12 Trader Joe’s Frozen Faves I Buy Every Week—Plus the One I’ll Visit Multiple Stores to Find

Navigating the out-of-stock hype

By Casey McKee
camille styles fridge

So many hyped-up products to try, so little time. In this era of inflation where even eggs are considered a luxury good, it can be overwhelming to navigate the wide world of stuff. From wellness buys to seasonal treats to candles worth the splurge, it’s important that our hard-earned dollars go toward things (and experiences) that pay satisfying, mood-boosting dividends. When it comes to what I eat—and how I budget out my grocery list—items I can store for months in the freezer are an absolute godsend. And as the best Trader Joe’s frozen food proves, your money-saving grocery haul can unlock all kinds of delicious and convenient inspiration. (Mealspiration, if you will.)

Woman reaching into refrigerator.
Image by Suruchi Avasthi

The Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Food: 12 Must-Have Picks

Before I get to my Trader Joe’s frozen finds, I have to disclose something. I couldn’t have timed this frozen food haul worse. Besides the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and that elusive, late-summer day when fall products hit the shelves, I scheduled my grocery run for perhaps the worst shopping day of the year. Because I’m only a football fan by association—my partner’s a die-hard—the fact that my visit coincided with Super Bowl weekend was completely lost on me. That is, until I had to take four spins around the parking lot before finding a space.

All that to say is, this wasn’t the leisurely shopping trip I had envisioned. The aisles were crowded, my movements were frantic, and overall, it was a sight to see. Surprisingly, they had in stock some of the most important frozen food I had been instructed (by everyone!) to find. Despite the crowds, I kept my cool, loaded up my cart with all the best Trader Joe’s frozen food, and vibed out to my chill girl playlist on the ride home. (If you’ve ever felt your blood pressure skyrocket from a Sunday grocery trip, you know what I’m talking about.)

With my goods procured, I spent all of last week taste-testing and determining the items that earned their place among the frozen masses. Some were old standbys while others were new-to-me recommendations. In the end, 12 products stood out as the best of the best Trader Joe’s frozen food. Dive in and discover the hype.

Note: All prices reflect pricing at the local Trader Joe’s in Austin and may vary depending on location.

mini chicken tikka samoasa_best trader joes frozen foods

Mini Chicken Tikka Samosas — $3.99

Wow… I was almost rendered speechless after biting into one of these mini mouthfuls of heaven. If Indian-inspired dishes are your guilty pleasure, then these are the perfect snack for getting your fix. I loved the pumpkin samosas during fall (TJ’s best season), but these samosas might just top them. Their flavor isn’t as intense as your typical Tikka Masala dish, but nevertheless, still incredibly delicious.

thai green curry

Thai Green Curry — $3.99

Before my Trader Joe’s run, I turned to the internet to see what people had to say about this year’s best-frozen picks. This Thai Green Curry was at the top of many folks’ recommendations, and it ended up being one of the most flavor-packed freezer foods I’ve ever tried. (I’m a big fan of all things that bring the heat.) The tofu’s firmness was also impressive, considering it wasn’t freshly prepared. While the portion size isn’t enough for a full-fledged dinner, this is a great option for something fast and tasty.

chicken cilantro wontons_best trader joe's frozen foods

Chicken Cilantro Wontons — $3.49

The possibilities are endless when it comes to these wontons. I use them in everything from soup to appetizers to tasty sides when preparing an Asian-inspired main dish. The best part? These little flavor-filled bites get bonus points for how simple they are to make. Whether you pan-fry or boil in your soup broth, you’re looking at a tasty snack or dinner in less than 10 minutes. Sign me up!

beef birria_best trader joe's frozen foods

Beef Birria — $7.99

Anyone who lives in Austin knows the hype around Birria tacos—and the challenge to find the best ones in the city. When I’m craving that savory flavor in a pinch, the Trader Joe’s version is a great option that keeps the essentials authentic. While only the meat is included in this package, it’s enough to serve 2+ people when served with corn tortillas or a Mexican-inspired side.

mandarin orange chicken

Mandarin Orange Chicken — $4.99

When it comes to commonly out-of-stock frozen foods at Trader Joe’s, this one is often the biggest challenge to track down. Its sweet and savory blend with mandarin orange sauce coats these bites of chicken to perfection. Plus, if you invest in any variety of TJ’s rice, you can make this frozen favorite a whole meal.

steamed pork and ginger soup dumplings_best trader joe's frozen foods

Steamed Pork and Ginger Soup Dumplings — $3.49

When I set out on my mission, everyone told me that these soup dumplings were unarguably the best Trader Joe’s frozen food to exist. I’m happy to report that they lived up to their hype, filled with an aromatic broth boasting prominent notes of ginger. Everything about these dumplings is perfectly balanced.

chimichurri rice

Chimichurri Rice — $2.99

Remember when I mentioned Trader Joe’s rice? This is one of those top-tier varieties that you won’t want to skip in the frozen food section. I tend to lean more toward this version with bold chimichurri flavors and a veggie blend. It’s far from your basic fried rice.

burrata, prosciutto, and arugula pizza_best trader joe's frozen foods

Burrata, Proscuitto, and Arugula Pizza — $4.99

I’m not sure what’s in the air, but these past few weeks, I’ve been pressed for time 24/7. That being said, I often don’t have the energy to defrost a protein, throw something together, and hop right back into my work. Enter: Trader Joe’s frozen pizza. Simply preheat and pop in the oven for a restaurant-quality artisan flatbread that will satisfy your cravings (without even leaving the house).

sweet potato gnocchi

Sweet Potato Gnocchi — $3.79

Those who know me best know the key to my heart is any dish involving sweet potatoes. This new Trader Joe’s gnocchi with brown butter and sage is simply divine. A bit savory and sweet, with a fluffy and chewy texture, it would be a shame to miss out on one of the best things that TJ’s has to offer.

korean style short ribs

Korean Style Short Ribs — $15.99

If you’re looking for a hearty dinner option that will serve more than two, these short ribs will be your go-to. Ready in under 20 minutes, they’re juicy and pre-marinated for instant flavor. These pair well with a bit of gochujang and fried rice, making it a quick and easy dinner that’s hard to beat.

brownie coffee crisps ice cream sandwiches

Brownie Coffee Crisps Ice Cream Sandwiches — $4.49

Now for dessert! These brownie ice cream sandwiches were the first thing that caught my eye in the frozen food section at my local Trader Joe’s. I’m a lover of just about all things chocolate and coffee, so these were far from a hard sell. If you crave a late-night sweet treat, give these a try ASAP.

mini chocolate hold the cone_best trader joe's frozen food

Mini Chocolate Hold the Cone – $3.99

Everyone’s favorite TJ’s dessert obviously made the list, but this time in chocolate! I had no idea that the Hold the Cones came in different flavors until my recent visit, but these chocolate cones are my new favorite variety. They’re perfect for when you want a hint of sweetness but not a full stomach of sugar.