These Are the Best Store Bought Pie Crusts.

Dessert is always last – in the order of eating, but also in the list of priority preparations. Thanksgiving turkey cooking and a varied list of side dishes are enough to take the chef’s attention away from the pies on the menu. Enter: Store-bought pie dough, a quick and easy way to take the stress out of clenching your teeth when making puff pastry that still allows you to personalize the dessert by making homemade toppings. There are many brands that offer you frozen pie crusts. They are not all good. Instead of leaving you to gamble on what crust to bring home, I tried seven supermarket-bought brands and narrowed them down to the top three that are really worth buying.

Test Criteria

For this side-by-side pie crust test, I wanted to see which crust tastes and looks best, and which one makes a great topping. After all, the crust has to be on the outside of something. To do this, I baked test pieces of dough alone on a baking sheet, and also baked seven miniature pumpkin pies to see how each cake performs its function. I chose the pumpkin filling because I wanted to put the pie crusts in the toughest baking conditions and see which one handles, and pumpkin pie has one of the wettest fillings, which means it’s more likely to have a sticky crust, and if there are cracks and if If there was a leak, I would easily notice it. I also baked all the cakes from cold, raw dough – no blind baking. I know that in an ideal world you would all be painstakingly blind baking custard-based pie crusts, but I have a hunch that tons of people pour wet filling into raw dough. No problem, I found the best crust for your secret pie-baking shame.

To keep the experience authentic, I went to the big chain supermarkets near me—Shoprite, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s—and picked whatever was in stock at the time. No online orders were placed and I went around all three stores in one go like I needed to bake the same day or the next. I understand that all of these grocery stores cater to the local community, so you may have slightly different choices than me. However, I tried to pick brands that were either nationally recognizable or store brands—with two exceptions: I also wanted to test gluten-free and plant-based pie dough. None of these tests should be excluded from the analysis because, hey, they can be great. Gluten free means a potentially more flaky and tender crust, and if that’s an option, I want to know about it.

The brands were in no particular order: Trader Joe’s trademark pie crusts , Dufour plant-based pastry dough, Geefree (gluten free) pastry dough, Pillsbury pie shell, Marie Calender’s pie shell, Mrs Smith ‘s pie shell, and Whole Foods. Boston pastry for pie . My pie crust rubric included the main characteristics of a good pie crust, including: flavor, layering, texture, ease of handling, appearance, and any other notes.

Final Results

The results were varied, my spirits lifted and some of my hopes were dashed. I had high hopes for the gluten-free and plant-based options, but Geefree had a bad aftertaste and Dufour was too greasy and didn’t taste at all. After the frustration is gone, the top three frozen pie crusts are as follows:

In third place: Pillsbury pie shell. Good taste scores, with a slight saltiness that doesn’t overwhelm the filling. Not crumbly after cooking, decent browning, but a bit stiff and not flaky.

In second place: Trader Joe’s Pie Crust. Mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the filling, excellent browning even without blind baking, and a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The only problem with this dough is that it hasn’t been formed into a shell yet, which I usually like because then you can fit it into different sized pie pans, but in this case it cracked when I rolled it out, although it was completely defrosted. . I would recommend leaving it at room temperature until it is very soft before unwrapping.

Finally, getting the gold medal: Mrs. Smith’s pie shell. Wonderfully balanced taste with sweet and salty notes, but not cloying, it complemented the taste of the filling well. The browning was perfect even without blind baking and there were no wet spots. The texture was tender and flaky, but kept the stuffing intact. This dough also comes pre-shaped into a deep pie pan so you don’t have to fiddle with rolling or shaping it at home.

Boston pastry gets an honorable mention because I’ve been snacking on all the simple sample I’ve made. It is very sweet and biscuit-like, similar to a sucre crust ; however, the finished stuffed product was quite loose and did not take on any particular color. This dough absolutely needs to be blind baked and is not ideal for savory dishes.

While I believe you can make great pie dough at home , you don’t have to force yourself to be a pie connoisseur (although here’s some help if you want to learn how to roll out pie dough and learn trellis in the next couple of weeks). Sometimes the best pie crust is the one you can acquire in the frantic rush of the moment. If you see one of my top three crusts in the store, you can grab it and toss it in the freezer with the confidence that the dessert won’t be a disaster.

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