11 Trader’s Joe’s Seasoning Blends Ranked From Best to Worst
If there is one thing I enjoy even more than dipping sauces, it’s seasoning blends. So, it’s no surprise that a trip down Trader Joe’s herb and spice aisle had me feeling like a kid on Christmas morning (albeit a very strange kid who’d prefer fried chicken over an Xbox). The affordable grocery chain currently offers 11 jarred varieties and I bought each of them to face off in the ultimate seasoning blend taste test.
To keep things fair and consistent across the board, preliminary judging included the blend and the blend only. While there are bland and basic foods like chicken and potatoes that could serve as tasting vessels, I didn’t want anything to impart an additional flavor and give one contender an advantage over the other.
Check out the results below, ranging from “I kind of wish I accidentally dropped this jar so it would shatter and need to go in the trash” to earning a permanent spot in my already-stuffed-to-the-gills NYC pantry.
11. Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend,
As the author of Basic Bitchen, it’s no surprise that my palate is easy to please. It’s also no surprise that truffle is one of those flavors that pleases my easy palate. While truffles get a bad rap for being as overused as James Corden (please stop casting him), it is shamelessly one of my favorite ingredients due to the umami depth that enhances practically anything savory. To say I was disappointed with this “multipurpose umami seasoning blend” is an understatement. I couldn’t taste anything but salt and maybe a hint of mushroom, and nothing about it added a layer of complexity to the fish and chicken I sprinkled it on in the days that followed. Frankly, you’ll be better off with a shaker of Morton or MSG.
10. Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend
I so badly wanted this seasoning to taste like pizza-flavored Combos or Pringles in the most artificial way possible. Instead, I got a slightly sweet, not very tomato-y, lackluster take on what could have been the best example of food nostalgia in recent memory. Needless to say, I was bummed—so much so that I had to order a real pizza from my favorite neighborhood joint to compensate.
9. Ajika Georgian Seasoning Blend
This was the seasoning blend I was most excited to sample, since traditional Ajika-style pepper paste is bold, memorable, and provides a welcome kick. Unfortunately, this rendition could not have been more subtle on the tongue. Sure, I appreciated the smokiness and respected the hint of garlic, but I would need to literally coat my tongue with spoonfuls of these flakes to pick up on any sort of spiciness. It’s false advertising, and I want my money back.
8. Cheesy Seasoning Blend
While I enjoyed the hint of rosemary that gave this cheesy seasoning a more aged and peppery taste, it was a bit one-note…much like my failed musical theater audition sophomore year of high school. It will certainly elevate a popcorn or even a scrambled egg, but you’re going to find yourself reaching for other spices in the rack—like garlic powder and cayenne pepper—to work in tandem. I give it an A for effort but a C for execution.
7. Ranch Seasoning Blend
It’s difficult to scoff at ranch-flavored anything because, let’s be honest, it’s the dressing most of us would literally funnel into our mouths for the fun of it. And while this wasn’t terrible by any means, it was extremely dill-forward, making it taste more like a pickle seasoning blend sans the tartness. I would absolutely shake this onto a roasted vegetable or piece of boring grilled chicken, but if we’re making homemade ranch or mixing something into sour cream, it’s gotta be Hidden Valley.
6. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
This is the jar that put Trader Joe’s seasonings on the map. I wished the flakes of salt were smaller and that the sesame seeds were slightly less potent, but I loved the garlicky finish that lingered in my mouth until I brushed it (#youknowyoureItalianwhen). You’ll likely want to put this on something at every meal (but should avoid any immediate makeout sessions upon consumption).
5. Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend
Key word: “citrusy.” One pinch woke up the tongue with a sour flavor that tasted genuinely fresh—almost as if you’d just squeezed a lemon. So if you’re lacking in citrus, this will be a solid way to take any boring ol’ marinade from drab to fab, especially when used with pork.
4. Sriracha Sprinkle Seasoning Blend
If that bottle of green-capped sriracha is in your bag like Beyoncé (#swag), you’ll be ecstatic to find that this powdered version tastes identical to the beloved condiment. Warning: The spice is very delayed, only coming after the pickled chili pepper start. Keep that in mind as you liberally dust this orange-red powder on noodles, french fries, and any other foods in need of a kick.
3. Chile Lime Seasoning Blend
This was the biggest shocker on the list. The lime was super bold and the blend struck a wonderful balance between tang, heat, and salt. It may even give Tajín a run for its money, especially as a margarita rim. In fact, this seasoning might’ve just been the inspiration for the Taco Tuesday happy hour I’m hosting next week, which I may or may not regret. (I will, indeed, regret it.)
2. Everything But the Elote Seasoning Blend
I can’t say enough good things about this clever jarred take on elote (Mexican street corn). The only reason it didn’t take gold is its lack of versatility. While amazing, the blend will not taste great on everything due to its sweetness and a polarizing hint of cumin. But it is going to make vegetables beyond corn, like asparagus and broccoli, more buttery, smoky, and surprisingly similar in flavor to the iconic Mexican dish.
1. Green Goddess Seasoning Blend
Trader Joe’s has a certifiable hit with its Green Goddess seasoning blend. Bright, herbaceous, and with a delightful hint of lemon, it’s a powder that will enhance almost anything in your cooking repertoire. In fact, I almost finished an entire jar in a week after liberally dusting it over salads, roasted salmon, and even veggie dip. This means I am either a certifiable seasoning freak or that this really is that addictive (a combo of both, to be honest).
Let us know your favorite Trader Joe’s seasoning blend in the comments below!