Trader Joe’s is an autumnal wonderland, filled with weird and wonderful apple crisp-flavored snacks and squash-centric frozen items. But the crown jewels of Trader Joe’s fall items continue to be Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice products. Yes, we’re currently in a bit of a pumpkin spice backlash due to oversaturation. But if anyone can do a pumpkin spice product right, it’s TJ’s.
We bought every Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice-flavored product we could find (it was an extremely festive cart) and tasted them all in one sitting. Some are definitely worth running out and buying immediately, but others should, perhaps, not be invited back next year. Here are all the pumpkin spice foods and drinks from Trader Joe’s fall lineup of 2023, ranked from fall fail to autumnal A-plus.
- Pumpkin Spice Rooibos
Apparently some people really like this medicinal pumpkin spice tea, but I can’t endorse it. This goes way beyond anise flavor and almost tastes like Chloraseptic spray. Still, it’s warm and it’s spiced and it’s tea, so if you’re into drinking medicine, you’ll like it. And it does come in a nice tin.
- This Pumpkin Walks into a Bar…Cereal Bars
Think: Fig Newton but with pumpkin. Sounds great, right? Sadly, the spice overtakes any pumpkin flavor in these snack bars. They’re far too sweet and taste like a craft store smells. The dividing line between good Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice products and not so good ones is whether or not the pumpkin spice flavor tastes artificial. And this one definitely tastes artificial.
- Non-Dairy Pumpkin Oat Beverage
Another Trader Joe’s fall product that just tastes like artificial flavors. I was really looking forward to this one because I am an oat beverage gal, but it’s strangely bitter and overly spiced.
- Pumpkin Spiced Madeleine Cookies
More fake pumpkin spice flavor mixed with the flavor of the fake butter you squirt onto popcorn. It’s a very strange flavor that I am not particularly interested in experiencing again.
- Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal
The pecans save this Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice oatmeal. I love their crunchy, buttery texture and nutty flavor. The pumpkin spice flavor leans artificial, though. Honestly, you’re better off stirring some Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter (you’ll find it in the #11 spot) into plain instant oatmeal if you really want to start the day with some fall flavors.
- Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels
When Trader Joe’s says that these pretzels are teeny tiny, believe them. These are the teeniest, tiniest little pretzel you ever did see. They are downright adorable. They’re coated in a yogurt icing and covered in crushed pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds. I love the salt that comes through from the pretzel and contrasts with the sweet coating. But the only other flavor is cinnamon. I want more than that from a pumpkin spice product.
- Pumpkin Spice Batons
We all loved the texture of these long, tubular cookies, but the flavor just wasn’t there. Like, these cookies weren’t just lacking pumpkin spice flavor—there was no flavor. They don’t really taste like anything—just a faint whisper of pumpkin spice.
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
If you like your ice cream soft and sweet, then this should be on your list of Trader Joe’s fall items to pick up. It almost tastes like chai concentrate ice cream. It’s too sweet for me. But I like the extra-creamy texture. If you poured some very dark chocolate fudge sauce onto a scoop, you might balance out the sweetness and have a really good pumpkin spice dessert on your hands.
- Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
Here’s some chocolate when you want chocolate but don’t want to give in to your actual candy bar cravings. The irregular crags are studded with crispy-crunchy quinoa balls and pumpkin seeds. It’s definitely chocolate for dark chocolate lovers—not super sweet and delightfully bitter. But it doesn’t have much in the way of actual pumpkin spice flavor. Still, it’s a good fall-ish 4 p.m. pick-me-up.
- Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Check out this meta Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice snack. Pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds? Fun idea, for sure. Unfortunately, they mostly just taste like sweet pumpkin seeds. Still, they’re crunchy and pumpkin seeds are a great snack. Points for the idea.
- Pumpkin O’s
The O’s in this pumpkin spice cereal are huge. They’re closer in size to Lifesavers than they are to Cheerios. And they’re much crunchier than Cheerios, too. They’re coated in a thin sugar glaze and, though they don’t taste super pumpkiny, my colleague Gwynedd Stuart pointed out that they do taste a bit like Apple Jacks. If you come in expecting that kind of flavor, you won’t be disappointed. They’re more fall flavored than they are pumpkin spiced.
- Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps
If you’re looking for the perfect cracker for your Thanksgiving charcuterie board, look no further. These extra crunchy crackers with their pops of dried cranberry would be totally amazing with some creamy baked Brie cheese. The pumpkin spice comes through pretty subtly at first but it builds.
- Pumpkin Butter
Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter is pretty darn good. You can go ahead and skip the pumpkin patch and just buy this instead. It’s tangy and tart and spiced and thick and creamy. It is very flavorful, so you really don’t need much. Spread a thin amount on some toasted pumpkin brioche (our #3 pick) or, for a real treat, swipe some onto a toasted bagel then top it off with Trader Joe’s pumpkin cream cheese (coming in at #2).
- Pumpkin Tortilla Chips
I never would have picked up this bag of Trader Joe’s pumpkin tortilla chips. They’re made with pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. So, they’re probably sweet, right? Nope! They’re salty! But you can definitely still taste the spices. They’re really intriguing. They will not replace your usual tortilla chips, but the light and crispy chips are great with hummus or fruit salsa. Give them a try before you turn up your nose at the idea of pumpkin spice chips.
- Pumpkin Biscotti
Biscotti can be overwhelming. I’ve probably never finished a full-sized biscotti. Too big. Too crunchy. But these Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice biscotti are the perfect size—about a finger long. They’re crunchy and shortbread-y—more buttery than the biscotti I’m used to. You get just enough pumpkin spice flavor to be satisfied. One of these would be perfect with an afternoon cup of pumpkin spice coffee.
- Organic Raw Pumpkin Vinegar
A little salty, a little savory, definitely tangy, this pumpkin vinegar is also undeniably pumpkin-y. It’s not an everyday product, for sure, but the tangerine-colored vinegar would be great to use in vinaigrettes for fall salads or to mix with olive oil for a bread dip. Plus, it’s vinegar. It won’t go bad for decades. So, you don’t have to use it up all this season or even this year.
- Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Mythical Chef Josh Scherer’s favorite pumpkin spice coffee and number two on our ranking of the best pumpkin spice coffee, Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice java is more than just pumpkin spice flavored. The blend also includes orange peel and vanilla bean. Those flavors elevate the coffee grounds, making for a bright and zesty cuppa joe. This is a must-have on the list of Trader Joe’s fall items if you’re a coffee drinker.
- Mini Pumpkin Ginger Scones
I love these little scones. Sold frozen, you pop the little triangles into the oven and in about 15 minutes you have perfectly tender, biscuity scones that are nothing like the dense, crumbly things you find in some coffee shops. They have a lot of nice spice to them—I only wish there was a touch more ginger.
- Pumpkin Spiced Joe-Joe’s
These Joe-Joe’s (Trader Joe’s take on Oreos) are coated in a yogurt flavored coating with sea salt. Each coated sandwich cookie is seriously big and thick and delicious. The cookie wafers have a tasty graham cracker flavor and the creme is sweet and lightly spiced. You don’t need a lot of these but that won’t stop you from reaching for one too many.
- Nonfat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
What I learned through this taste test was that Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice breakfast products are the real winners. This thick and creamy (shockingly creamy, considering it’s nonfat) Greek yogurt tastes a bit like spiced apricot rather than pumpkin but I might just be confusing fruity pumpkin flavor for apricot. How often do you really experience the actual flavor of pumpkin? Would you know the difference? That’s what I thought.
- Pumpkin Brioche Twist
Here’s how much I like this Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice brioche: I finished the loaf from this taste test and then bought another one with my very own money. It’s super fall-y, with a swirl of sweet cinnamon sugar. The orange-tinged brioche itself has a sweet pumpkin flavor and a delightful squish. It’s a bit like a cinnamon roll and brioche had a baby. You can eat a slice on its own, straight out of the bag, but it’s really great toasted.
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
People on the internet love Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice cream cheese, as well they should. It tastes like pumpkin pie cheesecake. And you’re allowed to eat it for breakfast. What’s not to love? Of course, it’s decadent enough that you could honestly just eat a spoonful for dessert. This stuff is special. Put it on your list of Trader Joe’s fall items to buy, ASAP.
- Mini Hold the Cone Pumpkin Ginger
If you walked in on the Sporked team as we were getting ready to taste these tiny cones, you might have thought we were cooing over a baby. They’re so friggin’ cute! They’re slightly longer than my index finger, so if you’ve met me and we’ve done the thing where we compare hands before we kiss, then you know exactly what that means. And that is the perfect size for a little after-meal treat. The coating on the ice cream is thin and crackly. The pumpkin ice cream is so creamy and pumpkin flavored and not super-duper-sweet (like the pint of Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream). But the cone is really where it’s at. It’s spiced and graham cracker-y—a wonderful foil to the sweet ice cream and coating. Trader Joe’s, sell these cones on their own, please!
Pumpkin Oat Milk
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Spice Cereal
Pumpkin Tortilla Chips
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Pumpkin Cream Cheese
Pumpkin Ice Cream Cones