Trader Joe’s 14 Shrimp Nuggets

Trader Joe's 14 Shrimp Nuggets

14 shrimp nuggets, in all their glory.

Trader Joe’s 14 Shrimp Nuggets is the kind of product that makes you wonder if they really know what they’re doing of there, or if all the strokes of genius are merely the result of haphazard monkey slaps on the proverbial bank of typewriters.

Shrimp nuggets are a strong case for the latter. Let’s start with the words they put right there on the back of the box: “Shrimp Nuggets are filled with large pieces of shrimp bound with shrimp paste.”

Boy, that gets your mouth watering doesn’t it? Shrimp chunks and shrimp paste? I practically feel spoiled. Also, TJ, I love you but you’ve got to realize that specifying the exact number of shrimp nuggets you’re getting does not make it sound any more appetizing.

I get on Trader Joe’s case a lot for products, like their chocolate “nibs”, that are more or less the sweepings of the factory floor repackaged for human consumption. Let’s talk about the positive side first – this is some of the cheapest shrimp around. You can get this 10 oz box of shrimp/shrimp derived product for just $4.99. The flip side of that, of course, is that there’s a reason the shrimp in these nuggets is so cheap. There’s only one thing you chop up and extrude into nugget form, and that’s food products that are too small, imperfect or low-quality to market any another way.

That’s exactly what Trader Joe’s is doing here – chopping up bits of shrimp that would otherwise be, ironcially, too shrimpy to sell in their normal bags. Honestly, I applaud this sort of activity. There was quite the little uproar when videos of the “pink goop” that McDonalds allegedly makes their chicken nuggets from surfaced on the web. Sure, that’s gross. On the other hand, I think we can all agree that chicken nuggets are pretty tasty. If someone figured out a way to make them from what would otherwise amount to organic waste matter, I think they should be applauded for taking Native American traditions to heart and using every part of the beasts they slay.

That brings up back to Trader Joe’s 14 Shrimp Nuggets. If these things were tasty as hell, all would be forgiven and I’d gobble them down by the fistful. The problem is, these shrimp nuggets are not very good.

Here are my two main issues:

  1. They are really oily.
  2. Chunks of shrimp embedded in a gelatinous paste has a weird mouth feel.

As far as taste goes, they are pretty much exactly what you would expect – think fish sticks but with shrimp. The trouble is, the only way to bake these up, also like fish sticks, is in the oven. Once you’ve done so, you’ll notice that the nuggets are now sitting in a big puddle of oil. Why? Because of all the palm oil in the bread crumb coating – the same reason these back in a shocking 15 grams of fat per serving. With 3.5 servings per box, that’s 80% of your daily fat intake for the 14 nuggets together.

Point number two is, I hope, pretty self explanatory. The shrimp pieces in these nuggets are large, as promised. However, that makes for an irregular eating experience. Where a chicken nugget or fish stick is homogenous all the way through, these shrimp nuggets are an aggregate of various sized bits of shrimp that make them various squishy and chewy.

If you’re a huge fan of seafood in processed stick or nugget form, these would probably appeal to you, but as far as I can see these shrimp nuggets seem only to exist as an outlet for otherwise unusable shrimp.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Not really. Not terrible, but not very good either.

Would I Buy It Again: Nope. I like my shrimp intact, thanks

Final Synopsis: Lumps of shrimp in oily nuggets.

Trader Joe's 14 Shrimp Nuggets - Nutrition Facts

Trader Joe’s 14 Shrimp Nuggets – Nutrition Facts


10 Comments on “Trader Joe’s 14 Shrimp Nuggets”

  1. Marina G. says:

    Thanks for writing about these. I have a lot of faith in TJ’s, but when I saw these in the freezer case, I raised an eyebrow. You have confirmed my suspicions. They really shouldn’t be messing around with junk like this. Their standards for quality are a key part of who they are. Thanks for your observations!

  2. Sebastian Junior says:

    I feel like contacting TJs, these “shrimp paste” nuggets gave me the runs for 12 hours. AVOID.

  3. Sorry you are wrong. These are fantastic, especially for the price. You obviously don’t eat seafood often and you don’t want your seafood to smell like the sea. I find these shrimp nuggets to taste like other fried shrimp products but they are better. Other shrimp products that have less quality cost much more.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just had some. Sooooo greasy. My stomach is now in pain from all the fat – why all the fat??? Will not ever buy again.

  5. Chaba Doye says:

    Why is it discontinued. Come one we need our delicious shrimp nuggets. Please pl

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where to order 14 pieces shrimp nugget. Normally carry at Trade Joes. I want to know who made this and where I can order for my grand son. Thanks.
    Hoang Nguyen

  7. Brenda Hinman says:

    I am very unhappy to find out that Shrimp Nuggets have been discontinued. I love them and, as a treat, I have them for lunch twice a week. I ask that they come back. Please let me know if I can order them off you website page.

    I shop at the Trader Joe’s in Princeton, NJ.

  8. Carole P says:

    Very disappointed that the Shrimp Nuggets have been discontinued….any chance they might be coming back to Trader Joes.. for Lent….or any information on where we might be able buy then

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