There sure is a lot to love at Trader Joe’s. From seasonal staples (we always look forward to their pumpkin goodies) to specialty finds like saffron and dried cherries, this national store consistently churns out groceries that make our lives tastier, easier, and a whole lot more fun.
You probably have a favorite item or two—you know, the things that consistently make it into your cart. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about TJs throughout our time as shoppers, it’s that some of the best intel on what’s good comes from our fellow customers. That’s why every year, Trader Joe’s announces their most popular items across the country… according to customers just like us.
For 2021, thousands of Trader Joe's super-fans submitted their votes for their favorite products. The official list was just announced today (!), and although everyone loves an underdog, last year’s overall winner was a crowd-pleasing front runner.
The most popular grocery item at Trader Joe’s this year was their Mandarin Chicken—for the third year running! This dinner-in-a-bag is found in the frozen foods section, and includes a packet of takeout-worthy sauce to bring it all together. Although TJs recommends baking the chicken in the oven, we have a feeling that it’d also be pretty tasty in the air fryer (just sauce it afterwards).
The four runners-ups included a seasonal favorites and products that have been at the grocery for years:
2. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
3. Unexpected Cheddar
4. Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend
5. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
What items topped the individual category lists? Their smooth and creamy take on oat milk won best beverage, while the Unexpected Cheddar brought home gold in the cheese category (it has salty hints of Parm!). Other winners proved that bigger isn’t always better— the miniature ice cream cones won best sweet treat, and TJ’s Teeny Tiny Avocados came in first for best produce. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets won the favorite snack category, surprising absolutely no one who has tried them.
If you can’t make it to a Trader Joe’s to try their Mandarin Orange Chicken, you can always make our Instant Pot Orange Chicken. We’ve also got you covered with recipes for homemade Chocolate PB Cups and Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. In the meantime, we suggest getting a head start on your grocery list for the next trip.