6 Trader Joe’s Products That Are Even Better in the Air Fryer, Per Employees

Time to dust off your air fryer!

<p>Trader Joe

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s shoppers have been cooking the chain’s products in the air fryer for years, and now the California-based company is finally catching up. On the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast, which is co-hosted by TJ's employees Matt Sloan, vice president of marketing, and Tara Miller, marketing director, the duo check in with various other TJ’s staff members around the country regarding their favorite TJ’s items to cook in the air fryer. 

According to an employee named Jamie, who works as the director of nutrition and is responsible for the nutrition label and cooking instructions on each item, there has been consumer demand for more Trader Joe’s products to have cooking instructions specifically tailored to the air fryer. “Air fryers have just become so popular. People are looking to find ways of using it instead of the oven,” she explained. “Not all of our products have air fryer instructions, but anytime it makes sense to do so, we add [them].”

And since those who work at Trader Joe’s know the importance of taste and quality, every applicable item is tested in an air fryer before the specific cooking instructions are nailed down and printed on the packaging. “We're making sure that we're using the appliances that you would use in your kitchen. So, we have an air fryer [in Boston] and we have one in Monrovia as well,” Jamie said of the process. “[We’re] testing it out just like you would cook it in your own kitchen, and ensuring that the food comes to proper temperature and that it's crispy, and everything that you ever dreamed of.”

Related: 20 Trader Joe's Shopping Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs

So, what Trader Joe’s items do employees believe really have a chance to shine in the air fryer? Keep reading to find out!

Gluten Free Breaded Shrimp

Since these frozen shrimp come with a coconut flour coating that just so happens to be gluten-free, they are an air fryer MVP. “They're super crispy and I think that if you serve them and you didn't tell someone they were gluten-free, you might not know the difference,” Jamie said of her air fryer favorite. “They're just breaded so they don't have all those other flavors to them. You can easily put them on a salad.”

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Pablo, who helps ensure any equipment for a new TJ’s store is in place, is a new air fryer owner who loves to use the appliance to cook various Trader Joe’s items. The Mandarin Orange Chicken was the first thing he prepared in his air fryer, and even though the beloved item is saucy (which isn’t a great match for any air fryer) Pablo found a way around that obstacle. “We heat up the sauce on the side, and then we put it in a mixing bowl after [the chicken] cooks in the air fryer,” he explained.

Related: 10 Underrated Trader Joe's Items to Add to Your Grocery List ASAP

Parmesan Pastry Pups

The Parmesan Pastry Pups are another one of Pablo’s air fryer allstars, and they only take 10 minutes to cook. When you cook these nibbles in the air fryer, the cheese that's sprinkled on the buttery puff pastry becomes aromatic, while the pastry itself develops an irresistible flakiness. On the other hand, the mini beef franks wrapped inside manage to stay perfectly tender. “The beauty of that is it is less than half the recommended time that you need for a regular oven,” noted Miller. “When you need a Pastry Pup fix and you need it now, or 10 minutes from now and not 25 minutes from now, use [an air fryer].”

Jalapeño & Cream Cheese Crispy Wontons

Since the Jalapeño & Cream Cheese Crispy Wontons are a newer item, there are air fryer instructions already printed on the packaging. When cooked in the air fryer, these little guys are ready in about seven minutes, and are deliciously crispy, spicy, and satisfying. “They got really crunchy,” Miller shared upon sampling an air fried wonton.


Brenda, a Trader Joe’s employee who works in the Monrovia, California, office, loves to make broccolini in her air fryer for her whole family, including her kids. While not breaded, broccolini is inherently crunchy and especially tasty when made in the air fryer. “Everyone in my family loves when I make broccolini,” she shared. To prep the veggie, Brenda lines the air fryer basket with aluminum foil for an easy cleanup, and seasons the broccolini with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. “I think it’s delicious,” Miller said of the air fried broccolini. “I love how crunchy the florets are.”

Related: 8 New Trader Joe’s Spring Snacks To Try ASAP, According to Employees

Dutch Griddle Cakes

Emerald is an import manager at Trader Joe’s who deals with overseas shipments for the supermarket chain. She’s a fan of using her air fryer to whip up one of those foreign items— the Dutch Griddle Cakes. While the Dutch Griddle cakes are delicious in their own right, Emerald uses them as “bread” for a breakfast sandwich and pairs them with the TJ’s Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties, eggs, Cheddar cheese, and some maple syrup. “The air fryer is going to be to get the Dutch Griddle Cakes going, and typically, what I would do is put two griddle cakes in the air fryer and just go ahead and let those go for about five minutes per side on about 350 degrees,” Emerald explained. Her sweet and savory breakfast creation wowed both Sloan and Miller. Pro tip: If you can’t find the Dutch Griddle Cakes at your local TJ’s, use the Gluten Free Pancakes or the Maple Poffertjes (for a mini sandwich) instead.

For more Real Simple news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Real Simple.