With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is almost over—but there’s still a little time to stock up on the best Trader Joe’s food and drink for the season. Keep your eyes peeled for pumpkin spice everything taking over soon.
Related Reading: How to Make Your Favorite Trader Joe’s Food at Home
However you’re spending the next week and change until Labor Day, these Trader Joe’s summer snacks are perfect to have on hand while it’s still warm enough to eat outside.
We slipped in some drinks for obvious reasons, plus a few more substantial items for when you actually want a full meal. But don’t forget to stock up on all our other favorite Trader Joe’s items while you’re there (never skip the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning). You won’t regret it.
Jump to your favorite category via the links below, or keep scrolling to see everything, including brand new items and old favorites.
Trader Joe’s Snacks
Chips and dips for days!
This surprisingly healthy dip (which clocks in at 40 calories per each 2-tablespoon serving) is based on the ever-reliable and chameleonic cauliflower—but also packs in plenty of cheese (cream cheese, ricotta, and parmesan). The jalapeños add just a bit of kick, but you could top with more if you really want to feel the burn. Try grilling it in a mini skillet for a perfect BBQ appetizer, with grilled bread to scoop it up (unless you’re cutting carbs, in which case, more cauliflower works just as well).
If you’re a big pickle snack fan, you need to try this dip that combines the creamy, garbanzo-based goodness of hummus with the tangy, savory flavor of dill pickles. It’s a super-smooth spread with a zippy taste that’s perfect for pickle lovers (but the crunch will have to come from whatever you dip in it).
You know and love cheddar popcorn, but this summery upgrade brings the flavor of cult-favorite Hatch green chiles to the party (in your mouth). The spicy notes go so well with the buttery, umami cheesiness—and with a cold drink, of course. Be sure to snag some before the season ends!
This dip was introduced last year but it’s still ideal for socially distant summer snacking. Just add your favorite veggies, chips, and crackers and nosh all day and night. It’s vegan, which means there’s no buttermilk (instead, it’s based on coconut cream), but it still has the delicious tang of classic ranch, plus plenty of garlic and herbs. Thin it out with a little dairy-free milk to make a salad dressing, or slather it on veggie burgers as-is. (Don’t miss their new vegan Caesar dressing either.)
Mixed nuts get an instant upgrade from herbs, but add dried olives and they’re even better. These are screaming out to be snacked on by the pool (if you’re lucky enough to have one), or added to a meat and cheese plate for an easy, breezy summer dinner. Either way, we recommend a spritz to wash it all down.
Another top-tier snacking option, these honey mustard onion pretzel pieces could previously be found in TJ’s Step Up To The Snack Mix, but they’re so good, they gave them a breakout starring role this summer. This almost makes up for discontinuing the dark pumpernickel pretzel rods. Almost.
Trader Joe’s take on a traditional Thai snack, these super crispy rolled coconut cookies are compulsively crunchable—but don’t be afraid to mix things up. Their incredibly flaky texture and the balance of sweet and savory flavors make them great for crumbling on top of both ice cream sundaes and curries. (They’re likely to be less divisive than TJ’s new-ish Ketchup Flavored Spud Crunchies too.)
Related Reading: Are Trader Joe’s Cashiers Required to Comment on Your Purchase?
Putting Trader Joe’s Pepita Salsa on your picnic table for an unexpected take on America’s favorite Mexican side dish (aside from guacamole, of course). Pepitas, also known as pumpkin seeds, add unexpected flavor and create an ideal thickness for this sassy salsa that obviously pairs well with tortilla chips. Everyone on the Chowhound team raves about this product, including one anonymous editor who goes through a jar a week!
Related Reading: Trader Joe’s Employees Share Their Favorite Summer TJ’s Items
Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
If you love elote (Mexican-style street corn) just as much as we do (or Britney Spears, apparently), be sure to grab a bag of these perfectly crunchy chips on your next Trader Joe’s run. Introduced last year, they were an instant hit and we need them in our life again immediately. Seasoned with chipotle (which provides a kick of smokiness) and the cooling sensation of buttermilk, these are flavorful enough to binge on their own or pair with some—you guessed it—fresh guacamole. Or get creative and crush them up as a breading for chicken tenders!
Related Reading: 11 Ways to Eat More Elote This Summer
Last year’s other new kid in the bag, these ridged potato chips are also back and still full of delicious flavor: a mix of Sea Salt & Vinegar, Delicious Dill, Homestyle Ketchup, and Smokin’ Sweet BBQ that, when eaten together, will allegedly “conjure the taste of a glorious barbecued hamburger.” We tried them last year and still can’t decide if they really taste like a burger, but they are most definitely delicious. Tangy, sweet, smoky, and addictive to the max. So they’ll be in our cart again this summer.
Trader Joe’s Sauces, Seasonings & Spreads
The full list of faves is ridiculously long, but these are perfect for summer in particular.
This brand-new Trader Joe’s item is versatile indeed. You can use it as a dip for chips and veggies, a sauce or condiment on a wrap or burger, a dressing for a salad or other veggies, or a delicious pool of flavor on grilled seafood or meat. The classic nutty flavor and creamy texture of tahini is made even better with garlic, parsley, and chili flakes—and all you have to do is crack open a lid.
It’s still grilling season, so good thing this new-ish spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce would be a perfect marinade for any meat you plan on putting on the BBQ—but it also works as a simmer sauce when you want to cook inside. And on those days when any sort of cooking is out of the question, you can use it as a dip for raw veggies too.
This elote-inspired seasoning blend debuted in February, but we’re still not over how good it is. And summer is prime time for putting it on everything you grill, from corn on the cob (obviously) to steaks and tofu. The blend does contain cheese, though, so it’s not suitable for vegans. (Plant-based peeps can always make their own seasoning blend with the rest of the ingredients plus some nutritional yeast.)
New in 2020, this watermelon spread is a pretty-in-pink blend of organic watermelon purée, cane sugar, organic cherry juice concentrate (for a touch of tartness), and fruit pectin to help things thicken up. It’s a sweet taste of pure summer, and we’re definitely buying extra jars to last us when the season inevitably ends too soon. Use it on toast, ice cream, and cake…or whatever else you can think of.
Related Reading: 15 Ways to Use Jelly & Jam Besides on Toast
Honey Pale Ale Mustard
The combination of mustard and pale ale screams summer barbecue, making this a must for hot dogs and burger season (a.k.a., the rest of summer). Think of this as a more sophisticated take on classic honey mustard and one that you won’t be able to put down.
Trader Joe’s Mains
From substantial salads to meaty bites, these are great when you need more than a snack.
Beyond Meat has a lot of competition these days, and Trader Joe’s recently stepped into the pea protein-based burger ring too. These meatless patties mimic the flavor and texture of actual beef, and are perfect for grilling or cooking in a skillet like a smashburger. Be sure to pick up some fluffy brioche buns for serving them. (And look out for their Turkeyless Protein Patties too.)
Cool, crunchy, chewy, slippery, aromatic, and fresh—why, yes, this ready-to-eat noodle salad is the perfect thing to grab for lunch (or a light dinner) when it’s almost too hot to eat. The udon noodles are joined by cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, roasted peanuts, scallions, cilantro, and a peanut-ginger dressing that ties everything together and is good to the last drop. As a bonus, it’s totally vegan—but if you wanted to pair it with grilled chicken skewers for a super easy BBQ dinner, that would be a brilliant move.
A more traditional yet no less intriguing salad option, this blend of chopped cabbage, romaine, and kale also sports celery, carrots, and cauliflower stalks for off-the-charts crunch. Rather than a gloppy blue cheese dressing, the kit includes actual blue cheese crumbles to scatter on top at serving time—and the buffalo ranch dressing adds the familiar kick of tangy spice to the mix. Again, feel free to layer on some extra protein, like baked chicken tenders or grilled buffalo wings.
Speaking of chicken, these pre-marinated thighs are ready to toss right on the grill (or on a sheet pan). They’re infused with the spicy flavor of harissa pepper paste, with cumin, garlic, paprika, parsley, and a hint of citrus brine. If you’re grilling, pair this with our Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges recipe.
Trader Joe’s Drinks
You can’t have summer without something to sip on.
Sparkling Watermelon Juice
Call us basic, but we love a good pink drink to beat the summer heat! With zero added sugar, this refreshing, Millennial-friendly sipper is cute enough for any itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini. Enjoy on its own or use it for a boozy watermelon vodka cocktail. (Try their Sparkling Strawberry Juice too.)
Cold Brew Coconut Cream Lattes
If you’re like us and take your coffee sweet and with lots and lots of milk, be sure to grab some of these new canned coconut milk lattes. Dairy-free and vegan, they’re available in both a deceptively fall caramel spice flavor and original. Caffeine zing commence.
Related Reading: The Five Best Cold Brews You Can Buy
This malt beverage with lemon juice is the perfect drink to toss in the cooler on the weekend. It’s not too sweet, not too tart, and boasts a perfect level of fizziness. But we wonder, would Beyoncé, the lemonade queen herself, approve of the concoction?
A nonalcoholic summer sipper, this limeade’s jalapeño jolt isn’t too spicy, but it makes for a refreshingly different flavor that goes down easy…whether or not you spike it with something a bit more potent. (We’re talking about tequila.)
Trader Joe’s Desserts
Behold, our favorite summer sweets from TJ’s.
These vegan cheesecakes have a lot going for them: They’re creamy and custardy with a vanilla note; they’re dairy-free so almost everyone can partake; they’re no-bake (just thaw them for a couple hours); and they’re individually sized, so there’s no danger of polishing off an entire conventionally sized cheesecake before you even realize it. Top with the ripest summer fruit you can find for a truly special treat.
Dessert dip is never a bad idea, and dessert hummus has been around for a while, but now that it’s hit Trader Joe’s, it’s a capital-t Thing. And it’s delicious. A fantastic snack any time, it also doubles as an easy (and pretty healthy) party dessert ideal for dipping pretzels, graham crackers, and fresh or dried fruit. You will need a butter knife to spread it on softer fruit like strawberries, but no biggie. You might also need a spoon for when you inevitably decide to just take big bites of the chocolate hummus on its own.
Gone Bananas! & Gone Berry Crazy!
These dark chocolate-covered banana bites should be a permanent fixture in any freezer. Sweet, simple, and healthy(ish), they’re an ideal way to get a quick sugar fix. And one that isn’t ice cream. In fact, we may or may not take these over a pint of Halo Top. Yes, we went there. No, we’re not kidding. And the summer-edition cousin (Gone Berry Crazy!) that swaps in ripe strawberries under that dark chocolate coating, might be even better.
Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
Trader Joe’s version of a Chipwich (vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies) brings us right back to our days at sleep-away camp. They’re chock-full of chocolate chips and unsurprisingly addictive.
Related Reading: 11 Ice Cream Sandwiches You Have to Try Before Summer Melts Away
Ube Ice Cream
The smash hit of last summer, Trader Joe’s ube ice cream is back again. Ube, a bright purple yam from the Philippines, serves as the base of many desserts, and TJ’s describes this one as “sweet and nutty, with hints of coconut […] some liken it to a cross between vanilla and pistachio.” Looks like mint chocolate chip is taking a backseat. Sorry, not sorry.
Another uber-popular flavor in desserts and drinks over the last few years, Japanese green tea matcha makes an appearance in this cool, creamy treat. Make a meta matcha float, or just get out your spoon and dig in.
These new organic sugar cones are just the thing for housing your precious scoops, whether you bought some Trader Joe’s non-dairy frozen dessert, or made mason jar ice cream at home.
If you’re willing to bake during the summertime, the sweet flavor of corn is a lovely choice—in fact, what we want to do is turn these into summery ice cream sandwiches with a simple vanilla filling, STAT.
Conversely, if you’d rather leave the baking to someone else, you can pick up a puckery yet sweet lemon chess pie from Trader Joe’s bakery shelves. The citrus-infused custard filling is cradled by a buttery shortbread crust. Add homemade whipped cream for the perfect finishing touch.
Header image by Chowhound, using photos from Trader Joe's