- I tried 23 dips and spreads from Trader Joe’s, and I would buy most of them again.
- The caramelized-onion dip would complement any appetizer table.
- The jalapeno pub-cheese dip was an incredibly snackable option.
When it comes to snacking, nothing beats a good chip-and-dip combo — and Trader Joe’s seems all too aware of that fact.
From a comforting, cheesy pimento spread to spicy hummus, the chain currently offers a wide selection of dips for virtually every palate.
As a regular connoisseur of Trader Joe’s salsas and spreads, I decided to taste test some of the chain’s most popular dips.
The eggplant hummus tasted like a wholesome, mellower version of the classic alternative
With a base of eggplant, chickpeas, lemon, garlic, tahini, and pomegranate juice, this hummus was one of the more wholesome dips I tried during my taste test, but that didn’t make it any less delicious.
It had a pleasantly mild, subtly sweet flavor and was slightly less beany than regular hummus.
This alternative doesn’t contain any additional oils and instead relies on a seamless mix of eggplant and tahini for its smooth, easily spreadable texture, a feature that made it easy to eat.
On a blind taste test, I’m not sure if I’d be able to identify the eggplant in it, but I’d still happily dip any veggie or cracker into it without hesitation.
VERDICT: The eggplant hummus was quite tasty, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is in the market for a vegan-friendly, light dip.
The 5-layer dip was scrumptious enough to eat as a meal
Five-layer dip might not seem like anything exciting or special, but after trying this one, I’m convinced Trader Joe’s is eager to prove otherwise.
Instead of using a standard refried-bean spread as the base, Trader Joe’s switched things up and opted for a smooth black-bean hummus, which deepened the flavor and provided an earthy contrast to the rich dairy components.
And every other element was perfectly measured and delicious, from the tasty guacamole layer to the sour-cream and shredded-cheese topping.
I thought it could’ve benefited from more onions or a peppery ingredient like jalapeno, but on the flip side, minimizing the dip’s spiciness makes it accessible to a variety of palates.
That said, this dip had a much shorter shelf life than the other ones I purchased due to the inclusion of fresh ingredients, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing.
This five-layer dip is one that would probably get devoured within minutes if it was served at any party and could easily be transformed into a meal by throwing it inside a tortilla or on top of some rice.
VERDICT: The familiar, yummy combination of guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese with a unique black-bean hummus base made this dip a standout among the other Southwestern-style options available.
I’ll be definitely purchasing it again, but not as often as some others on this list.
The Green Goddess dip didn’t quite live up to its name
I’m not a big fan of parsley, but the herb had a major presence in the Green Goddess dip.
Although I also detected nuances of savory onion and sour red-wine vinegar, for the most part, this dip tasted like a parsley-and-basil flavored mayonnaise.
I couldn’t tell that there was anything resembling avocado in it.
VERDICT: I’d much rather spend $3.99 on a tub of sour cream and a ranch packet or a spread that I could actually taste the avocado. I definitely won’t be buying this one again.
The pimento cheese dip basically was comfort food in a container
As a West Coaster, I’m not too familiar with pimentos as an ingredient. I know they’re very popular in Southern cuisine, but I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand how many times I’ve eaten something that contains these tiny, red chili peppers.
Nevertheless, I was excited to give Trader Joe’s take on this Southern delicacy a try, and I was wowed — it’s worthy of all the love it gets.
The dip itself is made of a blend of extra-sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, onion powder, and other spices.
Overall, the texture was pleasantly soft with tasty bits of cheese shreds and roasted pimento chilis, which tasted like super-sweet bell peppers, mixed in for added chew and a pop of peppery flavor.
After one bite, I immediately understood why this dip is so popular, since it had an unmistakably real cheese flavor to it with just the right amount of tang to balance out the richness.
When paired with a tortilla chip, the distinct, sweet notes from the pimentos were further enhanced, creating the perfect blend of salt, pepper, tang, and cheese.
VERDICT: l may not be an expert on Southern dips, but Trader Joe’s pimento cheese option tasted like a winner.
I loved that the cilantro jalapeno hummus had a surprising kick to it
At first, I thought this option was going to taste like the bottom of the chain’s three-layer dip — a cilantro-infused hummus — but it turned out to be so much better.
Spicy, zesty, herby, and creamy all at once, this dip was like nothing else I tried for my taste test.
Trader Joe’s went the extra mile by fully infusing the standard hummus recipe with yummy cilantro jalapeno pesto to give it an aromatic, spice-forward flavor.
And when it came to heat, this dip delivered, as it’s topped with a dollop of that very pesto for a concentrated burst of hot flavor.
Between the lemony tang from the hummus, zesty cilantro flavor, and moderate spice from the jalapenos, it tasted like something that was prepared fresh at a Mediterranean restaurant and was hard to put down once I cracked it open.
VERDICT: If I could only pick one Trader Joe’s hummus to eat for the rest of my life, it would be this option.
The addition of cilantro elevated the dip without totally erasing the hummus flavor, and its bold, spicy profile gave it a unique and memorable edge.
The bruschetta sauce reminded me of a fancy appetizer, but it was difficult to enjoy as a stand-alone dip
One of my favorite appetizers to order at Italian-style restaurants is bruschetta, an ambrosial mix of fresh tomatoes, basil, salt, and olive oil on top of crispy, sliced bread.
As someone who hates chopping tomatoes, this premade option was like a dream come true. I will be forever thankful to Trader Joe’s for giving me a version I can enjoy at home without having to do any preparation.
This bruschetta-style dip comes with perfectly even, bite-sized tomato pieces doused in olive oil, garlic, and basil.
The sauce’s fresh, tomato-heavy taste and robust olive-oil and garlic overtones made it easy to fall in love with.
But although it’s located in Trader Joe’s refrigerated dip display case, this product is technically classified as a sauce. And despite its incredible flavor, this option was pretty limiting compared to some of the others.
It was too liquidy to really be scooped without the help of a spoon and too oily for most chips and crackers, let alone carrots.
VERDICT: Ultimately, the bruschetta sauce is worth trying at least once, but it’s probably best suited for a setting with utensils.
Despite being a decent alternative to the traditional dip, the chunky Greek-yogurt guacamole was a pretty underwhelming option
Greek yogurt makes up a noticeable portion of this stuff, so it felt weird to call this dip a guacamole.
There was definitely a noticeable tang present at the end of every bite, so if you’re someone who really hates yogurt, you may find that off-putting.
I didn’t mind this too much and actually liked how the ingredient gave this dip a lighter mouthfeel and smooth texture that made it easy to scoop with chips and veggies.
In addition to salt, lime juice, and a vague hint of garlic, the “chunky” part of the guacamole’s description comes from the bits of chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatoes, which didn’t add much flavor and seemed more like an afterthought.
Instead of being like actual guacamole, it tasted like a spicy lime crema that featured avocado as a bonus ingredient.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just made the dip seem more like something I’d eat in small quantities, like hot sauce or sour cream, rather than by the scoopful.
Overall, it wasn’t the worst dip I tried, but it was far from the best.
VERDICT: Although I can totally picture myself placing a dollop of this stuff on top of a burrito or other spicy dish, I didn’t find the flavor memorable enough to eat it on its own with chips. And after a few bites, I was over it.
The caramelized-onion dip packed delicate flavor into a luxuriously creamy spread
Onion dip is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and I grew up recognizing it as an essential component of many summertime barbecues. So it was unsurprising that Trader Joe’s upgraded version of this familiar favorite turned out to be one of the standout dips I tried.
Upon opening the container, I was hit with an aroma reminiscent of onions sizzling on a barbecue grill.
And in terms of taste, it was more honeyed than I anticipated, but within seconds that sweetness quickly resolved into a mouthwatering blend of pure onion and garlic.
The dip’s standout feature, its silky smooth texture from the seamless blend of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream, made it unmistakably richer than standard alternatives only created with the latter.
And Trader Joe’s went the extra mile by adding chopped bits of actual caramelized onions to the mix.
This choice isn’t exactly the most calorie-friendly option as far as dips go, but I was in the market for flavor, not diet food. And when paired with a tortilla chip — or better yet, a potato chip — it created a harmonious union of salty, sweet, and savory.
All it took was one bite for me to be instantly hooked.
VERDICT: Anyone who loves the comforts of classic flavors should give this elevated take on onion dip a try. It may be too rich to keep on hand at all times, but I’d absolutely serve it at a party.
The organic Cashew Fiesta dip wasn’t my personal favorite, but I still thought it was a decent vegan alternative to queso
I’m all for a good dairy-free dip, so I’ll give Trader Joe’s credit for at least attempting to create a vegan spread that isn’t hummus.
Instead of artificial ingredients or flavorings, this option uses a blend of cashews, vegetables, and fresh seasonings like garlic and jalapenos to mimic a cheesy flavor, which was wonderful to see in a vegan dip.
And to my surprise, it smelled a lot like nacho cheese.
When I attempted to sample it chilled, I couldn’t even get a proper scoop of the stuff without my chip breaking, but once heated, it developed a creamier texture and still maintained a thick consistency that reminded me of pureed squash.
And in terms of taste, I thought this option did an OK job of capturing that slightly spicy, creamy-queso flavor without any actual cheese, as the presence of garlic powder and green chilis gave it added kick.
However, there was an unusually distracting starchy and vinegary aftertaste in every bite.
A glance at the ingredients revealed it does contain potatoes and white distilled vinegar, the latter probably included to give the dip an added tang that I personally didn’t care for it.
VERDICT: Although I wouldn’t buy the Cashew Fiesta dip for myself again, I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to try a fun, plant-based option.
I couldn’t get enough of the roasted-garlic dip’s fluffy texture and bold flavor
To put it plainly, this garlic spread is a game-changer.
Smooth, easy to spread, and packed with a hefty dose of intense garlic flavor, this dip made it pretty much impossible for me to put the container down once I cracked it open.
Its light, fluffy texture and smell reminded me of a cross between aioli and whipped garlic butter, except totally vegan.
And although it’s quite pungent, it wasn’t too overpowering to enjoy as a dip.
It’s also quite versatile. In addition to tasting great as a dip, it would work well as a pizza topping or a flavor enhancer for other sauces. I could also picture it seriously upgrading a tray of roasted vegetables or grilled meats.
And best of all, a little bit goes a long way.
VERDICT: This garlic spread is both delicious and versatile enough to be dubbed a grocery staple.
The tzatziki sported a satisfying blend of refreshing and herbaceous flavors
I’ve tried many store-bought tzatzikis, and Trader Joe’s take on the Greek staple was by far the most balanced.
Other premade versions rely on strong flavors like dill, but this product sported a more mellow, lemony-garlic taste with nuances of fresh herbs. Thinly sliced cucumber ribbons also added a cool, refreshing bite and delicious crunch.
The only issue I would note is that this option was much thinner than other yogurt spreads and wasn’t as good for dipping with a vessel like a carrot. But in terms of flavor, this stuff knocked it way out of the park.
This product had just the right amount of tang, garlic, and herbiness to pair well with a wide variety of dishes and flavors — I tried it with chips, crackers, and veggies and thought it tasted exceptional.
Everything tasted fresh and cool, like the air on a breezy summer day near the coast, which is maybe why Trader Joe’s put a picture of a seaside bistro on the lid.
This dip seriously tasted like something I would order at a fancy Mediterranean restaurant. And best of all, because it’s made with kefir, it never felt heavy, even after the sixth or seventh bite.
VERDICT: Trader Joe’s tzatziki had a lovely, refreshing taste and a mellow garlic flavor that I found simply irresistible.
Its perfect balance of lemony tang, cool herbs, and subtle savoriness makes it an ideal pairing for many different dishes and worthy of being considered a kitchen staple in my house.
The tomato-and-basil hummus reminded me of a freshly baked pizza
I’m constantly amazed by Trader Joe’s ability to prove that if you can dream it, you can make it into a hummus.
After surveying the many options in the hummus case, I couldn’t resist trying this one after noticing its vibrant, reddish hue.
The stamp of Italian flavors gave this Mediterranean-style dip a zesty flair that was simply irresistible and made it taste like a Margherita pizza, complete with freshly sliced tomatoes and an aromatic basil chiffonade.
I also loved how its super smooth, creamy texture was thick enough to cling to carrots but lightweight enough that I probably could have easily eaten an entire container without feeling too full.
VERDICT: I’ve already purchased my second tub of this stuff.
The Salsa Especial had a unique flavor profile but was a bit too heavy on the tomato
Trader Joe’s offers a wide variety of both jarred and refrigerated salsas that could easily merit an individual ranking, but for the purposes of this review, I opted to sample the medium homestyle salsa.
This option had a decent amount of heat to it, as any good fresh salsa should.
It wasn’t spicy enough to make my eyes water, but it had a kick that led me to audibly say, “Oh, wow, OK!” after the first bite, a reaction aided by the hints of chili seasoning that gave this product a pleasantly smoky aroma.
It also had the optimal salsa texture — chunky enough to remind me that it’s made of fresh ingredients but blended so I could easily scoop it with a chip or spread it on top of another dish.
But although this option contained all the right fresh ingredients and a near-perfect level of heat, it was desperately lacking acid.
As a result, the tomatoes were the dominant flavor, which made it much sweeter than anticipated despite its notably spicy finish.
That said, it would have made a better companion for cheesy breadsticks or oysters.
VERDICT: Having tried and loved other Trader Joe’s salsas in the past, I was disappointed that this one didn’t meet my expectations. I’ll opt for the chain’s spicy pico de gallo instead.
The Buffalo-chicken dip was a tasty, unique spin on one of my favorite snack foods
You don’t need wings to enjoy the delicious tang of Buffalo chicken. This dip was all the rich, savory, and hot-sauce flavored goodness of Buffalo wings wrapped into a pleasantly fluffy, easy-to-eat concoction — no wet napkins needed.
Although the label advertises that it can be served both cold and warm, this dip tasted best when heated. When I sampled it straight out of the refrigerator, it was disappointingly flat, with the hot-sauce flavor totally muted under the thick cream-cheese base.
Heating allowed the cayenne, vinegar, and other seasonings to become more pronounced and melted it to queso-like consistency that made it much easier for scooping.
In general, this Buffalo-chicken dip did an excellent job of capturing the iconic flavor, as it certainly had that familiar, spicy hot-sauce kick with a vinegary finish that made me want more of it.
The sour-cream and cream-cheese base also did a nice job of adding a subtle sweetness and tang to the mix so that it didn’t taste like I was dipping my chip into pure hot sauce.
In addition, the chunks of cooked chicken throughout made it substantial enough to be eaten on its own or mixed into a salad, but pairing it with a tortilla chip added a dimension of salt that nicely played up the heat.
When compared to the other products on this list, the Buffalo-chicken dip was on the heavier, richer side, but it definitely earned high marks in my book for being one of the more unique, fun options I tried.
VERDICT: Although nothing can totally replace the experience of eating Buffalo wings, I would absolutely be willing to serve this product on an appetizer table.
I wanted to like the herbed tahini dip, but its strong parsley flavor was too overpowering for my palate
Mostly known for giving hummus its super smooth texture and savory flair, tahini is a bit of an acquired taste, as it has a strong nutty flavor that’s a lot to handle without the addition of other seasonings.
I first noticed this dip’s striking green color and herbaceous aroma, which literally smelled like a delicious, fresh herb garden.
But after sampling this herbed tahini spread, I’m not so sure that looks and scent are as reliable of an indicator of taste as I thought, because it was packed with parsley.
I thought the frontlining herb gave the dip a grass-like flavor that overpowered every other ingredient and left an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste that lingered for several minutes.
VERDICT: Although I personally wouldn’t buy this herbed tahini dip again for myself, I think anyone who likes super-strong, earthy flavors might actually enjoy it.
The jalapeno pub-cheese dip was one of the most snackable options I’ve ever tried
I’m a sucker for all things cheesy and spicy, which means this dip was pretty much my ideal kind of snack.
After devouring nearly half the container in a time I’m too embarrassed to admit, I can confidently say this product lived up to every expectation.
It’s made with real cheese, so there was no missing that bold, sharp cheddar flavor, but the fresh bits of jalapeno scattered throughout were what really sold me.
With just enough of a burn to be noticeable without being totally overpowering, this dip hit me with the ideal amount of spice that left a pleasantly moderate heat on the roof of my mouth.
It also had a delicious, mousse-like texture that clung easily to crackers, chips, and carrots.
Honestly, the only issue you may run into is having to buy two containers, because there’s a good chance the first won’t last long once you open it.
VERDICT: If you’re looking for a great dip to literally spice up your next picnic or cheese board, look no further.
I would give the chunky artichoke-and-jalapeno dip an award for its mouthwatering combination of cheese and spice
Chunky is an apt descriptor, as this spread gave me more artichoke bits than I expected, and that was a good thing — this was by far one of the best dips I tasted.
The bold artichoke flavor highlighted a luscious and well-seasoned dip made of Monterey Jack and cream cheese, ingredients that added a touch of salt and a subtle sweetness to every bite.
But what really won me over was how spicy it was. There was no disputing the jalapeno presence in this dip because with every bite I got a delicious dose of fresh heat.
Heat-averse folks may consider this a warning, but to my fellow spice-loving friends: this product is an absolute must-buy.
Apparently, it can also be served warm, but this stuff was so delicious as is, my roommate and I polished off the entire container before we even got a chance to consider experimenting with different temperatures.
VERDICT: Given that artichokes are on the pricier side, I’d say this dip was well worth the $3.69 I spent on it, and I’ll definitely be buying it again.
Although the Everything but the Bagel Greek-yogurt dip was undoubtedly delicious, it seemed too simple to justify spending money on
My love for Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend has been documented on Insider before, so it’s needless to say that I was very excited to give this dip a try.
Packed with salt, garlic, onion, and sesame goodness, this dip hit all the right notes for me, especially when paired against the cool, Greek-yogurt base.
There was a slight, yet noticeable sour aftertaste, but I grew used to it after the second bite and actually appreciated how it gave the dip a creamy, lighter quality that would pair well with veggies. That said, I’m sure cream cheese would have worked just as well.
I didn’t even mind the dip’s lack of the signature everything-flavored crunch, as there were fewer opportunities for the bits to get stuck in my teeth.
VERDICT: This product did an excellent job of building on the chain’s signature seasoning and harnessing that everything-bagel flavor to save you the effort of having to hit up your local bakery or break out your toaster.
I’m hesitant about buying this again because I could easily make it at home since I regularly have both Greek yogurt and this seasoning blend on hand. But if I were in a pinch for time and needed a dip to add to a platter, I’d repurchase this in an instant.
Reliably tasty and well-seasoned, the Avocado’s Number guacamole was impressive
First things first, Trader Joe’s deserves praise for packaging guacamole in two separate pouches.
Anyone who’s eaten fresh guac knows that once you expose the dip to air, you’ve essentially started a countdown to finish the entire bowl before it loses the fresh green color and turns into an unappetizing mess.
This split serving allowed me to enjoy the product on two separate occasions without worrying about potentially wasting an entire tub.
Beyond its A+ packaging, this guacamole was well-seasoned and packed with yummy, fresh avocado chunks. Although the dip was on the saltier side, its creamy fruit was by far the most prominent flavor.
And best of all, it didn’t have an artificial taste.
But of course, when compared to other dips on this list, it’s definitely one of the least-inspired choices for a spread as far as snacking goes.
However, its simple base made it pretty versatile and easy to upgrade. I highly recommend sprinkling cheese or fresh cilantro on top to give it an extra layer of flavor.
VERDICT: As far as grocery-store guacamoles go, this was definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. I could actually taste the fresh avocado, which made it worthy of the almost-$5 price tag.
The red pepper, cranberry, and walnut dip combined 3 unique ingredients for an unforgettable flavor
I would’ve never thought to pair cranberry and red pepper, but this was the kind of dip I’d expect to find on a charcuterie plate at an expensive wine bar.
The red peppers were the most prominent part, so the flavor was on the sweeter side, but the tart cranberries balanced that out.
The walnut taste came through at the end of each bite. At first, I thought the ingredient was unnecessary, but after a few tries, I realized the nutty undertones actually gave the dip a complex and nuanced flavor profile.
The dip also contained bits of actual cranberries, which gave it a unique, rustic feel.
I don’t know how often I’ll eat this as a standalone dip — I didn’t think it paired great with tortilla chips — but it’d work brilliantly as a sandwich spread or on top of goat cheese.
VERDICT: I’m not in a rush to buy again this right away, but I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to spice things up at their next dinner party.
The jalapeno-cauliflower dip had a nice, fluffy texture, but I thought it could’ve used more heat
Trader Joe’s continues its cauliflower obsession with this dip, which contained pulverized florets, ricotta, Parmesan, cream cheese, and diced jalapenos.
The texture was great. The ricotta gave the dip a whipped, ultra-soft feel that was perfect for dipping.
Unfortunately, this dip didn’t deliver the kick I had hoped it would. The combination of cheeses resulted in a heavier spread with a faint whisper of spice. I’d give the heat level a two out of 10.
VERDICT: This dip would be a safe bet for folks trying to sneak more cauliflower into their diet, but I was a little underwhelmed.
Trader Joe’s Everything and the Elote Greek-style yogurt dip was awesome with corn chips
Inspired by the flavors of classic Mexican street corn, this dip seemed like it was specifically designed with sunny afternoons in mind.
It was a little spicy, smoky, and every bit delicious.
The Greek yogurt worked surprisingly well as a base, offering a coolness and tang that balanced out all of the seasoning, kind of like sour cream. I also loved how it gave the dip a nice, creamy texture without feeling too heavy.
I have no doubt it would taste amazing drizzled over tacos, chili, or scrambled eggs, but I could’ve done without the actual bits of corn.
VERDICT: I nearly blew through the entire container eating it with corn chips, so I’ll need to get another.
The Unexpected Cheddar dip was simply the chain’s fan-favorite cheese as a tasty spread
Just when I thought Trader Joe’s couldn’t win my devotion any more, I found this spreadable version of the iconic Unexpected Cheddar.
This dip had all of the salty, slightly buttery flavors of the fan-favorite staple with the texture of cold cream cheese.
It was quite dense and wasn’t exactly dippable, so I used a butter knife to spread it on the crackers. That extra effort was worth it.
The bold flavor has gone a long way. I’ve snacked on this for several weeks and still have half a container in my fridge.
VERDICT: I’ll definitely pick this up when I want a cheese spread for snacking.
Click to keep reading other Trader Joe’s taste tests in this series.