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
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

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.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

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.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote


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.


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.

Stop overpaying when you shop online

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.

Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!2

Get Capital One Shopping now

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.

Discover®️ Cashback Debit Benefits

  • Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month1
  • No minimum deposit, no minimum balance, and no account fees
  • Access your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay
  • 60K+ fee-free ATMs and make cash deposits at Walmart stores nationwide

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.