11 chefs share the one thing they always buy at Trader Joe's

Roman Tiraspolsky/ShutterstockTrader Joe’s is a grocery chain in the US.

Trader Joe’s is an American grocery chain that offers unique spins on classic favourites.

Since there are dozens of varieties of sauces, snacks, and frozen foods to choose from, Insider spoke with 11 chefs about the items they always recommend picking up at the chain.

From coffee to dumplings, here are some must-have essentials that are worth adding to your Trader Joe’s shopping list:


You may want to buy your organic produce at Trader Joe’s.

Madeline DiamondTrader Joe’s has a lot of fresh produce.

The grocery-store chain prides itself on offering fresh products, and some chefs have taken note of its commitment.

“I honestly like a lot of the organic produce from Trader Joe’s,” said award-winning chef Marcel Vigneron.

“The opal apples usually have a very nice crisp texture and a delicious sour-apple flavour, which is indicative of the characteristics that I look for when choosing an apple,” he told Insider.


Take a peek at the Trader Joe’s frozen-food aisle.

Madeline DiamondTrader Joe’s is known for its frozen meals.

The grocery store is known for its frozen meals, sides, and desserts, so don’t forget to swing down the freezer aisle.

“I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s products, but especially a few of the prepared frozen foods,” said Jonathan Olson, the executive chef at The Keep in Columbus, Ohio.


One chef recommended trying some of Trader Joe’s gyozas.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s gyozas are found in the freezer aisle.

Gyozas are a type of Chinese dumpling, and Trader Joe’s stocks a frozen variety.

“My wife and I eat these almost every week,” said Nick Erven,executive chef of Antihero in Ferndale, Michigan. “They cook quickly, and taste really, really good.”


Another chef praised the chain’s chicken soup dumplings.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s also sells soup dumplings.

“The beauty of a soup dumpling is best experienced as soon as it’s ready, which is the magic of the Trader Joe’s dumpling,” said Adam Tortosa, chef, and owner of Robin, an omakase restaurant located in San Francisco.

“After heating them up, you instantly get soft dumplings filled with chicken and a rich, savoury broth,” he told Insider.


Consider adding coffee to your next Trader Joe’s shopping list.

Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s has a nice selection of store-brand coffees.

One chef raved about Trader Joe’s store-brand coffee.

“I love my java in the morning, and whenever I shop at Trader Joe’s, their Trader’s dark coffee is one of the things I stock up on, as well as their instant Colombian coffee,” said chef Nicole Andrea Guzman.

The dark coffee has a nice chocolate undertone to it, she told Insider, and the instant coffee has a fresh-brewed taste and provides a nice caffeine boost whenever you need it.


Snack on the chilli and lime rolled tortilla chips.

Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s chilli and lime rolled tortilla chips.

In addition to a bounty of produce and frozen items, Trader Joe’s also offers a number of snack options.

” … One thing I always grab for my own personal consumption when I’m looking for a snack is the chilli and lime rolled tortilla chips,” said Clemente Heredia, chef at and owner of Calo Kitchen and Tequila in Los Angeles.


Munch on some Trader Joe’s organic popcorn with olive oil.

Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s organic popcorn with olive oil.

If you aren’t into spicy snacks, this salty popcorn might do the trick.

“Whenever I am at Trader Joe’s, I always grab a few bags of the organic popcorn with olive oil,” said Jason Hall, executive chef of TAO properties at the Moxy Time Square (Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge).

“I keep a few in my desk drawer, and tend to reach for one after a long shift,” he told Insider.


Stock up on some Just Mango Slices.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s has several dried-fruit options in stores.

In addition to offering savoury options, the chain also stocks a number of sweet snacks.

“My favourite item (besides the raw nuts, seeds, or the endless trail mixes) has got to be the unsulfured mango slices,” said Thomas Marlow, executive chef of the award-winning Mimosa Grill in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Growing up, my family always had these in the cupboard, and now my two sisters have these treats around for their two daughters,” he said.


Give Trader Joe’s tamales a try.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s sells some popular frozen tamales.

Eric Minnich, the executive chef at The Commissary in San Francisco, explained that he actually stocks his freezer with Trader Joe’s tamales for a quick and filling meal.

“These tamales are the best for a quick lunch (or dinner) because their perfectly seasoned filling wrapped in moist corn masa leaves you perfectly satisfied,” he told Insider.


Invest in the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend.

Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend.

The grocery chain is also known for its seasoning blends.

“I love the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend – it’s my favourite add-on any time I toast or warm-up bread,” said Brad Warner, executive chef of Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown, NYC.

He continued, “I take pita or lavash, brush the bread with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with this seasoning blend for a quick and easy snack in minutes.”


Pick up some umami powder to add a savoury boost to your dishes.

Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s Mushroom and Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend.

Umami is often described as a tasting savoury and is commonly associated with meats and broths. But Trader Joe’s unlocked the flavour with this powdered-mushroom seasoning blend.

“Professionally, this is one of my best secret tricks to boosting flavour,” said chef Elizabeth Schuster of Tenacious Eats LLC in St. Louis, Missouri. “I always add this mushroom powder to my burger mix, stews, soups, and even vinaigrettes.”

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