The $3 Trader Joe's Find I Buy Every Time I Go—It Can Upgrade Any Meal|Recipes Spots

  • on September 2, 2023
The $3 Trader Joe's Find I Buy Every Time I Go—It Can Upgrade Any Meal

Trader Joe's storefront
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham

Shopping at Trader Joe’s has high highs and low lows.

When you stumble across a new-to-you treasure (Hello, Trail Mix Crackers!) you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot, but when you pace back and forth looking for something specific and can’t find it anywhere, your heart sinks. Take the heartbreak of the seasonally available Fried Onion Pieces, for example. You can only find them around Thanksgiving and, if you don’t stock up, you’re out of luck.

I love putting the fried onions on all sorts of things—salads, burgers, and casseroles of course. And while I could go with a different brand, a helpful TJ’s crewmember came to my rescue with a spicy solution: Trader Joe’s Crispy Jalapeño Pieces ($2.99 for 5.5 ounces). The canister is reminiscent of the one the fried onions come in and the image on the can looked promising, so I decided to give it a shot. 

Trader Joe's crispy jalapeño pieces in front of a spotted background
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham

Why I Love Trader Joe’s Crispy Jalapeño Pieces

I’m one of those people who opens at least one of my TJ’s purchases as soon as I get in my car, and this time I started with the crispy jalapeños. The crunchy bits had a light texture and a lot of peppery flavor. I felt like they were a little too spicy for snacking on by the handful, but I was excited to try them in my cooking.

My first experiment wasn’t anything I cooked, but rather a plain ol’ turkey sandwich (WFH lunch, I see you!). I’m one of those people who likes to put chips on her sandwich, so I suspected the crispy jalpeños might have a similar effect. I did a combo of turkey, Monterey Jack, and mayo, plus a sprinkling of the crispy peppers. They added a fun crunch and a little heat, which made the Monterey Jack seem more like pepper Jack.

Next up, tacos. Our son is vegetarian, so dinner was black bean and cheese tacos. I added some jalapeõs to mine, which immediately perked them up.

I’m excited to keep experimenting and have a sneaking suspicion that the jalapeños will be great on lots of different dishes. Here’s the list I’ve come up with. How would you use them?

More Great Ways to Use Trader Joe’s Crispy Jalapeño Pieces

  • Eggs: A sprinkling of crispy jalapeños would instantly upgrade cheesy scrambled eggs. A breakfast taco would also be great with these.
  • Dips: A handful of crispy jalpeños could really liven up a dip party. For me, queso, 7-layer dip, and guac are all strong candidates.
  • Soups: The crispy texture would be great with soup, especially a puréed soup. I’m thinking black bean, butternut squash, and potato soup would all work well.
  • Cornbread: Adding some crispy jalapeños to a simple skillet cornbread sounds like a delicious idea to me.
  • Rice bowls: So many great options here, but burrito bowls and salmon bowls are at the top of my list.
  • Chili: Whether it’s veggie-packed or super meaty, you can’t go wrong with jalapeños and chili.
  • Burgers: A juicy cheeseburger topped with some crispy jalapeños has gotta be delicious, right
  • Casseroles: My mind immediately went to mac and cheese, but I bet a breakfast casserole would be a tasty option too.
Article Categories:
Dishes · Salmon · Soups

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