Trader Joe’s annual Customer Choice Awards are basically like the Oscars of the food world. Well, maybe that’s more like the James Beard Foundation Awards. So maybe this list is more like the Oscars of Trader Joe’s grocery aisles.
Since 2009, the folks at Trader Joe’s have tallied up the votes of its shoppers’ favorite products and published the results. From year to year, they sometimes switch up the categories and new items pop up. But many of the it-list foods remain the same.
Here are the most adored products from the beloved grocery chain of 2019.
For three years, Mandarin Orange Chicken has held first place as everyone’s favorite overall TJ’s pick. But this year, a savory blend of seasonings took the spotlight. But let’s face it, when it’s got everything to offer (sesame, sea salt, garlic and onion) for just $1.99 a shaker, what’s not to love? This awesome mix is great on everything from proteins, to veggies, popcorn and, yes, even bagels.
- Cauliflower Gnocchi
- Mandarin Orange Chicken
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Unexpected Cheddar
Favorite Entree: Mandarin Orange Chicken
This frozen favorite didn’t totally get bumped from its first place position. Mandarin Orange Chicken won best entrée this year … and last year … and the two years before that! Inspired by Chinese-American takeout, this easy-prep meal consists of breaded chicken and a stir-in sauce made with orange peels, fresh ginger, garlic, green onions and soy sauce. Each bag costs $4.99.
- Cauliflower Gnocchi
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Butter Chicken
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter & Sage
Favorite Vegan/Vegetarian Item: Cauliflower Gnocchi
While “Bachelor” contestant Hannah Godwin caused a stir around Trader’s Cauliflower Gnocchi on Instagram, this vegetarian-friendly Italian specialty climbed the ranks all on its own. The gnocchi, made from cauliflower instead of potatoes, is a versatile base for any pasta lover looking to cut back on carbs. Each bag contains a nice portion for two and costs $2.69.
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- Soy Chorizo
- Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
- Cowboy Quinoa Veggie Burgers
- Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels
These delightful chocolates won favorite candy in 2017 and 2018 and, now that the brand combined all sweets into won category, the PB-cups have taken over. It can be pretty hard to resist eating the whole 1-pound package, which costs $4.29, as they’re salty and sweet with just the right amount of bitterness from the rich chocolate flavor.
- Hold the Cone! Mini Vanilla Ice Cream Cones
- O&H Danish Kringle (flavors vary seasonally)
- Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Gone Bananas! Dark Chocolate Covered Bananas
Favorite Snack: Plantain Chips
These Crunchy, sweet and salty chips are derived from the banana’s cousin. Plantains are starchier, however, and less sweet naturally. This snack got bumped from second place in 2018 to first. Each bag is just 99 cents.
- Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
- World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs
- Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
- Chili & Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Favorite Beverage: Non-Dairy Oat Beverages
With oat milk on the rise, along with many other trendy non-dairy milk alternatives, these beverages rose to the top of the drink category above flavored sparkling waters (2018’s winner), which didn’t even make the list this year. Oat milks are sold in two sizes, a shelf-stable, smaller carton for $2.29; and a larger, refrigerated version that retails for $3.99.
- Honeycrisp Apple Cider
- Triple Ginger Brew
- Spiced Cider
- Charles Shaw Wine
Favorite Produce: Avocados
We can’t say we’re surprised. Trader Joe’s is a hot spot for the ever-popular stone fruit. There’s plenty of variety at the store (organic, singles or bags) but the Teeny Tiny Avocados, which retail at $2.99 for a six-count bag on the East Coast and $2.69 on the West Coast, are a true hit.
- Honeycrisp apples
- Brussels sprouts
- Shaved Brussels sprouts
Favorite Cheese: Unexpected Cheddar
OK, so we totally expected Unexpected Cheddar to remain top dog of the cheese category. This cheaper, $3.99-per-wedge cheese tastes anything but, well, cheap. It’s the kind of cheese where the little salt crystals are still present. It’s creamy and great on its own, or melted down into a gorgeous grilled cheese.
- English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions
- Creamy Toscano Soaked in Syrah
- Wild Blueberry and Vanilla Chèvre
- Cranberry Chèvre (seasonal)
Favorite in Home, Bath and Beauty: Scented Candles
These tiny scented wax candles are $3.99 a jar. Scents, which rotate seasonally, include Peony Blossom, Vanilla, Mango Tangerine and Lemon Cookie. They smell so good you might want to eat them — but we wouldn’t recommend it.
- Rose Water Facial Toner
- Coconut Body Butter,
- Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Hair Mask
- Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer