There’s more out there than just Everything But The Bagel!
My significant other recently went on a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. When he returned, we had a conversation about Trader Joe’s quirky seasoning blends. He remarked that he could just create the same blends himself. He did have a point, but I countered that premade seasoning blends use specific spice ratios to get their distinctive flavor.
And Trader Joe’s knows how to stand out above the rest. There’s a reason as to why there’s so much hubbub around their products, and their seasoning blends are one of the best things that they sell. It’s only appropriate to try as many of them as possible and rate them.
Disclaimer: This is not an all-inclusive list of every seasoning blend TJ’s has to offer. If you need external motivation to get to your nearest Trader Joe’s, this is it.
Everything But The Bagel
Look, this seasoning does its job and does it well. If you want your food to taste like everything bagels, this is the OG EB for you. It pairs well with cucumber coins and cream cheese. But if you’re feeling ironic, adding this onto an actual everything bagel with cream cheese makes it taste even more like everything bagel.
I don’t love it because the salt is overpowering. 6/10
Everything But The Elote
Elote refers to Mexican-style street corn. Served on the cob or in a cup, elote is cooked corn kernels topped with mayo, cheese, lime and some spice. You might wonder how the hell you make a seasoning blend that tastes like creamy, cheesy, spiced corn. Better believe that TJ’s did it. Pair it with corn and feel impressed.
Everything But The Elote is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the number of things I like to pair it with is a little more limited because it’s slightly sweet. Though it seems redundant, it pairs excellently with corn, and I love it on shrimp, too. I also think that the saltiness overpowers the seasoning slightly, though not as much as the Everything Bagel blend. 8/10
Everything But The Leftovers
This is a seasonal product that visits TJ’s shelves during the autumn season. When you crack open the cap, you’ll find that it smells exactly like stereotypical Thanksgiving fare, specifically flavorful stuffing. If you’ve ever wanted your eggs to remind you of the tastes of November, you’ve got it in a bottle.
I like that it’s a seasoning that really embodies what it’s supposed to represent. The only drawback is that Thanksgiving food gets boring really quickly, so this is the kind of spice you’d want to use sparingly so that the flavor stays exciting. 7/10
Georgia is a country that meets at the intersection of East Europe and West Asia. Ajika is a red pepper dip that is slightly nutty, garlicky and mixed with herbs such as dill. Mix some of this seasoning into Greek yoghurt and you’ve got a perfect dip for crudites or chips.
This is a lovely spice that contains the ingredients found in real Ajika. It’s not too hot and it’s not overwhelmingly salty, either. It’s a great gateway for easing into Georgian cuisine, too. 9/10
Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar
When I saw this blend, I was vaguely reminded of the beverage seasonings at 7/11 and cringed a little inside. But the taste is exactly like Mexican hot chocolate. Evidently, it’s great with hot chocolate, but it’s also a perfect seasoning for baking. Use this the next time you want to make Snickerdoodles.
It’s a great break from the monotony of savoury seasonings. It adds an extra “umph” to sweets and sweeter beverages. 7/10
Have you ever gone to an Italian restaurant where the waiter comes over to grate the Parmesan and tells you “Say when,” and you’re tempted to let them just grate the entire block? A couple of dashes of this seasoning will give you that rich, concentrated cheesy flavour. This goes well with anything you’d pair with cheese, which might be almost everything.
I love cheese. In fact, I was probably a mouse in a past life. I would even sprinkle this on a creamy cheese like a slice of Brie or Laughing Cow wedge. 10/10
This is TJ’s take on Tajín seasoning. Think citrus and zingy pepper. It’s not meant to be hot or super spicy. The mildness prevents it from enhancing cooked foods, so stick with things like popcorn, mangos and watermelon.
This was a disappointing seasoning. There’s mild and then there’s this. I’d rather buy Tajín or just use a mild hot sauce or paprika. 2/10
Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic
This seasoning is a powdery version of Cuban mojo sauce, a sauce made by blending citrus juice with olive oil and various spices, with garlic always being a must. Adding this to your next grilled pork dish? Also a must.
I find citrus in savory things to be a tricky culinary endeavor to execute well. But not even my preferences could deny that this seasoning is very, very good. 8/10
Green Goddess isn’t just a dressing anymore. Aliums, black pepper and herbs like parsley give this seasoning a fresh, light, delightful bite. It’s perfect on pasta salad, or on sliced tomatoes and greens. It can even be the foundation of your own homemade Green Goddess dressing.
I adore this seasoning. In times when my other favourite blends feel too rich, this one is just right. 9/10
Spicy Italian Style Sprinkle With Fennel
If you’ve ever had Italian sausages, this spice will be reminiscent of that flavour. This will obviously pair well with Italian or Italian-based dishes. Try it on pastas, tomato sauces and vegetables.
Personally, I dislike fennel, but I don’t hate this seasoning. If you’re also not a fennel person, use a single small dash of this or else it’ll corrupt your cooking. 6/10
TJ’s Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami
Super savory and reminiscent of the aftertaste of cooked mushrooms. Pair this with umami rich ingredients like tomatoes, chicken, and of course, cooked mushrooms. This will make your umami bombs explode.
It’s my fave TJ seasoning blend. It enhances my savory dishes in a way I never thought possible. 100/10 go buy this NOW.
Vegans rejoice. This is like a vegan bouillon that will make your cooking taste like chicken soup. It’s perfect for tofu and stir fry. Non-vegans should still take advantage of this seasoning because it really goes with just about everything savoury.
I have nothing to say because I’m still drinking some soup I made with this. 9/10
Za’atar is a popular aromatic Middle Eastern spice. It’s antioxidant-rich, with many fragrant herbs like thyme, oregano, and sumac. Sesame seeds are also thrown in. It’s delicious when paired with items such as hummus, pita or meat.
If you’ve had real Za’atar, you’ll find this seasoning to be a disgrace. It lacks many of the essential ingredients of authentic Za’atar. 0/10 go and support a Middle Eastern market instead.
Laura Ilioaei is a third-year english major who keeps their pantry stocked with all the latest TJs products. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Carolyn Langer.