The $4 Trader Joe's Find I Can't Leave the Store Without

The "Hold the Cone!" mini ice cream cones are my family's favorite after-dinner treat.

Trader Joe's storefront

Simply Recipes / Photo by Geri Lavrov /Getty Images

The perfect ice cream cone is an exercise in balance, in which achieving the right ratio of creamy ice cream to crunchy cone is paramount. No one wants to be that kid crying over their dropped scoop of ice cream—that’s a sign of poor construction and one that can turn a beloved treat into a cause for meltdown. 

Enter Trader Joe’s Hold the Cone! mini cones ($3.79 for 8 cones). At about three inches long, these bite-sized ice cream cones are coated with chocolate inside, keeping the cone crunchy from start to finish, and gilded with a thin layer of chocolate on top. Within, you’ll find a wee portion of ice cream in either vanilla, chocolate chip, or chocolate flavors. There are also seasonal flavors like pumpkin ginger and peppermint around the holidays, as well my personal favorite, coffee bean.

Trader Joe's "Hold the Cone!" mini ice cream cones

Simply Recipes / Stephanie Ganz / Trader Joe's

These mini cones are extremely popular with TJ’s customers, who voted them to the top in the Favorite Sweets/Dessert category of the 2022 Customer Choice Awards. (They were runner-up in 2021, so clearly, their following is growing.) A post about the coffee bean mini cones on the popular TJ’s-focused Instagram, @traderjoeslist gives a glimpse into the fervor for special flavors, with over 20,000 likes and hundreds of enthusiastic comments.

Trader Joe’s also offers Hold the Dairy chocolate mini cones, and the chocolate coconut-milk based ice cream facsimile, which is studded with little pieces of vegan chocolate, is every bit as satisfying as the dairy-based version—or so says my very discerning 10-year-old, who loves but is sensitive to dairy. Rather than the chocolate cap, these feature a chocolate drizzle on top, and at $3.99 for 12, they feel like a pretty great deal. I’m keeping a box in my freezer all summer because I love having a satisfying plant-based dessert on-hand for whomever drops by. 

Hold the Cone mini cones have become our family’s favorite after-dinner treat. I love them because, unlike a bigger ice cream cone, the mini cones are manageable enough for my four-year-old to eat without dripping melting chocolate all over herself and anything in her path. Plus, one mini coffee cone feels like an appropriately-sized midday pick-me-up, and one that’s more affordable than an iced latte. If one cone isn’t enough to quell your ice cream cravings, good news: a recommended serving is three cones, but I’m usually satisfied with two.