I Finally Tried This Popular Trader Joe's Item After 7 Trips to the Store

Trader Joe’s Hashbrowns are always selling out—but are they worth the hype? Here’s what a food editor thinks.

a Trader Joe's storefront
Photo: Getty Images

When I shop at Trader Joe's, there are certain items I buy again and again. While I'll always add a bag of my favorite snack to my basket, I'm also constantly on the lookout for new, or new-to-me, items to try. So after learning that Trader Joe's Hashbrowns existed, I immediately put the item on my grocery list, eager to pick up a box during my next trip.

Except, I wasn't able to buy the shredded potato patties the next time I went to Trader Joe's. Or the time after that. In fact, it would take seven trips to Trader Joe's over the course of several months before I could get my hands on the popular potatoes (and before anyone asks, there's only one Trader Joe's in my state, so I wasn't able to just swing by another store). So, why was it challenging to get a box of these hashbrowns? Here's what I found out from a Trader Joe's employee after I finally succeeded in finding the item in stock.

According to the crew member, each Trader Joe's store is allotted a certain amount of product each day. Once an item is sold out, that's it until it gets restocked. Unfortunately, my timing was off, which is why I kept finding an empty display case. But on the day that I snagged a box? I got to the store just one hour after the supply truck made its delivery. In fact, the potatoes hadn't even been restocked on shelves yet, and I lucked out when the crew member went to the back to check for me. If you run into a similar issue, whether it's with the hashbrowns or another fan-favorite product, try asking your local store when they typically get products restocked so you don't wind up empty-handed.

So, after all that time and effort, are Trader Joe's Hashbrowns worth it? Honestly, no—I think they're just OK. I've had tastier hashbrown patties and it's hard not to compare (I'm looking at you, McDonald's). The biggest letdown for me is the texture. I've tried air-frying and baking the potatoes and I have yet to achieve the crispy exterior that I crave. But I'm not writing them off just yet. Next time, I'll try pan-frying and hope for a better result.

At the end of the day, these hashbrowns are still potatoes, and all potatoes are delicious in my book. I've enjoyed making these hashbrowns for brunch on the weekends, topping them with some mashed avocado and a fried egg for my twist on avocado toast. But after I run out of these patties, will I pick up another box? Maybe, if it's in stock, but I won't go out of my way again. Instead, I'll try making my own with our Air-Fryer Hash Browns recipe.

Up Next: 7 of the Best New Products Coming to Trader Joe's This Spring, According to Employees

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