Why Trader Joe's Wins For The Best Store-Bought Frozen Meatballs

Everybody knows that Trader Joe's has the snacks, from dips to cookies, bars, and chips. But true TJ's fans know that there are plenty of substantial eats to fill out their grocery lists, too. You can pull off a week's worth of lunch and meal prep like a pro with a combination of Trader Joe's fresh ingredients and some select frozen pre-made items — especially its frozen Italian Style Meatballs. Today Meal ranked these Trader Joe's meatballs at the top of our list in 2023, beating out Johnsonville, Target's Good & Gather, and Walmart's Great Value.

The competition was stiff, with all nine meatballs undergoing a thorough examination and evaluation for taste, ingredients, texture, and the overall experience. Ultimately, the Trader Joe's flame-broiled meatballs won the battle royale with their irresistible beefy flavor and zesty spices. But don't just take Today Meal's word for it; the internet seems to agree. 

Trader Joe's just makes a better meatball

The competition for frozen meatball supremacy is fierce out in the grocery store trenches. After all, nothing conjures up visions of a homemade dinner quite like spaghetti and meatballs, so it's important that whatever meatball you choose has the right taste and texture. What sets Trader Joe's Italian Style Meatballs apart from the rest of the pack is a combination of good flavor and mouthfeel that is close to homemade. 

"I'm far from a meatball connoisseur, but I've gotta give Trader Giotto's Italian Style Meatballs a fairly enthusiastic thumbs up," said Nathan Rodgers on his blog What's Good at Trader Joe's. "I tried the large meatballs just by themselves, no fixings. Delicious. They tasted just like they smelled: rich, meaty, and full of peppers, garlic, onion, and parsley." And a Reddit user echoed the love, saying, "The Italian meatballs are legit one of the best items at TJs." 

The homemade taste makes sense since the ingredients list is made up mostly of items you can find in your own kitchen like breadcrumbs, onion, bell pepper, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and onion powder. Not only that, they are a good size, with about two meatballs per 71-gram serving according to the store's website.

Meatballs can do it all

The great thing about stashing a bag of frozen meatballs in your freezer is that they can make a multitude of different meals. Unlike some varieties, Trader Joe's frozen meatballs don't come with any sauce, which makes them versatile. On its website, Trader Joe's suggests jazzing them up with some of its bottled sauces like Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce or Sweet Chili Sauce, but any homemade sauce or half-empty jar in your fridge will make a meal out of a few meatballs. If you've got some leftover spaghetti sauce, toss a few meatballs in it, top with a slice of cheese, and broil the whole thing up for a quick meatball parmesan or sub. 

Frozen meatballs can also do a lot of heavy lifting for crowd-pleasing dinners, whether you throw them into a Slow Cooker Meatball Soup, or even bake them into a lasagna – after all, the meat is already seasoned and cooked. No matter which way you go with your dinner, you know you can pull together a quick, high-quality meal, because we think TJ's meatballs are tops.