The Frozen Pie Crust Taste Test: We Tried 7 Brands and Here's Our Favorite

The Frozen Pie Crust Taste Test: We Tried 7 Brands and Here's Our Favorite

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Kelli Foster
Nov 17, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

When it comes to baking pie, I'm happy to lean on store-bought crust once in a while. It's quick and convenient, and there are some pretty good options out there. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I tested some of the most widely available brands of store-bought frozen pie crust, and I'm sharing my thoughts on each of them — as well as my favorite. Want to see the top pick?

Why Frozen Pie Crust

Sure, homemade pie crust is really great. It's buttery, flaky, and downright delicious. But for a number of reasons, homemade isn't always realistic. As anyone who's ever made pie crust knows, it takes time and patience, and sometimes it's just plain fussy. Let's be honest — sometimes it just doesn't feel worth it when it's so easy to rely on the store-bought version.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

How I Selected the 7 Brands

I selected a variety of well-known national brands of frozen pie crust that can be found at most grocery stores across the country. There was a mixture of regular and deep-dish crusts, based on what was available. All the brands included were found at various major grocery stores in New York City.

Testing Method

I was curious to see how well these frozen crusts measured up to a buttery, flaky homemade crust. So in addition to the seven store-bought crusts, I also included a homemade crust as the control. It's the best way to see how the store-bought crusts really measure up, right? I also included one vegan and one whole-wheat crust to cover more bases, and see how they stacked up in the mix.

And of course, the best way to really test pie crust is to bake a pie, or in my case, eight pies. So I baked eight pumpkin pies, using canned pumpkin pie filling, baking each one according to the instructions on the can (the baking instructions for each of the frozen crusts prompts you to refer to the recipe bake time).

In addition to taste, I also assessed texture and appearance of the crust, and how well each crust held up with pumpkin filling after baking and cooling. I wanted to see which brand had the most tender and flaky crust, which one looked the best, and which one baked up well without getting a soggy bottom once filling was added.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Mrs. Smith's Deep-Dish Pie Crusts

  • Price: $4.99 for two 9-inch deep-dish pie crusts
  • Appearance: This deep-dish crust was thick and sturdy, with nicely crimped edges. It baked up with a beautiful golden color that reminded me of homemade.
  • Taste: Not as buttery as homemade. The flavor was good, although very mild and left me wanting to feel the presence of the butter a little more.
  • Texture: While not as flaky as homemade, this crust was very tender. It was also thick and sturdy, and held up well when being cut and removed from the pan.
  • How it held up with filling: The bottom and sides of the crust held up well without getting soggy after baking.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Oronoque Orchards Deep-Dish Pie Crusts

  • Price: $4.99 for two 9-inch deep-dish pie crusts
  • Appearance: The edges of this deep-dish crust had a pretty scallop, and browned really nicely after baking.
  • Taste: The flavor was subtle and neutral, but really well-balanced and let the filling be the star of the show.
  • Texture: Not flaky in the way homemade crust is flaky, but very tender with good, crisp edges.
  • How it held up with filling: While the crust didn't get soggy, the bottom did get soft shortly after baking.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Pillsbury Pet-Ritz Pie Crusts

  • Price: $3.99 for two 9-inch pie crusts
  • Appearance: This shallow crust baked up with a pale color, and flat, thin edges that didn't have a well-defined crimp.
  • Taste: Slightly sweet and buttery, with a well-balanced flavor. But this crust had a flavor I couldn't quite put my finger on; it was good, but reminded me of something other than pie crust (maybe a cookie, cracker, or biscuit).
  • Texture: While not flaky, this crust was very tender. It also had a texture that reminded me more of a tart crust than a pie crust.
  • How it held up with filling: This crust baked up very well, with sturdy edges, sides, and a bottom that didn't get soggy at all.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Shoprite Deep-Dish Pie Crusts

  • Price: $3.59 for two 9-inch deep-dish pie crusts
  • Appearance: This deep-dish crust baked up with the most pale-colored crust.
  • Taste: The taste was mild and neutral, and left me wanting more butter.
  • Texture: The texture was very tender and moderately flaky. This crust seemed more thin than the rest, which gave the edges a nice crispness.
  • How it held up with filling: While the edges stayed crisp, the sides and bottom of the crust started to get soggy after a little while. This crust also felt thin and brittle, which made cutting and removing slices from the pan tough.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Trader Joe's Pie Crusts

  • Price: $3.99 for two rolled pie crusts
  • Appearance: Looks the most homemade. Because the crust was rolled, I was able to easily place it in my own pie dish (no foil pan!), and pinch the edges, just as you would with a homemade crust. And it baked up with a medium-brown edge, just like the homemade crust.
  • Taste: Not only does this one look like homemade, but it was super flavorful and buttery.
  • Texture: This crust was tender and flaky, with a wide, crisp edge.
  • How it held up with filling: While the crust didn't get soggy, the bottom did get a little soft after a while.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Whole Foods Vegan Pie Shells

  • Price: $4.99 for two 9-inch pie shells
  • Appearance: This pale-colored crust had a nicely crimped, thick edge that held together well.
  • Taste: Really good flavor. Even though it doesn't have the buttery taste you get with a regular pie crust, instead relying on palm shortening for the rich tasting crust. It didn't taste like homemade, but it's definitely close, and it didn't taste as commercial as some of the others.
  • Texture: While there obviously wasn't any butter in the ingredient list, this crust had one of the most flaky textures.
  • How it held up with filling: This pale-colored crust bakes up well, with sturdy edges, sides, and bottom. It's easy to cut and remove slices from the pan without breaking, and the crust held up without getting soggy.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Whole Foods Whole-Wheat Pie Shells

  • Price: $4.99 for two 9-inch pie shells
  • Appearance: Because of the whole-wheat flour, this crust was darker than the rest, although still baked up with a nicely shaped, light-brown edge.
  • Taste: This crust had good flavor, with the earthiness and nuttiness you get with whole-wheat flour, which also adds more texture to the crust. While it wouldn't pass for homemade, it didn't taste as commercial as some of the others.
  • Texture: The crust was moderately flaky, and seemed especially tender for a whole-wheat crust.
  • How it held up with filling: This may have been the most sturdy crust among the bunch. It was really sturdy all around, didn't get soggy, and was easy to cut and remove from the pan.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Our Top Pick: Trader Joe's Pie Crusts

Of course this crust has homemade-looking crimped edges, but it was really the buttery, balanced taste, and tender, super-flaky texture that set Trader Joe's pie crust as the hands-down winner of this taste test. I kept wanting to eat more of this crust.

This was my first time working with a rolled crust like this one (other than homemade), and it came with unexpected frustrations, like mending many cracks after the dough was unrolled. While this dough proves to be more work than the other pie crusts in the lineup, what you get in taste and texture certainly makes this a worthwhile choice.

The clear runner-up was Mrs. Smith's pie crust. A deep dish version, that doesn't need to be rolled out, this crust was tender with great flavor, and held up really well after baking.

Do you have a favorite brand of frozen pie crust? Any brand we missed that we have to try? Let us know in the comments!

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