Trader Joe’s Storefront

(Credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Trader Joe’s is known for its high-quality, affordable products, and its frozen food selection is no exception. With a wide variety of options to choose from, Trader Joe’s has something for everyone, from appetizers to main courses to desserts. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy meal solution or a gourmet dining experience, you can find something to your taste with the best Trader Joe’s frozen foods.

Shopping at Trader Joe’s is not only abnormally fun due to their diverse and innovative line of products, but they’re also pretty ethical compared to other major grocery chains. The company prides itself on a sustainability framework and packaging improvements. The company also donates unsold items to food banks and has high employee approval ratings based on benefits and working environment, as noted by The Green Stars Project

Cruising the freezer section while shopping may even be linked to a healthier diet, data suggests. A recent study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that those who consumed frozen fruits and vegetables also ate more total fruits and veggies than those who solely stuck to non-frozen produce. To accompany higher fruit and veggie consumption, tangible health benefits among this group were also observed: those who ate frozen produce were more likely to have sufficient intake of recommended nutrients of concern, while simultaneously possessing a lower BMI (body mass index). While our list below is certainly not veggie or fruit-centric, make sure to check out Trader Joe’s full range of frozen produce too!

Additionally, many at-home cooks (specifically parents) feel they lack the talent and time to make a proper meal all by themselves. A recent study found that parents often get frustrated by the time it takes to prepare ingredients (54%) and cook their kids’ meals (44%). Additionally, three in five parents say the burden of cooking in their household usually falls to one parent (62%) – and it’s usually themselves (62%). It’s pretty clear that we could all use a little help from the freezer section, right?

StudyFinds searched the web to find the cream-of-the-crop Trader Joe’s finds. We visited 10 of the leading expert websites to see which are the best Trader Joe’s frozen foods. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended frozen Trader Joe’s products across these sites. Have your own suggestions? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken.
Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken. (Credit: Trader Joe’s)

The List: Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Food, According to Shoppers

1. Mandarin Orange Chicken

It’s everyone’s favorite for a reason. Crispy, tangy and perfect to satisfy that craving for take-out, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is a keeper. The Kitchn suggests pairing the chicken with rice and frozen veggies, using it on taco night, or adding it to a grain bowl! Yum!  

Trader Joe's Trader Ming's Mandarin Orange Chicken
Trader Joe’s Trader Ming’s Mandarin Orange Chicken

Customers and employees alike agree that the top-selling dish is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s late-night snacking or a complete meal. Taste of Home says the use of California orange peels, ginger, green onions, and soy sauce bring everything together in the perfect flavor-bursting combination.

2. Cacio e Pepe 

It’s unlikely to think that a chain of grocery stores in the U.S. would ace a Roman pasta dish, but somehow they managed to pull it off with Trader Joe’s Cacio e Pepe. Delish was impressed by its perfectly al dente noodles and glossy, creamy sauce rich with flavor.

Cacio e Pepe pasta and sauce from Trader Joe's
Cacio e Pepe pasta and sauce from Trader Joe’s. (Credit: Trader Joe’s)

The sauce combines Pecorino Romano cheese, made from sheep’s milk, with bold, black pepper to make for a wonderfully simple, yet decadent, dish. Parade says that TJ’s nailed the frozen version of this classic and describes it as “heavenly.” 

3. Paneer Tikka Masala

Trader Joe’s line of frozen Indian-inspired dishes are surprisingly well-reviewed, and foodies agree that the Paneer Tikka Masala is a great quick option if you’re craving the deliciously flavorful cuisine. It’s made of grilled paneer (commonly described as Indian cottage cheese) marinated with yogurt and tons of flavor-packed Indian spices.

The dish consists of a rich tomato-based sauce that will leave you wondering why it’s the first time you grabbed it off the shelves. Delish notes that the cheese cubes hold up well in the microwave and wants to see more of the spinach basmati rice in Trader Joe’s dishes. 

4. Gyoza (All Variations: Pork, Chicken, Shrimp or Vegetable)

Trader Joe’s line of Gyoza are drool-worthy. Regardless of whether you’re a meat-eater, pescatarian or vegetarian, there’s something for everyone. The Kitchn commends Trader Joe’s for achieving the right dough thickness and well-seasoned meat. 

Trader Joe's Chicken Gyoza Potstickers
Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza Potstickers. (Credit: Trader Joe’s)

Already fully cooked, they make a quick and easy choice whether you decide to steam, pan fry, microwave, or add to soup. Parade describes the blend of chicken, cabbage, ginger, and spices as the “perfect storm of flavor.” 

5. Four Cheese Mac n Cheese

American comfort food doesn’t get any better than a heaping bowl full of Mac and Cheese, and Trader Joe’s has managed to perfect this iconic dish with a well-balanced blend of cheeses and tender pasta. Frozen dinners for the win! This box might look little, but it’s packed with big flavor. Just pop it in the microwave, and get ready dive into a warm bowl of pasta in minutes. Feel free to add broccoli, breadcrumbs, or truffle flakes to the mix,” advises Pop Sugar.

Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese
Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese made with four shredded cheeses. (Credit: Trader Joe’s)

Other variations of the mac such as Hatch Chile Mac n Cheese and Reduced-Guilt Mac n Cheese are also both highly recommended. Delish says you can actually taste the four cheese, making these frozen options better than boxed grocery store competitors.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Meaghan Babaker

Meaghan Babaker is a journalist and freelance writer previously based out of New York City while working for CBS New York, CBS Local and MSNBC. After moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 2016, she went on to write for Digital Luxury Group, The Travel Corporation and other international publications before joining the editorial team at StudyFinds.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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1 Comment

  1. Sg says:

    Bring back small jars of marinara sauce please