With sweaters out of storage and leaves changing colors, fall is officially here. And for Trader Joe’s shoppers, the transition to autumn signals the most exciting time of year: pumpkin season.
Last month, our team hired a Pumpkin Spice Pundit to taste-test Trader Joe’s seasonal fall foods and evaluate them for our readers. After more than 60,000 applications, we selected Lara Klaman of Sacramento, CA, the founder of the Pumpkin Everything Facebook group.
With more than 140,000 followers and a life devoted to pumpkins (seriously, even her hair is orange), including an entourage of fall-loving family members, we knew Lara would be the perfect choice to help guide our readers on shopping at Trader Joe’s this fall.
So which Trader Joe’s fall foods are worth stocking up on until next season, and which are better left on the shelf? Find out below in Lara’s rankings.
30. Pumpkin Overnight Oats
Let me start by saying I love overnight oats and make them regularly. While the flavor of these oats was OK (not bad, but not great), I didn’t like the texture at all. I tasted them cold and heated but didn’t like the texture either way.
29. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin bread is classic pumpkin-season fare, and this ready-to-eat version is OK. It has a nice warm pumpkin spice flavor, but the texture was different than I expected from a quick bread — more of an angel food cake style. Not my favorite.
28. Pumpkin Spice Coffee and Pumpkin Oat Beverage
This coffee smells sooo good, but I didn’t love it. The pumpkin oat milk also smells great, and I normally do like oat milk, but I didn’t care for the flavor or texture of this one.
27. Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins
The only pumpkin thing about these is the shape — they are all chocolate, all day long. I grabbed these thinking they had some kind of pumpkin in them, but they are all rich, decadent chocolate cake and mousse filling.
I think they’re worth a mention because, hello, look how darn cute they are! These would be darling on a dessert tray or charcuterie, and perfect for those weirdos in your life who prefer chocolate over pumpkin.
26. Pumpkin Spiced Joe-Joe’s
This is a pumpkin sandwich cookie in a yogurt-flavored coating with sea salt. These are pretty good, but VERY sweet and rich, and I’m not too sure about the sea salt. I like salty-sweet, but this one kind of missed the mark for me.
25. Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies
I’m a sucker for shortbread, and I liked these cookies. But I think they could have used a splash more pumpkin spice. They were still yummy, just not very pumpkin spicy.
24. Pumpkin Spice Espresso Beans
I love the regular chocolate version of these with white, milk, and dark chocolate, but these seemed a little bland on their own and not very pumpkin spicy.
23. Pumpkin Spice Batons
These are delicate rolled wafers filled with pumpkin spice cream. They have a nice, crisp cookie outside, but the filling lacks pumpkin spice flavor and were a bit too sweet for me. They were still tasty, just not very pumpkin-y.
22. Pumpkin Blondie Brownies
Holy Pumpkin Blondies Batman! These are super pumpkin decadent and very gooey and sweet. The flavor is all there, and I think pumpkin-loving snackers will like them. These were a bit too gooey and sweet for me, which is honestly saying a lot for the crazy pumpkin lady with a sweet tooth.
21. Pumpkin Greek Nonfat Yogurt
This yogurt tasted just like Greek yogurt with real pumpkin and a splash of spice, which was perfect for me. It wasn’t too sweet or artificial tasting. At 5.3 ounces, it’s the perfect size for a light breakfast or yummy snack.
20. Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal
I really enjoyed the pecan pumpkin combination in this oatmeal, and the spices are perfect. This is a wonderfully warm, hearty fall breakfast.
19. Pumpkin Tortilla Chips
These are delicious corn tortilla chips taken to the next level with pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. They have a perfectly salty-savory flavor with a tiny bit of spicy sweetness. They were great on their own but ABSOLUTELY PERFECT with the Fall Harvest Salsa. I bet they’d taste great with other salsas and dips as well.
18. Fall Harvest Salsa
Fall Harvest Salsa is a traditional fire-roasted tomato-based salsa, taken up a notch with harvest elements like pumpkin, apple, and butternut squash. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the spicy-sweet flavor. This salsa would be great with regular tortilla chips, but it was really delicious with the Pumpkin Tortilla Chips.
17. Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
These are sweet-salty pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds — and they were delicious! Perfectly crunchy, salty, and sweet pumpkin goodness! Definitely recommend!
16. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins and Pumpkin Caramel Danish Kringle
Breakfast of Pumpkin Champions! The muffins have great flavor and texture, and I loved the streusel topping! They were insanely delicious with cream cheese and a rich pumpkin swirl.
15. Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels
These little suckers should come with a warning label! They are way too good — salty sweet pumpkin snacky-snack perfection. This is the way to do salty-sweet!
14. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix
I’m surprised I liked these so much! They have a really great spice flavor — and I love extra spice in my fall baked goods. These were incredibly easy to make: just add butter, egg, and water. The texture and flavor were great, very soft and chewy. Just like I like ‘em!
13. Pumpkin Flavored Joe-Joe’s
These are a classic Pumpkin Palooza favorite around here. They are super yummy with strong notes of ginger.
12. Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Tea
THIS TEA IS AUTUMN IN A CUP! It smells and tastes absolutely heavenly all on its own, and I think the cinnamon gives it a natural, soft sweetness. But it’s even better with a drizzle of good honey. Try it with the Pumpkin Biscotti — they’re a perfect pair!
11. Pumpkin Ice Cream
This is so delicious! Very flavorful but not overpowering or artificial tasting. Just creamy, yummy, perfectly sweet frozen pumpkin goodness!
10. Pumpkin Biscotti
As someone who is not a big fan of biscotti, I thought these were really yummy! Not too sweet, but chock full of super pumpkin spicy goodness. Try them with the Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea — they are a match made in heaven!
9. Pumpkin Waffles
These waffles were really good, and so easy to prepare. Just pop them into the toaster and add your favorite topping. Butter and maple syrup is the standard, but these are also delish with pumpkin butter and even pumpkin cream cheese!
8. Pumpkin Cheesecake Croissants
OK, this is another product that should come with a warning label. They are deliciously buttery and flaky, with a rich, creamy cheesecake filling. Although a bit on the sweet side, they're a flavor bomb! Very easy to make — just pop the frozen croissants into the oven and you’ve got dessert in 25 minutes.
7. Pumpkin Bisque
Surprise! I didn’t expect to love this soup so much! It is so warm and flavorful, savory with a tiny swirl of natural sweetness.
6. Pumpkin Bagels and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
These were delicious! I had my bagels lightly toasted and slathered with the pumpkin cream cheese. Because really, there’s no such thing as too much cream cheese!
5. This Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar
These are soft, sweet, crumbly, pumpkin perfection, and everything you could possibly ask for in a breakfast/snack bar.
4. Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps
These crisps are a must-have around here during Pumpkin Palooza, and we stock up while we can. They are delicious on their own and with cheese and dips of all kinds. The Trader Joe’s honey goat cheese is my favorite pairing. These crackers would be perfect for a charcuterie board.
3. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
I would never have guessed this was gluten free. The bread was delicious, with great moisture, texture, and flavor. I loved the heavy spices here, especially the ginger. This was very simple to make — just add water, oil, and eggs.
2. Pumpkin Brioche Twist
This brioche was delicious on its own, but the wonderful pumpkin spices take it to the next level. I had this toasted with a bit of butter, and it was perfect. This would make amazing French toast and would also be great with the pumpkin cream cheese or regular cream cheese with a drizzle of pumpkin butter.
1. Spicy Pumpkin Samosas
OHMYGOURD I LOVED THESE!
So much delicious savory pumpkin flavor with a great, spiced heat. I may or may not have eaten the entire box. I will definitely stock up on these so I can enjoy them beyond pumpkin season — and might even let the hubs have some.
These were very easy to prepare: just pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes. They are crispy on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside. Sooo good!
Trader Joe's is your one-stop shop for almost anything you’ll need to satisfy your fall cravings, but you can save some of your grocery budget by following our Pumpkin Pundit’s advice. While you won’t have an expert to guide you through the rest of your grocery list, that doesn’t mean savings have to stop.
And by using an intuitive budgeting app, you can also make sure your fall foods fit your budget so you can reach your financial goals faster.
Responses were lightly edited for clarity.