Culinary Judge Reviewing Trader Joe’s Best Foods + Photos



The crispy chicken and mandarin-orange sauce made for an easy, cohesive dish.

Wrap with lettuce and trader joe's orange chicken inside it

I made summer rolls with Trader Joe’s mandarin-orange chicken.

Meredith Ochs


Trader Joe’s website suggests baking the chicken at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then transferring it to the stovetop with the glaze.

I followed the first half of those directions until the batter was crispy. The interior wasn’t quite juicy, but the texture of the meat — a mix of white and dark pieces — was agreeable.

I heated the glaze in a small, nonstick saucepan until it caramelized slightly. I highly recommend using a high-quality pan since the topping was very sticky, and got more so as it dried. I poured a little of it into a glass container for dipping. 

I didn’t get a strong mandarin-orange taste from the sauce, but its balance of salty, sweet, and sour flavors was compelling and a bit addictive.

I liked it so much I coated the chicken pieces in it before rolling them in rice paper with butter lettuce, carrots, cilantro, and quick-pickled cucumber matchsticks. The meal was messy but satisfyingly good.



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