My Favorite Things from Trader Joe’s

Marin Durkee

A Trader Joe’s store front. You can find Trader Joe’s in Madison on Monroe Street with their famous red font. (Mike Mozart/Wikimedia Commons)

I love Trader Joe’s. Truly.  Just making the drive to the East side makes me happy.  I don’t know if it is the atmosphere, the food, the packaging, or the prices, but something about my once-a-month trip fills me with joy.  Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I find something new to try.  

I always try to test out the recommendations I get from TikTok or my friends. A friend of mine suggested the Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups, which I found slightly underwhelming (less peanut butter compared to the regular size).  Then, last summer I stumbled upon a vegetable miso stir-fry kit that I was a big fan of (only complaint was the small serving size).  The most recent thing I tried was the famous Crunchy Curls. I liked the Crunchy Curls although they tasted a bit like cardboard at first.  Still, it was fun to give them a try.  

With all these things to try, sometimes Trader Joe’s can be a little overwhelming.  Here are my favorite things from Trader Joe’s to help you out next time you do not know what to try.

1. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I know these are popular, but I had to include them.  The peanut butter is smoother than other brands; it just melts in your mouth and goes well with the rich dark chocolate.  I throw in a last-minute bag of these peanut butter cups every time I am at the check out.

2. Organic Rice (frozen)

Although it is not the most exciting item on this list, the frozen organic rice  is a great staple.  My family has been getting the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s for as long as I can remember.  Each box comes with three bags of rice that you can put in the microwave for three minutes. We mainly use it for sauces, stir-fries, or just on the side, but really it is good on its own. It is such a staple in my house that I had to include it.  A few weeks ago, I also tried the mixed grain/rice pack for lunch, and it was great.  I had it plain as a quick lunch, and it was super easy.

3. Canned Goods

I did not want to give each one its own category, but I am obsessed with Trader Joe’s canned foods.  My top three canned items from Trader Joe’s are garbanzo beans, black beans, and coconut milk.  Their beans are so inexpensive, and, in my opinion, they taste better than other brands.  

4. Quinoa Tortilla Chips

Last month, I was in Minneapolis and we stopped at Trader Joe’s to get a snack.  I had hummus, so I needed something else to pair it with, and that is when I stumbled upon these chips.  They are so good and have become a regular in my family.  I do not like super salty chips and these are not really salty, so they can go with so many types of dips.  

5. Dried Mango

The first time I had Trader Joe’s dried mango was on a road trip with my cousin when I was about ten years old.  Ever since then, the dried mango has been a favorite and an essential of mine.  I have only had the regular and the soft mango. I prefer the soft mango, but they have a spicy version I want to try. 

6. Plantain Chips

A few years ago, someone recommended Trader Joe’s plantain chips to me, and I was a little skeptical – it took a few bites to get me on board.  I expected them to taste sweet like banana chips, but they honestly taste more like potato chips but thicker and less greasy.  I find them addictive, but fortunately they come in relatively small bags.

7. Flowers

They’re not food, but I believe that Trader Joe’s is the best place to get flowers.  They are so inexpensive for their quality, and it is super easy to put together an arrangement.  I try to get a bouquet of flowers for my room whenever I go.  They are so simple but they bring me so much joy.


Next time you make the trip to Trader Joe’s, take some time to treat yourself and try something new from this list.