12 Holiday Foods From Trader Joe's That'll Make Entertaining So Much Easier

·9 min read

Entertaining for the holidays can be very tough—you're dealing with a bunch of people who may or may not have different dietary restrictions, food prices have gone up significantly, and if you were forced to take a COVID-related entertaining break last holiday season, your host skills might be a tad rusty.

Luckily, Trader Joe's is here to meet many (if not all) of your holiday entertaining needs, including the ones you don't even know you have yet. And as per usual, all of the chain's goodies are well-priced, even in the midst of various supply chain issues that have been impacting food prices around the globe.

Wanna wow your holiday guests with a restaurant-quality appetizer that looks like it took hours to create but really just needs to be tossed in the oven? Try TJ's Ready-to-Bake Brie en Croûte. The rich French cheese, which is always a crowd-pleaser, is encased in an unbaked pastry crust that bakes to a delightfully flaky finish once you pop it in the oven.

Jars of Trader Joe's Truffle Seasoning on a green background
Jars of Trader Joe's Truffle Seasoning on a green background

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And if you're still worn out from Thanksgiving and don't feel like cooking a main dish this year, Trader Joe's has got you covered. The California-based chain just debuted a new item—Porcini Boneless Beef Loin Roast—which has some serious main course potential. The meat is cut from the short loin, which is the same part of the cow that provides premium cuts like T-bones and porterhouse steaks, and is rubbed with a flavorful seasoning blend. Simply stick it in the oven for about an hour, and before you know it dinner's ready!

Of course, Trader Joe's also has a plethora of holiday desserts to choose from. Some of our favorites this year include the new Hot Cocoa Ornaments, Peppermint Brownies, and more. Keep reading to learn all about the TJ's items that are here to make your holiday hosting duties (or even holiday guest duties!) a total breeze.

Fried Olive Bites

TJ's loves a bite-sized appetizer, and these stuffed olive bites (a returning favorite in the freezer section) totally fit the bill. The mixture of green Castelvetrano olives from Italy and dark purple Kalamatas from Greece are pitted, finely chopped, and bound and mixed together. The result is an olive "dough" that's wrapped around a rich blend of mascarpone, Roquefort, and cream cheeses and then rolled in panko breadcrumbs. To serve these savory bites, bake 'em in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Ready to Bake Brie en Croûte

Let's be honest, cheese is always a hit, and Trader Joe's Brie en Croûte (another freezer section find) is in a league of its own. The wheel of double cream Brie is enclosed in an unbaked pastry crust that bakes to a delightfully flaky finish in a matter of minutes—all you have to do is place it on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake. If you're feeling particularly fancy, you can even top this hunk of cheese with some honey or raspberry preserves before you bake it. Either way, your guests will definitely remember it.

Truffle Pecorino Cheese

If you've been to your neighborhood Trader Joe's lately, you've likely noticed an array of truffle products. One such item, TJ's Truffle Pecorino Cheese, is perfect for just about any holiday entertaining needs. This particular cheese is made by an expert Italian cheesemaker who carefully deposits truffles during the production process, meaning each wedge boasts gorgeous Italian black truffle veins. Shave this tangy, bold cheese over soups or salads, use it to make a decadent version of cacio e pepe, or leave a spot for it on your holiday charcuterie board. Trust us, you won't have trouble figuring out how to use this cheesy find.

Entertaining Cracker Duo

While it's totally acceptable for you to eat cheese by the chunk when you're solo, when you're entertaining and making a cheese platter, you need at least one vehicle to work with. Enter Trader Joe's Entertaining Cracker Duo, which, as its name implies, consists of two distinct crackers that make for the perfect appetizer when paired with cheese or some dip. One variety, the cheese and black pepper Wafer Crackers, pairs best with dips or spreads, while the onion-forward, flax seed-studded Cracker Crisps are sturdy, slightly sweet, and best suited for a heap of meat and cheese. Just note that this cracker box is smaller than TJ's typical offerings (it's 7 ounces), meaning it's ideal for a small holiday party or gathering.

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Truffle Powder Seasoning

If there's one item that can take whatever you serve this holiday season to the next level, it's Trader Joe's Truffle Powder Seasoning. Made with imported, Italian black truffles, just a pinch of this seasoning can elevate many a holiday classic. Whipping up some mashed potatoes? Fold a few pinches of this seasoning in with your spuds for a decadent, memorable take on the beloved dish. You can also use it to make a flavorful compound butter that can be served with everything from fresh lobster to seared steak, or add it to your go-to pasta sauce if you're planning to make some pasta.

What's more? If your holiday guests will be around for more than one meal, sprinkle this seasoning over some scrambled eggs in the morning to really wow them.

Porcini Boneless Beef Loin Roast

Leave it to Trader Joe's to sell a tasty and apropos main course for less than $15. This tender roast, which is cut from the same part of the cow that provides premium cuts like T-bones and porterhouse steaks, is USDA Choice Angus Beef. It's been rubbed with a seasoning blend that includes Porcini mushrooms, salt, minced garlic, onion powder, red bell peppers, parsley flakes, and chili peppers, which gives the meat a flavorful boost. To prepare this meal, place the roast in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, then let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it and serving it.

O' Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage

Got some plant-based eaters in your group? The new O' Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage is a vegan take on eggnog made with, well, oat milk, instead of cream and dairy. This dairy-free drink delivers the same creamy, satisfying, nutmeg-and-ginger flavors with vegan ingredients. Sip it solo or pair it with some rum just like you would eggnog, or use it to make a hearty holiday bread pudding.

And those who prefer traditional eggnog will be happy to know that TJ's also has its Trader Joe's Egg Nog and Trader Joe's Lite Egg Nog in stock this holiday season.

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Jingle Jangle

This seasonal favorite is a must for any chocolate lover. As avid Trader Joe's shoppers know, each generously sized tin of Jingle Jangle is filled with a mixture of mini pretzels covered with milk and dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate, dark chocolate-covered caramel popcorn, dark chocolate-covered broken Joe-Joe's cookies, milk chocolate gems with a red candy coating, and milk and dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups. Put this tin out for your guests when it's time for dessert, or bring it to your neighborhood potluck as a festive treat. Pro tip: Jingle Jangle is also a great addition to any dessert charcuterie board, because it offers a variety of different flavors and textures.

Belgian Cookie Collection

While baking cookies is obviously a treasured tradition for many, sometimes you just don't want to deal with the hassle it can bring. If you're invited to a last-minute holiday party, or want to wow your guests with a dozen different treats without having to spend all day in the kitchen, pick up the Belgian Cookie Collection. Each cookie is crafted by a specialty baker in Belgium, and there are an impressive assortment of sweets to choose from. Among the 12 varieties you'll find crispy, yet delicate, chocolate-enrobed cocoa cream wafers, chocolate-dipped shortbreads, and several other cookies that are drizzled, coated, or otherwise delightfully enhanced by rich, Belgian chocolate. And since all the cookies come in a bold red tin, this holiday item can easily be displayed in your home or given as a thoughtful gift to your holiday host.

Wintry Blend Coffee

If you've got guests spending the whole holiday weekend with you, coffee is a must. This festive blend, which is a medium dark roast coffee, is "sprinkled with spices" including cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns. Additionally, the coffee is described as "smooth, spirited, and lively."

Aside from its spicy flavor profile, this coffee has a pleasant, welcoming aroma that fills the whole house with a hearty, homey fragrance as it percolates. And you can guarantee that each cup of coffee has just the right amount of holiday spirit. This is because each canister comes pre-ground, so the spices are evenly distributed throughout, ensuring a perfectly spiced coffee in every cup, every time.

As Trader Joe's aficionados may know, Wintry Blend Coffee debuted in 2005 and was priced at $7.99 for a 14-ounce canister. Now, nearly 17 years later, the price for the same size canister is still $7.99.

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Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix

By contrast, if you want to put some effort into your holiday baking without stressing yourself out too much, consider this festive mix. The returning holiday item, which will only be around for a limited time, just needs to be combined with an egg and a bit of oil and water to yield a moist and tender cake or cookies. The resulting goodies are warm and sweet (thanks to molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg), and certainly evoke that cozy holiday feeling. The mix also includes an impressive amount of crystallized ginger, so your homemade gingerbread baked goods will boast a pleasant pop of flavor and texture.

Peppermint Brownies

It's hard to go wrong with brownies, and these new bite-sized pastries are the perfect holiday treat. Yes, they are dense and fudgy with an unmistakable rich cocoa taste, but that richness is pleasantly punctuated by cool notes of peppermint, with white chocolate chips floating throughout. There's also a drizzle of snowy white chocolate that tops the brownies, giving them a festive look.