There’s just something about Trader Joe’s that always keeps us coming back for more. Maybe it’s the perpetually friendly, Hawaiian shirt-clad staff. Or perhaps it’s the low prices that keep our wallets happy. Or is it all of that, plus the hundreds of vegan products we simply can’t get enough of?
From nut milks and whipped cream to Korean bulgogi, peanut butter pretzels, and ice cream bon bons—Trader Joe’s has become a wonderland for plant-based shoppers, spawning Facebook communities, thousands of TikToks, and countless online guides to help customers find the best vegan products out there. And so we wanted to know … which are truly the best of the best?
So we decided to launch the first-ever Best Vegan Trader Joe’s Awards, and after tens of thousands of votes, you’ve spoken loud and clear. So grab your reusable TJ’s tote and open up that grocery list in your notes app—these are the best vegan products at Trader Joe’s.
1 Best Vegan Milk:
Non-Dairy Oat Beverage
We’re living in the age of oat milk, and this vegan milk—with its creaminess and natural, balanced sweetnessis an absolute essential of your Trader Joe’s run. It’s simple, clean, smooth, and just the addition we’re looking for in our morning matcha.
2 Best Vegan Cheese:
Boursin Dairy-Free Garlic & Herbs
Boursin, the maestros of creamy, flavor-packed cheese spreads, brought their first dairy-free masterpiece to the shelves of Trader Joe’s back in 2021, and we haven’t been able to stop eating it since. Made with the guidance of the vegan cheese experts at Follow Your Heart, and bursting with the essence of garlic and a blend of aromatic herbs, this cheesy vegan spread is a no-brainer for a cracker and cheese snack plate, elevated toasts, or your favorite pasta dishes (just trust us, dollop it onto Trader Joe’s Pasta Bolognese Bowls, and thank us later).
3 Best Vegan Dairy Staple:
Sweet Rose Coconut Whipped Topping
Dive into a creamy, dreamy world of dairy-free bliss thanks to this not-oft-talked-about but always dependable gem of the refrigerated aisle. Made from coconut cream, this aerosol whipped topping adds a luxurious touch to everything it touches. Use it to make a milkshake even more of a sippable celebration, add to a bowl of juicy berries for a touch of milky sweetness, or atop your favorite pie (we vote for this Chocolate Pretzel Pie).
Best Vegan Snack:
Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
The vegan snack enthusiasts have spoken, and you’ve deemed these addictingly spicy chips as the best of the best. Rolled up like little taquitos and covered in a spicy-tangy chili-lime seasoning, these snacks are milder than the standard, fire engine-red (accidentally vegan) Takis you’ll find in other grocery stores, which make them more approachable and allow stone-ground corn masa to really shine. And paired with a bowl of chunky guacamole or vegan queso? Forget about it.
Best Vegan Nut & Fruit Snack:
Happy Trekking Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Chocolate, Cranberries & Cherries
No ambiguity here—the extra-long name of this top-ranked bag of trail mix lets you know exactly what you’re munching on, whether you’re on a hiking excursion or need an afternoon pick-me-up at the office. Roasted, salted nuts provide ample crunch and satiating protein; dried cherries and cranberries lend a chewy-jammy energy boost; and a smattering of dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips keeps things interesting.
Best Vegan Meat:
Soy Chorizo & High Protein Super Firm Organic Tofu (tie!)
Where do vegans get their protein? Um, Trader Joe’s, for one! Voters were split between the boldly flavored, Hall of Fame-inducted sausage (infused with paprika, red pepper, garlic powder, vinegar, and sea salt) and the neutral-but-oh-so-versatile, no-squeeze tofu that have become staples of meat-free kitchens across the country. Perhaps this double crowning calls for a chorizo tofu scramble?
Best Vegan Ready-to-Eat Meal:
Peanut Udon Noodle Salad
People chronically running short on time have always had Trader Joe’s to help ensure they have something good and quick to eat (are we speaking from personal experience? Maybe!). And when the option is this fresh, colorful, and sumptuous—we’re talking thick-and-bouncy udon noodles, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, and peanuts tossed in a supremely slurpable dressing made with peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, lime, basil, and mint—well, we’re not complaining.
Best Vegan Frozen Meal:
Vegan Tikka Masala With Cumin Rice
Being nominated among fan favorites like Meatless Meat Lover’s Pizza and Tofu Scramble With Soy Chorizo might’ve stressed other frozen meals out—but Joe’s Vegan Tikka Masala barely broke a sweat. But can we be surprised? That aromatic coconut sauce spiked with fenugreek, turmeric, and mango powder? The bed of smoky, cumin-spiced basmati rice? And the meaty chunks of seitan infused with onions for flavor and an ancient grain flour mix of khorasan wheat, amaranth, millet, and quinoa for heft? If you had all that going on, you’d be a little cocky, too.
Best Vegan Frozen Staple:
Thai Vegetable Gyoza
It’s been an extraordinarily long day, and you’re finally home … and famished. So what to order for dinner. Pizza? Tacos? Another sloshed-around container of curry? If you’re over the delivery fees and long wait times, do like thousands of voters do and reach into your freezer for these delicate dumplings. Just pan fry (or even go even lazier and steam them), add your favorite veggies or rice, and douse with your favorite chili oil, and you’ve got takeout-less Thai takeout in an instant.
Best Vegan Condiment:
Crunchy Chili Onion
Just a few simple ingredients were needed to produce one of the most raved-about jars of crunchy-saucy-umami gold. Ingredients like olive oil, toasted dried onions, garlic, and chili peppers combine to create an addicting condiment we’re drizzling over tofu scramble, avocado toast, bowls of ramen, and even vanilla ice cream (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).
11Best Vegan Dip or Spread:
Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
Hummus, step aside—there’s a new vegan spread coming for your crown. Trader Joe’s bright, tangy, garlicky pesto eschews parmesan, instead relying on smooth cashew butter for just the right amount of creamy nuttiness, while adding a hit of cruciferous freshness with leafy green kale. Round it out with the usual suspects like aromatic basil, garlic, sea salt, and presto—you’ve got pesto! Go beyond the pasta by spreading a thin layer in your Italian sub or dolloping over roasted veggies in place of butter.
12 Best Vegan Sprinkle or Spice:
Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
In case you didn’t hear, Salt Bae is over (for real). And if we could replace him with anything, it’d be Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Blend Bae. This category was a landslide, as VegNews readers voted for the iconic blend of sesame seeds, onion, garlic, flaky salt, and poppy seeds they’re using to elevate everything, and we mean Everything.
13 Best Vegan Ice Cream:
Hold the Dairy! Mini Coconut Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Cones
Crunchy stracciatella-like chocolate shards + light-as-air scoops of chocolate coconut ice cream + golden, crisp wafer cones = the creamy-crunchy-chocolaty dessert of our dreams. Our only gripe? When Trader Joe’s says “mini,” they mean mini. Bring on the jumbo size!
14 Best Vegan Candy:
Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups
Reese’s plant-based peanut butter cups may have broken the internet, but until they make their way to checkout stands across the country, VegNews readers are flocking to TJ’s for these dark chocolate-enrobed sunflower seed butter cups. Sweet and salty, these allergen-friendly bites pack a punch of schoolyard nostalgia. Eat them whole or roughly chop and sprinkle into your cookie doughs and brownie batters for delectable eats.
15 Best Vegan Cookie:
Maple Leaf Cookies
If you thought Trader Joe’s’ Oreo dupe was a shoo-in for Best Vegan Cookie—sorry, but it’s Joe-Joever. These Canadian-inspired treats feature beautifully detailed, buttery, leaf-shaped cookies and a serious amount of maple syrup-infused cream filling that VegNews readers can’t get enough of.
16 Best Vegan Beverage:
Fizzy, fruity, and a full dollar less than they are at other stores—GT’s has TJ’s cornered when it comes to sippable refreshment. From the raspberry-ginger notes of Trilogy to the puckeringly sweet Strawberry Lemonade flavor that’s exclusive to Trader Joe’s, this Southern California-crafted kombucha came out on top, beating out cold brews, ready-to-drink smoothies, and a bevy of other beverages.
17 Best Vegan Holiday Product:
Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast With Gravy
Two-and-a-half pounds of pure, unadulterated comfort; wrapped in a crispy, herb-infused bread crumb coating; stuffed with wild rice, cranberries, celery, and onions; and smothered in a savory garlic-onion-miso gravy. That’s what the holidays are all about, and thanks to Trader Joe’s, this iconic plant-based centerpiece makes it happen every year.
18 Best Vegan Product Ever:
Vegan Spinach & Cashew Ravioli
Trader Joe’s’ Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls are the stuff of legends. The new Korean Beefless Bulgogi nearly snatched the crown. But 2022’s debut of these ravioli have gone down in history. Made by a supplier in Italy in the pasta business for more than 140 years, these circular pockets of sautéed spinach, cashew cheese, and a touch of toasted bread crumbs are simple, satisfying, and the Best Vegan Product at Trader Joe’s … ever!
And there’s more!
All voters in our inaugural Best Vegan Trader Joe’s Awards were automatically entered into a prize giveaway for a delivery of Babybel Plant-Based cheese. Yep, 10 VegNews readers will each receive a mouthwatering box of green-wax-wrapped, vegan cheese from the French company. Congratulations to our 10 winners!