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7 best foods at Trader Joe’s, according to customers

The chain said it disqualified Mandarin Orange Chicken from the running this year because it had won too many times in the past.
/ Source: TODAY

It's that time of the year again: When Trader Joe's lets everyone know which of its products are the tastiest and most popular. Popular according to who, though?

How about 18,000 Trader Joe's customers, who responded to the question, "If you were to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island, which nine Trader Joe’s products would you take with you?”

Since 2009, the company has been collecting lists of favorite products, then sharing which are the top-five in several categories. But there's a bit of a twist for this, the 14th Annual Customer Choice awards, as Trader Joe's notes in its own blog post. It's retired five products that have won many times in multiple categories over the past 13 years (sorry, Mandarin Orange Chicken!), which has allowed some shakeups in formerly firm categories. (Good news: You can still check out those "retired" products in TJ's "Product Hall of Fame.")

So, let's see what products top the charts for this year in the categories of Overall Favorite, Beverage, Cheese, Entree, Home Bath and Beauty, Produce, Snack, Sweet/Dessert, and Vegan/Vegetarian. Let's get ready to ... shop!

Overall Favorite: Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

A bag of Trader Joe's Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips on a purple background.
Two-time champs for 2023!TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

Wait! Where's Mandarin Orange Chicken? Famously, Trader Joe's chicken dish topped the charts for years, causing some to wax rhapsodic about the meal. Well, it's gone, consigned to the Product Hall of Fame.

Instead, there's another tangy taste topping the list this time, thanks to its chili and lime corn tortilla chips.  The Takis-inspired chip is made from stone-ground corn masa which is rolled and fried, then powdered with flavorings. Seriously addicting.


  • TJ’s Hashbrowns
  • Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings
  • Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
  • 4 Chocolate Croissants

Snack: Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

Nope, you're not seeing double: These kicky snacks are tops in two categories! At this rate, they'll be in the Product Hall of Fame, next to Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets, in no time ...


  • Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
  • Organic Corn Chip Dippers
  • World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs
  • Crunchy Curls

Beverage: Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice

A can of Trader Joe's Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice Beverage on a purple background.
Like eating an apple, but with a straw.TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

The Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice has only three ingredients: apple juice, water and bubbles, and has a taste like crunching into an actual Honeycrisp apple.


  • Triple Ginger Brew (seasonal)
  • Sparkling Peach Black Tea with Peach Juice
  • Sparkling Cranberry & Ginger Beverage (seasonal)
  • Non-Dairy Brown Sugar Oat Creamer

Cheese: Cheddar with Caramelized Onions

A wedge of Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions on a purple background.
Cheese and onions? We're melting.TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's goes to the source for delightful cheddar: an "established English countryside estate," as the post says. The hearty farmhouse cheddar is then mixed with an onion marmalade that makes it delicious solo, but heavenly as part of your grilled cheese sandwich.

This wildly popular wedge finally got its chance to shine after TJ's Unexpected Cheddar, a longtime winner, got bumped to the Hall of Fame.


  • Syrah Soaked Toscano
  • Baked Lemon Ricotta (seasonal)
  • Blueberry & Vanilla Chèvre
  • Brie (various)

Entree: Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice

A box of Trader Joe's Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice on a purple background.
You butter believe it.TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

Bring a little classic Indian fare to your dinner table. This popular meal — which includes basmati rice — features chicken, a smooth curry that features tomatoes, cream, onions, garlic, ginger and, no surprise, butter. It's mild in spice but super flavorful.


  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Kung Pao Chicken
  • Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese (seasonal)
  • BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

Produce: Bananas

A hand of bananas on a purple background.
This fruit has a lot of appeal.TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

Fruit is fruit is fruit, right? Not in this case. Bananas are sweet and versatile, plus come in their own packaging and are easy to access (sorry, oranges). TJ's says its organic bananas are just 25 cents every day; nonorganics are 19 cents each. Yes, TJ's does have bananas!


  • Teeny Tiny Avocados
  • Honeycrisp Apples
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Organic Carrots of Many Colors

Sweet/Dessert: Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones

A box of Trader Joe's Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones on a purple background.
So little, you might be tempted to eat the whole box.TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

Sometimes, you just don't have time (or room in your stomach) for a whole big ice cream cone. Enter the mini-ice cream cones that have captured everyone's heart. Each cone is lined in chocolate and filled with ice cream, then dipped in a coating. A perfect, miniature delight even for the biggest of appetites.

This sweet little treat finally got its day in the sun after Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups were retired to the Hall of Fame.


  • Danish Kringle (various)
  • Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Chocolate Lava Cakes
  • Brookie

Vegan/Vegetarian: Kale & Cashew Pesto

Trader Joe's Vegan Kale & Cashew Pesto on a purple background.
Not just for vegans or vegetarians!TODAY Illustration / Lauren Schatzman / Trader Joe's

This creamy green condiment is made with kale, cashew, basil and garlic — but no cheese — which makes it universally beloved by all types of eaters. You can use it to dip, spread, as a sauce or marinade — smother it on pretty much anything (probably not the aforementioned mini-ice cream cones, though)!


  • Vegetable Fried Rice
  • Beefless Bulgogi
  • Palak Paneer
  • Cauliflower Gnocchi