These 9 Trader Joe's Frozen Foods Are Even Better in the Air Fryer

Favorite appliance, meet favorite grocery store.

Trader Joe's storefront and bag
Photo: Dotdash Meredith

If the air fryer is the most-used appliance in your kitchen and Trader Joe's is your favorite grocery store, you're gonna want to sit down for this one. The grocery chain known for its inventive frozen foods unsurprisingly has snacks and apps that thrive in the air fryer. In 15 minutes or less, you can have a whole basket full of crispy goodness without using excessive amounts of oil or heating up your kitchen. Plus, the convection fan in air fryers keeps the hot air moving constantly around your food, making it much crispier than baking in the oven.

All of these Trader Joe's frozen classics are great for snacky solo dinners, entertaining (app attack party, anyone?), or forgot-to-eat-lunch 3 pm emergency bites. No matter what the instructions say, I cook everything at 400° F. I start with 7 minutes of cooking time before checking, tossing around for even cooking, and going for another 2-8 minutes. The maximum amount of time anything usually takes is 20 minutes—and most in less than 10—but when in doubt, drag a fork across the food to hear if it's crunchy.

None of these TJ's frozen foods are raw inside, so it's just about getting them crispy and warmed through. The smaller the bites, the shorter the time it takes to get crispy, especially if cheese is involved. Beware of exploding mozzarella sticks!

And a little FYI: At the time of publishing, these were all available at Trader Joe's in Los Angeles, CA, but as we all know, Joe likes to trade out new products all the time, so sorry if one of these air fryer faves is limited edition. But wander the frozen aisles of TJ's and you're sure to find a new crispy, crunchy snack to feed to your air fryer—and yourself. Meanwhile, here are 9 irresistible Trader Joe's frozen treats to pop in your air fryer.


Just like McDonald's, but at home. These hash brown patties really need to be flipped at least once and cooked for longer than you think: I usually go for about 12 minutes total.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Whenever I am about to order Chinese takeout, I check my freezer. If TJ's Mandarin Orange Chicken is in there, it takes the same amount of time to make a pot of rice as it does to get these crispy chicken pieces going in the air fryer (about 20-25 minutes total).

Vegetable Bird's Nests

These kakiage tempura-style crispy blobs are made with thinly-sliced onions, carrots, and—surprise!—KALE. They usually take about 10-12 minutes, and I like dipping them in a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce to rice vinegar or in sriracha-spiked Kewpie mayonnaise.

Breaded Mozzarella Sticks

Since these mozzy sticks are on the thinner, tubey side, they have a tendency to explode. Cook them for 5 minutes, rotate, and then go 1 minute at a time until they're crispy but haven't made a mess all over your air fryer. (Highly recommend using parchment paper liners in there to save on cleanup, just in case!)

Scallion Pancakes (Pa jeon)

I am a Korean American adoptee who fell in love with pajeon as a kid on my first trip to NYC with a Korean mentor program. Air frying gives them a slightly different texture than pan frying, but they get edge-to-edge crispy while still maintaining a tender chew inside. I go about 8 minutes for these, but it depends on your crispy-to-chewy ratio you're looking for, so experiment with different timing!

Coconut Shrimp

I am still trying to recreate Red Lobster's piña colada sauce to go with these just-slightly-sweet, coconuty shrimp. They cook in about 15 minutes. Use Trader Joe's Sonoran-style flour tortillas and dress up a bag of Trader Joe's slaw mix and you've got a crispy shrimp taco night.


Any and all of the meatballs at TJ's air fry beautifully. I like the mini party meatballs best, because they cook fast (10-12 minutes) and you can top with sauce and cheese for a quick meatball Parm situation, add to lettuce cups with a drizzle of peanut sauce, toss with teriyaki sauce and serve over rice, or just dip into whatever you have on hand (the Lebanese garlic sauce toum is my current favorite).

Brazilian-Style Cheese Bread

Gluten-free friends, this one's for you. Pão de queijo is crunchy, chewy (thanks to tapioca starch), cheesy, and poppable. Like with mozzarella sticks, you want to check these often. Go for 5 minutes, roll the puffs around, and then go for another 2 minutes. They should be done, but repeat in 2-minute increments until crisp but not exploded.

Chicken Spring Rolls

Now that's what I call a spring chicken! (Anyone? Bueller?) Grab a bottle of sweet chili sauce for dunking after they cook up in about 8-10 minutes. Make double the amount you think you need, or whatever your air fryer's capacity is. I think these are the crispiest things that have ever come out of my air fryer.

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