December 7, 2023


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The Best Prepared Pie Crust: A Blind Taste Test

2 min read

No, you don’t need to make everything from scratch on Thanksgiving. In this holiday edition of our taste test series, we’re sharing the supermarket staples worthy of your holiday spread. Take a task or two off your plate by substituting boxed versions—we’ve found the best options.

I think we can all agree that food editor Shilpa Uskokovic’s recipe for Actually Perfect Pie crust is, indeed, actually perfect. But sometimes we want to eat pie right this second. Other times, there are a lot of balls in the air, like Thanksgiving, when you’re juggling stuffing, a turkey, and your super secret special homemade cranberry sauce. That’s when premade pie crust can really shine.

But what store-bought version has the chops to accompany your top-tier pie fillings? Unfortunately not all premade pie crusts are created equal. For every prepared crust that’s golden and delicately flaky, there’s another that’s gray and soggy. That’s why we put six premade (both frozen and refrigerated) pie crusts through a blind taste test to determine which is best.

To find our winner we looked for a few critical factors. First, flakiness. We want to see thin, crackling layers that provide a demure crunch in each bite. The best pie crust should be golden brown, avoid soggy bottoms at all costs, and it should minimize the layer of squidginess between filling and crust. It should be hardy enough to support the weight of its filling, and, finally, it should be easy-peasy to work with.

To test our six pie crusts we blind baked each, according to package instructions, then filled them with BA’s Best Pumpkin Pie filling to finish baking. What followed was a nit-picking, photo finish of a taste test.

Photograph by Isa Zapata

The Horrifying Crumbly: Marie Callender’s Pastry Pie Shells

The ingredients: Marie Callender’s was the only pie crust in our taste test with soybean oil as the main fat. In some studies, soybean oil didn’t achieve the same rise that butter did in a puff pastry application—but in an industrial baking setting, it’s no-fuss, fast, and cheaper to produce than an all-butter crust.

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