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Soup’s On! A Guide to Refrigerated Trader Joe’s Soups (2024)

A selection of Trader Joe's refrigerated soups on a kitchen counter by a Trader Joe's shopping bag.

If you're anything like me, a stroll through Trader Joe's is less of an errand and more of a gastronomic pilgrimage. So grab a spoon, and join me on a soup-er journey as I test drive the alpha-gal friendly, refrigerated Trader Joe’s soups on shelves this season.

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

There are few places where the parking lot is as jam-packed as a rock concert and the aisles are a foodie’s wonderland. Yes, I’m talking about Trader Joe’s, the grocery store that’s become a cult classic. And I’m not ashamed to say that I would love to be president of their fan club. I visit weekly, traveling 30 minutes each way, to stock up and see what’s new on the shelves.

When you’re looking for a grab-and-go meal or just aren’t in the mood to channel your inner Julia Child to whip up food at home, Trader Joe’s soups are a godsend. I recently tried all of the alpha-gal friendly refrigerated soups — I know, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it — and bring you my recommendations for Winter 2024.

Trader Joe's soups review.

    

NOTE: Because some alpha-gals can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” some of the soups below may include butter, vegetarian cheese, or another dairy product. If you cannot tolerate dairy, please stick to the vegan options below.

Heating Instructions

No matter which prepared Trader Joe’s soup you pick, the heating instructions are generally the same:

  • Remove the lid
  • Pierce the plastic film
  • Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes

Personally, I don’t like to heat food in plastic containers. And, if I’m sitting down to a bowl of soup, I prefer a bowl of soup, so I heat my soup in a ceramic bowl instead. But each of the soups below can travel from the refrigerator to the microwave to the table without you having to wash a bowl.

Storing Leftover Trader Joe’s Soup

Although a serving size is typically 1 cup, most Trader Joe’s soups come in 2-½ cup containers. Trader Joe’s understands that you’re likely to consume the entire amount because their nutrition labels typically do the math for both one serving and the whole package.

If you do not finish the full container of soup in one sitting, please note that you should refrigerate the leftovers and consume the rest of it within three days of opening. Because it’s easy to lose track of time, I write the date opened in Sharpie on the top of the container or stick it on with a Post-It note.

Trader Joe’s Soups I Did NOT Try

This assessment was based on the alpha-gal friendly prepared soups available in the cold case at my Trader Joe’s in early November. I did NOT try the following:

Trader joe's white bean chicken chili soup.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

White Bean Chicken Chili Soup

Made with white beans, corn, poblano peppers, and white chicken meat, this soup sounded absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, the heavy cream in this soup contains carrageenan. And since I have a sensitivity to carrageenan, I wasn’t comfortable trying it.

Sage Advice: It’s easy to make a batch of white chicken chili at home with this recipe.

Trader joe's tomato feta soup.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Tomato Feta Soup

Before being diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, this was one of my all-time favorite Trader Joe’s soups. But since the feta is made with animal rennet, I have to leave this creamy tomato soup in the cold case for someone else to enjoy. I highly recommend this soup if you are not sensitive to traditional feta.

Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup

This soup is generally a safe bet for alpha gals, with straightforward ingredients like chicken stock, chicken meat, vegetables, and fresh herbs. But when I’ve had this soup in the past, I mentally expect it to be chicken noodle soup, and it’s desperately missing noodles. Therefore, I didn’t include it in my 2024 soup test. If you’re looking for a chicken noodle-style soup — but don’t want noodles — then this one is a solid choice.

But even after excluding these three options, there was still a wide variety of soups for me to try.

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Sage Advice: Some of these soups are only available seasonally. I’m looking at you, pumpkin bisque. If you’re reading this article outside of soup season, you may need to check back during cooler months to find it at your Trader Joe’s.

Alpha-Gal Friendly Trader Joe’s Soups Evaluated in 2024

And now, without further ado, let me share my 2024 Trader Joe’s soup-tasting experience. I’m presenting these options to you in the order I tried them, but you can find my ranked list toward the bottom of the page.

A person holding a spoon next to a cup of Trader Joe's soup.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serving Size: 1 cup
Servings per Container: About 2.5
Calories per Serving: 220
Carbohydrates: 13 g
Fat: 14 g
Protein: 10 g

As soon as I opened this container and poured it into a bowl, my spidey senses were up because the thickness was more like milk than a creamy soup. And as I took my first taste, I realized that the broccoli cheddar flavors were more of a whisper than a shout.

Pros: 

  • Ingredients are all recognizable and pronounceable
  • The cheeses used in this soup are vegetarian and therefore safe for alpha gals who consume dairy

Cons:

  • The broth was relatively thin and not very cheesy
  • This soup is not safe for alpha-gals who avoid dairy
  • With only a few bites of broccoli in the entire container, this soup left my veggie-loving heart a bit empty

If you are looking for a fast, easy-to-prepare broccoli soup, this one was certainly comforting on a cold, snowy day. But if you have the time to throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker or instant pot, there’s a better broccoli cheddar soup in your future.

A person holding a bowl of Trader Joe's chili with a spoon next to it.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Harvest Chili

Serving Size: 1 cup
Servings per Container: About 2.5
Calories per Serving: 140
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fat: 5 g
Protein: 5 g

As I got my first look at this soup, my initial thought was similar to the broccoli cheddar — I can definitely make a better vegan chili myself. But, the point of this exercise was to try the prepared Trader Joe’s soups, not judge all of the options based on if it’s love at first sight.

Pros:

  • Thick and hearty with a good spice level
  • I accidentally ate the whole container – it’s that good

Cons:

  • Because it is made with black beans (the number one ingredient), French green lentils, and red quinoa, I was expecting more than 5 grams of protein per serving 
  • While Trader Joe’s has labeled this soup as vegan, it’s not certified vegan

I really enjoyed this prepared Trader Joe’s soup, and plan to eat it often this winter. It’s a deliciously filling soup that’s perfect for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

Two bowls of Trader Joe's lobster bisque on a wooden table.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Lobster Bisque

Serving Size: 1 container
Servings per Container: 1
Calories per Serving: 530
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fat: 44 g
Protein: 11 g

As an alpha gal who loves lobster but lives in the most landlocked state in the Union, I will seize any chance I have to eat this special seafood — even when it contains 44 grams of fat thanks to heavy cream and butter. 

Pros: 

  • This rich, creamy, and flavorful soup was better than some lobster bisque I’ve had at restaurants — but remember, I live in Kansas, and not Maine
  • I was delightfully surprised to discover that it included a few token slivers of lobster meat
  • The soup was so filling that I only ate about half of the container, which helped me not consume 25 grams of carbs and 44 grams of fat in one sitting

Cons:

  • Not suitable for alpha gals who avoid all dairy since it contains milk, heavy cream, and butter
  • With 1,690 mg of sodium, one container of this soup is roughly 85% of the recommended daily intake and could make your blood pressure wave a white flag
Two bowls of Trader Joe's soup next to each other on a kitchen counter.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Serving Size: 1 cup
Servings per Container: About 2.5
Calories per Serving: 100
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Fat: 2 g
Protein: 4 g

When I think of all the soups I prepare during the cold months, minestrone never makes the cut. I don’t know why — it’s basically a tomato-based soup packed with vegetables and accented with some sort of pasta — all things I love. But yet, here we are. 

Pros

  • Thick soup loaded with diced vegetables, cannellini beans, orzo pasta, and kale
  • Certified organic and labeled as vegan

Cons

  • It desperately needed more flavor. I added a little salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and a spoonful of vegetarian Parmesan cheese to my bowl, which helped a lot. But instead of going to all that trouble to eat a ready-made soup, I would rather pick another flavor.
A bowl of Trader Joe's lentil soup with ancient grains by a spoon.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains

Serving Size: 1 cup
Servings per Container: About 2.5
Calories per Serving: 200
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 9 g

Because they are an excellent plant-based source of protein, I have been trying to add more lentils to my alpha-gal diet. When I saw this prepared soup at Trader Joe’s, I was excited to try it, but it’s very thick and very brown and, well, I’ll let you decide what it looks like.

Pros

  • Delicious, despite its less-than-appealing appearance
  • Containing nearly 70% of what you need daily if you eat the entire container, this soup is a fiber powerhouse
  • This soup is labeled as vegan

Cons

  • The visual appeal could be improved. Maybe Trader Joe’s could use red lentils to add a little color to all the mushy-looking brown?
A person is holding a spoonful of Trader Joe's pumpkin bisque soup.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque

Serving Size: 1 cup
Servings per Container: About 2.5
Calories per Serving: 100
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fat: 4.5 g
Protein: 1 g

If you are a Trader Joe’s superfan like me, you probably know that it’s not uncommon to find variations on a theme when shopping at Trader Joe’s. For example, you can find:

  • packaged pesto in the cold case and a jarred pesto in the condiment aisle
  • fresh tamales in the cold case and frozen tamales in the freezer aisle.

So, I wasn’t surprised to find a ready-to-eat pumpkin soup in the cold case and a shelf-stable pumpkin soup in a jar by the boxed soups. But since this section is all about Trader Joe’s ready-to-eat refrigerated soups, let’s set the jarred version aside.

Pros

  • Vegetarian-friendly and safe for alpha gals who consume vegetarian dairy

Cons

  • Lacked the depth of flavor I was hoping for
  • If you’re an alpha gal who avoids all dairy, this soup contains butter

Sage’s Final Assessment

After a delicious day of sampling and savoring an assortment of soups, here’s my ranking of Trader Joe’s alpha-gal friendly soups. I will absolutely buy the first three again, but likely not the last three.

  1. Lobster Bisque
  2. Harvest Chili
  3. Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains
  4. Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque
  5. Minestrone
  6. Broccoli Cheddar

Do You Have a Favorite Trader Joe’s Soup?

Now that I’ve ladled out my thoughts on Trader Joe’s soup lineup, I’m curious about your favorites. Have you tried any of these soups? Did they warm your soul as much as they did mine? Or maybe you’ve got a secret hack to elevate these store-bought soups to gourmet status? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s stir up some conversation!

Thank you for sharing!

7 thoughts on “Soup’s On! A Guide to Refrigerated Trader Joe’s Soups (2024)”

  1. My girls love Trader Joe’s soups! The nearest store is over 2 hours from us so we don’t get there often. When we do go to our local Trader Joe’s, we spend over an hour just looking at all the different things that they offer.

  2. This is such a helpful guide – love the pros and cons of each! I love all things Trader Joe’s but haven’t tried too many of their soups. Looking forward to trying some of these.

  3. I am LOVING your website!!
    I didn’t think I would find a site dedicated to food that I can eat! But I did!
    I love grabbing a pot of soup for an easy lunch idea, but since being diagnosed I am so worried about all premade food!
    So I have saved this to my phone so I can easily check when I am in Trader Joes!
    Thank you for the work you do, it is truely perfect for me 🙂

  4. Thank you for trying the soups for us! I definitely miss the convenience of grabbing a quick meal, and I will go see what my Trader Joe’s carries.

    1. Being a food tester is hard work, but someone’s gotta do it! Ha! I have definitely noticed differences in the soups carried at TJ’s based on geographical location and time of year. Let me know your favorite!

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