Ask My Readers | Best Deals at Trader Joe’s

Last year, I wrote a post called The 7 Things I Only Buy at Costco. Thanks to the wonders of a price book, I know that yeast, organic mixed greens and five other things are always going to be cheaper at Costco than anywhere else.

That post prompted a reader named Shaina to ask me last week on Facebook what are the proverbial “7 Things” I’d recommend buying at Trader Joe’s.

Unfortunately, I’m not a TJ expert. Although we do have a Trader Joe’s in Kansas City, it’s only be open for a few months now and I haven’t really had time to comparison shop for all my basic groceries.

But, as I said last week on Facebook, I knew just who to ask to get an answer to Shaina’s question! YOU!

While I know we all have our favorites at Trader Joe’s (for us, it’s Dunkers, yogurt star cookies and Tofurkey sausage), I’m really curious what items you have found to be priced more competitively at Trader Joe’s than anywhere else. Even when  you factor in coupons.

So, TJ-shopping experts, I turn the floor over to you: Won’t you please divulge all your best buys at Trader Joe’s?

(P.S. In case you missed it earlier this week, I have started to do a weekly coupon match-up for Trader Joe’s on Mondays.)



  1. Their refrigerated pizza dough is unbeatable at $.99…and the herbed variety is out of this world!

    • So sad, but not all locations get a hechshered pizza dough. Here in KC ours isn’t 🙁

      • I wonder if you can put in a request? It’s not like they would have to go through so much trouble…just ship KC the label with the hechsher…

        • Ours used to be kosher, but it’s not anymore….when I asked abt getting the kosher one, i was told they don’t carry it at the warehouse that services our trader joes so I am out of luck. 🙁

  2. Esther Gewirtz says

    My two big favorites from TJ’s are: pizza dough…at 99 cents per bag they are perfect for a go to supper. They come in regular, whole wheat, and my favorite garlic and herb. FYI, they are awesome from the freezer.
    My second favorite item is the Trader Joes chocolate chips. These 16oz bag are a bit pricey, at 2.00/bag but they are the best parave

  3. TJ boxed Vegetable Broth and Creamy Tomato Soups
    Produce like bagged organic potatoes, loose bananas are usually 19 cents ea
    Organic yogurt smoothies

  4. Joe’s Oh’s. I used to get Cheerios from Costco, but they are a lot cheaper at TJ’s.

    Their high-protein tofu. $1.99 a package, but the same thing at Whole Foods (Wildwoods brand) is almost $4. My kids can’t tell the difference, and they eat it before I can get it in to the pan.

  5. Plain tofu: used to be $1.49/pkg and was just increased to 1.79. Still cheaper than the lowest prices elsewhere.

    Whole wheat flour: $2.99 for 5lb. I haven’t priced it against Costco, but it’s the best price I have found anywhere else by far.

    Herbs and spices I want on hand but don’t need a huge supply: generally $1.99 for 2 oz.

    Pasta sauce: $1.79

    TJ’s also has various nut mixes and trail nut mixes. You can buy large packages or the same volume in a bag of 10 individual packs. What I really like about this is that they charge the same amount for both options. (Sorry, I don’t remember the exact price.)

  6. Leah Sarah says

    Definitely their pizza dough — others have detailed that above!

    They have great prices on cereal, sometimes comparable to super market brand cereal(but much healthier in most cases!), sometimes much cheaper!!

    I am also a big fan of their pasta sauce. It’s 1.99 for a jar, which is more expensive than you can get at ShopRite here kosher(which is .99 for a jar), but the quality is MUCH higher… Which means I use less sauce for a given dish because it has so much more flavor, so it does last longer!

    I know a lot of people who really love their chocolate chips, but I haven’t used them!

    The only other thing I can think of off the top of my head is the chocolate syrup. I think it was about $1.99 last time I purchased it for organic chocolate syrup(think hershey’s, like you use for chocolate milk). It’s really yummy, pareve, and pretty reasonably priced for something a bit more natural than high fructose corn syrup!

  7. bananas are 18 cents each which is equal to costco but you don’t have to buy that many at a time.
    Also whenever you need specialty cheeses (like for fondue dips) they are much less at TJ than grocery stores.
    I like to buy their frozen vegetables too. They are typically priced at (I think) 1.19 a pkg but they come out crisp and taste fresh when cooked.
    I used to buy the pizza dough too! Really yummy. but now I just make my own. They also have a marinated tofu that is good; I used to buy for my kids when they first started eating solid foods.

  8. Extra virgin olive oil! Forgot the exact price, I think it’s around 5$ per liter, sometimes a comparable price is available at ocean state job lot.

    Also the basmati, jasmine and brown rices are nicely priced.

  9. I forgot meat! Ground turkey is maybe $4.69/lb. The kosher chicken is a little more expensive than elsewhere (because most of it is organic), but I am willing to buy it on occasion to encourage the store to keep stocking kosher meat. Also, TJ’s is three blocks from our apartment, so I figure I’m not spending gas or extra time, which may balance a slightly higher price.

  10. We don’t go to TJ’s that often, but when we do I make sure to stock up on:
    Chicken-less nuggets
    Morning Star burgers
    Chocolate chips
    Olive oil
    Cherry Chocolate pareve ice cream (I don’t know what the official name is)
    and Pizza dough

  11. You are making me so jealous with all the tj’s talk! We recently left california for Utah for school and seriously being without tj’s was on our pro con list! My must haves were: organic dairy, peanut butter, tofu and chocolate! The one thing I haven’t been able to find a good replacement for is their peanut butter. I only use natural peanut butter(with one ingredient) and haven’t been able to find it for under $2 a jar like theirs:/

  12. -The pizza dough
    -Waffles – $1.99
    -Dorot frozen herb cubes ($1.99 – not sure how much they are elsewhere)
    -Pasta is delicious @ only .99
    -Chocolate chips (pareve)
    -Pareve ice cream
    -Joes O’s cereal
    -Sweet potato chips and vegetable chips (taste just like Terra chips but way cheaper)
    -Variety of crackers and snacks, very well priced

  13. Laurie Cohen says

    Their Multi-Grain Oatmeal. Delish! And Uncle Sam Cereal. And their flowers: they always have a great selection, which last a really long time, at great prices.

  14. I get feta there. Pastures of Eden sheeps’ milk feta with an o-u is THE BEST feta I have had and cheaper than any other I’ve seen, even from the co-op-$8/16oz. White whole wheat flour is half the price of Target. They also have good prices on nuts and dried fruits, with a huge selection, though sometimes their dried fruit prices might be beatable elsewhere with sale and coupons. They have the best price outside of whole foods on cage-free eggs-$2.69. We get soy hotdogs there too. And, at least here, they have the best milk prices that I’ve found-$2.89. They have the best prices of normal grocery stores on tofu and rice,but if you have an Asian grocery store near you, the prices there are probably better.

  15. I’m not going to give you prices because here in NY our prices are much higher than what other people have been posting, but (all store brand items):
    Fig breakfast bars – tremendously less sugar than other brands
    White Whole Wheat Flour
    Organic Sugar – they have the “white” “brown” and “powdered” varieties of the evaporated cane juice – as an un-refined sweetener it is much healthier than bleached refined sugars
    12 Grain mini-snack crackers
    coffee beans
    Gorgonzola crackers
    their organic produce is much less expensive than other stores locally
    their yogurts are much less expensive than other stores locally
    whole wheat pasta
    rice pasta
    all varieties of cereal

    I basically do my main shopping there as the prices are much better on 99% of the items I need. They are not cheaper on the kosher meat, but they do carry it so in a pinch if I need it, I can get it. The biggest issue we have with them is that their hecksher on the breads (and the pizza dough – which is way more than $.99 here) is one that is not accepted by the local community so I have to search to find national heckshers if I need bread when I am there. – Never thought to use coupons there – but since pretty much everything I buy there is store brand it’s sort of a non-issue.

  16. The Pastures of Eden feta is the BEST! I also get whole wheat pasta, Joes Os cereal, organic salad greens. Pasta sauce is $1.99 for a big jar, yogurt is much cheaper than other stores.

  17. NATURAL (only ingredient is almonds, roasted for improved flavor) ALMOND BUTTER- heavenly as a treat with tj pareve choc chips(though the chips are not cheap-but so worth the price in this case!!)…

  18. They only carry a couple of varieties, but the Morningstar Farms products are a lot cheaper at TJ’s than anywhere else. They are also one of the few places that have pareve desserts in my neighborhood. I second the recommendation for the pareve chocolate cherry ice cream — so good! They often have Toffuti Cuties, too. I also buy their bag of 4 avocadoes for $3.99, and I also like their cereal bars ($1.69?). Good prices on dried fruit, too. Finally, their choc.-covered pretzels are amazing. Not cheap, but soooo good.

  19. Joes O’s, tillamook cheese –a block of cheddar that is the only cheese some of my kids will touch, and cheaper usually than the kosher brand cheddar, their veggie chicken nuggets, their brand of soy ice cream, which is much better than the only other option around here for kosher pareve ice cream, and much cheaper, their frozen veggies, although i think that the price is only good because the local store has such rotten prices (think 2 bucks for a 1 lb bag is a sale price!)
    Those are our main staples that make me plan a trip when we run low, then there is all the other stuff i buy…

  20. Judy Jacks Berman says

    I love their orange juice, not from concentrate, lots of pulp and $2.99 for 64 oz opposed to Tropicana’s 56oz and it cost more unless you get it on sale. Also their burgerless crumble is better than boca crumbles or morningsar farms and only $2.99 a package.

  21. Our typical TJs list: pasta sauce, whole wheat pasta, sunflower seeds, tortilla chips. (Oh, how many times I have emailed that list to my husband to pick up on his way home 🙂

    We also buy: morningstar or TJ chickenless nugget, tillamook cheese, soy milk, pita, chocolate chips, ground turkey ($3.67/lb), natural salted peanut butter, jelly, oreo-like cookies (can’t remember name Joe something)

    Some other interesting items: candy coated licorice (like good n plenty) 99c, SOME nuts and dried fruit (but much is not kosher), kosher wine

    I’m disappointed that we’re no longer getting kosher pizza dough or tortillas.

  22. Chocolate chips! They are pareve and taste great.

  23. Barbara’s Bakery Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls cereal, and Morningstar Farms soy sausage links

  24. Agree with everyone on the chocolate chips and pizza dough. Add fresh leeks, cleaned and no waste. Flash frozen green beans – 2 lb bag $1.99; TJ’s parve chicken nuggets; Best prices on Morningstar farms burgers; TJ’s dried cranberries, dry roasted almonds, and other nuts; my biggest staple and the best buy – TJ’s brand vegetable broth – $1.99 – great to use as soup base for any homemade soup. Also Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato soup in the box. Another staple is the Harvest Grains blend and brown rice medley mixes. Love their toasted sesame oil, red pepper spread and eggplant & garlic spread (use either of these with the green beans for a yummy, quick side dish). Recently discovered the teduced carb whole wheat flour tortillas – 40 calories each and very satisfying. Love their rosemary foccaccia and harvest grain rolls with cranberries and sunflower seeds. Great for entertaining bec they’re delicious and look great in a basket. Love to snack on whole grain pretzel nuggets and 100 Calorie dark chocolate bars. I could go on and on… Love TJ’s!!

  25. Air Popped Chips! I’m addicted! TJ is $1.99 a bag, the main brand Pop Chips, even on sale is $2.50
    Also, some of TJ house wines are OU-P and less than $5. I personally love the Sara Bee moscatto 🙂
    We also buy the yougurt that is like Go-gurt, we freeze them and my kids think it’s ice cream.

  26. rice cakes – $1.49/sleeve
    chocolate chips – best pareve out there
    Dr. preagers California burgers
    TJ’s chickenless nuggets
    and of course…

  27. Now that I think about it, I probably buy 7 items at Trader Joe’s, many the same as everyone else:

    Pizza dough
    Feta cheese from Israel
    Chocolate chips
    Bananas (19 cents each in NJ)
    21 Seasoning Salute – $1.99 – no salt alternative to Mrs. Dash – much cheaper and we like it better
    Gluten Free Noodles – also $1.99 much cheaper than other brands and cooks in less time.
    Jo-Jo’s – also $1.99 and just as good as Oreos.

  28. Maple Syrup!!!!

    The white whole wheat flour is also great…as are the chocolate chips.

    I like the nut selection, but I feel like the prices are not THAT great….

  29. Banana chips – .99 cents a bag!
    Haricot vert green beans, frozen – 1.99 (roast with thyme and olive oil, YUM)
    Frozen fire roasted bell peppers and onions – 2.99 (saves time and money)
    fruit ends and pieces 2.49 (a treat, but a yummy one – it’s the uneven ends and pieces of the fruit leather they sell!)

  30. Tomato sauce, (roasted garlic) delicious, only $1.99.
    bananas, rice-cakes, flat bread (crackers like) with good spices on top.. Chocolate chips, pareve for baking!

  31. Frozen bell peppers – less than $2, a great resource in the winter
    Whole wheat pasta that still comes in 1lb bags rather than the 12 oz bags I see at the grocery store

  32. Rice milk (best price around that I’ve seen and we use a lot for a kid who is allergic to dairy and soy).

  33. Chavelamomela says

    Our list is:

    -Pareve Chocolate Chips (I usually buy 20 bags at a time!)
    -Empire ground turkey
    -Tillamook Cheddar
    -Pasta Sauce
    -Barbara’s cereals
    -Chickenless Nuggets
    -Blueberry Waffles

  34. -chocolate chips and white chips (yes, dairy…yum!!)
    -rice pasta , 1.99/bag instead of 3.69 and upward
    -Tj’s version of rice crispies 1.99 and free of corn syrup
    -Tj’s yogurt squeezers, good for a frozen treat
    – sesame oil
    -pasta sauce (trader giottos is our fave)
    -lavender sachets for the dryer, real lavender!
    -tofu, 1.49!!
    -not a savings but they have the most delicious roasted almonds & cashews
    -soy milk
    -shredded organic broccoli
    -parve ice cream
    -dangerous snack food & candy sections, have to go in well fed

  35. I love their boxed vegetable broth and “chicken” nuggets.

  36. cereal bars
    pareve chocolate chips
    Earth Balance spread
    chewy granola bars
    marinara pasta sauce in a can
    soy ice cream (large tub)
    toaster pastries
    whole wheat tortillas
    large yogurt tubs
    cheese puffs

  37. We buy organic whole milk yogurt at TJ’s. It’s hard to find elsewhere!

    Other things we get regularly:
    -parve chocolate chips
    -pizza dough (although I’ve never used it for pizza!)
    -Israeli sheep’s milk feta cheese (Pastures of Eden)
    -sesame oil
    -pasta sauce
    -lemon sorbet

    Tomorrow’s my regular trip. Even my kids like TJ’s – they have kid shopping carts and give lollypops and stickers. What’s not to love!

  38. Rice milk for sure best tasting and best price!!!
    parev chocolate chips.
    Best price for white whole wheat flour. (Which is still whole grain.)
    Rice pasta and reg pasta
    Dr. preagers California burgers

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