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I tried 18 of Trader Joe’s popular breakfast foods, and I’d buy most of them again

Summary List PlacementWhether I'm in the mood for a protein-packed bar or a breakfast that feels a bit more filling, I look for foods that strike the right balance of convenience, affordability, and taste — and there's no better place to find that than Trader Joe's.  So I tried some of Trader Joe's most popular breakfast foods as part of an ongoing series to review the the chain's best items. Keep reading to see which Trader Joe's breakfasts I'll purchase again, and which ones I'll skip. Both kids and adults would enjoy the strawberry-yogurt O's To capture the spirit of a classic breakfast...

Red cart full of colorful Trader Joe's breakfasts

Summary List Placement

Whether I’m in the mood for a protein-packed bar or a breakfast that feels a bit more filling, I look for foods that strike the right balance of convenience, affordability, and taste — and there’s no better place to find that than Trader Joe’s. 

So I tried some of Trader Joe’s most popular breakfast foods as part of an ongoing series to review the the chain’s best items.

Keep reading to see which Trader Joe’s breakfasts I’ll purchase again, and which ones I’ll skip.

Both kids and adults would enjoy the strawberry-yogurt O’s

trader joe's strawberry yogurt o's

To capture the spirit of a classic breakfast while putting a twist on circular cereal, Trader Joe’s infused these bits with the flavor of strawberry yogurt.

The result is a fusion of slightly sweet, subtly fruity, and perfectly crunchy magic that didn’t stick to the roof of my mouth.

The freeze-dried strawberries added a slightly chewy pop of natural fruit flavor that accentuated the cereal’s subtle vanilla taste. If I have any complaints, it’s that there weren’t more of them in the box.

trader joe's strawberry yogurt o's

The ratio of cereal to strawberry was way off in the first few bowls I tried, with only a few pieces showing up in each serving, whereas the ones I ate later in the week were full of berry goodness. So make sure you shake the bag for a more even distribution.

VERDICT: I will absolutely buy this cereal again, no questions asked. 

The vanilla almond clusters were delicious enough to eat without milk

trader joe's vanilla almond clusters cereal

I believe you generally can tell a good cereal by whether it’s yummy enough to be eaten dry, and Trader Joe’s vanilla almond clusters aced that test.

From the moment I ate that first handful, I was prepared to devour an entire bowl without a spoon or milk.

It had one of the most satisfying crunches of pretty much any cereal I’ve ever eaten and consisted of perfectly ratioed sweetened-corn flakes, almond slivers, and vanilla-flavored granola clusters that are just the right size for eating by the mouthful.

No one element overpowered the other, so I detected the vanilla and nutty flavors in every bite.

trader joe's almond vanilla clusters cereal

The tasty vanilla-granola chunks really won me over, and they have become such a fan favorite that Trader Joe’s also sells a box of them called Just the Clusters.

I personally recommend pairing this cereal with vanilla almond or oat milk to really amp up the flavor, but it was just as tasty with yogurt.

However, this is a cereal that needs to be eaten quickly, so I’d advise against pouring a gigantic bowl of it unless you’re OK with soggy corn flakes.

VERDICT: Despite some minor flaws, I gave this cereal a 10/10 for flavor.

Great with milk and yogurt or on its own, it’s the kind of breakfast that’s good to have on hand.  

The cinnamon croissant bread tasted exceptional when toasted

trader joe's cinnamon croissant loaf

It is pretty much impossible for me to say no to all things bready and sweet, especially croissants, but I immediately raised an eyebrow at this loaf. 

It had a pillowy soft exterior that reminded me of brioche, but the center part was airy like a croissant.

At room temperature, it tasted like a typical sweet bread with a slightly lighter texture, but when toasted, the tiny crevices in the center expanded into flaky layers of buttery goodness.

trader joe's cinnamon croissant loaf

If I have any critiques it’s that the cinnamon flavor wasn’t very strong, despite the loaf’s name. I anticipated the spicy intensity of coffee cake, but it was more like a cinnamon-raisin bagel.

VERDICT: I’m not sure if I’d go as far as making this a shopping-list staple, but I definitely enjoyed it enough to buy it again.

I can totally see it pleasing a crowd at a brunch and making a great base for bread pudding or french toast.

This vanilla cultured dairy-free yogurt tasted more like coconut than anything else

trader joe's vanilla cultured coconut milk yogurt

The refrigerated section at my local Trader Joe’s was packed with a variety of yogurt alternatives. Determined to taste at least one of each kind, I tried the coconut-milk version first.

As I opened the container, I was met with a pristine, pearly white yogurt and a strong coconut aroma that I loved.

Some liquid formed along the edge of the cup, which is pretty standard when you open a can of coconut cream, so I wasn’t alarmed since it just requires some additional stirring.

trader joe's vanilla coconut milk yogurt

For the most part, I enjoyed the way this yogurt tasted. It wasn’t as smooth as the whole-milk alternative but still had a nice creaminess to it.

But if you’re not a fan of coconut, this product probably isn’t for you since it was like a coconut yogurt featuring a whisper vanilla essence.

But if you’re a fan of the tropical flavor like I am, you’ll likely love this option

VERDICT: Between the creamy texture and yummy coconut flavor, this option earned high marks as a dairy-free breakfast in my book. I can totally see myself buying it again.

The apricot-mango Greek yogurt had a yummy tang to it

Trader Joe's mango apricot greek yogurt

Slightly tart and subtly sweet with a tropical flair, this apricot-mango yogurt was like summertime in breakfast form. 

By the time I got to the bottom of the container, I was scraping the sides with my spoon to get every last bit.

It was sweet and tangy enough to keep me reaching for more, but wasn’t cloyingly so that it tasted like fruity lotion.

trader joe's mango apricot greek yogurt

A perfectly wholesome, refreshing, and quick breakfast, it also contained tiny chunks of fresh fruit — mostly apricot — scattered throughout the cup, which added pops of tangy flavor.

VERDICT: This yogurt was so good, it didn’t need any extra toppings, so you can safely bet I’ll be coming back for more.

The black-raspberry Greek yogurt was quite tasty

trader joe's black raspberry yogurt

I usually top plain Greek yogurt with some combination of fruit, so Trader Joe’s just made things easier by flavoring this cup with berries.

The use of two spring berries in this yogurt worked exceptionally well since their tart flavor profiles kept it from tasting super fruity.

It was also very creamy, so much so that I’d compare it more to pudding than Greek yogurt.

trader joe's black raspberry yogurt

Despite these good qualities, I couldn’t help but wish it had more of a bite. Had I not devoured my vanilla-almond clusters before getting to this product, I would have totally mixed the two into a parfait.

This is a perfectly fine yogurt on its own, but I’m not sure if it’s memorable enough to keep me coming back for more.

VERDICT: Plain Greek yogurt can be found at almost any grocery store, but Trader Joe’s isn’t an ordinary food shop.

This black-raspberry option caught my attention simply because I’ve never seen this flavor of Greek yogurt anywhere else, so I’d buy this again.

The vanilla cashew yogurt was a fine dairy-free alternative but not the best I’ve tried

trader joe's vanilla cashew yogurt

Right off the bat, I was thrown off by this yogurt’s slightly gray-ish hue and speckles from the vanilla bean. So if you’re looking for something that has that vibrant, white color, you won’t get that here.

But as far as dairy-free yogurts go, I thought this option was pretty good. The vanilla flavor was clearly detectable, and I barely noticed the cashew milk.

Unlike some dairy-free yogurts, this one didn’t taste like artificial sugar, and the coconut cream added a nice level of natural sweetness.

trader joe's vanilla cashew yogurt

I was slightly put off by the texture. It was pleasantly smooth for the most part, but there were some bites that felt a bit lumpy and required some additional stirring.

It was also much slimier than regular yogurt — mine slid off my spoon every time I scooped it and made for a goopy mouthfeel that I got used to after the second bite.

VERDICT: Despite some noticeable issues with the texture, this dairy-free alternative did a pretty solid job of mimicking standard vanilla yogurt.

I didn’t necessarily find myself reaching for more, but it was easily one of the better dairy-free yogurts I’ve tasted. The addition of some fruit or honey-free granola would nicely complement the flavor. 

Plus this dairy-free option costs under $3, so it’s hard to say no to it.

This pre-stirred strawberry yogurt is simple, yet satisfying

trader joe's strawberry yogurt

This strawberry yogurt was pretty basic as far as breakfasts go, but sometimes reliability is more important than flashiness. 

It had a lusciously creamy texture and tasted like a basket of fresh strawberries.

I also appreciated that it came pre-stirred since I can’t stand it when the fruit collects into a clumpy mess at the bottom of a container after you’ve already eaten all the yogurt. 

trader joe's strawberry yogurt

If I had any critiques, it’s that I would have preferred if the fruit chunks were larger, but this yogurt had such a refreshing strawberry flavor throughout that I truly couldn’t complain.

VERDICT: It may be basic as far as breakfast foods go, but this strawberry yogurt is a great option for mornings when I want something quick to eat that’s a little bit lighter than a pastry, so I’ll definitely buy it again.

The pineapple cottage cheese was a bit too tart for my liking

trader joe's pineapple cottage cheese

As someone who genuinely enjoys cottage cheese, I wanted to like this option but couldn’t get past the texture.

The pineapple had a slimy quality that didn’t pair well with the lumps of cottage cheese and tasted unusually tart. 

VERDICT: If this were pineapple yogurt, the combo might have worked fine, but this option was sadly a miss for me.

The cherry-pomegranate toaster pastries blew me away

trader joe's cherry pomegranate toaster pastry

Everything about these toaster pastries was a perfect 10 for me. The filling tasted like it was made with real mashed fruit and the exterior was perfectly chewy.

I’m not even a big cherry fan, but I found myself completely obsessed with the sweetly tart jelly that reminded me of the kind of fancy jam I could spread on a freshly baked scone.

Plus each treat had a thin layer of yummy icing and pink sprinkles on top that made it simply irresistible.

trader joe's cherry pomegranate toaster pastry

If I was left to fend for myself for a week, I’d happily live off these pastries alone.

Needless to say, I don’t know how I can ever go back to the other brand of toaster pastries I’m used to, these were just that impressive.

VERDICT: If you were to open my pantry, you’d find these pastries there again. 

The chocolate-and-nut bar was surprisingly filling but tasted mostly like peanuts

trader joe's chocolate and nut bar

With few artificial ingredients or fillers, this chewy chocolate-and-nut bar is a solid, no-frills snack designed to keep you energized on days when you have little downtime.

Overall, I enjoyed this bar, but I wouldn’t say I was nuts about it — pun intended.

The rich chocolate came through nicely on the front end of each bite and provided a smooth contrast to all of the buttery nuts, but the peanuts were a bit overpowering.

trader joe's chocolate and nut bar

You could’ve told me this was just peanuts and chocolate and I’d believe you — I couldn’t detect any trace of the cashews and almonds.

I’m not complaining too much because all of those nuts packed the bar with protein. By the time lunch came around, I was certainly ready to eat again but wasn’t ravenous.

VERDICT: Given that its price is at least $0.50 less than its brand counterpart, this Trader Joe’s granola bar is a must-buy for anyone who’s looking for something tasty and energizing to add to their breakfast rotation. 

It’s exactly the kind of on-the-go breakfast that I can see taking to the office.

I couldn’t get enough of the date, coconut, and chocolate bar

trader joes chocolate and date bars

These bars had no business being as good as they were.

Trader Joe’s transformed coconuts, dates, and unsweetened chocolate — three items that are incredibly mediocre on their own — into a cross between a brownie, Clif Bar, and luxurious candy.

I especially loved how the unsweetened chocolate accentuated the natural sugar in the dates without being too sweet.

trader joe's coconut date bar

The coconut seemed to serve as a mere binder since its flavor was pretty much undetectable, but I didn’t mind that since I don’t love dried coconut anyway.

Impressively keeping me full until lunch, this bar also earned high marks for its perfectly uniform texture, taking on the date’s natural chewiness that has the same mouthfeel as a caramel candy. 

VERDICT: I’m not sure how I got by for so long without knowing about these bars, but I’m glad they’re in my life now. 

These vanilla overnight oats were very filling but didn’t blow me away

trader joe's vanilla overnight oats

This breakfast option tasted like cold oatmeal, but once I got over that, it was quite pleasant.

The oats were super soft and soaked up the sweet almond-milk taste, but I detected notes of cinnamon and cocoa, which was strange for a vanilla-flavored breakfast.

It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure if I’m completely sold on it just yet.

trader joe's vanilla overnight oats

I’ve never made overnight oats myself, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But it kept me surprisingly full for several hours.

VERDICT: I’ll pass on buying this again, but I can totally see people who enjoy the nutty flavor of almond milk loving it.

These cinnamon rolls were the epitome of pure bliss

trader joe's cinnamon rolls

I would like to sincerely thank whoever is in charge of Trader Joe’s baked goods, because these cinnamon rolls absolutely knocked it out of the park.

With every bite, my taste buds were treated to a glorious combination of buttery dough, cinnamon, and plenty of yummy icing. They smelled and tasted like something I’d buy from a bakery.

trader joe's cinnamon rolls

What set these apart from other store-bought options was the ample cinnamon presence. Some of the frozen cinnamon rolls I’ve tried rely on the sugary icing for flavor, but that was not the case with these.

Trader Joe’s take sported a cinnamon coating on every layer, which wonderfully toned down some of the sweetness of the sugary icing.

trader joe's cinnamon rolls

Even though it was pretty heavy as far as breakfasts go, I didn’t feel too full after eating it, which made it home run.

VERDICT: I don’t eat cinnamon rolls often, but I’d happily buy these again next time I’m hosting friends or family.

A single can contains five rolls for less than $5, and since these treats can go for $3.50 each at some places, this seemed like a steal. 

The dark-chocolate protein muffin has the potential to be great

trader joe's dark chocolate protein muffin

If you would’ve told me a few years ago that people were making muffins in the microwave, I might have scoffed. Yet, here we are.

With 12 grams of protein, these treats are essentially a wholesome take on the massively popular mug cake.

Despite the fact that they aren’t vegan since they contain whey, these muffins have unsurprisingly been all the rage ever since Trader Joe’s first dropped them

trader joe's dark chocolate protein muffin

The instructions were straightforward: simply add water to a cup, mix it well, and microwave it all for a minute.

It sounded easy enough, but as many who experiment in the kitchen know too well, baking is a science. Just because I was working with an instant muffin didn’t mean I wasn’t subject to the rules.

After free pouring water into the dry mix and microwaving it for a minute, the muffin wasn’t even solid, but rather a cup of bubbling, scary-looking chocolate goop. 

Out of fear of possibly consuming something raw, I microwaved it for another minute, hoping the excess water would cook out. But instead, I ended up with semi-soft, semi-hard funk that smelled like a slightly burnt brownie batter. 

trader joe's dark chocolate protein muffin

The taste wasn’t much better since it was bitter like unsweetened cocoa, and the texture was rubbery like old leftovers. I gave up on this meal after a few bites.

VERDICT: I still have mixed feelings about this protein muffin because I feel like it has the potential to be delicious when prepared correctly, so I’d give it another chance.

The maple protein muffin was just OK

trader joe's maple protein muffin

To avoid repeating the same mistake I made with the dark-chocolate muffin, I measured out the water in a cup and stirred it exactly according to the package instructions.

That did the trick, and after less than two minutes in the microwave, the cup of beige batter solidified into the promised pastry.

Although I was super impressed by how quickly this muffin came together, it still left a lot to be desired since it had an unpleasant, microwaved texture.

trader joe's maple protein muffin

And unlike most muffins — which are dense, moist, and scrumptious — this was spongy and dry. 

The flavor was weak compared to what was advertised by both its packaging and scent. Even though it smelled like maple syrup, it tasted like a slightly eggy pancake or thick crepe.

I didn’t actually dislike it, but given how much hype these got on the internet, I was pretty disappointed.

VERDICT: Although I found it incredibly cool that I was able to cook a muffin in my microwave, I’ll pass on buying this option again.

The gluten- and dairy-free frozen pancakes were an OK option, but I prefer the waffles

trader joe's frozen pancakes

These pancakes were flops, literally.

Having tried and loved Trader Joe’s gluten-free waffles, I expected these to be on the same level, but I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong.

I know human error is partially to blame since I opted to cook these in the microwave — which is usually the worst option on the box — but these pancakes were rubbery and bland.

Not even dousing these gluten-free pancakes in a sugary syrup could save them — instead, it turned them into a soggy, sad mess.

trader joe's frozen pancakes

Determined to give this option the benefit of the doubt, I later gave it another chance by toasting the pancakes, which was a total game-changer.

The edges crisped up nicely and the center became pillowy soft like a traditional pancake.

But the flavor still wasn’t anything to write home about. It can’t be easy to replicate the buttermilk taste without dairy, but a touch of vanilla or some other added sweetness could’ve helped. 

VERDICT: Trader Joe’s has better gluten- and dairy-free products than these pancakes.

Although I ruined my first impression, they still paled in comparison to the chain’s gluten-free waffles, so I’ll skip buying these again.

The frozen hash browns tasted great with ketchup

trader joe's frozen hashbrown

Home fries and shredded potatoes are great, but nothing beats the convenience of hand-held hash browns.

Trader Joe’s sells these hash browns in a pack of 10, which is a pretty solid deal for the price. And even better, they don’t contain too many bizarre ingredients.

Per the instructions, the hash browns can be cooked in the oven or pan-fried based on your preference, so I opted for the stovetop.

trader joe's frozen hash browns

After just a few minutes in the frying pan, the hash browns developed a beautiful golden-orange sheen around the edges. Once removed from the heat, they retained some greasiness, but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a quick pat from a paper towel.

I liked that they had a nice, crispy exterior with no burnt edges or cold pockets in sight, but the inside seemed slightly too soft, even bordering on wet.

After talking with some friends who swear by these hash browns, I’ve learned that air frying apparently eliminates that problem, but I also thought they were slightly too salty.

trader joe's frozen hash browns

They weren’t necessarily bad, and I liked the way they tasted with ketchup since it made for a yummy balance of salty, sweet, and acidic.

If you’re looking for something that tastes like McDonald’s renowned hash browns, these are unfortunately nothing like that, save for the shape.

VERDICT: Although these weren’t the best hash browns I’ve ever eaten, they’re good to keep around as a last-minute breakfast and simple enough that kids will love them. Just make sure you have ketchup.

The frosted maple-and-brown-sugar wheat cereal was unexpectedly delicious

trader joe's wheat cereal

Normally when I read the word “wheat” on a cereal label, I assume it’s bland and boring.

Thankfully I was proven wrong here — these frosted maple-and-brown-sugar wheats were so delicious that I went through the entire box in less than a week.

trader joe's wheat cereal

It exclusively consisted of whole-wheat biscuits, which had a bit of a rough texture that softened nicely once milk was added. Compared to most cereals, the individual pieces were quite large, but this allowed them to maintain a slight bite.

But the flavor won me over — It didn’t taste like any other cereal I’ve tried in my life.

I loved how this cereal contained subtle notes of brown sugar that accentuated the maple flavors incredibly well while also transforming the milk into a yummy pool of sugary goodness.

And the inclusion of powdered sugar on each biscuit provided a delicious contrast to the deep, molasses-like flavor.

trader joe's wheat cereal

It managed to avoid tasting overly sweet thanks to the use of whole-wheat cereal, and I can picture this option being a hit with both adults and even some kids for that reason.

VERDICT: I’m already on my second box.

Click to keep reading other Trader Joe’s taste tests in this series.

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