20 Trader Joe's Candies, Ranked Worst To Best

Trader Joe's doesn't really need me to talk it up, now, does it? I am fairly sure that, by this point, everyone knows that this store is the place to be for the latest and greatest, both the most viral and most affordable staple, products in a cheerful and enjoyable shopping experience.

If you're heading to Trader Joe's and you skip the candy products, you'll definitely be missing out on some amazing items. I went shopping on a mission: sampling and ranking a variety of chocolates and candies, from fruity gummies to peanut butter cups to your basic dark chocolate bar. There was plenty to choose from, and it was definitely difficult to rank them. To do so, I considered taste and texture, along with whether the type of candy is something that's likely to be a repeat buy or comes with a sense of novelty. In this regard, Trader Joe's signature quirkiness was taken into account, as was a comparison to whether or not a product stacks up against a similar competitor. After trying a bit of everything, I was finally able to rank 20 items in order from worst to best.

20. Sweet and Deliciously Fruity Gummy Candies

I feel like by the time I read and recited the name of these candies I had already lost some interest in how they actually tasted. The Sweet and Deliciously Fruity Gummy Candies from Trader Joe's take the shape of various fruits like watermelon and oranges, and take the flavor of them with far more creative license. They are sweet, chewy, and simplistic. Kids would probably love these on a long car drive.

I ranked these gummy candies in last place simply because they taste like any nameless squishy, fruity candy you can purchase at a random gas station. If there is a product on this ranking that I am least likely to buy again, it would be these. I go to Trader Joe's for more exciting finds.

19. Oat Chocolate Bars

Some people have really, really strong opinions about their favorite kind of chocolate: Milk, dark, or maybe even white. The dairy-free or lactose intolerant among us, however, might not always have the same privilege of choice. Time for trying Trader Joe's with these inventive Oat Chocolate Bars.

I was excited to try these, especially since I love oat milk. I have to admit that I was disappointed. They do, in fact, taste a little like oats; almost as though you're eating chocolate-flavored oatmeal. If that sounds tasty to you, great, go for it, but it's not what I'm looking for in a milk chocolate. It was also less creamy than a regular cow's milk chocolate bar would be. If you were hoping that oat milk would be an unnoticeable one-to-one swap for cow's milk, you might be let down.

18. Peas & Carrots Sour Gummy Candies

Should sweets be sour? It's a conundrum. It's polarizing enough that I can safely say ... if you don't like sour candies, you won't like these Peas & Carrots Sour Gummy Candies. These won't suddenly convert you to a sour candy lover. You might like to look at them, though, because they are so darn cute. 

Tiny little green orbs resembling peas and glittery, leafy-topped orange "carrots" mean that this product gets major points for creativity. I'm ranking it low, however, because I didn't find them as vibrantly sour as, say, Sour Patch Kids, and if you're choosing a sour candy, you usually want to go all-in. The candy part itself, underneath all the sourness, also wasn't particularly interesting or inventive. These are a bit watered-down.

17. Bite-Sized Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Candies

TJ's Bite-Sized Candy-Coated Milk Chocolate Candies aim to be similar to a certain, widely popular candy-coated chocolate. However, these don't gain points in the creativity department based on taste or texture. Well, at least they look different. 

Trader Joe's versions of M&Ms arrive in more of a pastel color palette, with gentler shades of blue and some pretty pinks and violets. But apart from the appearance, there is little determined difference; even the thickness of the coating is similar. Maybe that's a good thing, and maybe that's a bad thing, but I don't go to Trader Joe's for name-brand products in alternative packaging. I go for things that I can't find anywhere else or things that are markedly better than their common counterparts.

16. Trio of Soft Licorice Twists

Trader Joe's Trio of Soft Licorice Twists are not the most hyped product. But you know what? I think it's time for licorice to have a minor comeback. At least, it's time for these particular licorice candies. 

Trader Joe's trio offers a choice of green apple, raspberry, and mango. It's a step up from the routine grapes, strawberries, and oranges of the candy world. Believe it or not, I could taste the difference. I enjoyed the flavor changeup, and the mango was a favorite. Texturally, these were a soft but toothsome gummy texture, far less tough and artificial than Twizzler's bright red, bordering on brittle mouthfeel. I ranked them low because licorice candy is rarely going to be an anytime snack, but they were better than expected.

15. Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Dipped Peanuts

Well, you might have seen this coming. Trader Joe's wasn't content to just offer customers its own version of regular M&Ms, but decided to take on the other candy-coated classic, this time with peanuts. It named the creation Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Dipped Peanuts.

What can I say, I love peanut or peanut butter anything, and I am not afraid to admit it. That's why I was delighted to find that these Trader Joe's candies felt even more peanut-forward, with a thinner coating belaying legume-like goodness. The nuttiness is undeniable here. Since I determined a slight upgrade to a name-brand option, I wanted to give them a solid ranking. It's clear, however, that there is no real jaw-dropping quality to this product, nor fun, festive, or singular element. You might pick it up at Trader Joe's if you're there, but the competition is much more prevalent and available.

14. Dark Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams with Sea Salt

These Dark Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams with Sea Salt seemed destined to be forgotten. Graham crackers aren't exactly the most exciting of snacks — without hot chocolate and marshmallows, they lose power. I actually enjoyed these treats a lot more than I thought I would.

The coating is smooth dark chocolate, and I have no critiques. Generally, Trader Joe's chocolate is of high quality and doesn't taste too diluted or synthetic. The surprise was that the graham in the middle was much thicker than other store-bought crackers and tasted almost homemade. It wasn't a boring filling at all! The crisp, flakey graham plus snappy chocolate coating is quite nice. Though portion size didn't impress me enough to rank higher (after all, they're small for chocolate-covered graham crackers), there was a lot more to them than meets the eye.

13. Dark Chocolate Mint Cremes

Do you like Junior Mints? Me, too. But we can do better. Trader Joe's Mint Cremes are definitely better. The chocolate coating snaps nicely into a creamed mint filling, luscious and velvety. The mint is perfectly balanced, brisk, and zesty, not too sweet, and strong enough to taste refreshing. But it's not overpowering enough to make you feel like you just brushed your teeth. These Mint Cremes reminded me a bit of Thin Mints: chocolate, of course, and the right amount of mint flavor.

I know that mint is another one of those polarizing flavors. For that reason, and the fact that TJs isn't leaning into luxury here, I didn't rank them any higher. If your favorite mint and chocolate cookies are out of season, or too much effort to bake, then these do in a pinch.

12. Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks

Oranges are one of the best fruits to pair with chocolate. If you disagree, you might want to skip this item. At first glance, these look sort of strange. I had no idea what to expect from the little chocolate batons that promise to somehow taste like orange. 

The outside is your typical Trader Joe's dark chocolate and it tasted like the same kind as was used to coat the Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams. Inside, however, was a soft orange-flavored jelly. The flavor was bold and bright, citrusy and sunny, like a classic Terry's chocolate orange, but the texture was the real surprise. I have a feeling you will either love it or hate it, but since I love jelly and chocolate oranges, I loved it. I just couldn't rank it higher because, admittedly, the jelly filling will probably be off-putting to some people.

11. Scandinavian Swimmers

I will start by saying that the Scandinavian Swimmers are one of the cutest candies I've ever seen in my life. If you think Swedish Fish are cute, just wait until you see these. The tiny little blue dolphins alone make a bag worth the purchase. If you were one of those kids who wanted to be a marine biologist when you grew up, you'll want to get your hands on these immediately.

The appearance isn't the only reason to buy these. They're also a delicious gummy candy with a great texture; not too cloying, these won't get stuck in your teeth, but they also have some bite. If you like candy, you will like these. I think that's just a fact. But I prefer chocolate, so onwards and upwards.

10. The Dark Chocolate Lover's Chocolate Bar

I figured Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Chocolate Bar would be just another perfectly acceptable chocolate bar, but nothing memorable. I was wrong. 

This is one of the best dark chocolates I've tasted in a long time. It's so smooth and velvety, and the consistency is creamy. The bitterness is balanced just enough by a touch of sweetness. It tasted great on its own, and it would also be great in almost any recipe that calls for high-quality dark chocolate, from a flourless chocolate tort to dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake truffles. I also wouldn't be surprised if I passed on buying dark chocolate from another store so I could buy this one instead on my next trip to Trader Joe's.

9. Dark Chocolate Bark with Almond, Pretzel & Sea Salt

This Dark Chocolate Bark with Almond, Pretzel & Sea Salt is savory and, yes, salty, which is always great for a snack. The dark chocolate has a nice kick of earthiness that's just about right. Overall, the bark isn't too sweet, and you could definitely get away with eating it as a snack rather than as a dessert. I'd definitely keep some at my desk.

It might not seem like all that much, but for a chocolatey treat that's not too sweet and has enough going on to stay interesting, this is a great choice. Although I'd buy it again, the flavors can begin to feel repetitive, edging it out of being craveable. It doesn't stick out as much compared to other top 10 choices.

8. English Toffee

Like licorice, toffee is one of those candies that seems stuck in the past. It hints at Charles Dickens's novels and times when people called Christmas "yuletide." If you agree that toffee is outdated and dull, think again. Trader Joe's English Toffee is here to get stuck in your teeth and get you stuck on it for life.

Toffee typically involves sugar, butter, and nuts, all fused together and lidded with, you guessed it, chocolate. I appreciated the lovely melding of flavors in this toffee, and the buttery flavor was front and center. That slightly stale flavor of "I've been sitting in a plastic container for a long time" doesn't do it any favors, but the product is still good enough to survive the journey, which lands it relatively high on the ranking.

7. Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels

The Trader Joe's Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels — wait, how can something be both butterscotch and caramel? And if it is, then what's the difference between the two? Both are made by cooking down sugar and butter, but caramel uses white sugar, while butterscotch uses brown.If you decide to you make your own, be sure to use our guide for the best tips. 

These are the perfect poppable caramels. They have a bit of salt, yes, but they are mostly very sweet. The are also very chewy. In small doses, these taste like perfect little luxuries. They would also make a nice addition to a gift basket with some Trader Joe's coffee, candles, and a few of the other items on this ranking. 

6. Snacky Clusters

We've all been there. You're hungry and don't want to prepare something — then comes the conundrum, sweet or savory? With Trader Joe's Snacky Clusters, you don't have to choose.

The clusters are clusters of sea-salted potato chips, toasty corn chips, and shards of pretzel nuggets wrapped up in sweet, mild milk chocolate. All that saltiness needs some sweetness to even everything out, so it was a good choice to use milk rather than dark chocolate. It's clear what makes these so moreish: the corn chips. If you're interested in a treat that doubles as a snacky pick-me-up, this is it.

5. Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Everyone should try swapping sunflower butter for peanut butter. An easy way to get a first taste is through Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups. These chocolate candies are a lot like peanut butter cups, with a hard cocoa coating and creamy "nut" butter center. 

The best way I can describe sunflower seed butter is that it's more buttery than any peanut butter, almond butter, or Nutella product I've ever tried. There's a bright, light, dare I say sunny flavor to it that the heavier spreads lack. It makes for a fantastic chocolate treat, and it's one of my new Trader Joe's go-to items. It's the sort of creative, only-at-TJs item that I love to discover. 

4. Cocoa Dusted Chocolate Truffles

Who doesn't love even just a decent chocolate truffle? Second of all, these Cocoa Truffles are more than decent. They are excellent. The chocolate is fudgy and super-rich, with a soft, half-baked brownie-like consistency. They aren't too big, just morsels of chocolate decadence.

These would go very well with a cup of after-dinner coffee (maybe decaf) as an elegant ending to a meal. Coffee and chocolate have a tendency to bring out the best in each other. There are infinite reasons to have some decadent chocolate truffles available at all times — for example, if you ever need to gift something small but thoughtful to someone, these are a great choice. They earn their high ranking by taking something expected and improving upon it.

3. Springle Jangle

Yes, "Springle Jangle" is a play on another Trader Joe's item, Jingle Jangle, that exists around the holidays. I guess it was so popular that Joe decided to repurpose it with some extra goodness just in time for Spring. This mix includes mini peanut butter cups, candy-coated chocolates, sweet icing/yogurt-covered pretzels, caramelized peanuts, sprinkled medallions, and cookie bark. Perhaps I'm even forgetting something because there's just so much to love in this bright yellow bag.

The best thing about this product was that it's nearly impossible to get bored. Your favorite inclusion will likely be cookie bark — no, the pretzels. Who can choose? You won't regret purchasing the Springle Jangle, even if you get a little silly saying it aloud to yourself. There's nothing luxe or spectacular about it, but it's got pizzazz to spare. 

2. Brookie Caramel Candy Clusters

There are two kinds of "clusters" at Trader Joe's, and I enjoy them both. Since I tried the Snacky Clusters first, I thought that the Brookie Caramels were probably going to pale in comparison. Yet again, this was a candy that proved the true scope of Trader Joe's ingenuity!

In fact, these were incredibly close to taking the number one slot. Gooey caramel, classic dark chocolate, all-around brownie, and chocolate chip cookie pieces? What could go wrong? Nothing. Nothing goes wrong. The salt of the pretzels plus the salted chocolate might be a little startling for some people, but it highlights the varied ingredients rather than disguising the potential. It's the key factor that makes the clusters so darn good. Unfortunately, they just can't be the quintessential candy union of peanut butter and chocolate.

1. Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Trader Joe's has a monopoly on great peanut butter products and great candies, but Reese's is hard to go up against. Wait until I say that these Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are — drumroll, please — better than a Reese's cup. 

The chocolate is milkier and tasted more decadent, and the peanut butter core is richer and more peanut buttery. Every bite is the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter, meaning that there's more peanut butter than there is in Reese's. But hey, this is only a shocker because the original is so untouchable. Let's give all the peanut butter cups their crowns. Just know that if you see me at Trader Joe's, it's very likely that I have a plastic container of these guys in my cart.

Methods for choosing and ranking

Trader Joe's has a wide variety of products and is constantly switching them out seasonally. That means that there is no guarantee that you will find a certain item on your grocery list. I picked up a combination of year-round staples, seasonal swap-ins, and underrated gems.

I determined my ranking based on a few key considerations: taste, texture, and quirkiness — aka, is this the sort of thing you can only get at Trader Joe's, or is the Trader Joe's version superior to all other versions of a similar candy? If a product hit all these marks, it ranked higher than one that was, for example, super fun and creative but with a generic, take-it-or-leave-it taste. A cute design or concept can only go so far, but hey, it certainly helps.