10 Trader Joe's Products I Buy Every Time

Trader Joe’s is known for its constant barrage of new stuff, but what are the best standby items?

Trader Joe's is a place known for its constantly updated offerings. Like many fans of the brand, I'm guilty of letting the release of a new Fearless Flyer inspire me to head to my local Trader Joe's to try whatever's new, seasonal, and otherwise intriguing. Yet while new items come and go, this grocery store has a core rotation of items that it has consistently carried the entire time I've been shopping there—more than 20 years now.

I don't just mean pantry staples (although Trader Joe's is reliable for those, too). I'm talking about all those Trader-Joe's-specific items, like signature sauces and frozen meals, which I've come to rely upon as staples in their own right. Here are 10 Trader Joe's products I pick up every time I shop there, and the ones you're most likely to find in my pantry on any given day. Hopefully they inspire your next weeknight meal, too.

Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I started buying this curry sauce in 2005, when my then-boyfriend-now-husband introduced me to Thai yellow curry by ordering it frequently at restaurants. Wanting to impress him, I bought a bottle of the TJ's stuff to make him a birthday dinner of yellow curry with chicken. I've since ordered many a yellow curry dish at various restaurants, and I don't actually think this is a stand-in for the real thing. But I do think of it as its own food, and one I consistently enjoy. I keep this product in the pantry at all times for whenever a quick and/or comforting meal is needed.

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Trader Joe’s Creamy Almond Butter

I doubt Trader Joe's is using magical almonds in its almond butter, but something about this product is more delicious than any other in its category. Perhaps it's the sea salt content, which many leading brands lack? I don't know. But I always have a jar of this in the fridge. I like to eat it with sliced apples or on top of a waffle.

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Trader Joe’s British Style Crumpets

Trader Joe's is the only place where I have reliably found crumpets like this, which make for a delicious and easy breakfast or snack. They come six to a package, so I like to pick up a pack each time I'm shopping at TJ's. A note on these: Although they're stocked in the bread aisle and not refrigerated at the store, they're best kept in the fridge at home. I recently threw some in my breadbox, and they got moldy pretty quickly.

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Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken

I know I am not alone in considering Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken to be a must-buy when doing a TJ's haul. Like TJ's Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce, this isn't an exact stand-in for any orange chicken I've had an actual Chinese American restaurant, but it is, unto itself, a food I love. It's an air-fryer-friendly entree, too.

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Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro

I'm a sucker for a grain bowl, and farro is a delightful grain upon which to build one. The only trouble is that typical farro takes over a half hour to cook. Needless to say, I've been buying this bag of Trader Joe's 10 minute Farro for years. It actually does cook up in 10 minutes, thanks to the fact that it's pearled (meaning its tough husk has been removed) and comes pre-cooked. As a kitchen staple, it turns grain bowls into something I can make in a pinch, rather than something I have to plan out.

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Trader Joe’s English Peas

Like many of the items on my list of Trader Joe's staples, these English peas are something I haven't easily found elsewhere, including national grocery chains. The experience of eating them is wholly different from that of frozen peas— frozen being the way I've experienced most of the peas I've eaten in my life. If you follow the instructions on the bag, these ready-to-use peas cook up just long enough so as not to taste bitter, and they maintain a distinctively firm (not mushy) consistency. They're almost nutty in their texture and can be added to a variety of dishes.

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Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde

I've tried other brands of salsa verde, including fairly pricy ones, and none have compared to this version from Trader Joe's. It's thin, which I find makes it good for use in cooking, including sticking it in a quesadilla. It's not spicy, but it does have a tangy kick I really like. I almost always have a jar open in the fridge or waiting in the pantry.

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Trader Joe’s Habanero Lime Flour Tortillas

These tortillas are unlike any tortillas I've found elsewhere. I'm not a huge fan of spicy foods, but these offer a hint of heat (plus tartness from the lime) that is discernibly present in each bite but doesn't steer the whole meal. I've used these for quesadillas for as long as I can remember, and because they have a flavor unto themselves, the quesadilla fillings can be really simple. I often just add cheese and a little bit of salsa verde.

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Trader Joe’s Extra Fine French Green Beans

For many years, I made sure to buy these French Green Beans as part of any Trader Joe's haul. I often paired them with the aforementioned Mandarin Orange Chicken, but I also made them for Thanksgiving, and I just generally relied on them. They were thin and perfect. On two recent Trader Joe's trips, I was not able to find these little wonders, and they are currently listed as "not available" online. After doing some research, I learned that they have gone in and out of availability over the past few years. On my most recent trip to TJ's, I was able to find a bag of Organic Green Beans, which appear to be a good stand-in; they're long and thin just like the ones I've known and loved.

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Trader Joe’s Instant Boba Kit

I'm ending on a hopeful note here, as in, I hope this can become a staple. This instant boba kit was introduced about a year ago, but I only tried it relatively recently, largely because I didn't believe that frozen-then-heated boba could be any good. But, my friends, it is good. Very good. The boba have just the right amount of bounce, and the brown sugar flavor is spot-on. On days when I can't grab boba tea in town, this is a really great stand-in, and it has quickly become something I stock up on each time I'm at Trader Joe's. As we all know, Trader Joe's is famous for discontinuing beloved items—Reddit threads mourning the loss of various products abound—so I'll try to remain realistic. All of the other items on this list are things I've been buying for multiple decades, though, and I hope this one will be someday, too.

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