7 Trader Joe's frozen meals you should never buy, according to food editors.



Despite how happy we are about Trader Joe's at Simply Recipes, we're sad to say that the grocery store has let us down on occasion. The freezer section is famous for countless hits like mandarin orange chicken and cauliflower gnocchi, and our editorial team has also gone to the trouble of mini cheeseburgers and soup dumplings. However, options are not all winners. These seven things disappointed us so much that we would never buy them again.

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


1. Real Thai Vegetable Pad Thai

Two of our editors immediately called out Trader Joe's frozen pad thai. “Phew! With so much sodium in it, it's surprisingly tasteless,” says Mayo Quinn, associate editorial director. “It also contains a lot of beans, which make the whole dish soggy, and not in a good way. You'd be better off with takeout!”

Senior editor Laurel Randolph agrees: “As much as I love the magic of frozen, ready-made noodles, they often don't capture the goodness of a fresh noodle dish. TJ's Pad Thai is no exception—the texture is just right.” Not good, and will make you feel like you're eating leftover takeout.

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


2. Breaded Cheddar Cheese Yogurt

Laurel has also learned to skip the frozen bags of breaded cheese curds at Trader Joe's. “Cheese curds are meant to be freshly fried and put in your mouth immediately. For example, these frozen versions. They are not. Bad, but they are not good. They lack the crunch and meltiness of freshly fried cheese curds that make them so delicious.”

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


3. Italian-style meatballs

Here's a case where our editors don't have to agree. While Laurel is a fan, general manager Emma Christensen says the frozen meatballs are “the one product I'll never really buy again. I want to love them because they're so convenient, but I find the texture rubbery and the taste weird.” Sounds bitter.”

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


4. Chicken Carriage

This Japanese-style fried chicken doesn't just deliver for Myo. “They're fine as fried chicken bites, but I wouldn't call them karaage, which are supposed to be light, crispy and tender. They're not. The bread is chewy, hard and chunky. I am very fat.”

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


5. Cheese Filled Facuccini with Pink Sauce

If these fuchetti — bundles of cheese-stuffed pasta — had been packaged without the pink sauce, I'd be singing a different tune, because the pasta is just right. Unfortunately, the sauce completely ruins them. The tomato cream sauce is really pink, almost unnaturally so, and tastes very sweet and colorful. Also, the ratio of pasta to sauce is all wrong, the pasta swimming in the cream sauce makes the whole dish soupy.

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


6. Mashed potatoes

“While everyone has tried to crack the code on easy mashed potatoes, from frozen dinners to boxed flakes to TJ's Picks, no one has really succeeded,” says Laurel. “There's something unfortunate about the texture of potatoes when they're frozen like this, which creates a watery, less-than-satisfying result.”

Below are just recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers


7. Mac and cheese bites

The party where my friends introduced me to Trader Joe's frozen mac and cheese bites was the first and last time I ate them. While breaded balls of carbs and cheese should be easy to love, the texture of these bites is too sweet. They are also quite tasteless and greasy, despite being quite cheesy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *