Trader Joe’s is known to go hard throughout the year. But, TJ’s knows the weight the winter holiday season carries, and responds with a whole cartful of creative products and then some. So, we took it upon ourselves to rank Trader Joe’s holiday products from worst to best.
We love winter classics: peppermint, eggnog, gingerbread are staples on our VIP list. But nobody, not even ol’ Joe, bats a thousand. Some holiday products are heavy-hitters and some belong on the catapault with the fruitcake.
During these “extra festive” few months, depending on where you are on the curmudgeon scale, the aisles (and the parking lot) of TJ’s can often be even more overrun with frantic shoppers, so we’ve taste tested the seasonal finds to determine which are worthwhile.
Popular Trader Joe’s Holiday Products Ranked from Worst to Best
12. Holiday Vegetable Hash, $4.99
We love an underdog story, but sometimes Seabiscuit is only as fast as we expect. This hash is fine, and we have no room for fine.
This precut hash isn’t convenient enough to make up for the lack of excitement and that we can’t manage to cook all of the different vegetables to doneness at the same time.
11. Christmas Sprinkle, $1.99
We know that these cupcake sprinkles are fun to look at, but let’s face it they’ll really be making their most meaningful appearances at sugar cookie decorating parties. Have fun sweeping up sprinkles until Valentine’s Day.
To don your festive mood, leave these off and just play “All I Want for Christmas” too much.
10. Candy Cane Chocolate Covered Almonds, $4.49
We love peppermint bark and almonds, so we want to love these, but this is a swing and a miss. Our jaws are so mad at as for working through layers of candy cane bits, white chocolate, and dark chocolate only to get to a diamond-level hardness almond in the middle.
With the multitude of flavors and the jarring crunch, these are a little like deciding to just munch on Willy Wonka’s jawbreakers and like it was normal.
9. Polar Bear Hot Cocoa, $1.99
This melting chocolate bear is absolutely adorable on the shelves and in stockings (and on these Starbucks mugs), but pretty mid in practice. It’s already a pretty generous amount of aggressively sweet white chocolate, and the milk chocolate and marshmallows inside do hardly anything to temper it.
Then adding hot milk into the equation has our mouths coated with just a bit too much sugar and dairy to be able to look this melting bear in the eye and say it was worth it. Unlike we did with Yoda.
8. Baton Lover’s Quartet, $7.99
They call these delicate wafer cookies, but let’s be honest, they’re pirouettes. These tubular cookies in flavors of chocolate, hazelnut, cookies and cream, and orange are perfect to pass around the table as a dessert nibbler or to adorn a dessert platter, but they’re nothing terribly special.
7. Mini Peppermint Meringues, $2.99
These are so classically meringue in that they’re light and sweet and melt-in-your-mouth. The good part is we can eat 50 at a time. The bad part is we can eat 50 at a time.
While they taste great, we find it hard to get that holiday satisfaction from just these alone. Granted, we stopped at 50. We should probably have a few more, just to really make sure.
6. Jingle Jangle Pretzel Twists, $3.99
These have all of the flavors we love from Jingle Jangle, but they’ll never pass any sort of convenience test. The big redeemers are that they’re absolutely delicious and you can eat them over a tin and your scraps will make a new Jingle Jangle.
5. Mini Gingerbread People, $4.49
These are tasty. They’re a reasonable snacking size, and we love that the designs are embossed so that we can have all of the personality and wardrobe of a gingerbread person without dealing with dye-laden icing.
The white fudge icing is just sweet enough to distract us from the spicy, gingery goodness of the cookie. Could do without that, TJ’s.
4. Cookie Mug Hangers, $2.99
We know they’re non-sentient cookies, but it is just a little bit difficult to enjoy them when shoving the rim of a glass between their legs has us adjusting in our seats to fix our wedgies. Otherwise, a great get.
3. Gingerbread Ice Cream, $3.79
We don’t care that it’s frigid and miserable and we have months of 4PM darkness to look forward to. We will eat ice cream in any weather, especially if it’s this tasty.
The ice cream itself is gingerbread flavored, so we get all the warming flavors and creamy textures we love about the holiday version of cookies-n-cream that is dipping gingerbread into milk. The extra crunch and flavor of the cookie pieces in the ice cream don’t hurt, either.
2. Mini Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, $4.49
Huge props to a cranberry and pistachio flavor for busting into the top rankings. Show those peppermint and gingerbread products who’s boss. These Italian cookies are a masterful balance of nutty, sweet, and tart that are perfect for dunking in a warm drink.
1. Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, $3.99
A Christmas classic for a reason, we can’t imagine a holiday season without a stack of these suckers and a glass of milk. These are the perfect blend of rich chocolate flavor, smooth vanilla cream, and refreshing peppermint pieces for that textural intrigue that we know and love.
We’ve had these covered in fudge and in ice cream and every which way ‘till Sunday, but the OG is still the best.
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