Happy New Year 2024! Trader Joe’s seemed to be on a roll in 2023 with the release of several products that went viral on social media. I’d like to think that this little ole blog had a hand in some of the popularity of these products. We try hard each year to bring honest reviews of new Trader Joe’s products and Trader Joe’s seems to mostly have products that we love, but not always. If you’ve ever had the Beef Pho you know what I am talking about.
In celebration of the new year 2024, I wanted to look back and list the most popular NEW products (based on views) of this blog in 2023. I know we all have our favorites and I can’t review every product that Trader Joe’s drops, but I did catch the most talked about products. Here is the list in reverse order. The last one is the one that had the most views on this blog. I hope you’ve had a chance to try all of these!
Trader Joe’s loves to throw cooked chicken in a bag and put it in the freezer section. From Chicken Teriyaki to Orange Chicken to Chicken Nuggets it’s no wonder because they always seem to be very popular products. This Chicken Karaage is a traditional Japanese food and it comes with a little bag of traditional Japanese mayonnaise. I have to say this took me by surprise how good it was.
Trader Joe’s loves their chocolate, especially during the holiday times. They were one of the first grocery chains to really go deep into dark chocolate 20 years ago before it became mainstream. Now you find dark chocolate everywhere. Trader Joe’s released this product before Thanksgiving and there was a lot of head scratching when it hit the shelves. Was it a pieces of chocolate in a cute cardboard tube or what? It is disks of chocolate and in the case of the dark chocolate, it’s dusted with dehydrated fruit. It blew my mind and obviously, many of my readers liked it too!
The popularity of this dish caught me by surprise but it shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s the national dish of El Salvador and is widely eaten in other Central American countries. Its close cousins Arepas are very popular in some South American countries. I really liked the flavors, although it seemed to be lacking in filling and others agreed with me. The flavors were there but just needed more to make it a great product. But, if you have a craving for pupusas, this might be the only place you can find them in town!
I knew the second I saw these in the freezer box at my local Trader Joe’s that I would love them. It’s not that I don’t like pork but Trader Joe’s has always sold a lot of meatless and chicken products in place of pork. Might be a Kosher thing, but either way, I thought these chicken breakfast sausage patties were excellent for breakfast and you would be hard pressed to taste a difference between these and a good pork breakfast sausage. I really liked them and obviously so did my readers!
I was pretty shocked to see this cute box of three mini cheeseburgers show up in the freezer at Trader Joe’s last spring. I know exactly what they were trying to do and that was go after all the gourmet hamburger joints out there making slider type hamburgers. What could be easier than throwing three burgers in the microwave and have instant hamburger meal! I wish these were around when my kids were little, we’d have a freezer full of these. There were a couple of downsides to these and one is that they are messy and two is the Aloha roll which is too sweet for me. But many readers were just as curious as I was because it was the fifth most viewed review of the year.
I’ll be honest, I was not familiar with real Iranian style beef Kebabs before this product showed up. I did my research and looked up recipes and historical information. When I tasted them I was underwhelmed but I was assured by many readers these were the real deal. What I learned from this is that I don’t always like what many people do. Especially when it comes to food from someone’s home country. This product was widely popular when it hit the freezer section a year ago and still remains one of my most popular posts.
This was another seasonal item that when I saw it, I knew immediately this product would be a giant hit and it was! This unique twist on traditional lasagna hits on all cylinders. Don’t go looking for any tomatoes and mozzarella in this lasagna, it’s bechamel, squash, and noodles. I loved the smoked gouda and crunchy pepitas on top. We bought several to store in the freezer because we loved it so much and knew it was a seasonal product. Hopefully, they bring it back in 2024 because it was such a hit!
Just like the Butternut Squash Lasagna above, when I saw this in the freezer, I knew it was going to be an instant hit, and based on the number of views I got from this product, it was the 3rd most viewed product in 2023 and for good reason. Some people may be turned off by shrimp and cheese but let me tell you that Trader Joe’s absolutely nailed the flavors on this one. The flatbread comes basically uncooked. Raw shrimp and raw dough but it all comes together magically in the oven and the garlic cheese sauce and the shrimp are a perfect match.
Just like the Kebabs here was another product that I had almost no clue what it was. I knew it was something special when I saw it in the store and grabbed a couple of them. Little did I know what a sensation this Kimbap would set off. There were viral Tiktok videos and a mad rush and for one of the first times I could remember a limit on how many you could purchase. Then things went silent as the product pipeline dried up and a few months went by before Trader Joe’s could restock and again a mad rush. There are still some stores where they have limits on this. I didn’t quite understand this Korean staple at first because it’s very similar to Japanese Norimaki which I am familiar with. I really liked it and still buy it to this day for a quick lunch!
The most viewed new product on Club Trader Joe’s this year was the Squiggly Knife Cut Noodles! It wasn’t a very controversial product like the Kimbap or the Kebabs but I think people had a lot of questions about it. Was it just noodles? How do I prepare them? What do I put in them? and so on and I think because of the curiosity of so many people it drove a lot of people to search for answers and then to this blog. I really liked them. They are a good base for whatever you want to put on them. Veggies, meat, eggs or you name it! Hopefully, Trader Joe’s keeps them around a long time because they are a great and cheap way to make a meal!