This Trader Joe's Freezer Find Is Better Than Homemade|Recipes Spots

  • on March 31, 2023
Trader Joe's store-front

Trader Joe's store-front
Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

I’m a recipe developer and cook by trade and while I do love cooking most things from scratch, there are some foods that are better store-bought than homemade. Even more, some are better reheated from frozen than freshly made by me. Trader Joe’s soup dumplings are that thing—both TJ’s Steamed Pork & Ginger Soup Dumplings and Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings are as good as they get. 

In Chinese, soup dumplings are called xiao long bao, which translates to “small basket buns”—the dumplings are steamed and served in bamboo steamers. The dumplings are typically small and round with delicious pork (or pork with crab roe) filling and about two teaspoons of pork bone broth that bursts with flavor when you bite into them.

I am a soup dumpling connoisseur. I often have cult favorites, like Din Tai Fung’s pork soup dumplings, and New York local favorites, like Joe’s Shanghai and Nan Xiang’s. To me, there’s nothing like them—familiar, warm, and comforting.

Trader Joe's soup dumpling
Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

Trader Joe’s frozen soup dumplings hold a special place in my heart too. The dumpling skins are paper-thin with a translucent quality, which is a winning quality for soup dumplings. TJ’s nailed the soup and meat filling—the flavors are reminiscent of the ones I grew up eating.

Here’s another reason why I love TJ’s soup dumplings. If you reheat leftover dumplings often, you know that dumplings sometimes stick together. It’s a nightmare performing chopstick surgery to separate two conjoined soup dumplings without tearing through the skin. All that delicious soup leaks out and you’re left with no-soup dumplings. Oh, no!

Luckily, Trader Joe’s soup dumplings are packaged in a tray with individual wells to prevent overlapping and sticking. The tray even has two spots to add vinegar or soy sauce for dipping. Now, that is a game changer.

It’s so easy to reheat the dumplings. Though the box instructions call for steaming them on the stove top, the best way to reheat the dumplings is microwaving them for about two minutes. For my microwave, the sweet spot is one minute and 45 seconds—they get perfectly hot. This is significantly faster than steaming them on the stove top for 10 minutes, not accounting for the time it takes to boil water. 

Making soup dumplings from scratch requires time, technique, and skills. Reheating Trader Joe’s soup dumplings is quick, easy, and guaranteed to taste as good as homemade.

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