Trader Joe’s Is Your Secret Source For Vegan Chocolate Chips

7 mins read

If you stick to a dairy-free diet, then you probably already know how hard it is to find reliable sources for vegan chocolate. Even when you do, the quality and flavor are often disappointing when compared to conventional chocolate chips. (Come on, carob chips–do better!)

Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips Trader Joes

But did you know that the chocolate chips sold at Trader Joe’s are (and have always been) 100% vegan? That’s right!

And that’s not the only reason why TJ’s is a super popular source for chocolate chips. As of 2021, TJ’s chocolate chips are all OU-certified pareve, meaning that they’re suitable for use in kosher baking.

But TJ’s kosher shoppers haven’t always been so lucky…

TJ’s Chocolate Chips – Pareve or Not?

Dark Chocolate Chips Trader Joes

As reported by, Trader Joe’s used to carry pareve chocolate chips back in the day, but they were discontinued in 2012 to the dismay of many kosher shoppers. Finally, almost ten years later, they have returned to shelves with an updated package and a new supplier.

Back in 2012, it was first announced that Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chips would no longer be considered pareve. But this isn’t because Trader Joe’s changed the recipe. Instead, the equipment used to produce the chocolate morsels was also being used to produce chocolate chips containing dairy. Because the machines could not be guaranteed to be clean of all dairy when TJ’s chips hit the conveyor belt, the pareve certification went out the window to the dismay of kosher bakers everywhere.

Flash forward to almost a decade later…

In 2020, it was reported that Trader Joe’s was discontinuing their Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks altogether. However, this was not entirely true. The product was only temporarily pulled from shelves as TJ’s negotiated with a new supplier. As of 2021, TJ’s reintroduced all of their chocolate chip offerings, which are now all 100% OU (Orthodox Union) certified as pareve.

New Recipe?

According to Trader Joe’s, the recipes for their semi-sweet chips and chunks have not changed despite new suppliers and new packaging.

However, the packaging for the 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips says “NEW RECIPE.” Because the old variety is no longer available, it’s not clear what updates were made to the ingredients list.

Types of Chocolate Chips at TJ’s

As of February 2023, Trader Joe’s carries the following types of chocolate chips and chunks:

In the fall and winter, TJ’s also carries their White Chocolate Baking Chips for $2.49 a bag, perfect for holiday baking (and snacking, let’s be real).

As recently as 2021, a bag of chocolate chips or chunks at Trader Joe’s would have cost you just $1.99. But TJ’s has raised the price by almost double in the past two years.

If you’re looking for a different type of chocolate chip altogether, Trader Joe’s also carries Dark Chocolate Drizzled Plantain Chips, which are majorly delicious. In the past, they also carried bags of chocolate-covered mini potato chips, but those addictive snacks were unfortunately discontinued in 2020.


All of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chips are dairy free, vegan, and gluten free. And because they don’t contain any dairy and are produced on dairy-free equipment, all of TJ’s chocolate chips are considered pareve in kashrut (dietary laws of Judaism).

Although the recipes vary slightly between the different varieties, they are all made from a mixture of cane sugar, chocolate, soy lecithin, and vanilla bean extract.

The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips also contain cocoa butter, making them softer and more meltable than the chocolate chunks.

Below, you will find the nutrition information and full ingredients list for each variety of chocolate chips currently available at TJ’s.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips Trader Joes Nutrition Facts

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips Trader Joes Nutrition Facts 2

72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips

Dark Chocolate Chips Trader Joes Nutrition Facts

Lead In Your Chocolate?

Trader Joes Dark Chcolate Chips

Unfortunately, as reported by both CNBC and Consumer Reports, Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips were found to contain dangerously high levels of lead (192% of the MADL, maximum allowable dose level) in 2022. Lead is a substance that can cause brain damage, severe reproductive health issues, and other adverse health effects.

TJ’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate bar was found to contain dangerously high levels of cadmium–a shocking 229% of the level deemed safe to consume. Cadmium is considered a cancer-causing agent that can also lead to kidney disease and bone fragility.

The controversy, which first emerged at the end of 2022, has sparked a class-action lawsuit against Trader Joe’s filed by a TJ’s shopper. The lawsuit alleges that TJ’s has been misleading customers about the harmful levels of lead and cadmium in their chocolate products.

Because the suit is ongoing, Trader Joe’s has not made any public statements about the recent findings or legal battle. To read more about the class-action suit, click here.

As far as we can tell, Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks are still considered safe to consume.

TJ’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

If you want to try your hand at baking some classic chocolate chip cookies inspired by Trader Joe’s, check out this recipe from Conscious Eating. These cookies are the perfect blend of soft and crispy and are made with a blend of whole, healthy ingredients along with a bag of TJ’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

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