10 Trader Joe's Products You Should Buy This December, According to Employees

Including brown sugar-glazed scallops and a wine that's a fraction of its usual price!

We are here for all of the holiday cheer happening over at Trader Joe's already! ICYMI, the crew member elves have already stocked shelves with 13 refreshing peppermint products, plus just added these almost-too-pretty-to-drink metallic hot cocoa bomb ornaments to stores yesterday. And now, the employees have made their list and checked it twice to share one epic December Fearless Flyer guide to the best new and returning products of the month.

While we wouldn't be mad about any of the goodies featured making an appearance under our trees this year, here are 10 that caught our eyes.

Trader joe's storefront with a holiday designed treatment
Adobe Stock / ColleenMichaels / elinka_art

10 Trader Joe's Products You Should Buy This December, According to Employees

Best Dessert: Pound Plus Milk Chocolate Bar with Caramel, Pretzel Bits and Sea Salt

Don't let the name fool you. You'll actually score more than a pound (17.6 ounces, to be exact) of Belgian milk chocolate, caramel and pretzel pieces in this flaky sea salt-topped bar. The packaging for each Milk Chocolate with Caramel, Pretzel Bits and Sea Salt bar is pretty enough to act as the gift wrap, crew members say. That, plus the reasonable $4.99 price tag, make it an ideal stocking stuffer.

Best New Wine: Diamond Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Stag's Leap District Napa Valley

Similar to the steal of a pinot that Joe offered prior to Thanksgiving, this bottle's "Diamond Reserve" label means the brand can sell grapes from some of the best vines in Napa for a fraction of the price.

"In the history of Trader Joe's, we have been able to source through our mystery guest, an exceptionally great bottle of cabernet from the Stag's Leap district," explains Pat, Trader Joe's wine developer, on the most recent Inside Trader Joe's podcast. "It is from one of their great cult wineries. The wine would sell for hundreds of dollars and we're selling it with a phenomenal retail of $19.99."

Described by staff as "rich, dense, and superlatively satisfying, with layer after layer of complex, dark fruit," this cab sounds like a powerhouse of a wine that should definitely stand up to that holiday prime rib or steak.

Best Host Gift: Festive Plants

Refreshed daily, the flower and plant selection at Trader Joe's make it easy to deck the halls (both indoors and out). "Mixed bouquets, single variety bunches, wreaths, poinsettias, tablescape and centerpiece selections" are among the budget-friendly finds that employees adore most. Prices and styles vary by location.

Best Dinner Staple: Quite Possibly The World's Largest Fusilli

Made with Italian durum wheat semolina, Quite Possibly The World's Largest Fusilli is a breeze to cook to a perfect al dente thanks to its hefty size. Available for $2.49 for a one-pound box, we think this supersized twisty pasta would make our Roasted Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Lemon and Fusilli with Italian Sausage and Arugula recipes even better.

Best for Budding Bakers: Trader Joe's Focaccia Bread Mix with Sea Salt and Herbs

Whether you got caught up in pandemic bake-a-palooza or not, this Focaccia Bread Mix with Sea Salt and Herbs ($2.99 for a 12.3-ounce box) will come in clutch when you don't feel like busting the measuring cups or you discover your yeast isn't up to rise to the task. The kit comes with pre-measured packets of yeast and the herb and sea salt blend. Just add water and olive oil, fold in any desired mix-ins or top to your heart's content, then allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes. Then you're just 25 minutes of bake time away from a warm and tasty loaf of focaccia that we bet would even make Giada De Laurentiis proud.

Plus, don't miss these five cocktail party-perfect products that employees recommend:

  • Scallops Wrapped in Uncured Bacon with Brown Sugar Glaze that "bake from frozen in just 20 minutes. The sweet and delicate flavor of the scallops complements the smoky, savoriness of the bacon." ($6.99 for 10)
  • Inside each wonton-like Crispy Vegetable Pouch "is a blend of jicama, taro, cabbage, carrots, onions and shiitake mushrooms—accented with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and red chili. ($3.99 for a 6.8-ounce box)
  • "When popped in your mouth, the silky, ivory-colored, flower-shaped cheese literally melts," crew members say of the Tête de Moine Rosette AOP. "The increased surface area that comes in contact with the air changes the structure of the cheese, allowing its aromatic character to develop to the fullest. ($4.99 for 3 ounces)
  • Joining the ranks of nogs along Trader Joe's Egg Nog and Trader Joe's Light Egg Nog is the brands' Trader Joe's O' Nog that's a "very merry non-dairy version that calls on the power of oats to deliver the same creamy, satisfying, nutmeg-and-ginger profile, but with all vegan ingredients." ($2.99 for 32 ounces)
  • "Chocolaty, minty and creamy (yet definitively dairy-free)," according to staff, the bite-sized Vegan Mint and Chip Bon Bons are made with frozen coconut milk from a preferred supplier in Thailand. It's flavored with mint and studded with vegan chocolate chips, then coated in even more dairy-free chocolate.($4.29 for eight bon-bons)
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