Trader Joe's is the undisputed king of the seasonal savory product. Brie-cranberry phyllo bites! Stuffed lobster tails! Cheese with truffles! But around the holidays, the store really goes wild with shelves upon shelves of cookies and sweet treats. How can you possibly choose what's worth your time? After taste-testing many, many TJ holiday items, our top 11 picks prove this is unequivocally the season for the sweet-toothed. So go on and brave those holiday lines. There's peppermint Joe-Joe's ice cream on the other side.
If it wasn't clear by the oat in their name, these bars are a healthy option. I wanted them to be better—sadly, they're dry—but the gluten-free snack does have a ginger bite and can be revived by a cannonball into tea.
Buying coffee from Trader Joe's is objectively fun: You're getting joe from Joe's! This assortment of four kinds of beans has its hits (gingerbread) and misses (peppermint mocha), but it's a decent find overall and makes an acceptable last-minute gift.
Tea will just never beat a cookie in the all-around, but this fragrant blend holds its own. It's festive, warming and not overly spiced, and is somehow made even better when you add a touch of coffee to it.
One taster said she'd rather have a Thin Mint, but these dark chocolate-covered mint marshmallows were our cashier's favorite, which bumps them up in the rankings. They're fine on their own, but use them to doctor up s'mores or hot chocolate and they prove their worth.
No one can turn down a box of puffy spiced German cookies. They also come in a chocolate-covered variety, but we found that's an unnecessary distraction from the iconic spices and heady dose of orange zest.
Trader Joe's continues to dominate in the German cookie genre. This style is straight from Germany, where they've been popular since the 1500s. The chewy, sweet, nut-based cookie and crunchy glaze on top are a prized combination.
It's perfectly OK to crave ice cream in the winter. Just tell yourself it's summer in Australia, and they're still ringing in Christmas. This flavor combines everything that's great on its own (candy cane chocolate sandwich cookies, peppermint ice cream, chocolate fudge) and swirls them all together.
The ginger is strong with these. Their white fudge icing brings to mind the frosted animal crackers that made you the envy of the middle school cafeteria. Bonus: A 12-line poem on the back will keep you occupied as you tear through the whole box.
You don't walk into Trader Joe's thinking, I'm going to get me a panettone. You're more focused on cheap giant bags of oats and 18-cent bananas. And that's exactly what makes this holiday staple all the more impressive: It's a sleeper champion, surprisingly flavorful and fluffy, and the miniature one works equally well as a gift or an afternoon snack. Plus, it would make an incredible French toast. Thank you, Trader Giotto's.