspired dish that Trader Joe's has in its freezers. Their only complaint? The portion size of the paneer is never enough. 

02

Turkey Corn Dogs

Turkey Corn DogsTurkey Corn Dogs (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

An underrated choice, TJ's Turkey Corn Dogs are loved for their versatility — they work as a grab-and-go dinner on a busy night or summertime snack following a long day at the beach — and crispy, crunchy breading. 

 

"I got these for the first time this week," writes one Reddit user, "and I'm obsessed with them! I just pop them in an air fryer."

 

Another individual raves about the dogs' delicious exterior, saying "the breading is the best I've had on a frozen corn dog," plus "they get nice and crunchy!"

 

The corn dogs are best prepared in an air fryer, but you can also pop them in the oven and bake them.  

03

Bulgogi Beef Fried Rice with Kimchi 

Bulgogi Beef Fried Rice With KimchiBulgogi Beef Fried Rice with Kimchi (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

Another hidden gem is TJ's Korean-inspired dish, which contains thinly-sliced marinated beef, seasoned fried rice, chopped veggies and spicy kimchi. This option can be enjoyed either as a main course paired with a poached egg and piquant condiments or a side dish.  

   

"Obsessed with the bulgogi fried rice [to be honest]," one Redditor says. "I always add a splash of ponzu on top . . . yum."

 

To finish off the savory meal, another user suggests adding scrambled eggs. To balance out the varieties of protein, you can also substitute the eggs for pan-fried tofu or stir-fried tempeh.

04

Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings

ISteamed Chicken Soup DumplingsSteamed Chicken Soup Dumplings (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

These soup-filled dumplings taste great on their own, as well as with chili oil and soy sauce on the side. If you're looking to experiment with different flavors, consider topping them with something crunchy and spicy like chili onions or habaneros, one Redditor suggests. Or, try adding a drizzle of black vinegar, rice vinegar or Lao Gan Ma, a specific brand of chili sauces made in China.

 

"I recommend amino acid for dipping too! My friend and I tried it and we were both in love," another individual suggests. 

 

The dumplings are quite small, making them a perfect choice for weekday lunches. They can also be incorporated into larger meals, like chicken noodle soup, or paired alongside fried rice (like TJ's Bulgogi Beef Fried Rice) and noodles for a satisfying and comforting dinner. 

05

Gnocchi al Gorgonzola 

Gnocchi al GorgonzolaGnocchi al Gorgonzola (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

The nice thing about this dish is that it can be enjoyed simply as is or dressed up with additional toppings for an exciting twist on an Italian classic. Per the suggestion of one Redditor, the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola pairs nicely with "a heaping spoonful" of TJ's Crunchy Chili Onion — an amalgamation of chili oil and crunchy garlic bits — and diced pancetta. 

 

"Swap out the pancetta for the garlic chicken sausage & frozen peas or broccoli & that's a weekly occurrence for us," another individual recommends. 

 

"I like mine mixed with a boatload of chipotle hot sauce," suggests a separate user, who likes their gnocchi simple but fun. "Like a weird spicy mac n cheese almost!"

06

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken (Photo courtesy of Hanh Nguyen)

Fans of TJ's Kung Pao Chicken say this entrée is easy to prepare and incredibly flavorful, making it a better option than Chinese takeout for some Redditors. The frozen dish comes packed with tender dark meat chicken, peanuts, veggies and two packets of spicy soy ginger sauce.

 

"Kung-pao chicken is our ride or die 'Oh crap I do not have the energy or groceries to make dinner' meal," writes one user. "We add more frozen veggies to it to bulk it up."

 

"Same for us too! Such an easy meal. We actually prefer this over ordering takeout just because it takes less time," another user adds. "We do the kung Pao + veg fried rice and it is great."

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By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon, covering Culture and Food. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Food Frozen Food List Reddit Supermarkets Trader Joe's