It's A No For Me, Dawg

10 Trader Joe’s Items That *Aren’t* Worth the Hype

Save your taste buds the trouble.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 
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TJ’s rarely misses the mark. But when it does, patrons don’t shy away from sharing their thoughts, myself included. So, let's stir the pot (or erhm, cart?) and revisit some of TJ's most overrated items, from frozen foods to sweets and more.

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Mandarin Orange Chicken

It’s a penny saver, but it can’t compete with the flavors of Chinese takeout. Admittedly, I used to love TJ’s copycat recipe but realized my taste buds are better off sourcing the real thing from local restaurants.

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Gone Berry Crazy!

While a fun idea, TJ’s attempt at dark chocolate-covered strawberries is a flop. The strawberries aren’t fresh, and you’ll just be wishing you made them yourself.

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When Life Gives You Lemons Make Ice Cream

I was so disappointed with TJ’s When Life Gives You Lemons Make Ice Cream. I love lemon-flavored things (drinks, desserts, dressings, sauces), but this was way too sour for my liking.

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Beef Pho Soup

According to several Reddit users, TJ’s Beef Pho Soup is a major “letdown” and tastes “rather bland.” One person said they’d rather make a Cup of Noodles instead.

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Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese

Once you try Trader Joe’s traditional Mac ‘n Cheese, you can’t go back. In an attempt to “healthify” my diet, I briefly switched to TJ’s gluten-free version. Long story short, I stopped after one bite.

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Cauliflower Gnocchi

In the last two years or so, I’ve become a big cauliflower fan. So, when I came across TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi, I was immediately intrigued. Nope. It’s spongey, lacks flavor, and lowkey smells bad.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

While delicious in flavor, a former TJ’s employee tells Insider that the store’s Chicken Tikka Masala isn’t comparable in size to a dinner entrée. They said they often have to pair the frozen meal with a side of veggies.

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Mini Chicken Tacos

I think the Mini Chicken Tacos (also available with beef) have real potential, but only if TJ’s starts packing more of the shredded seasoned meat in. Right now, the ratio of taco to meat is way off.

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Key Lime Popcorn

How good does this sound?! I thought it would taste like summer in a bag, but sadly it was another flop for me. It’s super, super sour, and lacks key lime flavor. My teeth felt like they were coated in sugar after, too.

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Vegan Bolognese Style Pasta Sauce

TJ’s has an impressive selection of vegan options, but that doesn’t mean they’re always a hit amongst its customers. One Reddit user claims the vegan bolognese tastes “like low sodium chef boyardee.” Yikes.

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