Product Review: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Joe-Joe’s

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Joe-Joe’s

As soon as I saw gluten free Joe-Joe’s on the shelf at Trader Joe’s, I grabbed a couple boxes. But Trader Joe’s is a complicated place for gluten free, so I knew I had to investigate before giving them to my son.[pinit]A close up of a stack of Oreos

It was nearly a year ago that we talked about my 7 Ways To Know When a Product is Gluten Free. Packaged gluten free products can be tough to judge, and the truth is that I don’t really buy too many of them (as you might guess, I do plenty of gluten free recipe testing around here!). But I do shop at Trader Joe’s almost every week, and I’m super grateful for the products they white label, like certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats to use in No Bake Gluten Free Granola.

2 rows of Trader Joe\'s Gluten Free Joe-Joe\'s Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

But Joe-Joe’s are Trader Joe’s version of Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies. That means that they’re not a white-labeled product (when one company buys another’s branded product, but puts their own name on it as agreed upon between the two companies – like the Trader Joe’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour which I reviewed here). Trader Joe’s makes these cookies itself. I don’t like Trader Joe’s “No Gluten Ingredients” designation, which basically means only that the product is free of super obvious sources of gluten. And even if it doesn’t state on the package that one of their proprietary products is made on shared equipment or in a shared facility, it very well may be. I have found that out the hard way myself. Really, they could do better and I wish they would.

A close up of a package of Trader Joe\'s Gluten Free Joe-Joe\'s Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

But I also know that Trader Joe’s won’t sell any products if it can’t offer a great quality product at a great price. I wanted you know to know if you could trust this product, so I investigated.

Overhead view of 2 rows of Trader Joe\'s Gluten Free Joe-Joe\'s Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Since you can’t call Trader Joe’s directly, there are a couple ways to go about a reconnaissance mission about one of their products. First, you can ask an in-store employee to call Trader Joe’s customer service directly. They will get through right away, and will get some form of an answer. But when I did that with these cookies, I was told that they were made on shared equipment and nothing else. I told my son that he most likely wouldn’t be able to eat the cookies, but that we would wait for the results of my second inquiry: You can send an email through their online contact form. It took them nearly a week to respond, but when they did, it was worth the wait:

Image of Trader Joe\'s description of whether or not these cookies are gluten free

My celiac son went to school with some Gluten Free Joe Joe’s in his lunch box today. Meanwhile, I thought he’d be so excited but he said that if it’s all the same to me, next time he’d rather have some of my gluten free cookies instead. Chalk it up to … you can’t really win. You can just keep trying! Oh, and they taste pretty close to Oreos, too, with a nice snappy chocolate wafer and a creamy center. And cheaper than K-Toos. Worth a try!




P.S. If you haven’t yet and there’s someone in your life who’s anything like my son, please pick up a copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy for 100+ recipes for homemade gluten-free goodness, quick & easy!

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  • […] could use any gluten free crunchy cookie (there are plenty on the blog), though. Maybe even the new Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Joe-Joe’s, if you’re into […]

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  • Sarah
    June 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Thanks so much for the review! Really appreciate your time!

  • June 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Nicole, thanks so much for this very thorough review! I really appreciate hearing what Trader Joe’s has to say. It’s very timely, too, because literally the day you posted this a friend from Chicago sent my daughter a GF care package with GF Jo-Jo’s inside! My daughter was like, meh, cause she knows that homemade is where it’s at, like your son, but my eighteen month old chowed down on them like nobody’s business probably because he was so psyched to eat chocolate. One day soon he’ll realize the truth.

  • Annie D.
    June 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Ok, so I tried these and they were delicious… but unfortunately I had a terrible reaction and spent two days in bed with a migraine and GI distress. It could have been the trace amounts of wheat or milk (I’m allergic to both), but I learned my lesson. Only homemade treats from now on unless they’re certified as gluten-free/dairy-free.

  • Jeri
    June 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    I sent my daughter off and running to Trader Joes as soon as I saw this post yesterday. She brought home two boxes. I ate one and was so pleased by the tadte and texture. Much better than Ktoos and Glutino.

    • Jeri
      June 15, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      Not one box, one cookie:)

  • Rae
    June 14, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Being gf…It had been over 3 years since I had my favorite cookies and cream milk shake (Real Oreos + Vanilla ice cream). Yesterday, the clock started over because about 5:30 I got a call from my husband saying… I wanted this to be a surprise… but I am at Trader Joe’s to get you those cookies, do you want anything else! The shake was delicious ( I used your vanilla ice cream recipe) and the awesome thing was the gf joes joe’s even smelled like real Oreos! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Karen
    June 14, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    This may be too picky, but are they sugar-free too?

  • Sheila Bolton Rieck
    June 13, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Whooo HOoo

  • Amy
    June 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Qof all the grocery chains I trust Trader Joes food labeling the most! I have celiacs and allergic to wheat and react quickly after eating. I have never gotten I’ll from anything purchased from TJs.

    • Amy
      June 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Autofil sticks again! Of not qof and ill not I’ll! Autofill can be a big pain!

  • Tom
    June 13, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I don’t consider 20ppm “gluten free”.Neither does my gastroenterologist.
    I’ve found staying away from products done on shared equipment is the only safe practice.
    I may be more sensitive than most.
    I tried some “Nut Thin” crackers with the 20ppm label.
    It was a bad gastric adventure for me.

    Glutino makes a good Oreo GF cookie.

  • katiedan
    June 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Thanks for the info! I’m a very sensitive celiac who is dairy free. I have eaten Joe Joe’s many times with no ill effects. Just had some last night…no problems!

  • Chris
    June 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Are they dairy-free also?

    • Emma
      June 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      I was wondering as well. I can’t seem to find the ingredient list anywhere on the internet. The non-gluten free ones appeared dairy-free, though.

    • Annie D.
      June 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      The label says that they may contain milk. :-(

  • Tara
    June 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Thank you for the post! I was holding off on purchasing these until I knew the actual GF status of the cookies:) You are wonder woman in searching out these great details!

  • Dani
    June 13, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Thanks for this post and contacting TJ’s. I tried the cookies for the first time last week and I’ve eaten about half the box already (with about 2-3 cookies a day). So far, no ill effects! Homemade cookies are of course always nice, but these are still up to the task of filling the “I want a cookie” desire.

  • Jennifer Sasse
    June 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Nice to know. I have not been to Trader Joe’s in ages as I have just been making everything. It’s nice to have options and so happy that you did the leg work for us! You’re the best!

  • Kadren
    June 13, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Thank you!! I was finally able to purchase GF on a Shoestring and I LOVE IT! I knew I would. :)

  • Donia
    June 13, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Thanks for doing this investigative work. Not only does it give us a new product option (for the no-bake summer months, of course ;) but it also gives us tips on how to do our own investigative work.

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