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15 Trader Joe’s Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests’ Belts Off

“No, it’s not takeaway. I made it!”

Trader Joe's Grilled Olive & Zucchini Rice Salad is just one of the many recipes the retailer offers...
Trader Joe's

Whether it's a dinner party with friends, extended relatives, your soon-to-be in-laws, coworkers, or that special someone, it's important to have an assortment of trusty recipes on hand that will wow your guests. But where's an at-home wannabe chef supposed to start? Well, in the aisles of your neighborhood Trader Joe's, of course!

As Scary Mommy's resident TJ's aficionado, I thumbed through TJ's recipe database and gathered the best of the best to help you curate one hell of a fancy feast. You'll find a full-course menu of options, ranging from fancy appetizers and mouth-watering sides to impressive entrèes and robust desserts.

Some can be whipped up in the final hour, while others require a little forethought. I found meat and meatless options, pastas that will send your taste buds straight to Italy, and modest cakes that get the job done. In other words, this prolific recipe guide has you more than covered!

So, grab your apron and get ready to plan your next dinner party.

Fancy Starters

1. Cool as a Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Trader Joe's

OK, but is there anything fancier than a crisp cucumber tea sandwich? Talk about posh! These finger sammies can be whipped up in a flash. Bonus? They’re light on the stomach, so don’t be afraid to wash down one or two… or three.

2. Sweet Balls of Fire

Trader Joe's

A no-muss, no-fuss recipe, these protein-packed bites need no introduction or cutlery (read: fewer dishes!). However, you will need an ample amount of time to cook the sauce and bake the meatballs, set aside at least an hour.

3. Sweet & Spicy Whipped Brie

Trader Joe's

Things you will need for this recipe: a stand mixer and the self-will not to lick the bowl clean. This creamy, delicious dip combines TJ’s Double Cream Brie, spicy honey, and black pepper. Serve with your favorite crackers, juicy apples, or baked bread.

Entrées That Will Leave Them Full and Speechless

1. Unexpected Mac and Cheese

Trader Joe's

If you want to confuse your guests into thinking you ordered from a five-star Italian restaurant, then you need to serve this mac and cheese at your next dinner party. TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar has become a fan favorite among shoppers, and this pasta recipe comes together in just 15 minutes. Pro tip: I like adding red pepper flakes for a lil’ kick, along with parsley if I already have it on hand.

2. Chicken Parm-ioli

Trader Joe's

If chicken parm and lasagna had a baby, it would be this TJ’s Chicken Parm-ioli recipe. The four-ingredient recipe comes together in under an hour and pairs best with flaky, baked bread, a green salad, and red wine.

3. Maple & Brown Butter Salmon

Trader Joe's

For our pescatarian friends, this subtly sweet glazed salmon is *chef’s kiss.* It’s fairly easy to throw together, and it pairs well with jasmine rice and your favorite assortment of veggies.

4. Spicy Calabrian Chili Pepper Pasta

Trader Joe's

This 30-minute vegetarian pasta dish is pretty on the eyes and spicy on the palette. You can serve it family style with protein on the side, or as is with warm dinner rolls.

5. Dutch Baby Pancake with Caramelized Onion, Prosciutto, and Gruyère

Trader Joe's

If you’re really trying to go the extra mile, a Dutch baby recipe has never steered anyone wrong. This particular Dutch baby recipe features TJ’s creamy, nutty Raw Milk Cave Aged Le Gruyère, caramelized onions, and savory prosciutto.

Schmoozy Sides That Will Steal The Show

1. Green Goddess Grilled Corn

Trader Joe's

Elevate your backyard BBQ to new heights with a presentation of grilled corn ears coated in TJ’s Green Goddess Salad Dressing. It’s so easy to make it’s almost a crime.

2. Maple and Harissa Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Trader Joe's

If you’re looking for a challenge (and have extra time to spare), give this sweet potato side a try. Created by a TJ’s store employee, it calls for sweet potatoes, maple syrup, sea salt, garlic, TJ’s Sweet & Spicy Pecans, and TJ’s Traditional Tunisian Harissa.

Get the recipe.

3. Grilled Olive and Zucchini Rice Salad

Trader Joe's

Side salads are amazing for a number of reasons, but primarily because they’re quick and healthy. Cesar and Greek salads can get boring after all, which is why we like TJ’s Grilled Olive & Zucchini Rice Salad. It’s different and unexpected, and most of all, it’s delicious.

4. Roasted Lemon-Garlic Artichokes

Trader Joe's

These lemony-garlicky artichokes will melt in your mouth. Limited ingredients are needed, but you will have to set aside an hour of your time to ensure they’re properly cooked.

Desserts They’ll Want Seconds of

1. Mango Melba Shortcake

Trader Joe's

Strawberry shortcake out, mango shortcake in. In replace of pound cake, you’re going to use buttermilk biscuits. Each biscuit should be sorted into open halves, which you then pile with raspberry preserves, mango chunks, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream.

2. Olive Oil Cake

Trader Joe's

For some reason, people are mesmerized by olive oil cake and can’t get enough of it. Lucky for you, it’s super easy to make and looks beautiful on a cake pedestal.

3. Dutch Baby Pancake with Berries and Lemon Cream

Trader Joe's

All we can say about this sweet and fruity recipe is that your guests will be licking their plates clean and asking for more. For optimal taste, choose berries that are in season.