You might be surprised by some of the winners of (and upsets in!) the 12th annual Trader Joe's Customer Choice Awards.

Karla Walsh
January 25, 2021
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While we enjoy tuning in to the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, we'll be honest that we're almost as jazzed when today—Trader Joe's Customer Choice Awards announcement day—rolls around each year! Not only do we get to peek in other shopper's carts from around the country, but we also get to gain even more inspiration for our next shopping list. (Psst...before we dive in, take a walk down memory with last year's winners.)

And now, without further ado, the victors in the 12th annual survey.

Trader Joe's storefront
Credit: Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

The Best Products at Trader Joe's 2021

Favorite Produce

Teeny Tiny Avocados

A top choice of crew members and shoppers alike, these single-serving avocados are "so conveniently sized," explains co-host Matt Sloan, the brand's vice president of marketing, on the newest Inside Trader Joe's podcast all about the results. "Literally handy," adds co-host and marketing director Tara Miller (earning our vote for best food pun of the day). Bananas, Honeycrisp Apples, Organic Arugula and the Broccoli and Kale Slaw Kit also ranked high among their fruit and vegetable competition.

Favorite Entrée

Mandarin Orange Chicken

In a landslide victory, this frozen Chinese-inspired entrée "received 10 times as many votes as the second highest vote-getter in this category," Miller says in the podcast. It was also last year's #1 main dish pick. Also earning a substantial amount of votes and worthy of a spot on your shopping list, according to loyal TJ fans: Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese, Chicken Tikka Masala, Cauliflower Gnocchi and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter and Sage.

Favorite Snack

Salted Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

A consistent favorite of both crew members and customers, these 10-calorie bites are crunchy, salty and sweet all at once. While you're in the snack aisle, this year's voters say to also grab runners-up Organic Corn Chip Dippers and Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers, Plantain Chips, Chili and Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips and Bamba.

Favorite Cheese

Unexpected Cheddar

For more years than the hosts admit they can count, this crowd-pleasing Cheddar is a winning addition to a cheese board or a quick and easy homemade mac and cheese. Honorable mentions in the cheese case this year go to English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions, Wild Blueberry and Vanilla Chèvre, Creamy Toscano Soaked in Syrah and Baked Lemon Ricotta (seasonal).

Favorite Vegan or Vegetarian Item

Soy Chorizo

Even though it didn't make the crew members' list of top five plant-based items at Trader Joe's, this spicy soy-sage is certainly a winner with shoppers. "So versatile," Sloan says. "Like if you do roasted potatoes, bell peppers, onions, actually carrots, and then you put Soy Chorizo in there and make a burrito—good stuff." (Their culinary wizards also suggest using it in biscuits and gravy, frittatas and low-carb cauliflower thin tacos.) Other fan faves in the meatless category this year include Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto, Cauliflower Gnocchi, Vegetable Fried Rice and Vegan Banana Bread With Walnuts.

Favorite Sweet Treat

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Nearly impossible to pass up on any TJ's stock-up trip, these Reese's cup copycats will satisfy your sweet tooth as-is or make a delicious addition to six-ingredient flourless peanut butter cookies. If you're in the mood for other dessert champions, consider this year's runners-up: Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones, Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches, O&H Danish Kringle (seasonal) and Brookies (an irresistible brownie-cookie mashup).

Favorite Beverage

Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice Beverage

In its first year sold and up for nomination, this refreshing drink (try it spiked with whiskey!) beat out competitors including Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice Beverage, Non-Dairy Oat Beverages, Cold Brew Concentrate and Spiced Cider.

Favorite in Home, Bath and Beauty

Scented Candles

Made with a soy wax blend and with a 20-hour burn time, these candles are so popular, you could say they're on fire. (Sorry!) They come in a variety of seasonal scents throughout the year. "The Cedar Balsam was the top vote-getting individual candle...the second highest vote-getter that went to the Honeycrisp Apple, which was really, really close to the Cedar Balsam," Miller reveals in the podcast. Hot on the heels of the candles were the self-care runners-up: Grapefruit and Lemon Hand Sanitizer Spray, Ultra Moisturizing Hand Creams (seasonal), Rose Water Facial Toner (seasonal) and Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Hair Mask.

Favorite Overall

Drumroll please...Beating out last year's winner, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Blend as well as perpetual faves Cauliflower Gnocchi, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Unexpected Cheddar, it's Mandarin Orange Chicken FTW!