If you're anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with Trader Joe's. You stop there at least once a week, because of course. But you walk in with the intention of picking up a loaf a sourdough and some cheese, and leave with 47 bags of plantain chips and the entire dairy department. Thankfully, you have one thing working in your favor: TJ's reasonable price tags. And because you'll undoubtedly go crazy and binge-shop the next time you're there, I've rounded up 17 things under $5 at Trader Joe's that you absolutely, positively must try. You're welcome.
Trader Joe's is unlike any other grocery store. Their return policy is unmatched — you can bring anything back, no questions asked, even without a receipt. Employees are the friendliest, always available, and genuinely happy. And although shopping at Trader Joe's on the weekend takes a truly brave soul, it's always worth the hassle of the crowded parking lot and long lines.
And I haven't even gotten to the prices. The prices are a warm breeze on a cold winter day. They're a three-day weekend. They're Thanksgiving leftovers when you don't feel like cooking.
A lot of stuff won't even cost you five bucks. Here are just 17 of the cheapest TJ finds.
1Roasted Plantain Chips
I've written many times before of my love for plantain chips, and I'm about to do it again. These slightly sweet potato chip-alternatives from Joe's are cooked in sunflower oil and lightly salted. Each six-ounce bag is $1.69, and it's perfectly reasonable to finish the whole thing in one sitting.
2Charles Shaw Wine
You know what pairs perfectly with $1.69 roasted plantain chips? $2.99 wine. Joe's Charles Shaw wine used to affectionately be called Two Buck Chuck, as it previously cost $1.99. The price is now up to just under $3.00. "Three Buck Chuck" still has a nice ring to it, so I'm not complaining.
For the cool price of $1.99, you can have watering eyes and a runny nose thanks to TJ's salsa verde, which tastes amazing on LITERALLY EVERYTHING.
5Just Mango Slices
Get another serving of fruit in with these $2.99 dried mango slices. No added sugar. No fake flavoring. 100 percent delicious.
6Chile Lime Chicken Burgers
These aren't ordinary chicken burgers. Oh no. If you want a meal that's a bit more caliente, you need these bad boys — available for $3.49 for 4 burgers.
7Speculoos Cookie Butter
Put it on toast. Put it on a cookie. Eat it straight out of the jar. I don't judge. According to the Fearless Flyer, Cookie Butter ranges from $3.69 to $3.99, depending on the flavor.
9Dried Fruit Bars
Need a quick (and cheap) pick-me-up? Joe's dried fruit bars are the bomb dot com. They're made with only a few ingredients, none of which include added sugar, flavors, or preservatives. Plus, they're only $0.69 a piece. What a bargain!
10Chocolatey Coated Chocolate Chip Dunkers
These crispy, crunchy cookies are covered in chocolate and so perfectly dunkable, it'll bring a tear to your eye. In fact, back in the '90s, Trader Joe's specifically asked one of their suppliers to make a cookie that's easier to dunk, just because they love us so much. Get a tub for $4.99.
11Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce
Got gluten allergies? Joe's coconut aminos make the perfect substitute for soy sauce, although less salty and a bit sweet. At $2.99 a bottle, it's the perfectly affordable (and tasty) addition to every dish.
12Pomegranate & Blueberry Flakes and Clusters Cereal
It's fruity. It's crunchy. It's sweet. And at $3.99 a box, TJ's cereal makes the ultimate breakfast... or lunch or dinner.
13Avocado's Number Guacamole
At least five avocados are used in every 16-ounce pack, which means you're getting a whole lot more bang for your buck than if you were to buy them individually — because this guacamole comes in at $3.99.
14Oven-Baked Cheese Bites
Who doesn't want to be elbow deep in a bag of cheesy goodness?! Grab these cheese bites (high in protein!) for $2.49 a pouch and have yourself a cheese-tastic day.
15Organic Chia Bars
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and they're rich in antioxidants. That means you can eat twice as many of these delicious bars. A box of five is $2.99.
16Ghost Pepper Potato Chips
The ghost chili was once considered the world's hottest chili pepper. It got bumped down a few pegs, but don't worry: it's still hot AF. Joe's got it right, though — the hotness of these chips doesn't overwhelm them, and a subtle sweetness helps balance it all out. Get a bag for $2.29.
These are like regular pretzels, but way better. They're flatter and crispy, totally dunkable, and aren't as overwhelming as your average pretzel because they're less doughy. Win! Only $2.19 a pop.