16 Trader Joe’s Meals That Are Cheaper Than Takeout

Spend less on these tasty Trader Joe’s meals than a whole takeout order.

collage of trader joe's takeout meal replacements
Updated May 30, 2024
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Save money and skip takeout. Instead of ordering out, make a menu of meals at home — courtesy of Trader Joe’s.

From savory Mexican-inspired options to spicy Asian selections, TJ’s has the global culinary creations you crave. Don’t worry about splurging on these high-quality foodie finds; you’ll save money with these ready-to-heat-and-eat meals and stop wasting money on takeout.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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Chicken Enchiladas Verde

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken enchiladas verde

Price: $7.99

Spice things up in the kitchen with this prepared refrigerated meal. The pre-cooked white meat chicken is smothered in Monterey Jack and Cojita cheese and topped with a tangy green chile sauce. For under $8, you’ll get four mildly spicy stuffed enchiladas.

Greek Style Chicken

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz greek style chicken

Price: $7.99

This 18-ounce pack includes more than just chicken. The Greek-style meal includes orzo pasta mixed with spinach, kalamata olives, and rich feta cheese. Each pre-cooked entree serves two — for under $8.

Beef Sheperd’s Pie

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz beef sheperds pie

Price: $5.49

Fill up with this hardy 16-ounce meal for two.

Trader Joe’s beef shepherd's pie is a classic made with creamy mashed potatoes, a variety of veggies, and savory gravy. You aren’t likely to find a similar stick-to-your-ribs takeout pie anywhere else for under $5.50.

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Jumeokbap

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz korean rice ball with vegetable

Price: $4.99

Heat this microwavable pre-cooked vegan mix of beefless bulgogi, seasoned vegetables, and rice.

The Korean-inspired sphere of plant-based ingredients has just the right amount of sweetness, saltiness, and tangy taste. Make this a meal on its own, or create a combo with your favorite vegetarian recipe.

Kimbap

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz korean rice roll and vegetable

Price: $3.99

There’s a reason why Trader Joe’s Kimbap is a viral sensation. The seaweed-wrapped cooked rice roll is packed with perfectly seasoned tofu, sauteed greens, pickles, and root vegetables. Warm the frozen feast in the microwave. Eat it as-is, or cool it down first.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz mandarin orange chicken

Price: $4.99

An all-time fan favorite, this Mandarin chicken meal is a true bargain at under $5. The sweet citrus sauce gives the crispy chicken bites a flavor you’ll crave. Add steamed rice or stir-fry veggies after you warm the frozen entree in the oven.

Breaded Fish Sticks

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz breaded fish sticks

Price: $5.49

Feed your family for under $5.50. The lightly breaded fish crisp to the perfect crunch in the oven. If you’re in the mood for seafood, this one-pound box of sticks is a bargain buy to try tonight.

Vegan Tikka Masala

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz vegan tikka masala

Price: $4.29

Are you a fan of the seasoned marinated chicken? But are you looking for a vegetarian version? Trader Joe’s has this aromatic option for a just-right price. And bonus, you’ll get fragrant cumin rice with this Indian meal.

Japanese Style Fried Rice

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz japanese style fried rice

Price: $3.79

Rice isn't always a side dish. This Japanese version has plenty of seasoned fried tofu, hijiki seaweed, and edamame — making it an ideal vegetarian dinner option.

The lightly salted soy flavor gives this popular pick a tangy taste. Microwave the frozen meal, heat, and serve, or warm the rice on the stove in a skillet.

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Palak Paneer

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz palak paneer

Price: $3.99

This cheese-packed Indian entree is a veggie lover's delight. Made with plenty of healthy spinach and seasoned with curry and chili, this under-$4 frozen meal is full of spicy goodness.

Sriracha Shrimp Bowl

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz sriracha shrimp bowl

Price: $3.49

Spicy sriracha meets seafood in this Trader Joe’s bargain buy. Unlike expensive takeout shrimp dishes, this ready-to-heat-and-serve frozen find is less than $3.50. The 11.3-ounce pack includes shrimp, Asian-style veggies, brown rice, and red rice.

Mixed Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz mixed mushroom spinach quiche

Price: $2.99

Make breakfast with ease. Before you spend extra on a takeout egg entree, check out this Trader Joe’s quiche. A buttery crust holds an egg and Swiss cheese custard center. Chopped spinach, Button and Oyster mushrooms, and nutmeg add to the quality quiche’s tangy taste.

Corn and Cheese Arepas

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz corn and cheese arepas

Price: $3.49

Turn your grilled cheese game up a notch with this Mexican-inspired meal. Each affordable box includes two mozzarella-filled golden corn griddle cakes, which are less than $2 per arepa. Heat in the oven or warm the ooey, gooey cakes on a skillet.

Green Onion Pancakes

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz green onion pancakes

Price: $2.49

The Taiwanese green onion pancakes are a classic Trader Joe’s favorite. Each pack of this savory selection comes with five pre-cooked pancakes. All you need to do is heat and eat. Top the thin, crepe-like cakes with soy sauce or add a spicy sriracha.

Roasted Garlic and Pesto Pizza

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz roasted garlic and pesto pizza

Price: $5.99

Takeout pizza could cost two, three, or even four times the price of this deep-fried option.

Trader Joe’s “pizza fritta” is made by the brand’s Italian supplier in Naples. The authentic fried crust is topped with burrata, provolone, Parmigiano Reggiano, mozzarella, fresh pesto, and roasted garlic.

Chicken Tikka Samosas

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken tikka samosas

Price: $4.49

The deep-fried, flaky triangular pastry is a popular Indian restaurant menu option. Instead of paying for pricey takeout samosas, try the Trader Joe’s version. TJ’s packs this under-$5 meal with chicken, veggies, and spices.

Bottom line

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz mother chooses baby food

Trader Joe’s has all the affordable lunch and dinner options you could ask for. Unlike pricey takeout from a restaurant, you won’t have to dip into your savings just to eat these prepared meals.

Along with mains and full meals, Trader Joe’s also offers low prices every day so you can save money on essentials. Whether you want to fill your freezer with frozen fruit or stock up on cereal, you can find everything you need while keeping your budget in check.

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Author Details

Erica Loop

With more than a decade of experience writing about everything from e-commerce to pets and parenting, Erica Loop has written for sites such as BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, Tinybeans, Family Education, and Care.com. Erica has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.