As I was going to visit a Trader Joe’s for the first time since 2020, I took a gander at their website, and lo and behold, I discovered a contest!

Spring is in full swing, summer is just around the corner, and at Trader Joe’s, it’s time to celebrate the sweetest season of all: Strawberry Season! And, really, what better way to celebrate than by kicking off a strawberry-centric recipe contest? Using all the culinary creativity at your command and five or fewer Trader Joe’s products, create an original, fraise-focused recipe, then take a photo, caption it, tag it, and post it on Instagram. Keep reading for a chance to win a $200 TJ’s gift card…


What made me want to blog about it was seeing the winning recipes from their last contest and how creative you have to be to win a recipe contest. It is especially important to read the official rules when contests are judged to ensure to meet all the criteria. It is easier to make a misstep and disqualify yourself if you do not enter exactly the way the sponsor specifies. Such as (taken from the official rules):

a. Create It: Using five Trader Joe’s products or fewer, cook up a grilled cheese sandwich. A Trader Joe’s product is defined as anything currently sold in & purchased at a Trader Joe’s store. For purposes of this contest, any Trader Joe’s salt, butter, and cooking oils used in a contestant’s recipe will not count towards that contestant’s five-ingredient maximum; these products can be used freely, as desired.

b. Snap It: Take an original photo of your sandwich. Editing and/or enhancing the original image is permitted but not required.

c. Tag It: You must include the hashtag #TJsGrilledCheeseContest somewhere in your caption. If you do not include this hashtag, your entry cannot and will not be considered.

d. Caption It: You must also include a complete list of ingredients used and complete recipe instructions in your caption, continuing the text in the “comments” section below your caption once posted, if necessary.

e. Post It: Post your photo and caption as noted above (collectively, the “Submission”) to your own Instagram Account during the Entry Period. Any submission of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited. IMPORTANT: Your Instagram account must be set to “Public” in order for your photo to be seen and to participate in this Contest.

When entrants post the Submission(s) from their Instagram Account, the entrant must include the unique hashtag “#TJsGrilledCheeseContest in the caption field part of their Instagram post. Sponsor may not receive entries that fail to include this hashtag.


1. 50%: Taste (e.g., points given for appealing taste, as determined by Judges once selected recipes are prepared by Trader Joe’s);

2. 25%: Creativity (e.g., points given for originality, interesting ingredients, unexpected flavor combos, etc.; if entrant takes a classic approach points for thoughtfulness);

3. 25%: Photo (e.g., points for appealing presentation, styling, lighting, proper focus, etc.).

I love cooking and baking and not sure I am either creative enough or have the photography skills, to design a winner. However, you may be. Someone has to win. Why not you?!

TIP: Follow companies via email, and on their social channels, that frequently host giveaways.

Have you ever won a cooking or baking contest?