The Best Fall Items to Grab at Trader Joe’s

Maple, apple, and cinnamon-flavored picks for your next grocery haul.

trader joe's fall items pantry shopping list tjoes
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

The first cool day of the fall has arrived, which means it’s officially time to head to Trader Joe’s and stock up on all the great seasonal items the grocery chain rolls out. Maple butter? Check. Butternut squash macaroni and cheese? A classic.

Fall items, like the harvest chili and apple cider-everything, arrives on a rolling basis. The first drop of fall can occur as early as August, and more items are added throughout September and October.

Although we love pumpkin, this list is free from pumpkin items (because we have an entire list devoted to pumpkin here). Instead, we’re warming up to new maple items, a well-loved autumnal pasta sauce, and cinnamon seasoning galore. Here are all the fall items you should definitely add to your cart on your next trip to Trader Joe’s.

Maple Butter

Honestly, most condiments should come with a whipped version. Whipped butter? Wonderfully fluffy. Whipped honey? Delightful. Whipped maple syrup? Equally as good—which is exactly what the Trader Joe’s Maple Butter is. Although the name suggests it, there’s actually no butter in this jar—only pure maple syrup. Spread it over waffles and pancakes or add it to any baked good that needs a hit of maple flavor.

Maple Sea Salt Kettle Corn

I’m warning you now, once you begin snacking on these, it will be hard to stop. Trader Joe’s has really leaned into the snack popcorn mixes, with a key lime, olive oil, and pickle flavor. This maple version, however, might just be the best. It achieves the perfect balance of salty and sweet, and coats the popcorn pieces in just enough maple caramel to provide a satisfying crunch without being overpoweringly sweet. Have a bag on hand, or three, for Halloween movie nights.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This fall favorite is back at Trader Joe’s again. It always feels a little bit funny, to me, buying frozen macaroni and cheese when I can make my own fairly easily. The key, however, is the butternut squash—something I’m not interested in pureeing and making a huge mess. Thankfully, I can just pick this up in the Trader Joe’s frozen aisle and have dinner ready in five minutes.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Bites

It’s everyone’s favorite frozen entree, but in party form! The classic butternut squash macaroni and cheese gets rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs for a garlicky bite of cheese and carbs. Airfry them for the best results—no complaints here.

Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips

To be perfectly honest, these tortilla chips don’t taste particularly fall-like. There isn’t any pumpkin or clove or other spice to make them differentiate in flavor from a standard tortilla chip. But they are so cute. They come in perfect fall shades or oranges and reds, are shaped like leaves, and crumble similarly to what they’re replicating. These chips would be fun for a fall charcuterie board or to dunk in the new pumpkin four cheese yogurt dip from Trader Joe’s.

Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce

This pasta sauce is a Trader Joe’s fan favorite and I can see why. Although it’s tomato-based, the jarred sauce is heightened with pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrot—so it’s definitely on the sweeter side. A splash of cream also makes it a bit richer, so pair it with more savory components like pancetta, Italian sausage, and tons of parmesan. This sauce would also work well in a fun fall-themed lasagna.

Organic Vanilla Bean Paste

This isn’t the most fall item, but the vanilla bean paste from Trader Joe’s always returns around this time of year and is a pantry essential for all of your fall baking. Think vanilla extract, but much more pronounced, with speckles of vanilla bean laced throughout whatever it is you’re baking. Once you try this, you’ll never want to go back to pale and watery vanilla extract again.

Spooky Bats & Cats Sour Gummy Candy

Although Halloween is a mere moment of fall, the month(s) leading up to it are riddled with spooky snacks. It’s only right we pay homage to one of them: the new sour gummy candy at Trader Joe’s shaped like bats and cats. This sour candy comes in three flavors—orange, grape, and apple—and aren’t bouncy in texture like gummy bears. They’re more similar to gum drops but strike the right balance between mouth-puckering sour and sweet.

Apple Cider Jam

Yes, the actual apple cider and the apple cider donuts at Trader Joe’s are pretty tasty. But where it’s at is this new apple cider jam: a chunky apple spread that is both sweet and tart and carries the faint smell of cinnamon throughout. Spread this on toast or serve it with pork chops—this spread can do it all.

Cinnamon Bun Spread

Although if you did want to make cinnamon rolls, but wanted at least one shortcut, this cinnamon bun spread is key. This gooey cinnamon-infused honey spread is crafted with brown butter and cream and is perfectly indulgent. You can drizzle it over ice cream, French toast, or any other breakfast pastry you’re reaching for in the morning. It’s sticky but a bit looser than homemade cinnamon roll filling, so I’d suggest adding your favorite chopped nuts to the mix.

Mini Maple Walnut Biscotti

And if you really want to take your maple coffee to the next level, dunk in a maple walnut biscotti. These Italian cookies are twice baked for ensured crunch and filled with toasty walnuts. The maple flavor is there, rounded out by brown sugar, and each cookie is drizzled with frosting. It’s decadent, so definitely pair it with a cup of coffee or tea.

Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage

Since we're championing maple here, I'd like to add that the new maple oat milk at Trader Joe's is worth picking up a carton. Add it to your coffee, a matcha latte, or just steam it with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a little treat.

Roasted Turkey & Sweet Potato Burrito

It’s Thanksgiving in a tortilla: rosemary-kissed turkey, a tangy cranberry salsa, softened sweet potatoes, and mild heat from jalapeño all coexist in this fall-themed burrito. Preparation is as easy as microwaving for two minutes but we suggest griddling the outside for a crispier exterior and some added texture as the filling is quite soft.

Harvest Blend

Whether you’re making soup or just want a hearty side dish, the harvest blend is a simple staple to add to your grocery cart. Each bag contains pearled couscous, orzo, split baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. Pair it with roasted chicken or add it to your favorite chili.

Apple Cider Donuts

If you can’t make it out to your favorite orchard for apple-picking this year or don't feel like making your own, but still want the joy of apple cider donuts, swing by Trader Joe’s. Of course, they won’t be as good as the fresh stuff you can usually find on those apple-picking excursions, but they do get the job done. You can really taste the apple cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg in these, but they dry out quickly—so eat them quick or pop them in the freezer to make them last all fall.

Caramel Apple Dipping Kit

For the caramel apple fans out there, why not make your own? Trader Joe’s kit comes with sprinkles, nuts, caramels, and six wooden sticks for dipping your apples—you just have to provide the apples. This would be a great autumnal tradition to begin for any family and you can decorate your apples to your heart’s content.

Rustic Apple Tarte

This rustic apple tarte is the ideal fall dessert. Flaky pastry enrobes a nutty mixture of apples, almonds, and cream cheese, for a tarte that is fragrant and spicy without being cloyingly sweet. Preparation is as easy as baking for 25 minutes; we suggest pairing it with cider or a pumpkin spiced coffee.

Harvest Chili

With black beans, butternut squash, pumpkin puree, and sweet potatoes, the harvest chili is a bowl of autumnal comfort. It’s made heartier with the addition of quinoa and lentils and flavored with paprika, cumin, chili powder, and tomato paste for a rich depth of flavor and subtle smokiness. You can heat it on the stovetop if you want, or zap it in the microwave for three minutes.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Tell her your favorite fall Trader Joe's picks on Twitter @katthompsonn