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7 Trader Joe's Frozen Foods You Should Never Buy, According to Food Editors

Pass on these items the next time you shop.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder</p>

Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

Despite how much we gush about Trader Joe’s at Simply Recipes, it pains us to say that the grocery store has let us down on occasion. The freezer section is famous for countless hits like Mandarin orange chicken and cauliflower gnocchi, and our editorial team has fallen hard for the mini cheeseburgers and soup dumplings too. However, the options aren’t all winners. These seven items disappointed us so much that we’ll never buy them again.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

1. True Thai Vegetable Pad Thai

Two of our editors immediately called out Trader Joe’s frozen pad Thai. “Oof! For how much sodium this has, it’s surprisingly tasteless,” says Associate Editorial Director Myo Quinn. "It also contains so many bean sprouts, which make the whole dish wet, not in a good way. You’d be better off doing takeout!”

Senior Editor Laurel Randolph agrees: “As much as I want the magic of frozen, prepared noodles, they just don't capture the goodness of a fresh noodle dish most of the time. TJ's pad Thai is no exception—the textures aren't quite right, and will leave you feeling like you're eating leftover takeout.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

2. Breaded Cheddar Cheese Curds

Laurel has also learned to skip the frozen bags of breaded cheese curds at Trader Joe’s. “Cheese curds are meant to be freshly fried and immediately shoved into your mouth. Case in point, this frozen version. They're not bad, but they're not good. They lack the crunch and molten cheesiness of fresh fried cheese curds that make them so delicious.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

3. Italian Style Meatballs

Here’s a case where our editors don’t necessarily agree. While Laurel is a fan, General Manager Emma Christensen says that the frozen meatballs are "the only product I will truly never buy again. I want to love them because they're so convenient, but I find the texture rubbery and the flavor weirdly bitter.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

4. Chicken Karaage

This Japanese-style fried chicken just doesn’t deliver for Myo. “These are okay as fried chicken bites, but I wouldn’t call them karaage, which are supposed to be light, crispy, and tender. These aren’t that. The breading is chewy, tough, and too thick in some parts.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

5. Cheese Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce

If these fiocchetti—cheese-filled pasta bundles—had been packaged without the pink sauce, I’d be singing a different tune, as the pasta itself is just right. Unfortunately, the sauce totally ruins them. The tomato cream sauce is indeed pink, almost unnaturally so, and the flavor veers way too sweet and cloying. Plus, the ratio of sauce to pasta is all wrong, with the pasta swimming in the cream sauce, making the whole dish soup-like.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

6. Mashed Potatoes

“While everyone has tried to crack the code on convenient mashed potatoes, from frozen dinners to boxed flakes to TJ's pucks, no one has really succeeded,” says Laurel. “Something unfortunate happens to the texture of potatoes when they're frozen like this, creating a watery, less-than-satisfying result.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below

7. Mac and Cheese Bites

The party where my friends introduced me to Trader Joe’s frozen mac and cheese bites was the first and last time I ate them. While breaded balls of carbs and cheese should be easy to like, the texture of these bites is far too mushy. They’re also pretty flavorless and greasy, despite them being plenty cheesy.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.