Trader Joe’s Staples: A Peek Inside What’s Always In Our Editors’ Carts

Our editors are certified Trader Joe’s experts, if there were such a thing. Whether you need ideas for easy Trader Joe’s items to doctor up for dinner or a full Trader Joe’s grocery list and meal plan, we’ve got you covered.

So naturally, I wanted to know what our editors always have in their carts every single time they hit up Trader Joe’s. I asked our team to share, and their selections did not disappoint.

From cotton candy grapes to protein-packed meat sticks and everything in between (including an under $10 wine favorite)—check out everyone’s go-to items below.


ABC (Almond Butter Chocolate) Granola Bars: I love a good granola bar as a midday snack. These also hit that sweet tooth craving that inevitably comes after lunch. They’re small, but definitely hit the spot.

Pork dumplings: Any day that I’m not feeling like cooking a whole lot, I make some rice in our rice cooker and steam a few pork dumplings (the veggie and chicken ones are just as good, too!), and dinner is served in under 20 minutes. So good and so fast.

Rainbow Carrots: The more colorful the food, the better chance I have at getting my toddler to eat it. These carrots are frozen but heat up in a matter of minutes. Plus, they’re already seasoned, so all you need is a dash of salt and pepper and it’s the perfect side dish to any meal.

Cotton Candy Grapes: When it’s cotton candy grape season, as it is right now, these are always in my cart. If you haven’t tried them yet, they actually taste like cotton candy. If you have tried them, then you know exactly why they are such a hit. 

Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Not only is it super delicious, but it is also vegan and has no added sugar, which makes it a great option when looking for cream dressing alternatives. So yummy on a summer salad. 

Cauliflower Gnocchi: This might be old news by now, but I’m still always picking it up. It’s a great go-to with any kind of pasta sauce when you don’t know what else to make for dinner.


Just Mango Slices, Dried Mango: I realize that the package says there are 4.5 servings per bag, but let’s just agree that it’s actually one serving, OK? These are so delicious and addicting, and I love that there is no added sugar or weird ingredients; it’s literally just mango.

Chomps: These meat sticks are a simple grab-and-go snack. I keep them in my diaper bag for when I’m out and need a little pick-me-up. They’re under 100 calories and have nine grams of protein, making them a healthy snack to keep you feeling full.

Sliced Prosciutto: I always have a few packs of this in the fridge. I’ll either eat it plain by the slice or wrap it around a chunk of avocado for a more filling snack.

Vegetable Fried Rice: This is by far one of my favorite Trader Joe’s items ever. I make this all the time to pair with other frozen TJ’s items, like mandarin orange chicken, gyoza, spring rolls, or the vegetable bird’s nests (if you haven’t tried those, you must!) to make an at-home Asian meal. I usually add scrambled eggs to the fried rice and top with some sriracha—it’s delicious!

Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers: The perfect midday working-from-home snack. These remind me of being a kid and are just too yummy to pass up. 

Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto: This pesto is awesome to have on hand to add to Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi (another family favorite) or any other pasta you’re whipping up for easy weekday dinners. Highly recommend it.


Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth: This broth brings so much extra flavor, I always buy at least one to be sure I have it on hand for our favorite recipes. 

Hold the Cones: A favorite for me and my kids, these perfectly portion-sized treats now come in three flavors: chocolate and chocolate, chocolate and vanilla, and chocolate chip.

Tribunal Wine: Under $10 and a Trader Joe’s exclusive, this red blend from the North Coast of California has become my favorite.

Frozen Shelled Edamame: I try to include a serving of veggies with every meal, and my kids love edamame. Bonus: they have lightly-salted frozen edamame in the shell for adults, too. A half cup has 100 calories and nine grams of protein, so it’s a great snack option for both kids and parents.

Frozen Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter & Sage: This. Is. So. Good. We always have a few bags in our freezer for nights when we don’t feel like cooking. It’s equally easy to make—just heat it up in a pan on the stove and add the sauce. It’s a hit with the kids, too. Everybody wins.

Scandinavian Swimmers: If you haven’t already tried these chewy gummy candies, pick some up on your next Trader Joe’s run. But be careful: they’re seriously good and seriously addicting. They’re like Swedish Fish but with tropical flavors.


Source: Jaclyn Voran

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning: This is really a serve-on-everything-at-breakfast type of seasoning for me. It instantly dresses up soft-boiled eggs, plain toast, or avocado toast, and really satisfies my bagel cravings. Even my 19-month-old loves it! 

Chicken Cilantro Wontons: Such a simple lunch staple to throw in the microwave or put in broth for easy meals. I use this with sriracha, brown rice, and avocado for lunch, or as an addition to leftover soup broth. It is also an easy kid-friendly lunch or dinner. 

Cauliflower Pizza: So delicious and simple to keep on hand for times when you need a quick, easy-to-prep meal. It is delicious just as it comes, but you can also add your own toppings to make a bit more of a robust meal.


Read More: 11 Trader Joe’s Hacks You Need to Know