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There’s something to be said for the convenience of frozen pies. You can buy them well ahead of time, they’re supremely affordable, and some require nothing more than a few hours on the countertop to thaw. But can these frozen versions compete with their fresh-baked counterparts? Will the crust be as flaky? Will the filling be as creamy? After sampling half a dozen frozen pumpkin pies, the ones you’re most likely to find in a supermarket, the winners were clear.
How I Tested the Frozen Pumpkin Pies
I compared the pies across three main categories: price, ease of preparation, and taste (of the crust and filling). I also looked at whether any unpronounceable ingredients were used, considered if I could finish a slice, and weighed how people would feel if I brought this as my contribution to a holiday party. After scarfing six slices of pie, there was a clear winner (one that could totally pass for homemade). There were also two pies that each stood out in their own right. Let’s take a look.
Best Overall Pumpkin Pie: Marie Callender’s Pumpkin Pie
This is classic pumpkin pie in its truest form. I would go so far as to call it flawless. The crust tastes home-baked, and the classic creamy pumpkin pie custard flavor gets two thumbs up! In fact, the filling had the most straightforward ingredients yet: pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, nonfat dry milk, cornstarch, spices, soybean oil, and salt. You could dress it up with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, but it’s perfect on its own. It will delight any pumpkin pie fan — they might even think you baked it from scratch yourself.
Unexpected Standout: Edwards Pumpkin Crème Pie
I didn’t think I’d like this pie, but I was pleasantly surprised. The only reason it didn’t take first place is because it’s not what most people would consider a traditional pumpkin pie. There’s no baking required. Just let the pie thaw in the fridge for two or three hours before serving and you’re good to go. The vanilla cookie crumb crust was a hit! Baked with ginger and cinnamon, it was crispy, buttery, and had pleasant salty bits throughout. It’s a definite upgrade from the standard pastry crust. As a bonus, since there’s whipped topping included already, you don’t have to fuss with adding whipped cream or ice cream. You could shake some cinnamon on top or drizzle a little caramel if you want to add a little pizzazz, but really, this pie is a slam dunk right out of the box.
Good for Small Gatherings: Trader Joe’s Frozen Pumpkin Pie
This pie was smaller than the rest so you’d need a few to feed a large gathering, but it was quite tasty. The crust was dry and crumbly, but had a pleasant taste — almost like it was homemade. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger were laced throughout the creamy, light filling. It wasn’t too sweet. In fact, the lack of sweetness made it taste almost savory. Because it’s already fully baked, just thaw it on the countertop for two hours (you could also warm it in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes if you prefer a warm pie). It would benefit from a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of caramel to bump up the wow-factor.
Do you have a favorite frozen pumpkin pie? Tell us in the comments below!