June 15, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

29 Genius Ways To Use Popular Trader Joe’s Ingredients

Table of Contents

Ditch the Mandarin orange chicken sauce, and do this instead.

If you (like me) shop at Trader Joe’s often, you know that there’s more than meets the eye within this magical market. There are so many creative and delicious ways to use TJ’s most popular products.

So I browsed the r/traderjoes subreddit and compiled some of the smartest tips for using your favorite products. Plus, I added a few of my own. Here are some ingredient hacks you’re probably going to want to try.


Heat up Trader Joe’s frozen Mandarin orange chicken, but leave out the sauce. Instead, coat it in your favorite sauce, like buffalo sauce, garlic Parmesan, or lemon pepper. They’re basically amazing boneless wings.


Use Garlic Spread as pizza sauce (try it with sausage and leeks), or spread on a baguette and pop it in the oven for shortcut garlic bread.


Turn Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough into a French baguette.

u/grapegeek / Via reddit.com

“Grab a ball of Trader Joe’s plain pizza dough, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, and let it rise at room temperature for a few hours. Fold it and punch down every few hours, then let it rise overnight. In the morning, fold it into a baguette shape, let it rise for another hour, then score the top, and bake on a hot pizza stone or baking sheet in a 450°F oven for 20 minutes.”



Air frying just about any Trader Joe’s frozen food makes it exponentially more crispy and delicious. Set your air fryer to whatever temperature is listed for the oven instructions, and assume you can reduce the cooking time by about 25%.


Instead of marinara or Alfredo sauce, heat up Trader Joe’s frozen spinach artichoke dip and toss it with your pasta.


Instead of buying the Hatch Chile Mac ‘n’ Cheese, buy the regular mac ‘n’ cheese and add a bunch of Hatch Chile Salsa. It gives you way more bang for your buck in terms of cheesiness.


Use a TJ’s organic coconut smoothie as the base for a creamy, delicious (and dairy-free) smoothie. Add any of your favorite ingredients like bananas, blueberries, nut butter, and more.


Turn a can of tuna fish and a can of Greek Chickpeas with Parsley and Cumin into the easiest, most filling two-ingredient meal.

Hannah Loewentheil

If you want to take it a step further, add some chopped veggies like tomato and cucumber plus a drizzle of olive oil and lemon.



Pop the Milk Chocolate S’mashing S’mores in the microwave for about 10 seconds in the microwave. Toss them between graham crackers, and you’ve got the quickest s’mores ever (with no fire necessary).


For anyone who likes both chili onion crunch and skincare, save your empty Chili Onion Crunch jars and remove the labels. They’re the perfect size to fit cotton rounds.


Instead of tortillas, try using frozen Taiwanese green onion pancakes as taco shells, especially filled with scrambled eggs and hash browns for breakfast.


Swap your average sandwich bread for frozen garlic naan and say hello to the greatest grilled cheese sandwich of all time.


Stuff wonton wrappers with Trader Joe’s Smoked Salmon Dip. and air fry them until crispy for a droolworthy, two-ingredient party app.


Add pieces of the Pound Plus Milk Chocolate Bar with Caramel, Pretzel Bits, and Sea Salt to your chocolate chip cookie dough for next-level cookies.


Use Trader Joe’s seasonal all-butter puff pastry instead of classic batter to make the richest, fluffiest waffles ever.


Mix Italian Bamba sauce with mayonnaise, and slather it onto sandwich bread. It makes the absolute best spicy mayo. After you try it once, you won’t be able to enjoy a sandwich without it.


Turn TJ’s Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies and dark chocolate frozen “Gone Bananas” into the most delicious mini ice cream sandwiches.


Trader Joe’s Ube Mochi Pancake & Waffle Mix is also the perfect batter for making mochi donuts. Shape them and then fry them in oil, bake them, or make them in the air fryer.


Turn frozen Brazilian Cheese Bread into chewy, cheesy, gluten-free sliders filled with anything from smoked salmon and goat cheese to ham and cheese.


Bake TJ’s mochi cake mix in muffin tins for about 28 minutes at 350°F for the most crave-worthy muffins ever.


Combine Artichoke Jalapeño Dip, half a jar of corn and chile salsa, and Elote seasoning to taste for a perfect spicy, savory, and sweet party dip.


Turn ready-to-bake pizza dough into outrageously good garlic knots. Just shape the dough into small balls, top with garlic and Parmesan, and bake.


Use a carton of Trader Joe’s tomato and roasted red pepper soup to make a casserole. Try an unstuffed pepper casserole with ground beef, taco casserole, or best of all, grilled cheese and tomato soup casserole.


Bread chicken tenders in crushed-up Elote Corn Chip Dippers to instantly get out of your boring chicken rut.


Rather than enjoy it as a dip, use Island Salsa to marinate anything from chicken to fish (like mahi mahi) for a main dish with some Hawaiian flare.


Sprinkle the Green Goddess seasoning on sour cream, and chill it for at least a half hour in the fridge. It tastes even better than ranch.


Try dipping Bamba peanut snacks in jelly for the ultimate snackable take on PB&J.


Grab a container of Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce, mix it with bread crumbs, and use it as a crust for anything from pork chops to lamb. If the bread crumbs aren’t sticking, add a thin layer of Dijon mustard on top of the Zhoug.


Heat up coconut shrimp or battered fish nuggets, then wrap ’em in tortillas for the easiest, crispiest, restaurant-quality shrimp or fish tacos.

Do you have a favorite Trader Joe’s ingredient hack people should know about? Tell us in the comments below!