Fall is well underway, and if you haven’t yet gone to Trader Joe’s to check out their seasonal fall products, I don’t know what you’ve been doing. Or eating. Because there are some items you seriously can't miss, and you’re not going to want to wait another year before they hit the shelves again.

When I walked in to Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, beside the normal TJ's favorites, fall was everywhere in its glorious food form. Next to the caprese ravioli was pumpkin ravioli. Next to the peanut butter was cinnamon bun spread. Above all, I had never seen so many foods flavored with pumpkin.

As I kept exploring, I found myself wishing to see a better variety of classic fall flavors. Missing from the shelves were items including the squash, maple, and apple that are the stars of many autumn comfort foods. However, there were still plenty of new products and old favorites that caught my eye.

Below are a fall enthusiast's thoughts on some of Trader Joe's 2022 seasonal items, with the pumpkin ravioli, apple cider, and pumpkin biscotti as what I'll definitely be adding to my next grocery list

Top Pick: Spiced Apple Cider

Jessica Apple

Want cider that's the perfect balance of sweetness and spice and has a great price? If so, Trader Joe's is the perfect place to go for your apple cider.

I know, I know, there are more exciting things to be my top pick, but this was truly the most surprisingly delicious of what I tried.

This cider smells like an apple orchard. Along with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, the dashes of orange peel, orange oil, and lemon peel complete the full and well-thought-out flavor. All of its sweetness comes from 100% whole, ripe apple juice.

That's it. Those are the only ingredients. And it's $4.49 for 64 ounces? I won't be going anywhere else for my apple cider ever again.

A Skip: Cinnamon Bun Spread

The cinnamon bun spread confused me. I don’t know what it is. That's not to say it’s bad. It tastes like a cinnamon roll, even down to the thick, almost doughy texture, but is almost sickly sweet.

I also can’t imagine what someone is supposed to put a cinnamon bun spread on. It’s too sweet to work well with plain toast (I tried), and toast goes well with almost anything.

So as great of a concept it is, unless you’re a cinnamon bun fanatic, I’d call this one a skip.

Great Pick: Pumpkin Biscotti

Jessica Apple

This biscotti is absolutely wonderful! It has a delectable taste of maple combined with brown butter and spice. There is a perfect amount of crunch in every bite, and I find the snap of it super satisfying.

Despite its nuanced sweetness and great texture, it doesn't taste much like pumpkin. If that's not a deal-breaker for you, I highly recommend this tempting snack.

Great Pick: Pumpkin Spice Batons

Jessica Apple

These immediately caught my eye as I was walking down the aisle. Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Batons are thin, tube-shaped wafers filled with a sort of a milky pumpkin spice frosting.

Again, they tasted more like vanilla or plain sugar than pumpkin, but they're perfectly flaky and partly hollow inside for a satisfying crunch. They feature a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove that could stand to be stronger but still supplement the taste very well.

Each pack comes with 12 long batons, so I found them easy and fun to share with friends. Take it from my personal experience, these will have you reaching for another when no one else is looking, and you all wondering where they went so quickly.

A Skip: Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

They tasted normal. There are so many brands of amazing tortilla chips, so you can imagine my disappointment when I popped open the bag and took a bite of something mediocre.

The chips were too salty, and the pumpkin flavor just wasn't there. This was surprising because there are both pumpkin puree and pumpkin seeds in them. The seeds must be ground up in the "batter," though I was excited because I expected there to be whole pumpkin seeds throughout the chips for a more nutty flavor. 

Overall, the intrigue and expectations for these unique pumpkin tortilla chips are sure to quickly fade. These aren't worth it.

Great Pick: Caramel Apple Dipping Kit

Jessica Apple
Jessica Apple

New this year is the caramel apple dipping kit. Not only would this make for a great activity with friends or family, but it also tastes pretty good, too.

Included in the kit are ready-to-heat caramel sauce, crushed peanuts, sprinkles, and six dipping sticks. It comes with a solid amount of each, but your apple of choice has to be provided. This was more of a good thing than a curse for my friends and me since we could each pick our own favorite kind to decorate.

It's a pretty classic dipping kit, and the sweetness of the caramel (which I think most of us would argue is the most important part of caramel apples) was decently balanced.

The peanut and sprinkle toppings were great topping choices but felt insufficient. I found myself wanting to reach for chocolate sauce, graham cracker crumbs, or some crushed Oreos. But if you're happy with the options, or have your own to add, this dipping kit is delicious and a lot of fall fun.

Great Pick: Pumpkin Ravioli

This critique is going to be short, because the pumpkin ravioli was fantastic. I know this flavor of pasta isn't for everyone, but if you're intrigued, try it.

They nailed the flavor on this one, and it was the only thing I sampled where I felt like pumpkin was actually featured strongly enough. The filling was a lovely balance of sweet and savory, and it even felt playful with the two different-colored sides. I wouldn't change a single thing about them. And darn, now I'm hungry!

Needless to say, after urging from a lot of obsessed friends and family members, this was my first fall season shopping at Trader Joe's, and it won't be my last. The next things I can't wait to try are the caramel apple mochi, pumpkin cheesecake croissants, and butternut squash-flavored and shaped zucchette pasta. There are so many options, and you can check out some more Spoon ideas and thoughts on them here.