I imagine that when my three grown boys think about the foods I fed them as children, Trader Joe’s will take centerstage (so will kimbap, mandu, and shepherd’s pie). That’s because as a working mom that’s always looking for shortcuts and easy yet delicious school snacks and lunches, and weeknight dinners, Trader Joe’s is reliably a place I turn to over and over again. I’m a fan.
So when Trader Joe’s asked customers to vote for their favorite products, you better believe that I voted. My top picks were their mini chicken samosas for most categories (my kids are obsessed) and this apple cider beverage, which I buy in bulk for myself.
Today, Trader Joe’s announced their 14th Customer Choice Award winners—these are the best products according to customers like you and me.
You may be surprised that certain beloved Trader Joe’s products didn’t make the cut this year—namely Mandarin Orange Chicken, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Unexpected Cheddar, Soy Chorizo, and Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets. That’s because these recurring winners were inducted to Trader Joe’s Hall of Fame and are no longer eligible to win.
Here are the winners by category:
Overall Winner: Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
The Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips are the overall winner and favorite in the snack category too. Every week, I get pitches from writers that want to share their love of these chips with the world. That’s how popular these are. I suspect these snacks are going to fly off the shelves now that the word is officially out about their awesomeness. Grab a bag or four while you can!
Favorite Trader Joe’s Beverage: Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice Beverage
Of all the 2022 winners, this is the only product I’ve never tried because it’s seasonal—it typically shows up around the end of October through December. According to a friend, these taste just like honeycrisp apples and are amazing with apple bourbon and ice. At $3.99 for a pack of four cans, I’d say they are a pretty good deal, too.
Best Trader Joe’s Cheese: Cheddar with Caramelized Onions
What a genius combination! There are so many ways this creamy cheddar with caramelized onions can elevate any recipe:
- Shred it over pita bread and bake it until melty for the best cheesy bread.
- Make grilled cheese with it.
- Shred and sprinkle it over scalloped potatoes.
- Stuff a burger for the most delightful gooey surprise when you bit into it.
Favorite Trader Joe’s Dessert: Hold the Cone!
Writer Stephanie Ganz introduced me to these mini ice cream cones that come in three standard flavors—vanilla (my favorite), chocolate, and chocolate chip—plus the occasional seasonal flavors like peppermint, coffee, and pumpkin ginger. What. a. delight! Not only are they delicious, as a parent of three boys, I’m grateful that they are small enough to curb a sugar rush yet big enough to itch a craving for sweets.
The Best Trader Joe’s Entree: Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice
Trader Joe’s does frozen Indian meals very well, and the butter chicken is no exception. Stock up on them for quick desk lunches for work. From a scale of zero to five (zero being not spicy and five burning your mouth), this one is a zero point five. Trader Joe’s Fiery Chicken Curry is spicier, and in my opinion, better. I would recommend buying one of each, the butter chicken, the chicken tikka masala, the fiery chicken curry, and all other vegetarian options, to find your favorite.
Most Loved Trader Joe’s Produce: Bananas
19 cents for one conventional banana is half the point of going to Trader Joes. (Organic ones are a quarter each—still a steal.) You might think, a banana is a banana is a banana, so what’s so special about TJ’s bananas? It’s cheaper, and unlike bananas sold at other grocery stores, you can buy them by the unit—yes, you can walk out of the store with one banana—rather than pre-packaged bunches. ICYMI, we love bananas here at Simply Recipes, so we are fans are buying more than you’ll need to snack on, because overripe bananas mean banana bread.
The Best Vegan or Vegetarian Product: Kale Cashew Pesto
Last year, writer Micah Siva shared her secret to easy weeknight dinners using this vegan pesto. She says, “When it first came out, I was skeptical. Did I really need more kale in my diet on top of the kale gnocchi, kale chips, kale salads, and kale smoothies? Well, of course! I can’t do without this stuff. It’s fresh, flavorful, and my secret ingredient to quick and easy weeknight dinners.”
Favorite Non-Food Product: Scented Candles
If you fall in love with a fragrance, buy them in bulk and stock up. The scents are seasonal, so if you run out you’ll have to wait another year for it to hit the shelves again. I love the sweet smell of mango tangerine, but I did notice that the coconut-soy wax blend does melt quickly and the candle doesn’t burn as long as other brands.