Chili and Lime Chips or Choco Chip Dunkers? A definitive ranking of Trader Joe’s best classic snacks

Feel free to judge my personal taste and see where your favorite TJ's snacks (both sweet and salty!) rank

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published May 12, 2023 4:00PM (EDT)

Trader Joe's (Getty Images/Diane Macdonald)
Trader Joe's (Getty Images/Diane Macdonald)

It's a known fact that no trip to Trader Joe's is complete without perusing its small yet plentiful snack aisle. Whether you're craving something sweet or salty (or a mix of both!), TJ's has got you covered!

Of course, the lauded grocery store chain offers an array of goodies. Personal taste, as we all know, is indeed subjective. But even then, there's clearly a select handful of TJ's snacks that reign supreme time and time again and others that are sometimes left to collect dust on the store shelves.

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Say what you want about my own taste — and the tastes of several loyal TJ's fans on Reddit — but I will continue to pledge allegiance to the brand's Chocolatey Coated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dunkers and Chili and Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips (remember when it was temporarily discontinued? That was a scary time . . . ).

So, without further ado, here's a definitive ranking of Trader Joe's best classic snacks, arranged from my least favorite to the absolute best.

Gluten Free Joe-Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies
TJ's rendition of Oreos don't "hit" the same as the real deal. The formula behind TJ's Gluten Free Joe-Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies is quite simple: In between two chocolate flavored cookies is vanilla flavored crème, with visible vanilla bean specks throughout. But there's something about the cookies that make them taste too cardboard-like. And the crème is also nauseatingly sweet. It's also worth mentioning that these cookies lose their crispiness pretty quickly. So, if you do happen to have a box lying around at home, be sure to finish them ASAP (or return them, if it's not too late . . .).
Cauliflower Crisps
I'll be honest, I'm quite skeptical of cauliflower-based products, whether that's cauliflower rice or cauliflower pizza crust. While I do understand that such products are a popular gluten-free option, the hard truth is that they don't taste that great. Sorry, not sorry. TJ's Cauliflower Crisps are pretty tasteless and unsatisfying when eaten on their own. But, I'll give them a few extra points for their versatility. These paper-thin crisps are slightly more tasty when dipped in melted cheese, hummus, guacamole or spinach and artichoke dip.
Scandinavian Swimmers
I'm a HUGE fan of gummies. In fact, they will forever be my go-to choice of candy. So, I was pretty elated when I picked up a pack of TJ's Scandinavian Swimmers, only to be greatly disappointed after I took my first bite. TJ's version of Swedish Fish are vibrant and made with colors derived only from fruits and vegetables. That's literally their only redeeming trait. As for their taste, the Scandinavian Swimmers are waxy, so much so that they leave an uncomfortable residue-like feeling in your throat after you eat them. Do yourself a favor and just enjoy a pack of Swedish Fish instead.
Crunchy Curls
The crispy and airy snacks are made from lentil flour and potato starch, making them quite tasty when eaten with a dip, like hummus, tzatziki or a jalapeño dip. I will say that TJ's Crunchy Curls sometimes taste a bit bland when eaten on its own. But it's fun curlicue shape makes up for it all!
Chips in a Pickle
To me, dill-flavored potato chips don't have the most appealing taste or smell. But TJ's Chips in a Pickle is honestly not as off-putting as most pickle-flavored snacks out there. Because the chips are covered in pickle flavor, they also cause a tongue-tickling sensation that enhances the whole eating experience. I will say that they do taste great with a chilled drink or a yogurt-based dip.
Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
Made from organic corn, organic sunflower oil and organic sea salt, TJ's Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers are incredibly tasty and incredibly functional! Unlike your traditional corn chip, TJ's version is rounded around the edges, making them perfect for picking up (and holding onto) dips, salsa and queso. Per TJ's recommendation, you can also use these corn chip dippers as "forks" when enjoying egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad. Dig in!
World's Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs
For lovers of Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs, be sure to pick up a pack (or two . . . or three!) of TJ's World's Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs. Each puff is deliciously airy and perfectly coated in just enough powdered white cheddar that's made from actual white cheddar cheese. It's hard to not finish the entire bag in one sitting. Don't say you haven't been warned.
Cocoa Truffles
When you think of TJ's Cocoa Truffles, you may think that they're a seasonal item only reserved for the holidays. But contrary to popular belief, these mouthwatering chocolates are a year round treat and a must-have in everyone's pantry. Picture this: You bite into a rich, decadent truffle that instantly melts in your mouth and leaves behind a light dusting of cocoa powder on your lips. That's exactly what it's like enjoying these Cocoa Truffles. Seriously, TJ's should really consider recreating those Ghirardelli chocolate commercials with these truffles.
Chili and Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Infamously known as gentrified Takis, TJ's Chili and Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips are undeniably delicious. Compared to the OG, TJ's rendition is tangier, thanks to its vibrant orange dusting made from paprika and turmeric extracts. It's necessary to have several bags of these chips on hand at all times. Enjoy them as a stand-alone snack or dip them in guacamole or your favorite garlic dip.
Chocolatey Coated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dunkers
There's something about these long, narrow cookies that taste like childhood. Maybe it's because these cookies were a staple at my middle school classroom parties and dances? Whatever the reason may be, these cookies will always hold a special place in my heart. Each cookie is adorned with chocolate chips and coated in chocolate at the bottom. They pair exceptionally well with hot cocoa or a warm cup of joe!

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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