March 2, 2024
Trader Joe's Grocery Store aisle of frozen food.

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stock%2Fshutterstock_774457705-cropped 14 Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Foods of 2023 (Tested & Reviewed)

Credit: Cassiohabib / Shutterstock

Everyone has their own idea of hobbies. For some, it’s rock climbing; for others, it’s building model planes. For me and my fellow The Kitchn contributors and editors, it’s scanning the freezer section of Trader Joe’s for the next brilliant food item we just have to keep stocked at all times. 

Here are our 14 favorite TJ’s freezer finds we ate in 2023 that will make any meal, party, or snack more enjoyable.

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1. Rustic Apple Tarte, $4.99 for 17.6 ounces 

“This dessert is like if a classic apple pie and a custard-laced tart had a lovechild that was so very beautiful,” says The Kitchn contributor Mackenzie Filson. The sturdy crust is an ideal base for the filling made with cinnamon cream cheese and Northern Spy apples. Its crumbly almond topping completes the homemade vibes and flavors. 

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2. Mini Cheeseburgers, $4.49 for 7.02 ounces

To take your burger experience up a notch, cook these mini burgers in the air fryer, and add some chopped onions at the end.

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3. A Dozen Sweet Bites, $5.99 for 9.16 ounces 

In each box of these frozen bites, you get 12 mini dessert squares, with four bites of three distinct flavors: Chocolate & Coffee “Opéra” Cake, Raspberry “Macaron Aux Framoises” Cake, and Caramel & Chocolate Cake. This variety comes in handy when you’re not quite sure what you want, or need different flavors for discerning palettes. But any slice you choose will feel like the perfect treat. 

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4. Japanese-Style Fried Rice, $3.49 for 16 ounces

TJ’s gives you a few options for frozen fried rice, but you won’t want to miss out on Japanese-Style Fried Rice, a mix of hijiki seaweed, shredded carrots, tofu, edamame beans, and rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Eating the rice as-is is totally respectable, but you can also level it up with a chili crisp over-easy egg, broiled teriyaki-marinated tofu cubes, or smoked salmon.

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5. Classic Naples-Style Sfogliatella Pastry, $4.49 for 14.1 ounces

In this Italian counterpart to the French croissant, creamy ricotta and sweetly tangy candied oranges deliver a unique flavor that’ll keep you coming back for more. With four pastries per box, there are, fortunately, enough to share.

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6. Griddle Cakes, $3.49 for 14.11 ounces 

Breakfast on-the-go just got an upgrade, thanks to puffed-up, crumpet-like Dutch Griddle Cakes straight from the Netherlands. Filson says they have a “slightly eggy richness that makes them the perfect vehicle for smearing with peanut butter, topping with whipped cream, or sandwiching two around an egg and sausage patty, with a tiny dollop of maple butter.” Yes, you can now make a McGriddle at home; you’re welcome.

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7. Double Chocolate Croissants, $5.49 for 12 ounces 

What’s better than chocolate inside a croissant? Cocoa powder that’s been laminated into the croissant dough surrounding two semi-sweet chocolate sticks. TJ’s improved on its longtime favorite Chocolate Croissants with this extra-sweet version. 

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8. Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Thigh Skewers, $7.49 for 10.5 ounces 

Take a break from your go-to chicken breast and switch it up with juicy skewered chicken thighs coated in a chimichurri glaze. They’ll help you make lunch or dinner a snap, too, as they only need six to eight minutes in the air fryer. This is your simple-yet-tasty meal for when everything else feels hard.

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9. S’mores Ice Cream, $3.79 for 16 ounces

Attention, s’mores-lovers: This is not a drill! You can get all the flavors of this summertime staple in one spoonful — no fire required. According to Filson, it’s “a rich and toasty graham cracker ice cream base swirled with a light marshmallow fluff, chocolate chunks, and a chocolate ice cream that really lets the graham cracker have its own, well-deserved moment.”

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10. Gluten-Free Battered Plant-Based Fish Fillets, $4.49 for 9.5 ounces

Okay, these aren’t freshly caught, but they can be freshly cooked in your oven or air fryer. Made from king oyster mushrooms and jackfruit, these faux fish fillets might remind you of a day at the beach. Get creative by chopping them into a fish taco or layering them in a plant-based po’ boy. 

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11. Shrimp Boom Bah, $8.99 for 16 ounces 

This snackable shrimp has a crispy, golden-brown coating, and an enjoyable spice level. The dipping sauce it comes with has Bang-Bang vibes, thanks to its mayo and sweet chili sauce combo. We suggest topping a citrus slaw with the shrimp or adding them to a saucy po’ boy-style sandwich.

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12. Kimbap, $3.99 for 8.1 ounces

You might have reservations about a possibly mushy texture in the Korean tofu and vegetable seaweed rice roll, but those fears will be quickly assuaged. For a little zhuzh, pan-fry this roll and dip it into spicy-sweet gochujang sauce for a quick and budget-friendly meal.

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13. Celebration Cake Gelato, $3.79 for 16 ounces

Overflowing with sprinkles and rainbow-speckled cake pieces, you can’t miss the bakery inspiration in the cake batter-flavored gelato. 

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14. Buffalo-Style Chickenless Wings, $4.99 for 12 ounces

You could’ve fooled us, TJ’s! These chickenless wings look like their animal-based counterparts, but they’re totally vegan. If you’re drizzling on the Buffalo sauce, you’ll want some vegan blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side, because it has a noticeable kick. We also think these chickenless wings would be welcome in a salad or wrap, thanks to a tender, never-soggy breading.

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