Every Trader Joe’s Soup, Ranked

Trader Joe’s soup really runs the gamut from very bad to very delicious. I went into this taste test believing what I think a lot of people believe: Pretty much all soup is good soup. But if you don’t want to blow your grocery budget on a lunch you will genuinely be tempted to toss in the trash, you have to read this list. 

The best Trader Joe’s soup probably isn’t what you’re expecting. Really, I need the seafood averse to keep an open mind here, okay? At risk of spoiling this list, I gotta say that Trader Joe’s lobster bisque and Trader Joe’s clam chowder aren’t just two of the best Trader Joe’s soups—they’re two of the best soups you can get at the grocery store, period. From blech to bring it on, here all the soups at Trader Joe’s we found on a recent visit, ranked.


trader joe's italian wedding soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Italian Style Wedding Soup

In my tasting notes for Trader Joe’s Italian Style Wedding Soup, I wrote in all caps: “I WOULD BE SO DISAPPOINTED IF I BOUGHT THIS.” The jar is so attractive! And I actually don’t mind meatball soups (I especially love Progresso’s Chickarina with a sprinkling of freshly grated parm—yum). I can imagine having a jar of this Trader Joe’s soup in the pantry and being so ready to heat something up for lunch between meetings and then winding up with a bowl of this and being like…why was I born? For real though, why was this soup born? The meatballs are too big and so spongy. They’re totally flavorless, as is the rest of the soup. It looks so nice in its jar and the label is lovely, but it tastes worse than canned soup. The only flavor I could detect was the flavor of various preservatives. This is one Trader Joe’s soup to avoid.

Rating:

4/10

Sporks

trader joe's minestrone soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Organic Hearty Minestrone Soup

My colleague Jordan Myrick said it best after taking a bite of this soup: “This tastes like old weed you clean out of a pipe.” Truly, this Trader Joe’s minestrone soup is a problem. It’s bitter and tastes like old dried herbs. This is a soup that tastes like it’s angry at you for even thinking about eating it. There’s also rice in it for some reason, and it forms a starchy blob that settles at the bottom of the bowl. This isn’t just one of the worst soups at Trader Joe’s, it’s one of the worst minestrones I’ve ever tasted. Buy one of these canned minestrone soups instead.

Rating:

4/10

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trader joe's unexpected cheddar soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Here at Sporked, we’re ga-ga for pretty much any product that involves Unexpected Cheddar, the store’s mashup of high-quality white cheddar and nutty parm. It’s just so flavorful! What’s weird is that this Trader Joe’s soup isn’t flavorful at all! It’s super thin for a soup that’s meant to be creamy, and it tastes like almost nothing. Truly, it’s like water and melted butter with some broccoli and carrots floating in it. Try again, Joe! I know you can do better! (Until he does, here’s our list of the best broccoli cheddar soup.)

Rating:

5.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's garden vegetable soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Garden Vegetable Soup

This Trader Joe’s soup ranked pretty high on our list of the best vegetable soups, and I think that says more about the rather low quality of packaged vegetable soups than it does about this particular soup’s positive attributes. Yes, this Trader Joe’s soup has a nice mix of veggies—sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and leafy greens—but it’s just so salty. Again, the jar is nice and makes it look great, but there are lots of other soups at Trader Joe’s that I’d rather eat.

Rating:

6.5/10

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trader joe's organic lentil soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup

This Trader Joe’s soup isn’t terrible, but there’s a much better Trader Joe’s lentil soup on this list (see #3). I will say, this has a little kick of heat I wasn’t expecting and I like it. The lentils are creamy and remain very intact in the can, which is nice. There are chunks of carrot and some greens. Unfortunately, there is also some sort of Band-Aid-like flavor lingering that I don’t love. This isn’t terrible, but if you’re shopping for lentil soup at Trader Joe’s, you can do better than this.

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's kettle cooked chicken soup

TJ’s Soup!

Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup

This Trader Joe’s chicken soup (no noodles, just chicken) is a must-love-dark-meat-chicken situation. I do and I appreciate that they use dark meat instead of white meat because it really does imbue this soup’s broth with a rich fattiness and more chicken flavor than white meat ever could. That said, shred your goddamned chicken, Trader Joe’s! The chicken comes in big hunks you can’t pick up with a spoon. This isn’t the most flavorful soup you’ll ever eat, but it’s a good starting point (you can zshush it up a little with some parm or hot sauce), and we all appreciated that it doesn’t taste like a salt bomb.

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

trader joe's tomato feta soup review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Tomato Feta Soup

Tomato soup can be pretty tomato sauce-like, and this Trader Joe’s soup is guilty of that. Still, it’s pretty good! My colleague Justine Sterling, who ranked the best tomato soups (including two TJ’s varieties we didn’t get our hands on for this taste test), suggested it would be nice with some orzo tossed in—just a little something more to make it a meal rather than marinara you’re eating with a spoon. It has a very lovely texture and is very fresh and bright tasting. The tomatoes are acidic and tart, and that actually works nicely with the bite of the salty feta. It’s like a homemade soup, but honestly probably better than what you could make at home (no offense). I still think it needs something, BUT it would be very good with a grilled cheese or some breadsticks for dunking.

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's lentil soup ancient grains review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Hearty Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains

This is the Trader Joe’s lentil soup to buy. I’ll be honest: It’s not a total earth-shaker, but it’s a good everyday soup. I did detect a slightly odd flavor—I thought it might be tarragon; alas, it was clove, of all things—but it’s not a dealbreaker. This soup is very hearty, as the name suggests. It’s thick. And it’s high in fiber and you can tell. And, really, apart from the clove, the spice mix is nice. If I made this at home, I’d be pretty proud, which is more than I can say for a lot of store bought lentil soup. This is the best Trader Joe’s soup if you want something really filling (and not creamy, like the top two soups on our list).

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

trader joe's lobster bisque review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s Lobster Bisque

For better or worse, I could NOT stop taking bites of this Trader Joe’s Lobster Bisque. This stuff is Fatty with a capital F, but it just tastes so good. It could use more lobster meat, yes, but it has lots of lobster flavor. It tastes like it’s made with a very good seafood broth made with lobster shells and heads. You can taste the sherry. And it’s nice and creamy without being thick like a chowder. It’s downright silky. Justine is also a fan of this soup and has solved the lack-of-lobster problem by serving this as a sauce over shrimp pasta. Brilliant. If you’ve been craving a restaurant-quality bisque and you can deal with the dearth of lobster meat, this is one of the best soups at Trader Joe’s.

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

trader joe's clam chowder review

TJ’s Soup!

Trader Joe’s New England Clam Chowder

I know, I know. Clam chowder is divisive. But this is, hands down, the best Trader Joe’s soup. Trader Joe’s Clam Chowder is creamy without being gloppy. It’s way more like a chowder you’d get in a restaurant. As Justine pointed out, the potatoes are extremely creamy and there’s a very nice clam-to-potato ratio. This doesn’t suffer from a lack of clams like the lobster bisque suffers from a lack of lobster. When we taste tested clam chowder, this took the #2 spot, and, honestly, it didn’t take the top spot mostly because it requires refrigeration, which impacts its overall utility. But I’m here to tell you about the best Trader Joe’s soup—and this is it.

Rating:

9/10

Sporks


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • Who makes a Vegan clam chowder that tastes great ?

    Reply
  • New Englander here. You’ve never had real New England clam chowder if you think TJ’s is “good”. It sucks.

    Reply