- I tried 19 dips and spreads from Trader Joe’s, and I would buy most of them again.
- The caramelized-onion dip would complement any appetizer table.
- The jalapeño pub-cheese dip was an incredibly snackable option.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When it comes to snacking, nothing beats a good chip-and-dip combo – and Trader Joe’s seems all too aware of that fact.
From a comforting, cheesy pimento spread to spicy hummus, the chain currently offers a wide selection of dips for virtually every palate.
As a regular connoisseur of Trader Joe’s salsas and spreads, I decided to taste test some of the chain’s most popular dips using a tortilla chip and carrot stick to keep my reviews consistent and fair.
One month and $70 later, I tried a total of 19 dips and would repurchase at least half of them. So, keep reading to find out which ones I’ll be picking up again.
The eggplant hummus tasted like a wholesome, mellower version of the classic alternative
With a base of eggplant, chickpeas, lemon, garlic, tahini, and pomegranate juice, this hummus was one of the more wholesome dips I tried during my taste test, but that didn’t make it any less delicious.
It had a pleasantly mild, subtly sweet flavor and was slightly less beany than regular hummus.
This alternative doesn’t contain any additional oils and instead relies on a seamless mix of eggplant and tahini for its smooth, easily spreadable texture, a feature that made it easy to eat.
On a blind taste test, I’m not sure if I’d be able to identify the eggplant in it, but I’d still happily dip any veggie or cracker into it without hesitation.
VERDICT: The eggplant hummus was quite tasty, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is in the market for a vegan-friendly, light dip.
Palatable with both veggies and plain crackers, it makes for a great low-calorie snack without any additional oils or artificial additives.
The 5-layer dip was scrumptious enough to eat as a meal
Five-layer dip might not seem like anything exciting or special, but after trying this one, I’m convinced Trader Joe’s is eager to prove otherwise.
Instead of using a standard refried-bean spread as the base, Trader Joe’s switched things up and opted for a smooth black-bean hummus, which deepened the flavor and provided an earthy contrast to the rich dairy components.
With a well-balanced chickpea flavor, the hummus tasted a lot better than refried beans do when served cold.
And every other element was perfectly measured and delicious, from the tasty guacamole layer to the sour-cream and shredded-cheese topping.
It could have benefited from more onions or a peppery ingredient like jalapeño, but on the flip side, minimizing the dip’s spiciness makes it accessible to a variety of palates.
That said, this dip had a much shorter shelf life than the other ones I purchased due to the inclusion of fresh ingredients, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing.
This five-layer dip is one that would probably get devoured within minutes if it was served at any party and could easily be transformed into a meal by throwing it inside a tortilla or on top of some rice.
VERDICT: The familiar, yummy combination of guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese with a unique black-bean hummus base made this dip a standout among the other Southwestern-style options available.
For that reason, I’ll be definitely purchasing it again, but not as often as some others on this list.
The Green Goddess dip didn’t quite live up to its name
Unlike Trader Joe’s seemingly is, I’m personally not a big fan of parsley. And unfortunately for me, that herb had a major presence in the Green Goddess dip.
Although I also detected nuances of savory onion and sour red-wine vinegar, for the most part, this dip tasted like a parsley-and-basil flavored mayonnaise.
I couldn’t even tell that there was anything resembling avocado in it.
It seemed like the fruit’s sole purpose was to green-ify the dip, which I consider cheating since I know the namesake dressing relies on a mix of herbs beyond just parsley and basil to achieve that pretty forest color.
VERDICT: I’d much rather spend $3.99 on a tub of sour cream and a ranch packet or a spread that I could actually taste the avocado. I definitely won’t be buying this one again.
The pimento cheese dip basically was comfort food in a container
As a West Coaster, I’m not too familiar with pimentos as an ingredient. I know they’re very popular in Southern cuisine, but I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand how many times I’ve eaten something that contains these tiny, red chili peppers.
Nevertheless, I was excited to give Trader Joe’s take on this Southern delicacy a try, and I was wowed – it’s worthy of all the love it gets.
The dip itself is made of a blend of extra-sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, onion powder, and other spices.
Overall, the texture was pleasantly soft with tasty bits of cheese shreds and roasted pimento chilis, which tasted like super-sweet bell peppers, mixed in for added chew and a pop of peppery flavor.
After one bite, I immediately understood why this dip is so popular, since it had an unmistakably real cheese flavor to it with just the right amount of tang to balance out the richness.
When paired with a tortilla chip, the distinct, sweet notes from the pimentos were further enhanced, creating the perfect blend of salt, pepper, tang, and cheese.
VERDICT: l may not be an expert on Southern dips, but Trader Joe’s pimento cheese option tasted like a winner to me.
Not only would I gladly buy this again for myself, but also I’ll happily serve it at a dinner party when it’s safe to gather again.
I loved that the cilantro jalapeño hummus had a surprising kick to it
At first, I thought this option was going to taste like the bottom of the chain’s three-layer dip – a cilantro-infused hummus – but it turned out to be so much better.
Spicy, zesty, herby, and creamy all at once, this dip was like nothing else I tried for my taste test.
Trader Joe’s went the extra mile by fully infusing the standard hummus recipe with yummy cilantro jalapeño pesto to give it an aromatic, spice-forward flavor.
And when it came to heat, this dip delivered, as it’s topped with a dollop of that very pesto for a concentrated burst of hot flavor.
Between the lemony tang from the hummus, zesty cilantro flavor, and moderate spice from the jalapeños, it tasted like something that was prepared fresh at a Mediterranean restaurant and was hard to put down once I cracked it open.
VERDICT: If I could only pick one Trader Joe’s hummus to eat for the rest of my life, it would be this option.
The addition of cilantro elevated the dip without totally erasing the hummus flavor, and its bold, spicy profile gave it a unique and memorable edge.
The bruschetta sauce reminded me of a fancy appetizer, but it was difficult to enjoy as a stand-alone dip
One of my favorite appetizers to order at Italian-style restaurants is bruschetta, an ambrosial mix of fresh tomatoes, basil, salt, and olive oil on top of crispy, sliced bread.
As someone who hates chopping tomatoes, this premade option was like a dream come true. Because of this, I will be forever thankful to Trader Joe’s for giving me a version I can enjoy at home without having to do any preparation.
This bruschetta-style dip comes with perfectly even, bite-sized tomato pieces doused in olive oil, garlic, and basil.
The sauce’s fresh, tomato-heavy taste and robust olive-oil and garlic overtones made it easy to fall in love with.
But although it’s located in Trader Joe’s refrigerated dip display case, this product is technically classified as a sauce. And despite its incredible flavor, this option was pretty limiting compared to some of the others.
It was too liquidy to really be scooped without the help of a spoon and too oily for most chips and crackers, let alone carrots, which earned it a much lower ranking in my book.
VERDICT: Ultimately, the bruschetta sauce is worth trying at least once, but it’s probably best suited for a setting with utensils.
Despite being a decent alternative to the traditional dip, the chunky Greek-yogurt guacamole was a pretty underwhelming option
Not to sound like a guac snob, but I personally thought it was weird to call this dip “guacamole” just because it contains avocado. Greek yogurt makes up a noticeable portion of this stuff, so “avocado-flavored dip” would feel like a more fitting title.
That said, Trader Joe’s Greek-yogurt guacamole was not bad as far as dips go.
There was definitely a noticeable tang present at the end of every bite, so if you’re someone who really hates yogurt, you may find that off-putting.
I didn’t mind this too much and actually liked how the ingredient gave this dip a lighter mouthfeel and smooth texture that made it easy to scoop with chips and veggies.
In addition to salt, lime juice, and a vague hint of garlic, the “chunky” part of the guacamole’s description comes from the bits of chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and tomatoes, which didn’t add much flavor and seemed more like an afterthought.
Instead of being like actual guacamole, it tasted like a spicy lime crema that featured avocado as a bonus ingredient.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just made the dip seem more like something I’d eat in small quantities, like hot sauce or sour cream, rather than by the scoopful.
Overall, it wasn’t the worst dip I tried, but it was far from the best.
VERDICT: Although I can totally picture myself placing a dollop of this stuff on top of a burrito or other spicy dish, I didn’t find the flavor memorable enough to eat it on its own with chips. And after a few bites, I was over it.
I will stick to standard guac, but if you’re in the market for a lower-calorie, avocado-centric dip, then this one is probably up your alley.
The caramelized-onion dip packed delicate flavor into a luxuriously creamy spread
Onion dip is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and I grew up recognizing it as an essential component of many summertime barbecues. So it was unsurprising that Trader Joe’s upgraded version of this familiar favorite turned out to be one of the standout dips I tried.
Upon opening the container, I was hit with an aroma reminiscent of onions sizzling on a barbecue grill.
And in terms of taste, it was more honeyed than I anticipated, but within seconds that sweetness quickly resolved into a mouthwatering blend of pure onion and garlic.
The dip’s standout feature, its silky smooth texture from the seamless blend of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream, made it unmistakably richer than standard alternatives only created with the latter.
And Trader Joe’s went the extra mile by adding chopped bits of actual caramelized onions to the mix.
This choice isn’t exactly the most calorie-friendly option as far as dips go, but I was in the market for flavor, not diet food. And when paired with a tortilla chip – or better yet, a potato chip – it created a harmonious union of salty, sweet, and savory.
All it took was one bite for me to be instantly hooked.
VERDICT: Anyone who loves the comforts of classic flavors should give this elevated take on onion dip a try.
It may be too rich to keep on hand at all times, but I’d absolutely serve it at a party.
The organic Cashew Fiesta dip wasn’t my personal favorite, but I still thought it was a totally fine vegan alternative to queso
I’m all for a good dairy-free dip, so I’ll give Trader Joe’s credit for at least attempting to create a vegan spread that isn’t hummus.
Let’s start with the positives: Instead of artificial ingredients or flavorings, this option uses a blend of cashews, vegetables, and fresh seasonings like garlic and jalapeños to mimic a cheesy flavor, which was wonderful to see in a vegan dip.
And to my surprise, it smelled a lot like nacho cheese.
When I attempted to sample it chilled, I couldn’t even get a proper scoop of the stuff without my chip breaking, but once heated, it developed a creamier texture and still maintained a thick consistency that reminded me of pureed squash.
And in terms of taste, I thought this option did an OK job of capturing that slightly spicy, creamy-queso flavor without any actual cheese, as the presence of garlic powder and green chilis gave it added kick.
However, there was an unusually distracting starchy and vinegary aftertaste in every bite.
A glance at the ingredients revealed it does contain potatoes and white distilled vinegar, the latter probably included to give the dip an added tang that I personally didn’t care for it.
VERDICT: Although I wouldn’t buy the Cashew Fiesta dip for myself again, I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to try a fun, plant-based option.
I couldn’t get enough of the roasted-garlic dip’s fluffy texture and bold flavor
To put it plainly, this garlic spread is a game-changer.
Smooth, easy to spread, and packed with a hefty dose of intense garlic flavor, this dip made it pretty much impossible for me to put the container down once I cracked it open.
Its light, fluffy texture and smell reminded me of a cross between aioli and whipped garlic butter, except totally vegan.
And although it’s quite pungent, it wasn’t too overpowering to enjoy as a dip.
It’s also quite versatile. In addition to tasting great as a dip, it would work well as a pizza topping or a flavor enhancer for other sauces. I could also picture it seriously upgrading a tray of roasted vegetables or grilled meats.
And best of all, a little bit goes a long way.
VERDICT: This garlic spread is both delicious and versatile enough to be dubbed a grocery staple.
Since mid-December, I’ve polished off three containers of the stuff, and I’m still not sick of it. For that reason, I cannot recommend it enough.
The tzatziki sported a satisfying blend of refreshing and herbaceous flavors
I’ve tried many store-bought tzatzikis, and Trader Joe’s take on the Greek staple was by far the most balanced.
Other premade versions rely on strong flavors like dill, but this product sported a more mellow, lemony-garlic taste with nuances of fresh herbs. Thinly sliced cucumber ribbons also added a cool, refreshing bite and delicious crunch.
The only issue I would note is that this option was much thinner than other yogurt spreads and wasn’t as good for dipping with a vessel like a carrot. But in terms of flavor, this stuff knocked it way out of the park.
This product had just the right amount of tang, garlic, and herbiness to pair well with a wide variety of dishes and flavors – I tried it with chips, crackers, and veggies and thought it tasted exceptional.
Everything tasted fresh and cool, like the air on a breezy summer day near the coast, which is maybe why Trader Joe’s put a picture of a seaside bistro on the lid.
This dip seriously tasted like something I would order at a fancy Mediterranean restaurant. And best of all, because it’s made with kefir, it never felt heavy, even after the sixth or seventh bite.
VERDICT: Trader Joe’s tzatziki had a lovely, refreshing taste and a mellow garlic flavor that I found simply irresistible.
Its perfect balance of lemony tang, cool herbs, and subtle savoriness makes it an ideal pairing for many different dishes and worthy of being considered a kitchen staple in my house.
The tomato-and-basil hummus reminded me of a freshly baked pizza
I’m constantly amazed by Trader Joe’s ability to prove that if you can dream it, you can make it into a hummus.
After surveying the many, many options in the hummus case, I couldn’t resist trying this one after noticing its vibrant, reddish hue.
The stamp of Italian flavors gave this Mediterranean-style dip a zesty flair that was simply irresistible and made it taste like a Margherita pizza, complete with freshly sliced tomatoes and an aromatic basil chiffonade.
I also loved how its super smooth, creamy texture was thick enough to cling to carrots but lightweight enough that I probably could have easily eaten an entire container without feeling too full.
VERDICT: I’ve already purchased my second tub of this stuff.
The Salsa Especial had a unique flavor profile but was a bit too heavy on the tomato
Trader Joe’s offers a wide variety of both jarred and refrigerated salsas that could easily merit an individual ranking, but for the purposes of this review, I opted to sample the medium homestyle salsa, because it was recommended to me by an associate.
This option had a decent amount of heat to it, as any good fresh salsa should.
It wasn’t spicy enough to make my eyes water, but it had a kick that led me to audibly say, “Oh, wow, OK!” after the first bite, a reaction aided by the hints of chili seasoning that gave this product a pleasantly smoky aroma.
It also had the optimal salsa texture – chunky enough to remind me that it’s made of fresh ingredients but blended so I could easily scoop it with a chip or spread it on top of another dish.
But although this option contained all the right fresh ingredients and a near-perfect level of heat, it was desperately lacking acid.
As a result, the tomatoes were the dominant flavor, which made it much sweeter than anticipated despite its notably spicy finish.
That said, it would have made a better companion for cheesy breadsticks or oysters.
VERDICT: Having tried and loved other Trader Joe’s salsas in the past, I was disappointed that this one didn’t meet my expectations.
Unfortunately, without that strong citrus component, it was more comparable to a canned tomato sauce with some smoky seasonings than any salsa I’d tried from the brand.
For that reason, I’ll personally be skipping this salsa in the future and opt for the chain’s spicy pico de gallo instead.
The Buffalo-chicken dip was a tasty, unique spin on one of my favorite snack foods
You don’t need wings to enjoy the delicious tang of Buffalo chicken. This dip was all the rich, savory, and hot-sauce flavored goodness of Buffalo wings wrapped into a pleasantly fluffy, easy-to-eat concoction – no wet napkins needed.
Although the label advertises that it can be served both cold and warm, this dip tasted best when heated. When I sampled it straight out of the refrigerator, it was disappointingly flat, with the hot-sauce flavor totally muted under the thick cream-cheese base.
Heating allowed the cayenne, vinegar, and other seasonings to become more pronounced and melted it to queso-like consistency that made it much easier for scooping.
In general, this Buffalo-chicken dip did an excellent job of capturing the iconic flavor, as it certainly had that familiar, spicy hot-sauce kick with a vinegary finish that made me want more of it.
The sour-cream and cream-cheese base also did a nice job of adding a subtle sweetness and tang to the mix so that it didn’t taste like I was dipping my chip into pure hot sauce.
In addition, the chunks of cooked chicken throughout made it substantial enough to be eaten on its own or mixed into a salad, but pairing it with a tortilla chip added a dimension of salt that nicely played up the heat.
When compared to the other products on this list, the Buffalo-chicken dip was on the heavier, richer side, but it definitely earned high marks in my book for being one of the more unique, fun options I tried.
VERDICT: Although nothing can totally replace the experience of eating Buffalo wings, I would absolutely be willing to serve this product on an appetizer table.
I wanted to like the herbed tahini dip, but its strong parsley flavor was too overpowering for my palate
Mostly known for giving hummus its super smooth texture and savory flair, tahini is a bit of an acquired taste, as it has a strong nutty flavor that’s a lot to handle without the addition of other seasonings.
I first noticed this dip’s striking green color and herbaceous aroma, which literally smelled like a delicious, fresh herb garden.
But after sampling this herbed tahini spread, I’m not so sure that looks and scent are as reliable of an indicator of taste as I thought, because it was practically drowning in parsley.
This frontlining herb gave the dip a bizarre, grass-like flavor that overpowered every other ingredient and left an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste that lingered for several minutes.
It’s one thing to highlight earthy flavors, but if I didn’t know any better, I’d probably have trouble distinguishing this dip from one of my seaweed face masks.
VERDICT: Although I personally wouldn’t buy this herbed tahini dip again for myself, I think anyone who likes super-strong, earthy flavors might actually enjoy it.
I later talked with friends who had tried the dip and said it’s best on wraps and sandwiches that contain savory meats or falafel, which convinced me not to write it off completely. But as far as dips go, this one’s parsley flavor was far too bitter for me to consider eating it with just chips again.
The jalapeño pub-cheese dip was one of the most snackable options I’ve ever tried
I’m a sucker for all things cheesy and spicy, which means this dip was pretty much my ideal kind of snack.
After devouring nearly half the container in a time I’m too embarrassed to admit, I can confidently say this product lived up to every expectation.
It’s made with real cheese, so there was no missing that bold, sharp cheddar flavor, but the fresh bits of jalapeño scattered throughout were what really sold me on this stuff.
With just enough of a burn to be noticeable without being totally overpowering, this dip hit me with the ideal amount of spice that left a pleasantly moderate heat on the roof of my mouth.
It also had a delicious, mousse-like texture that clung easily to crackers, chips, and carrots.
Honestly, the only issue you may run into is having to buy two containers, because there’s a good chance the first won’t last long once you open it.
VERDICT: If you’re looking for a great dip to literally spice up your next picnic or cheese board, look no further.
I would seriously give the chunky artichoke-and-jalapeño dip an award for its mouthwatering combination of cheese and spice
Chunky is an apt descriptor, as this spread gave me more artichoke bits than I expected, and that was a good thing – this was by far one of the best dips I tasted.
The bold artichoke flavor highlighted a luscious and well-seasoned dip made of Monterey Jack and cream cheese, ingredients that added a touch of salt and a subtle sweetness to every bite.
But what really won me over was how spicy it was.
There was no disputing the jalapeño presence in this dip because with every bite I got a delicious dose of fresh heat that left a warm feeling lingering in my mouth.
Heat-averse folks may consider this a warning, but to my fellow spice-loving friends: this product is an absolute must-buy.
Apparently, it can also be served warm, but this stuff was so delicious as is, my roommate and I polished off the entire container before we even got a chance to consider experimenting with different temperatures.
VERDICT: Given that artichokes are on the pricier side, I’d say this dip was well worth the $3.69 I spent on it, and I’ll definitely be buying it again.
Although the Everything but the Bagel Greek-yogurt dip was undoubtedly delicious, it seemed too simple to justify spending money on
My love for Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend has been documented on Insider before, so it’s needless to say that I was very excited to give this dip a try.
Packed with salt, garlic, onion, and sesame goodness, this dip hit all the right notes for me, especially when paired against the cool, Greek-yogurt base.
There was a slight, yet noticeable sour aftertaste, but I grew used to it after the second bite and actually appreciated how it gave the dip a creamy, lighter quality that would pair well with veggies. That said, I’m sure cream cheese would have worked just as well.
I didn’t even mind the dip’s lack of the signature everything-flavored crunch, as there were fewer opportunities for the bits to get stuck in my teeth.
VERDICT: This product did an excellent job of building on the chain’s signature seasoning and harnessing that everything-bagel flavor to save you the effort of having to hit up your local bakery or break out your toaster.
But I’m hesitant about buying this dip again because I could easily make it at home since I regularly have both Greek yogurt and this seasoning blend on hand.
But if I were in a pinch for time and needed a dip to add to a platter, I’d repurchase this in an instant.
Reliably tasty and well-seasoned, the Avocado’s Number guacamole was impressive
First things first, Trader Joe’s deserves praise for packaging guacamole in two separate pouches.
Anyone who’s eaten fresh guac knows that once you expose the dip to air, you’ve essentially started a countdown to finish the entire bowl before it loses the fresh green color and turns into an unappetizing mess.
This split serving allowed me to enjoy the product on two separate occasions without worrying about potentially wasting an entire tub.
Beyond its A+ packaging, this guacamole was well-seasoned and packed with yummy, fresh avocado chunks. Although the dip was on the saltier side, its creamy fruit was by far the most prominent flavor.
And best of all, it didn’t have an artificial taste.
But of course, when compared to other dips on this list, it’s definitely one of the least-inspired choices for a spread as far as snacking goes.
However, its simple base made it pretty versatile and easy to upgrade. I highly recommend sprinkling cheese or fresh cilantro on top to give it an extra layer of flavor.
VERDICT: As far as grocery-store guacamoles go, this was definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. I could actually taste the fresh avocado, which made it worthy of the almost-$5 price tag.
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