With 2018 drawing to a close, it's time for me to take a look back on Trader Joe's Best New Products of 2018. Yes, there have been hits and misses. Consider this the highlight reel of the new items that made their way onto shelves this year. I've categorized them by section so you can see if you agree with my list. If you have something that I missed, I'd love for you to comment below.
The frozen aisle seems to have picked up the largest number of winners and in fact has always been one of Trader Joe's strongest aisles in terms of product quality. Here are my picks of the best new items of 2018.
If you aren't into all the sweet, but are still feeling like you want something to snack on, then check out these Croissini. The are half croissant, half breadstick with enough sesame seeds to bake another back. You can see my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
I'm a fan of the sliced french brioche bread (which freezes really well by the way). If you are too, then this is another hit. Cream Cheese Broiche Pastry is like a Danish and is best served slightly warm. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
I said it then, and I'll say it again. This was probably product of the year when it first came out. Cauliflower Gnocchi is a substitute for real gnocchi but it is done exceptionally well. If you are willing to get these crispy, that means saute them, you will be rewarded with an easy and delicious meal. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
I'm shocked Trader Joe's didn't think of these earlier. Chocolate and strawberry are an amazing combination and this dessert box was no exception. You can read my full review of Gone Berry Crazy! here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
I am only slightly embarrassed as to how many of these Big Soft Pretzel bags I've purchased. This is now a household staple (along with Pub Cheese). This has become our go to snack because of its taste and ability to adjust the salt levels. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
Trader Joe's Macaron aux Framboises is new, yet not new to shelves. If something hasn't been seen on shelves in many years, it's new, right? This is the one item that was last seen on shelves several years ago, giving all of us hope that Trader Joe's might just bring back our favorites on day. You can read my full review of this delightful frozen dessert here.
Here is the more shelf stable items, edible and health and beauty of this year.
This Marinara would certainly please Julia Child. The wine taste is strong with this one, and the only down side is the saltiness to this sauce. Otherwise, this has become my go to sauce. You can see my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
If you are willing to give these the time you need, you will get some delicious Falafel. This box is also labeled as being Gluten-Free as well as Vegan. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
Non Food Items
The health and beauty section is getting more interesting. This hair mask is outstanding, smells great, and even my husband took to it. This is much cheaper than many hair masks and did not leave my hair greasy. You can read my full review here with all the product information.
At under $2, this Face Sheet Mask is hydrating, inexpensive, and slightly tingly. If you can embrace the cucumber aroma and the fact that no sheet mask will fit EVERYONE 100%, then this is a great try. You can read my full review here.
Here are the best additions that are found in the refrigerated case. Yes, you can freeze them to extend their shelf life too. But they are all solid options if you haven't tried them already.
I can't tell you if these Chicken Shawarma Thighs are authentic or not. But I can tell you this is one of the most repurchased items that I've had this year. The chicken is tender, flavorful, and moist. It cooks best if you cut it into smaller pieces. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
Now, the refrigerate aisle got a big makeover in 2018, which has recently spread into the produce section as well. The fresh fish options can now compete with your local fish monger. Wild Salmon, Farm Raised Salmon, Scallops, and Haddock have all graced my local Trader Joe's. They all get a thumbs of for me for taste, freshness and price. Click on the links to see all the product information from calories to price to suggestions on how to prepare these.
Snacks and Sweets
I've got a sweet tooth and Trader Joe's has been very good to me this year. There have been plenty of sweet and snackable options hitting shelves this year.
Ok, so they don't taste anything like Churros. But I couldn't stop eating them either. This product nearly ended up on my discontinued list, but has since returned to shelves. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
Don't let the name fool you, the cookies are mini, the flavor of these isn't. Think of these as Thin Mints on steroids in terms of flavor, especially on the chocolate end of things. You can read my full review of these here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
One bite of these Peanut Butter Cartwheel cookies and I was about to do cartwheels too. This box did not last very long in my household. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
So, Crispy Cookies filled with Belgian Chocolate is also a returning item, because they were previously pulled off of shelves because Trader Joe's was sued over their similarities to the Milano cookie. Doesn't matter, these do laps around their more oval counterparts anyways. You can read my full review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price.
Seasonal But Not Forgotten
Here today, gone tomorrow. If you've ever wondered about that one person who has 15 of one item in their cart, they must be a regular to Trader Joe's. They know that some items are only temporary and it isn't always easy to tell which ones are keepers. Here are my two that I liked a lot, but have vanished in the same year.
Marsala Style Sauce was loved by many, but found its run on shelves way too short. It even sounded like some people hoarded it when it came out. Sadly, this too has disappeared off of shelves. We can only hope for its return because this had the most wine flavor out of everything I tried short of wine this year. You can read my review here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price. Please note, this item has returned however it might be a seasonal item
Mint Watermelon Black Tea showed up on shelves in the early part of summer but quickly vanished. It was best enjoyed cooled, but we can only hope to see it again. You can read my full review of this product here with all the product information from calories to ingredients to price..
The Bottom Line
Don't forget to share your thoughts on this Trader Joe's Best New Products of 2018 List and leave a comment below if you agree, disagree, or just think I forgot something.
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Penelope Tucker says
I cannot believe that I was actually smart enough to stock up on the marsala sauce when I realized how delicious it was (thanks to your post). I’m shocked that they discontinued it, so I will treasure what I have.
Hey Penelope! I'm still holding out hope that it will come back one day 🙁 I do feel the same pain as you. That was a really good deal when it was on shelves. Thanks so much for stopping by!
You featured several products that I've considered buying but haven't and I'm so glad you did. I especially want to try the chicken schwarma. It was highly recommended by a TJ's staff member and customer at check out, so it was on my list.
One product that I fell in love with this fall is their Harvest Chili. What a surprise it was. It's a soup in the refrigerated case and, besides chili, it has pumpkin and butternut squash in it. I went back to buy more and it's already gone! Bummer. If it reappears, I'll stock up.
Hey Beth! If you try the chicken shawarma, cut it up before cooking it. The only issue I had with it was it cooks unevenly due to the shape of the thighs. I saw the Harvest Chili once too. Oh, and tonight I tried the Pepita Salsa. That was killer. More on that next week. Thanks so much for stopping by!
What is your worst TJ's products of the year. Would love to see a post of that.
Hey Alek! I was actually thinking the same exact thing. I'm curious, which items would you put on the list? I've got about 5 off of the top of my head, but fortunately most have been discontinued.
Anne with a silent E says
Great list! The cheese brioche is a current favorite - I love to start the weekend with one. So much cheaper than going to to the bakery - plus pajamas. I also like the chocolate covered strawberries - even more than the bananas. I keep forgetting to put the pretzels on the list - only bought once but agree that they are awesome to have on hand for various reasons.
Hey Anne! Thanks so much! I think I'm going to start getting more roundup posts going. It's fun to look back at all the things I've tried. And yes, get those pretzels (and some pub cheese or mustard). So good! Thanks so much for stopping by!
I can’t find the barolo tomato sauce any more! Such a bummer.
Recently tried the frozen roasted delicata squash (literally just the squash) and was really pleasantly surprised! Great texture, not overly squishy like so many frozen veggies. I did the stovetop reheating and had in a bowl style meal with arugala, marinated chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and some of TJs bruschetta sauce. Really fantastic.
Hey Ttrockwood! Good news. We still have them on the shelves in Westchester so maybe your store is just out of stock. Your meal sounds pretty awesome. The squash is on my list of things to get to. I left anything seasonal off of this list. I'll save that for a Fall Favorite list. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Yikes! So many goodies I would like to try. Perhaps we could just bring our camper to Tucson and camp out in the parking lot of one (or all) of the four Trader Joe's stores there. No need to grocery shop - I'd just go into the store before every meal and make some selections. I should never read your blog on an empty stomach!
Hey Judie! I probably shouldn't review food on an empty stomach either 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and share!
The GTS fall unity kombuncha that all I could think of. I don't shop at tjs often once or twice a month a big trip there.
msw blog says
Thanks for the list. I will be adding a few to my cart this afternoon 🙂
Can't wait to hear what you get and what you think of them!
January 2020. I was told that Harvest chili has been discontinued. Shocked and so unbelievably disappointed. In my opinion — best vegetarian chili EVER!!!
Oh no! Is it seasonal by chance? Anything with Harvest in the name makes me wonder if it is. Bummer Kalee. Thanks for sharing.