The Best Trader Joe’s Macarons, According to a Professional Baker
Trader Joe's macarons are perfect for everyday snacking or as a dinner-party dessert. We sampled eight flavors to find the best.
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MOLLY ALLEN FOR TASTE OF HOME
Trader Joe’s is known for its great value on everyday foods, with a mix of unique, interesting and delicious products throughout the store. And while it’s a fantastic place to shop for ready-made frozen meals, pantry staples and produce, it’s also the ideal stop to find dessert. One of the best dessert finds in the store? Trader Joe’s macarons, which come in a variety of flavors.
Sure, making your own macarons at home is possible. But it can be a tricky process. These store-bought macarons are a worthy swap, plus, they’ll be ready to serve in just 30 minutes.
To help you find the best Trader Joe’s macarons, we put eight flavors to the test:
- Salted Caramel
It’s no wonder you’re scientifically less stressed at Trader Joe’s when they offer sweet confections like this! Read on to see just how they ranked.
How We Tested Trader Joe’s Macarons
Trader Joe’s sells packs of macarons under the charming label Trader Jacque’s. The macarons are made in France and can be found in the frozen aisle for around $5 per box of 12. Not only is there a variety pack, which features six flavors, but there is also a box of chocolate and vanilla only. You may even find additional flavor options depending on the season. The macarons are a bit smaller than you would typically find in a patisserie, but they’re still just as beautifully textured, with a light, airy shell and a chewy center.
We picked up macarons from the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle and let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes. We then assessed each flavor based on the ratio of cookie shell to filling, the consistency of the filling, the flavor and additional add-ins to the filling such as flecks of vanilla bean or pieces of pistachio.
I am a salted caramel lover through and through, whether it’s candy or cupcakes. I’ve had salted caramel macarons from many bakeries, which were definitely my favorite flavor. With that love, I had such high hopes for this flavor, but ultimately it wasn’t quite as tasty as I had hoped. The notes of brown sugar and caramel are certainly there, but the flavor is light. And with a promise of salted caramel, I was wishing for more salt to pack a sweet and salty punch.
Apricot was a surprising addition to the flavor choices. The exterior color is a beautiful, vibrant orange, with a gooey, jelly-like filling. It had a light fruit flavor, with a touch of a floral note. I was missing just a hint more sweetness to really drive this flavor home. It was a nice surprise in the bunch, but the flavor was a bit too simple to rank it among my top picks.
As with any chocolate dessert, if I’m going to eat a chocolate macaron, my preference is for it to be incredibly flavorful. While still delicious, this flavor didn’t quite pull that off. The shell had a light chocolate flavor, paired with a nice, rich chocolate filling. However, I was left wanting more.
Take yourself to the tropics with one bite of this macaron flavor. The filling was well-balanced, without being too sweet or overpowering. It also didn’t taste terribly artificial thanks to the addition of coconut milk in the filling. I wished for textured flakes of shredded coconut in the filling similar to a classic macaroon, but overall, it hit the spot, flavor-wise.
Vanilla gets a bad rap when it comes to many desserts, but this flavor was anything but boring. I was so thrilled this flavor came in the duo box of chocolate and vanilla, with six vanilla macarons so I could enjoy more. This macaron was beaming with real vanilla flavor thanks to vanilla bean flecks in the rich buttercream filling. It didn’t taste artificial or dull; instead, it was balanced with just the right amount of sweetness.
I’ve eaten a lot of macarons at a variety of bakeries, but I’ve never seen fig on the flavor list before. I actually had to look at the guide on the box to figure out that it was the purple cookie in the bunch. The jam filling is simple and subtle. It’s not too sweet, with just a hint of fruit and earthy flavor. If you like baked figs or fig and almond cookies, you’re definitely going to enjoy this macaron.
For citrus lovers, this could just be your new favorite lemon dessert. The outer shell is a bright beautiful yellow. Inside is a gel-like filling that packs a powerful lemony punch thanks to the addition of lemon juice and zest. The filling is similar to lemon curd, with a lively lemon flavor that’s not too sweet. It’s beautifully balanced, making me wish they sold an entire box of lemon-only macarons.
Pistachio was hands down the best bite of the bunch. This flavor can always be hit-or-miss in desserts, depending on how artificial it tastes. But this treat from Trader Joe’s did not miss the mark. The exterior is a stunning green, with a pistachio cream filling. It’s not too sweet, with a lovely creamy texture and tiny pieces of real pistachios to add to the experience.