A fun fact about me: If I’m hosting a party—especially a game day party—I’m hitting up Trader Joe’s and calling it a day. Why? They are the MVP’s of yummy snacks, dips, frozen apps, and cheap drinks. I mean, does it really matter if your team loses when you’ve got an S-tier game day snack spread to keep you going? Yes? It does matter? Okay, fine. Here’s what you should grab at TJ’s anyway.
- Parmesan Pastry Pups
They toss the pigskin down the field, we toss pigs in a blanket into our mouths. Poetic, isn’t it? Luckily, the parmesan pastry pups at Trader Joe’s are unmatched and, frankly, adorably named. They are the number one best TJ’s frozen appetizer from our taste test for a reason—the pastry is crisp, savory, and elevated by the greasy deliciousness of the parmesan.
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s appetizers
- TJ’s Uncured Pepperoni Pizza
“Oh goodness gracious,” says your homie, after trying one bite of the TJ’s Uncured Pepperoni Pizza. That’s what all the bros say these days, right? In all seriousness, because I’m clearly a serious person—TJ’s loves to experiment with quirky flavors, but I’m happy to report it was the simple, humble pepperoni pizza that secured the top spot in our ranking of their best frozen ‘za. That means it’s both really good, and a crowd-pleaser. It’s no secret that Trader Joe’s pizza dough can be hit or miss, but this one comes out of the oven fluffy and golden. Even the pickiest eater in the room (every friend group has one) will be sated.
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s frozen pizza
- Trader Joe’s Ode to the Classic Potato Chip
It’s not just the best Trader Joe’s potato chip. It’s the best plain potato chip we’ve tasted from all of our taste tests. By some miracle of food science, these chips are light-bodied and crunchy and still retain a strong flavor in every bite. We eat a lot of potatoes, okay. We know what’s what.
Read the full ranking of the best plain potato chips
- Buffalo Style Chicken Dip
Buffalo dips aren’t just for the bros, but since the bros do love anything and everything Buffalo, prepare for that first tub to be half-gone a minute after you tear off the plastic. Buy, like, three of these. It’s thick and creamy and if you want to get really creative, you could even throw it on a flatbread for, dare I say, some Buffalo-chicken pizza?
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s Dips
- Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Every friend group has at least one Taki addict. TJ’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips are an homage to Taki Fuegos, so grab a big bowl and fill ‘er up. With 9/10 Sporks under its belt, even the most devoted Taki fans won’t complain.
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- Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions
You probably thought I was done with savory pastry apps after TJ’s Parmesan Pastry Pups, didn’t you? That’s cute. You know what else is cute? A giant, six-foot-five football player eating a pastry 1/4th the size of his palm. With slightly sweet cheese and golden pastry dough, TJ’s highly addictive feta cheese and caramelized onion bites are like tiny souffles. They make the perfect addition to game day, and here’s why: When things get tense on the screen, just keep popping these little guys in your mouth. Or imagine the biggest guy on the field doing it. You’ll feel better, we promise.
- Simpler Times Lager
You don’t have to stop at another grocery store for beer. The Simpler Times Lager at TJ’s, according to our editor-and-chief Justine Sterling, is fresh, malty, cheap, and way better than Bud Light. She asks that you do not yell at her for speaking the truth, and I concur. (If you’d be happy with something more hoppy, you can also pick up our second best pick, the Boatswain Hazy IPA.)
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s Beer
- Boxed Block Red Cabernet Sauvignon
This one is for the girls and the gays—okay, and the guys, too. Light-bodied, with mild notes of chocolate, this Block Red is the best red wine at Trader Joe’s. Keep it on hand as a celebratory drink for your guests who plan to skip the shotgun and sit back with a glass of wine.
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s Boxed Wine