It’s no secret that Trader Joe’s is celebrated for its selection of budget wines and eclectic food items. The Trader Joe’s snack aisle in particular is stacked with a wide selection of treats that can’t be found elsewhere and boast devoted followings. Now, we’re taking the beloved retailer’s wild array of snacks to another level—by pairing them with wine, of course.
Basically, Trader Joe’s is snack heaven. When it comes to an urgent case of the munchies, the store is sure to deliver something sweet, salty or both. But what better way to make a quality snack shine than with a thoughtfully poured glass of wine?
Rest assured, we’ve got you covered. Our team of experts in the Wine Enthusiast Tasting Department don’t limit their palates to high-end pours and luxury bites. To prove it, they conducted an in-office taste test of popular Trader Joe’s treats to curate a stellar wine pairing guide. From giant Peruvian corn nuts to crispy chocolate chip cookies, here are the best wines to go with Trader Joe’s snacks.
The Best Trader Joe’s Wine and Snack Pairings
Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo
Few items at Trader Joe’s have become household names to the same level as the Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend. The iconic spice mix mimics the topping of an everything bagel, with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion. Since its release in 2017, the blend has made its way into other Everything But the Bagel-themed products like Greek yogurt dip and kettle-cooked potato chips.
“You have a saline note in the Txakolina that’s bright and crisp,” says Russell Peborde, Wine Enthusiast’s Assistant Tasting Coordinator, adding that the wine’s acidic quality helps balance the snack’s savory, pungent flavors.
Giant Peruvian Inca Corn
Sourced from the Andes Mountains of Peru, these supersized corn nuts are crunchy, savory and a touch sweet. What exactly is a corn nut? Also known as “cancha” in Peru, corn nuts are simply roasted or deep-fried corn kernels. Although the toasty snack is typically peanut-sized and brittle, Trader Joe’s Giant Inca Corn uses a larger form of white corn that leads to a chewier and slightly nuttier snack with a hollow center.
For pairing, Danielle Callegari, Wine Enthusiast’s Tuscany & Southern Italian Wine Reviewer, suggests a light sparkling wine like Cava. “The salty and savory notes of the corn balance nicely against the high acid and carbonation,” she shares.
Cheddar Rocket Crackers
Strikingly similar to Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish, Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers bring a little cheesy adventure to everyday snacking. “I just can’t stop eating them,” shares Wine Enthusiast’s Chief Revenue and Education Officer Marshall Tilden III, who always has a box around for his kids.
Tilden suggests pairing the cheesy little spaceships with Chardonnay. “The flavors match perfectly with a slightly oaked Chardonnay,” he says. “And the acidity cuts right through the fat.”
Roasted Seaweed Snack
Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack is essentially nori, a dried edible seaweed common in Japan. These light and crunchy sheets carry a strong oceanic flavor that goes well with wine.
Wine Enthuiast’s Tasting Director Anna-Christina Cabrales suggests pairing it with a semi-sweet dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region. “It has enough residual sugar that it still gives respect to all these layers of kelp flavors,” she says. “That way, you can enjoy these beautiful ocean-like tones without them getting lost in the palate”
Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Made from stone ground corn masa, these chili and lime-flavored scrolls are a spin-off of a hot snack. “I think they’re better than Takis,” shares Cody Wexler, Wine Enthusiast’s assistant tasting coordinator, of Trader Joe’s spicy rolled tortilla chips. Unlike Takis, the chips deliver a tangy flavor profile that isn’t overloaded with seasoning. Plus, they’re cut and rolled a little thicker for extra crunch.
Spicy and crunchy food requires a wine that can level the playing field. Callegari found Sicilian Nero d’Avola to be the perfect match. “It has enough great crunchy fruit to stand up to the spiciness of the chips,” she says. “And the tannins are relaxed enough that it’s not in competition or creating astringency.”
White Truffle Potato Chips
Trader Joe’s truffle-infused offerings includes this glamorized version of the classic potato chip.. Made with Italian white truffles and fleur de sel, these chips carry an earthy punch that, with wine, will make couch-snacking feel like a luxury.
Our tasting team found the truffle chips exceptionally hard to pair. To stand up to the powerful flavors of white truffle, Cabrales opts for something just as mighty: Marsala. “It’s like, overwhelming paired with overwhelming,” she says of the intense combination. For further assistance with your truffle troubles, check out these four ways to pair wine with truffles.
Chips in a Pickle (Dill Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips)
Pickles are another potato chip-ified treat that’s gone mainstream. Trader Joe’s Chips in a Pickle are made from Canadian russet potatoes kettle cooked in small batches to achieve a tongue-tickling crunch.
Luckily, our tasting team didn’t find themselves in a pickle. Instead, they found the dill flavor to be bold, tangy and absolutely irresistible. To pair, all taste buds gravitated to Rioja. “This pairing felt like a no-brainer,” says Cabrales. “Dill notes are commonly found in Rioja wines and the pairing was insanely tasty and nostalgic.”
“All of us thought it tasted like the secret sauce of a Big Mac met a Happy Meal cheeseburger,” Cabrales continues. “In fact, dill pickle is now my favorite chip flavor.”
Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers are vibrant gummy candies shaped like innocent sea creatures—a fruitier play on Swedish Fish. Each gummy has its own flavor—including huckleberry dolphins and mango-peach seahorses—creating a whirlpool of flavors for our tasting team to dive through.
Cabrales suggests pairing them all with an Australian Shiraz. “It adds a real juiciness to an artificial gummy,” she says, alluding to the wine’s full body and ripe fruitiness, which goes well with the snack’s chewy texture and mixed fruit flavor.
Joe-Joe’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies
It’s hard to go wrong with a creme-filled sandwich cookie that has its own mascot. Joe-Joe’s cookies are similar to Oreos and come in all sorts of seasonal flavors like mango, pumpkin and candy cane, as well as a gluten-free version that’s available 12 months of the year. But Joe-Joe the Toucan ought to agree that nothing beats the classic chocolate creme-filled combination, available year-round, especially when paired with wine.
Our tasting team’s pick is a rich, fruit-forward Australian Cabernet. “The acidity and fruit of this wine let the creaminess stand out on its own,” says Wexler, who thought the pairing tasted like chocolate-covered cherries.
Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crispy, crunchy and bite-sized? Yes, please. Trader Joe’s Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies are miniature bundles of milk chocolate-filled goodness that’ll satisfy any cookie craving. The cookies come in an 18-ounce tub ideal for both sharing and enjoying all on your own.
“A dry natural Pinot Noir Rosé goes very well with these cookies,” says Cabrales. “It’s juicy upfront and clearly dry, which adds a nice fleshiness to the crunchy texture.” The rosé also adds notes of vanilla and crisp acidity that lighten up what could otherwise be a heavy chocolatey flavor from the cookies.
Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues are like a little miracle of French baking, transforming sugar and egg whites into wispy peaks of sweet delight. Airy, crunchy and crispy all at the same time, these pillowy cookies melt in your mouth.
To balance the sweetness of the meringues, try pairing them with French Mâcon—a white wine from Burgundy made with Chardonnay grapes. “The acidity cuts through the sweetness with pleasing adaptogens,” says Wexler. Plus, Chardonnay has a roundness that doesn’t overpower the delicate cookie but instead adds another layer of complexity.
Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels
Can’t choose between a sweet and salty snack? Why not have both? Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels combine the tempered sweetness of rich dark chocolate with the salty snap of a pretzel, creating the perfect chocolate-to-pretzel ratio. The store offers other variations with milk chocolate and strawberry coatings, but something about the dark chocolate pretzels was a winner for pairing with wine.
To pair, our team landed on a Sparkling Rosé. “The rosé has tannins to it that help offset the sweetness of the chocolate,” says Cabrales. “And the salinity of the pretzel highlights the fruitiness of the wine.”
Last Updated: May 31, 2023