9 of the best frozen foods you can get at Trader Joe’s, according to chefs

Trader Joe's has a lot of frozen options.

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Trader Joe’s has a lot of frozen options.
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Trader Joe’s

  • Grocery-store chain Trader Joe’s has a lot of frozen-food items available at its stores.
  • INSIDER asked chefs about their favorite frozen items to buy at Trader Joe’s.
  • One chef said they recommend the Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs and another said they can’t get enough of the Trader Joe’s Green Tea Mochi.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Trader Joe’s is known for having unique seasonal offerings and it’s also known for its many aisles of frozen foods.

To help you figure out what to add to your shopping list next time you hit up this famous grocery-store chain, INSIDER spoke to a few chefs about what they frequently pick up from its freezer aisles.

Here are nine chefs’ favorite frozen foods from Trader Joe’s.


The brand’s Organic Wild Blueberries make a perfect addition to a morning smoothie.

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These can be used to make desserts, too.
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Trader Joe’s

Jonathan Olson, executive chef at The Keep in Columbus, Ohio, said he especially enjoys the Organic Wild Blueberries available in Trader Joe’s freezers.

“In my freezer at home, I always have Trader Joe’s frozen blueberries. Blending the frozen fruit with [fresh] banana, almond butter, almond milk, a little honey, and some greens is a great way to start the day,” he told INSIDER.


The brand’s tamales are a cult favorite for good reason.

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The brand has Chicken & Green Chile Tamales.
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Trader Joe’s

TJ’s may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a shop that carries well-executed tamales, but their frozen versions prove surprisingly popular among some chefs.

One such chef is Wilson Davalos of CLMDO in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who said he favors the Cheese and Green Chile variety offered at Trader Joe’s.

“These tamales are so light and airy with a touch of sweetness. They are filled with mild green chilies. I always add a bit of hot sauce on top – that’s my favorite way to eat them,” Davalos said.


The Mandarin Orange Chicken is a Trader Joe’s favorite.

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This frozen meal is a fan-favorite.
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Trader Joe’s

When it comes to the most beloved frozen meals available at Trader Joe’s, one product boasts a particularly high level of popularity: the Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Chef Rhoelle Gabrielle of Amici’s Ristobar at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego, California, is also a fan of this frozen dish.

“I really enjoy their frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken. You need to fry the chicken, but for a slightly healthier alternative I recommend throwing the nuggets into an air fryer before tossing with the sauce. Then, I’ll throw in some steamed vegetables. The Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable mix works fine for this dish,” Gabrielle said. “Add some steamed rice and it’s a delicious and complete meal.”

Read More: 9 mistakes you’re making when using your air fryer


For a slightly zestier entree, try Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken.

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The dish is super easy to prepare.
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Trader Joe’s

Another well-liked TJ’s frozen dish, this Kung Pao Chicken has a bit of spice, making it a favorite of Joseph Paulino, executive chef at Wall Street Grill in New York City.

“The Kung Pao Chicken is juicy, tender, and spicy, which I absolutely love. All you have to do is heat it up on the stovetop to make it hot,” Paulino told INSIDER.


The Frozen Jasmine Rice available at TJ’s pairs perfectly with the Kung Pao Chicken (or the Mandarin Orange Chicken, for that matter).

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It can be used as a base for many different meals.
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Trader Joe’s

In terms of ease and convenience, it’s hard to beat the individually portioned Frozen Jasmine Rice packages that Trader Joe’s sells.

“The rice takes 3 minutes in the microwave – it’s fast and it comes out perfect each time. It’s light and fluffy and you don’t have to worry about overcooking,” Paulino told INSIDER.

If you’re looking for a way to add extra flavor and texture to your rice, Paulino said he suggests creating fried rice by adding chopped garlic, sautéd pineapples, and onions to it.

Read More: 11 chefs share the one food they always buy at Trader Joe’s


Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs are hearty and satisfying, per one chef.

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This is great for those who are vegetarian.
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Trader Joe’s

Bryn Butolph, executive chef at Eat Clean Meal Prep in San Diego, California, said he loves TJ’s Meatless Meatballs because they make for “a quick, easy, and guilt-free meal” when he is in a time crunch.

To prepare the Meatless Meatballs, Butolph said you should “bake them in the oven then simmer in your favorite sauce.” He said he recommends using a zesty BBQ sauce or a red curry.


The Raw Frozen Shrimp from TJ’s allow you to whip up a tasty seafood bowl with the greatest of ease.

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You can use these to prepare a quick meal.
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Trader Joe’s

For a quick and delicious dinner, Mike Noll, chef at bardo in Charlotte, North Carolina, said you should start with a bag of this frozen shrimp.

“One of my favorite things to buy at Trader Joe’s is the frozen [raw] shrimp,” Noll told INSIDER.

He said he likes to make a quick “sushi bowl” using rice, sauteéd shrimp, sliced avocado, soy sauce, and TJ’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. “[It’s] a perfect quick meal after working a long day,” he added.


Any shopper with a dessert craving might want to grab a package of Trader Joe’s Green Tea Mochi.

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It’s a great snack for a hot day.
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Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s Green Tea Mochi offers a smooth, refreshing, and not-too-sweet flavor.

“Honestly, who doesn’t love mochi ice cream? Between the unique textural components of its pounded sticky-rice shell and its sweet and creamy ice-cream core, this is definitely a frozen dessert worth throwing in your cart on your next Trader Joe’s spree,” said Michael Welch, executive chef at Backyard Kitchen and Tap in San Diego, California.


TJ’s Coconut Milk Ice Cream is an excellent dairy-free dessert option that comes in a few flavors.

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You can get chocolate and strawberry varieties.
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Yelp/Emily K.

Vice Cole, co-executive chef at Territory Foods in the Washington DC area, said he especially enjoys the strawberry flavor of TJ’s Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

“I love taking balsamic vinegar and reducing it to a thick syrup and drizzling it over the Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream. It’s a sweet, savory, and creamy [treat] for the summer months or whenever you feel like upping your ice-cream game,” he told INSIDER.

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