Skip the (double) dip and grab some of these irresistible frozen appetizers instead.

By Ariel Klein and Jennifer Davidson
November 12, 2020

I don’t know about you, but hors d'oeuvres and small bites are my favorite part of any holiday gathering. And while I usually love to make a big charcuterie board and savory dips, enjoying “communal” appetizers isn’t very wise this year. The good news is, Trader Joe’s has endless options that are easy to grab and devour without everyone getting their paws all over them. From classic finger foods like pigs in a blanket and mac & cheese balls, to vegetarian options like crispy wontons and French onion soup bites, Trader Joe’s (as always) has something for everyone.


For the past few years, I’ve been incorporating some of these frozen appetizers into our holiday celebrations because they truly make hosting so much easier and it allows me to focus on the main course and side dishes. We put together a list of some of our favorites that can be served safely while also satisfying every palette. Just remember to stock up ahead of time, as Trader Joe's won't be open on Thanksgiving Day.


No holiday gathering is complete without a tray of pigs in a blanket, and TJ’s version is next level delicious. The combination of savory beef franks with flaky puff pastry and sprinkled parmesan is *chef’s kiss*. Just make sure to buy a few boxes because they’re insanely addicting. 


Whether your guests are vegetarian or not, these crispy veggie wontons are an absolute no-brainer. They’re packed with a variety of vegetables like jicama, taro, cabbage, carrots, onions, shiitake mushrooms, and accented with flavors of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and red chili. Talk about a lil flavor-bomb.


Warning: these little corn cones will be gone seconds after you put them down on the table. They’re hand-packed with delicious ingredients like sweet corn, water chestnuts, green onions, and wood ear mushrooms. And I kid you not, they look and taste homemade. If you don’t want to tell your guests they’re from TJ’s, your secret is safe with us.


TJ’s Mac & Cheese Bites have been around since 2010 and it’s no wonder why: they’re still one of the most popular frozen appetizers. The ooey-gooey cheesy blend of cheddar, havarti, swiss, and gouda are so delicious and comforting, you’ll probably want to stash a box in the freezer for late-night munchies.  


If you’re looking to serve your guests something a little less traditional, these Crispy Rice Salmon Bites are just the thing. They’re savory and salty and come with a creamy, spicy dipping sauce. Think of them as bite-sized fish and chips but with Atlantic salmon instead of a flaky white fish. My mouth is watering just thinking about the flavor combos. 


Every party needs a fun appetizer, and these French Onion Soup Bites are it. Perfect for a chilly evening or wintry holiday, your guests will get cozy with these spoon-less soupy apps. They’re made with savory caramelized onions, rich and creamy Swiss cheese, and seasoned with a savory vegetable broth base. 


Why serve just one shrimp appetizer when you can serve a duo? Your family and friends will go crazy for crispy Kung Pao shrimp spring rolls and tasty lemongrass shrimp wontons. With two incredible options, I guarantee it will be nearly impossible for them to choose a favorite. 


A sweet and savory mix of tangy feta, jammy caramelized onions, and puffed pastry, these little guys are so good, it's impossible to stop at just one. (I've even been known to eat them as a meal on occasion—shh, don't tell anyone.) Pro tip: Pop them out of the plastic container they're packed in and bake them in a mini muffin pan instead for a perfectly crisp shell.