Trader Joe's New Products Of 2023 Tested And Ranked

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It is hard not to love Trader Joe's. Part of what makes the grocery chain so alluring is its eclectic array of foods that span cultures and taste buds. This was by design. Trader Joe's was founded by Joe Coulombe in 1967 in California. He had the idea to attract shoppers who had developed a taste that was outside the American grocery store standard at the time (via CNN).

As the company evolved, it began to offer products at a lower price than its competitors, allowing it to compete within larger markets. Eventually, the chain offered its first private-label item, granola, and modern-day Trader Joe's was born.

Trader Joe's became known for its quirky beachy appearance and low prices. The company was sold in 1979 to Theo Albrecht, the then-owner of Aldi's European branches, which explains some of the market similarities between the two companies.

Decades later, the company is still churning out eccentric favorites, as well as international flavors that can be hard to find at other stores, all at affordable prices and with a low-pressure vibe that can make it a more approachable choice than other grocery stores. Still, only some new products are a hit. 2023 has seen the release of dozens of new items on Trader Joes' shelves. We tested 19 of them and ranked them so you know which products are worth your time and money.

19. Seasoned corn ribs $3.99

There was a clear loser in the 2023 new Trader Joe's product category: the Seasoned Corn Ribs. The corn ribs are strips of corn on the cob cut so they curl in. They are covered in vegan butter and salt. They are to be fried, microwaved, or baked.

The product's failure comes in two ways. One is the simple practicality of them. The corn ribs are pictured fully intact in pictures on the packaging, but when we made them, there were not only random loose corn kernels but also one giant clump of kernels held together by the vegan butter. Eating it with your hands was messy and simply not doable with the little pieces. And due to the nature of the product, you end up biting into a tough rind more often than not.

The second problem was flavor. We are not opposed to vegan butter, but this one offered different flavor notes than we were anticipating, and we did not find it all that appetizing. We were also expecting a seasoning other than salt with the vegan corn ribs.

18. Pizza Sprinkles $2.99

When we first came across these Pizza Sprinkles, we were unclear if it was a seasoning for pizza or to make other foods taste like pizza. According to the back of the label, it is the latter. The seasoning consists of tomato powder, garlic, paprika, sea salt, rice concentrate, coriander, black pepper, parsley, dried basil, and oregano. All that seems to be missing from this pizza mix are cheese and toppings.

We tried it, and honestly, the spice blend is not bad. But that is what it tastes like, a tomato spice blend. So we are not really getting pizza. Had they put in some cheese powder, perhaps it would be, but for now, it just makes a decent spice mix for vegetables and whatever else you want to add a pop of flavor to. We had some high hopes for this one, but sadly it didn't quite live up to our hopes.

17. Figo half-dipped chocolate and vanilla sandwich bars $4.49

We wanted so badly to like these. They are vanilla dessert bars with chocolate cookies and a chocolate dip on top. That should be amazing. It should leave us wanting more. But unfortunately, we found these lacking in flavor and practicality.

The first thing we noticed was the frozen dessert inside the bar tasted a bit off and was unusually light. When we looked at the ingredient list, we discovered that it was not ice cream but a frozen dairy dessert, which means it requires certain weight and fat quantities (via Cornell University) to fit this category.

Next, the wafer and the chocolate coating are on two separate halves of the bar. Instead of coating the whole thing in chocolate or dipping the top of a cookie in chocolate, they seem to have opted to omit half the cookies instead. It feels like someone spliced an ice cream sandwich and a Klondike Bar together but made it not as good. You can not hold the ice cream by the chocolate coating, and as soon as you bite into the coating, the top half of the ice cream pulls away from the cookie. Although we could live with this if it tasted good, "vanilla flavored frozen dessert" and the "chocolatey coating" just are not doing it for us.

16. Vegetarian meatless cheeseburger pizza $5.99

We love that Trader Joe's is offering more comfort foods in vegetarian form. Once upon a time, finding a vegetarian cheeseburger pizza would have been nothing but a dream. Now we just have to dream of a good one.

For a pizza that has so much going on, it sure is lacking in any kind of discernible flavor. The pizza is made with cheddar cheese, plant-based burger crumbles, burger sauce, and tomato sauce, and is topped with pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Yet each bite was deeply underwhelming.

The cheddar cheese is not sharp. The plant-based burger tastes unseasoned. Even the pickles are completely lacking in flavor. This is too bad because, straight from the oven, it smells like a cheeseburger pizza. Even the sauce was disappointing, adding an odd aftertaste, which we believe is the horseradish. Trader Joe's really seems to have thrown everything it had at it, and yet we are still underwhelmed.

15. White miso paste $2.99

This is one of those basic products that Trader Joe's offers. While we often think of the company as offering fun flavored foods and experimental concoctions, they are also a carrier of quality pantry staples, such as olive oil.

Trader Joe's White Miso Paste is a product of Japan and is made from fermented rice, soybeans, and salt. This makes basic miso. White miso is fermented for a shorter time than other common miso pastes, such as red and yellow miso (via Webstaurant Store). This gives it a mild, lightly sweet flavor compared to the others. We found this to be true of Trader Joe's miso, but even more than we'd expected, we found it weak. Compared with other white miso brands, we find it to offer a much more mild flavor, both in the sweet and salty categories.

Additionally, the package is fairly modest, at just 5.3 oz. This is small for many miso containers. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you do not use miso often, maybe this small package would fit your pantry needs. But we bet you can find a larger package at your local Asian grocer, and it will likely cost you less.

14. Hot cocoa cream cheese spread $2.79

Although we really wanted to love this Hot Cocoa Cream Cheese Spread, we found a few things with it that kept us from recommending it. First of all, Trader Joe's, let's just call it what it is. This is simply chocolate cream cheese. Other than cocoa powder and sugar, nothing in this gives the cream cheese a hot chocolate flavor.

As cream cheese goes, we found this to be too mild. There is no signature tang we might expect to taste. Additionally, there are a number of thickeners in this product which, while not entirely unexpected, we felt made the cream cheese too dense. Finally, without some arm work, it did not scoop or spread particularly smoothly.

It is not all bad, though. The cocoa flavor was pleasant but not overbearing. As a chocolate cream cheese, it has its uses. Tasting Table reports customers are getting creative and using it to make truffle cheesecake and cheesecake bites. Overall we just wish we did not have to work quite so hard to use this spread.

13. Sliced Korean rice cakes $3.29

We appreciate that Trader Joe's has ventured into offering more Asian foods. While they have offered frozen dishes that include rice cakes such as Tteok Nok Ki, now they offer frozen bags of simple rice cakes ready for whatever you want to make with them.

Each bag is one pound and comes at a relatively inexpensive price of $3.29. While you may be able to find larger quantities at Asian groceries for a slightly lower price, this is not a bad price for something that is still considered a specialty item at most grocery stores. Unlike some rice cakes, which can be found in the refrigerator section, these ones are frozen and will need to be boiled to thaw and cook them.

While they are not fancy, they absolutely hit the spot and would make a great stir fry or whatever dish you want. They had a clean rice flavor and a lovely chew to them, stacking up well against any you would buy elsewhere.

12. Organic roasted red pepper and almond pesto $3.99

Okay, let us get one thing straight from the get-go: this is not pesto. By Trader Joe's own admission, the word pesto literally came from "to pound or crush." Rather than the smooth paste consistency of pesto, this Trader Joe's sauce is chunky with large bits of almonds, peppers, and onions visible immediately on opening. We are not upset that this is not a traditional basil and pine nut pesto; more that it clearly was not crushed.

Aside from the obvious misnomer, we are a bit divided on this new sauce. From purely a flavor perspective, the sauce is enjoyable. In addition to roasted bell peppers, there is pecorino romano cheese, almonds, and onions, as well as an assortment of spices and oils. This makes a lightly acid and highly bell pepper-forward flavor palate with a nice crunch from almond pieces, some of which were the size of peas.

However, we did not love it on pasta. We found it oil heavy and too chunky to stick to the pasta in the way we prefer. We would opt to use it as a spread on a sandwich or paired with other items on a charcuterie board.

11. Tomato and red onion focaccia $3.99

Fresh-baked bread is one of life's great pleasures. Trader Joe's has brought the next best thing with a Tomato and Red Onion Focaccia. The focaccia itself is actually a product of the bread's homeland, Italy. According to Trader Joe's, it is made in the Neapolitan style in the Bologna region.

The focaccia itself is moist and chewy. However, unlike low-quality pre-packaged focaccia, it has not dried out to become a sad, greasy bread; instead, straight from the oven, a crisp crust emerges with warm and soft texture beneath.

The onion slices on top provide a nice flavor but are unevenly cut and dispersed. The tomatoes are roasted and cut into long pieces. They maintain more of their juiciness than, say, sun-dried tomatoes, but the long pieces are hard to cut or bite through. We found they tended to slip off the rest of the piece when we tried to cut or bite into one. The final product likely could be improved with some freshly shaved cheese on top, but as it stands, this is a perfectly lovely dish.

10. Super seedy cheese snack bites $3.49

There is a lot going on in these cheese seed bites. We honestly were not sure how we felt about them at first. But perhaps the most surprising thing about these snack bites is the fact that they really do contain whole peppercorns. This means that they have a noticeably peppery quality to them. They are not hot, but that particular pepper flavor lingers on the tongue.

The seeds also give it a noticeable texture and can get stuck in your teeth. The snack contains sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and puffed quinoa. As flavors go, the pumpkin seeds do not seem to blend with the other flavors, particularly the parmesan and the peppercorn.

That being said, these were not unpleasant. They have a very strong taste that elicits cacio e pepe, which we enjoy. The flavor can be overwhelming as a snack, but Trader Joe's also recommends crumbling them on salads as a gluten-free crouton alternative, and we are very into that idea.

9. Double Chocolate wafer cookies $3.49

The Double Chocolate Wafer Cookies are described as cocoa wafers with chocolate cream and a "hint of hazelnut." However, after trying them and confirming on the back that there is, in fact, hazelnut in the cookies themselves, we are here to inform you that we could not taste any hazelnut flavor at all. Seriously, we wonder why they even put it in.

This is not to say that the wafer cookies are bad. Far from it. We were pleasantly surprised to find that instead of an overly sweet cookie, we instead had a light and crispy cocoa cookie. We say cocoa because the flavor is more similar to a deep cocoa or dark chocolate flavor than that of a standard sweet grocery store chocolate bar. If you like dark chocolate, you will likely enjoy these, but if you were hoping for a more sugary experience — or literally any hazelnut — you might be disappointed.

8. Brewed ginger beer in a can $3.99

Trader Joe's Brewed Ginger Beer has been around for a while, and we have always thought it stacked up pretty well against other ginger beers. The difference this time around is that the brand has taken what was originally a bottled product and canned it.

Trader Joe's ginger beer has a noticeable ginger bite to it. Unlike in the bottled version, we are unsure if this has settled ginger on the bottom of the can. However, Trader Joe's assures us they are using the same recipe and supplier.

The ginger beer still has an incredible flavor. The sweetener is real cane sugar, not corn syrup, which gives it a noticeably clean, sweet taste. We do wish they had cut back a smidge on the sugar, though, as we find the drink overly sweet. However, this is partially balanced by the inclusion of lemon and lime juice. Not only do these citruses add depth to the flavor, but they also cut the sugar which means that you are one shot of vodka away from a Moscow mule. Either keep this drink as a mocktail or make it an easy base for your favorite ginger beer cocktail.

We do knock some points for not making the additional flavors more apparent on the front, though, and for being a repackaging of an existing product.

7. Maple pancake flavored puffs $3.49

The Maple Pancake Flavored Puffs taste like a breakfast-flavored Pirate's Booty instead of one with a cheese flavor. We were honestly a bit skeptical when we first tried these. They could have easily missed the mark, but instead, they taste exactly like what they say they are. They taste like maple syrup and pancakes.

The base of the maple pancake puffs is a corn and rice puff, which explains why it resembles Pirate's Booty. This also makes it gluten-free. Additionally, these snacks are vegan! Trader Joe's has really made these accessible to most people regardless of food allergies or sensitivities.

While we would not go so far as to say these are natural and healthy snacks, the ingredient list is refreshingly short and does include actual maple syrup. Unsurprisingly, these are a product of Canada.

Trader Joe's describes these as "sweet and salty," but in our experience, they really lean into the product's sweetness. They recommend them as an after-dinner food, which we agree with. Unfortunately, they feel too sweet to be a daytime snack. But if you find yourself hankering for sweetness or breakfast food at odd hours, these are a nice alternative to making pancakes.

6. Cinnamon bun inspired Joe-Joe's $3.49

We know that cinnamon buns are one of life's greatest joys. We also know that Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's, the store-brand of another famous chocolate cream-filled cookie, has a devoted following who may actually like them better than the on-brand one. So it was only a natural progression that Trader Joe's would branch into Cinnamon Bun Inspired Joe-Joe's.

The first thing we noticed was that we were not getting a cinnamon bun in our first bite. We got more of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch vibe. There is definitely a lot of cinnamon and sugar, which is both sprinkled on top and in the cream of the cookie. There is also that distinct crunch that comes with Cinnamon Toast Crunch that you simply do not get from an ooey-gooey cinnamon bun. Still, these Joe-Joe's are delicious and will definitely have us coming back for more. While they may not be giving us the exact taste of a cinnamon bun, they still give us a hit of nostalgia that we so desperately crave.

5. Stir-fried garlicky cabbage $3.49

The Stir-Fried Garlicky Cabbage delivered exactly what it promised. According to Trader Joe's, it is based on the Thai dish Galam Plee Pad Nam Pla, which is a stir-fried cabbage dish. However, unlike the original, which uses fish sauce, Trader Joe's version uses vegan alternatives to make this dish more accessible to a variety of shoppers.

Trader Joe's is serious about the garlic part. This dish is packed with garlic. Each bite gives a pleasant garlicky flavor that pairs well with other dishes. Trader Joe's recommends eating it with fried eggs for breakfast, as a filling for homemade dumplings, or as a side. The dumplings seem like a bit much for us, as we are content to simply eat them as is.

One main gripe about this product is that it took longer to warm up in the microwave than the directions suggested. When we first took them out, the center was still frozen. Additionally, while this dish is delicious, making it from scratch is fairly inexpensive and easy as well. However, if you are in the market for frozen, this one is juicy and tasty.

4. Triple Ginger Pretzels $2.99

This is a sweet treat that is exactly what it says it is. Unlike the double chocolate wafer and the cinnamon bun inspired Joe-Joes, the Triple Ginger Pretzels offer the promised flavors.

The triple ginger pretzels are miniature pretzels covered in ginger-flavored coating, topped with small pieces of crystallized ginger and crumbled gingersnap cookies. None of the individual components become the star of this treat. Instead, each works together to provide a noticeable but not overpowering ginger flavor.

The ginger coating adds a nice creaminess to a snack that otherwise would be all snap. The pretzel and cookie add a nice crunch, and the candied ginger really drives the flavor and sweetness home.

These are definitely sweet treats with 14 grams of sugar in roughly 10 pretzels. But if you enjoy ginger, you will thoroughly enjoy these. Quite frankly, we had to stop ourselves from eating the whole bag; they were that good.

3. Flakes and strawberry cereal $2.99

The actual test of any cereal is how it holds up against milk. We put the new Flakes and Strawberry Cereal to the test and are happy to say that the flakes held up and remained crispy.

This cereal is made from sweetened white rice flakes mixed in with freeze-dried sliced strawberries. If this sounds familiar, it is because that is also the basic construction of Special K. After trying them, we prefer the Trader Joe's version. However, this version has a sweeter flavor and a crisp, more complex taste. The cereal came with a nice number of strawberry pieces. Overall, it held together as a tasty breakfast cereal. And functionally, it beat Special K in every category.

It was also nice to get a bump of strawberry flavor during the winter, especially in colder climates where you have to choose between eating seasonally or spending an absurd amount of money on food. The freeze-dried strawberry pieces made for a pleasant burst of sunshine.

2. Chocolate raspberry swirl $3.49

After the disappointment with the ice cream bars, we are happy to say that Trader Joe's new Chocolate Raspberry Swirl has redeemed its frozen dessert selection. A pint of this dessert finds chocolate ice cream (not frozen dairy dessert) swirled with raspberry sorbet in a sweet combination with a slightly tart punch. The decadence of the chocolate ice cream balances beautifully with the acidic and fruity raspberry, creating a delightful dessert that just keeps you coming back for more.

The two frozen desserts are swirled just enough to get a little bit of each flavor in every bite, but you can definitely take separate bites if you wish. This treat makes a perfect pint for sharing — or you may want to keep it to yourself. Honestly, it was hard for us not to eat the whole pint with a spoon. We hope Trader Joe's recognizes how amazing this product is and continues to offer it forever.

1. Squiggly knife-cut noodles $4.99

The Trader Joe's Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles are genuinely one of the best products to come out of Trader Joe's this year. They tick all the boxes we love to see at the store. The flavor is "soy sauce and sesame," both of which feature prominently in the sauce. The noodles are mild, but this just means you can spice it up with some chili oil if you wish.

Additionally, the noodles cook quickly and only require one pan to make, and can be done in under five minutes once the water is boiling. They appear to be a play-off of the Momofuku Noodles, which are significantly more expensive. Once again, Trader Joe's has brought a delicious product at a reasonable price.

Our one gripe is with the instructions for this meal. Once you know how to make the noodles, it is simple. But we ran into a problem where the instructions seemed to skip a step that tells you how long to cook the noodles. We are not the only ones who noticed this, as some Redditors have also pointed it out. We did eventually find the instructions hidden under the flap on the packaging. We would suggest in the future that Trader Joe's find a better place to put the instructions. Other than that packaging mishap, these noodles, which appear to be vegetarian if not also vegan, are a standout.