Trader Joe’s Fall Haul – Favorites & New Items

trader joes fall 2020 review haul always pan steam

BP cardigan xxs on sale! (solid black cardi on sale), Target padded nursing cami S
Always nonstick pan (use YUMMY for $30 off) c/o, copper fruit basket (similar at Target), pumpkins

A while back I shared some Trader Joe’s favorites, including their pork & ginger microwaveable soup dumplings that I can’t resist getting each trip! Since we have so many TJ aficionados around here, I wanted to do another post including some new and seasonal items we’ve been trying. For those with dairy and/or nut allergies like my daughter, don’t miss the sunflower butter chocolate cups and cheese-less cheesecakes mentioned below!

Here’s a peek at what made it into my cart and which items I’ll be repurchasing:

trader joes fall 2020 new arrivals review haul

1. Frozen Meals & Savory Foods

Beef Pho Soup (New this week!)

Verdict: worth trying only if you don’t have access to pho restaurants.

While this had all the fragrant aromas of pho spices after being warmed up, the broth was very light in flavor and needed something more. After adding the usual pho condiments hoisin sauce and Sriracha, though, it wasn’t a bad noodle bowl snack out of the microwave – just don’t expect it to be like a traditional bowl of pho! The rice noodles are a little thicker and the beef slices were fairly tender.

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Verdict: a regular in our cart, especially for when family visits!

If you’re a fan of grilled kalbi / short ribs at Korean BBQ restaurants, then this is definitely worth a try! Otherwise, you might find these to be a little tougher eat, as they’re not a fall-off-the-bone style short rib that some would envision.

For under $10, we were very pleased with this. It costs more at our local Asian grocery to buy short rib un-marinaded, and a plate of kalbi at Korean restaurants can run you $30. Note that these are frozen and you do have to let the package thaw in the fridge before cooking. We grilled ours which came out pretty tasty, but the directions also suggest pan searing (avoid overcrowding the pan in order to let the fat cook off), and many of you said they turned out great in an air fryer!

trader joes pho korean bbq beef short ribs

Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti (New)

Verdict: worth trying – indulgent but delish.

A pretty good take on the classic, simple Italian “cheese and pepper” spaghetti dish. This is easy to heat up in the microwave and is creamy and cheesy with a strong kick from the black pepper. I really liked this but it’s expectedly heavy, so I’d prefer it just as a side to some protein and veggies. The sauce comes in frozen cubes, so you don’t have to use it all and can thin it out with a little water if needed. Also, adding fresh toppings like cherry tomatoes and basil really helped brighten it up and cut the richness.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Seasonal)

Verdict: worth trying, or get the Autumnal jar pasta sauce for similar flavors!

This is similar to regular mac & cheese, just a little heartier with butternut squash puree and hints of savory seasoning (nutmeg, sage & thyme). Easy to microwave for a quick lunch, and the rigatoni has good bite to it. After warming this up, you can also add some chicken sausage, chili crunch hot sauce, and serve with one of their bagged salads.

trader joes butternut squash mac cheese cacio e pepe review new

Mini Spicy Pumpkin Samosas (New)

Verdict: worth trying if you like Indian flavors.

These are tasty little flaky pastry triangles filled with curried pumpkin and paneer cheese – not too spicy and not too strong of a pumpkin flavor, for those like myself who aren’t big gourd fans! Would be even better with a fresh chutney sauce of some sort, or TJ’s green zhoug sauce. Finishing in an oven or air fryer instead of just microwaving is key to crisp these up.

Kung Pao Chicken Mochi Balls (New from summer)

Verdict: interesting but would not get again.

I will say these are creative and different from anything I’ve had in a while! Just not something I’d crave again. The mochi dough is chewy but with a crisp outer shell, and the savory filling is a little sweet, a little spicy. These remind me slightly of a traditional Cantonese dim sum item ham sui gok with a pork and mushroom filling, which I love and prefer. I microwaved these to defrost and then finished in my air fryer for a crisp outer – avoid overcooking or the mochi can get tough.

trader joes spicy pumpkin samosa kung pao chicken mochi new review

2. Frozen Desserts / Treats

trader joes matcha green tea ice cream review

Cheese-Less “Cheesecakes” (New; Dairy & Nut Free)

Verdict: worth trying, and would repurchase if I didn’t eat dairy.

Pictured below in the shopping cart photo. The cakes are made with lima beans (hats off for creativity) and were fairly creamy with a tasty traditional graham crust. They’re not as tangy and “cheesy” as a regular cheesecake, but that didn’t keep Nick and I from devouring one. 1 package comes with 2 mini cakes, which you do need to pop into the fridge for at least 1-2 hours to defrost before eating.

Pumpkin Ginger Hold the Cone (Seasonal)

No personal verdict since I panicked and swapped these out for my usual fave flavor (chocolate chip). Based on your messages, the pumpkin & ginger flavor can be polarizing – some of you are not a fan while others love. Whatever flavor you decide on, though, Hold the Cones are worth picking up for a crunchy, satisfying bit sized cold treat!

Matcha Ice Cream + Coconut Crispy Rolls (both new from summer)

Verdict: have repurchased both!

The ice cream is a re-introduction, after TJ’s previous matcha ice cream was discontinued 3 years ago. This is a pretty solid matcha ice cream with a very creamy texture, and is not too strong on the tea flavor. At $2.99, it’s both tastier and cheaper than many options at Asian grocery stores. For a textural delight, we love to crumble TJ Coconut Crispy Rolls (thin layers of wafer cookies rolled into tubes) on top + some diced mango!

trader joes dark chocolate sunflower butter vegan dessert treats

3. Non-Frozen Snacks

Mini Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups (dairy & nut free)

Verdict: a regular in our cart!

These are the perfect little dark chocolatey treat, and also gluten free, dairy free, soy free, peanut & tree nut free to boot. I’m not usually a fan of sunflower butter (which my toddler eats in lieu of nut butters), but with these, I do not miss peanut butter at all! They also come in a 2 pack of full size cups which were released in 2019, but I prefer the newer mini cups.

Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Slims (Seasonal)

Verdict: loved & hope these come back next year!

Addictively good – sweet, salty, creamy & crunchy in one. Sadly these are already gone for the season at my local TJ, so most of us will just have to wait for the winter / holiday version (amazing with the peppermint pieces!).

Trader Joe's allergen friendly snacks
TJ's pumpkin spice pretzel slims review

Spicy Chakri Snack Mix (New; contains peanuts & dairy)

Verdict: Interesting but I probably would not repurchase.

I loved the bold Indian flavors and crunch from the little chickpea and rice based snacks, however the pieces were smaller than I expected (esp. compared to the blown up photo on the packaging) and hard for me to eat out of the bag. I ended up using a spoon, or I can also see this being a good crunchy salad topping!

Bite Size Sharp Cheddar Cheesy Crackers (New)

Verdict: Not for me.

As a loyal Cheez-it and Goldfish cracker fan, I’d rather stick to those. These are more dense but do have good cheddar flavor in each bite, and would work as a crunchy soup topping.

trader joes spicy chakri mix new review

Murasaki Sweet Potato Chips (New)

Verdict: Not for me.

I thought these were a little plain (very lightly salted) and harder / crisp in texture due to being very thinly sliced. However, friends who like sweet potato chips have been going through bags of these, so worth trying for sweet potato fans!

PB&J Wafer Stick Snack (New)

Each pack has peanut butter filled crispy wafer sticks and a side of raspberry jam for dipping. I didn’t buy due to a peanut allergy, but these were recommended by employees as a “nostalgic but elevated PB&J snack.” Several of you picked it up with good things to report back!

Watermelon Jerky (New from summer)

Verdict: A definite don’t buy.

I’m usually a fan of watermelon anything, but some things just shouldn’t be made into jerky! These were tough and full of seeds.

3. Other

Cacio e Pepe Ravioli (New; Refrigerated section)

Bottom right photo: No verdict since I didn’t try these myself (only tried the frozen spaghetti reviewed above), but I wanted to include as my friend has been loving these! She enjoys them with Trader Joe’s jar romesco sauce and arugula lemon bagged salad.

Bottom left photo: another newer arrival pasta from the freezer section, Fiochetti with Pink Sauce, which I would not repurchase. Basically mini cheese raviolis with cubes of creamy tomato sauce. It’s fine but not very flavorful – better after adding some hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper.

Trader Joe's fresh pasta

Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce (Seasonal)

Verdict: worth trying.

I’m more of a classic tomato marinara sauce kinda gal, but this was pretty good. It’s a slightly heartier, creamier alternative with pumpkin and butternut squash puree, plus some butter and cream.

trader joes fall 2020 new items review haul

Let me know your thoughts on some of these items if you’ve tried them!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Leslie wrote:

    Love this post! I have a “hold the cone” ice cream almost every night. 😋 Excited to try out some new items.
    Complete side question — You wouldn’t happen to know the color of your kitchen cabinets would you, Jean? They are so pretty!! We are renovating our kitchen and I am looking for just that sort of griege/white color. Congrats again on baby Rio!

    Posted 11.5.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      They’re addictive aren’t they? I’m sorry but I don’t know the color since they were done before we bought the place!

      Posted 11.18.20 Reply
      • Leslie wrote:

        No worries! Thanks again for the great content, Jean!!

        Posted 11.25.20 Reply
  2. Bea wrote:

    I miss when this site was about… well, all things extra petite: designer handbags, etc. Now it is just like any other lifestyle blog (beautiful content but, as a European reader, not particularly useful). Not a criticism, just miss the old content!

    Posted 10.16.20 Reply
    • Margot wrote:

      This is such an unnecessary comment. Jean just had a baby, and you think it’s a good time to complain that she’s not publishing enough posts about — designer bags? Good grief. With a newborn and a toddler at home, she is pretty amazing for finding time to blog at all! Please remember that other women are real people, too. Catty comments like this are so rude, even if you claim it’s “not a criticism.” 🙄

      Posted 10.24.20 Reply
      • Leslie wrote:

        Totally agree! You’re doing a really great job Jean. And I particular love any and all TJ’s posts. 🥰

        Posted 11.5.20 Reply
  3. Sue Gottlieb wrote:

    Hi Jean. I can’t believe how active you are after just having a baby! WOW. Superwoman! I was wondering if you could recommend stick-free cooking pans that work on induction cooktops. I was looking at all-clad, but they are extremely expensive and most don’t specify if they work on my type of stove. Thanks! Sue Gottlieb

    Posted 10.14.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you Sue! I’m just popping in once or twice a week when the kids are both asleep. Have you looked into the Always Pan? I’ve been testing it out over the last couple of months and shared some further thoughts on the pan in a comment below!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I love your blog and have followed for years. So many of our shopping now is packaged, and many of the items come in mixed-type packaging which makes it impossible to recycle. This is such a dilemma I have every time I go to the store – convenience and novelty vs. responsibility and sustainability. Any advice on how to rectify?

    Posted 10.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Unfortunately yes, some mixed type packaging isn’t accepted by many recycling companies so it comes down to what you’re comfortable with regarding your personal shopping and footprint.

      You could also try looking into Terracycle which offers options for recycling hard to recycle items.

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  5. Denise wrote:

    Really wish they had Trader Joe’s in my country! By the way, what colour is your Always pan?

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I have the color ‘steam’

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  6. Yin wrote:

    Hi Jean! I love Trader Joe’s!!
    Which air fryer are you using and would you recommend?


    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Yin, I have this one which I received as a gift. It has worked well for us but I haven’t tried any other brand and know there are several highly reviewed options aside from this one!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  7. Irene wrote:

    Hi Jean
    Can you share the fit for “ Buffalo Check Longline Cardigan” that you are wearing? Is it on loose side or fitted?

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Irene, it’s a looser more casual fit! And a fluffier knit material.

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  8. Gwen wrote:

    Love your TJ hauls!
    How do you like the always pan? I got it recently but haven’t used it much because its so pretty

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Gwen, I shared some of my thoughts on the pan in a comment below but it’s definitely made to be used so hope you get to experiment and cook more with it!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  9. Janet Anderson wrote:

    Thanks for a fun review-I’m going shopping. You missed the gluten free pumpkin pancake mix. It is Fantastic and absolutely can’t tell the tell the pancakes are gluten free- my kids still don’t know-delicious!

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Sounds tasty. thanks for the suggestion!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  10. Abby wrote:

    I can’t get enough of the autumnal pasta sauce! I went back and bought 3 more jars! Lol. Have you tried the Trader Joe’s pumpkin cinnamon rolls? Also delish!

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      We haven’t tried those yet, we’ll have to keep an eye out for them!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  11. Linda wrote:

    How do you like the Always pan? I’ve been reading/hearing so much about it but not sure if it’s worth it!

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’ve been testing it out for a few months now and am a fan! We use it every day. It doesn’t quite replace all the cookware it says it does, but it’s great for pan frying, sauteeing, braising, and steaming. The steaming rack is a little shallow but I have a quick fix around it and the pan has been working out great other than that. It’s also lighter weight than expected and very easy to clean.

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  12. Wendy wrote:

    I would love to hear about your experience with the Our Place pan! I have been eyeing it for quite some time and know they’ve been targeting a lot of “influencers” for sponsored content, but I’d trust your review!

    Posted 10.11.20 Reply
  13. Sneha wrote:

    The pumpkin ice cream is also really divine (very intense pumpkin flavor if you’re into that).

    Posted 10.11.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you for the suggestion, always looking for new things to try on our frequent TJ’s runs!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  14. Jessica wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for this Trader Joe’s haul summary! I see you have the Marula Facial Oil in your cart picture, can you comment on how you use that in your skincare routine and any pros/cons?

    Posted 10.11.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jessica – I just got it and was reading up on it more before using! Seems that it’s best for more dry skin. Will share an update if it’s worth trying.

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  15. Anne wrote:

    I’m amazed that you have a new born, a toddler, a new home, and haven’t missed a beat with your content! Just wanted to let you know, you’re doing a great job, Jean!

    Posted 10.11.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave this uplifting comment! I’m anxious about how to balance work/life with two little ones after my mom leaves this week, so I especially appreciate your encouraging words during this time.

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  16. Elizabeth wrote:

    I had no idea you reviewed products like this! I love the Trader Joe’s haul. Makes it easier to shop now.

    Posted 10.11.20 Reply

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