The Best Store-Bought Pie Crusts

Take it easy on yourself this Thanksgiving—these pre-made pie doughs are surprisingly good!

An assortment of store-bought pie crusts in their packages on an orange background.
Photo: Tyrel Stendahl/Allrecipes

Pie is not pie without a crust, but making the dough from scratch is easier in concept than reality. As a trained chef that has been baking for years, I still find homemade pie dough to be temperamental. Sometimes the dough is too wet and sometimes too dry, and sometimes I can't roll it out evenly no matter how hard I try. Equally difficult is finding time to make said pie crust, so to keep life easy, I always keep pre-formed pie shells in my freezer. Since they defrost in about the same time as it takes to gather my ingredients for a recipe, it's hard to beat the convenience of a ready-to-bake pie dough, especially when you want to whip up a quick pumpkin pie, quiche, or pot pie.

To know just which store-bought pie dough was worth of stocking in my freezer, I tried all the pie crusts I could buy to see which was the best. Here's what I found.

How I Tested

Every grocery store has at least one type of frozen pie crust on hand, and many have their own store brand, but I stuck to testing only the ones that have national distribution. I blind baked 6 brands of pie crusts and tried them plain so I could taste them without being swayed by the flavor of a filling. Blind baking means I poked a few holes in the bottom of the defrosted crusts with a fork and baked them at 375F until firm and just starting to brown, approximately 18 to 23 minutes depending on the crust. I used a visual indicator, i.e. lightly golden brown, instead of time to judge when they were baked so the taste test would be as even as possible, and I also tasted them blind, i.e. I didn't know which brand was associated with each crust in order to reduce bias.

While it could be argued that you rarely taste pie crusts without a filling, I thought it was important to taste them without any other flavors to compete. These pie crusts can be used in sweet or savory dishes, so I wanted to know if there were some that tasted sweeter solo, or would be better in savory applications.

How I Judged

The majority of the crusts came pre-formed in pie plates with instructions to simply, "thaw before baking." Judging was based on the baked crusts in these three areas:

  1. Color: Did the crust get evenly lightly browned and was the brown a pleasant color? I.e. did the crust look pretty?
  2. Texture: Was the pastry tender and flaky, or hard and dry?
  3. Flavor: How sweet or savory was the flavor of the pastry? Did it have a good aftertaste?

Best Pre-Formed Crust: Wholly Wholesome Organic Traditional

Wholly Wholesome Organic Traditional pie crust on an orange backdrop
Tyrel Stendahl/Allrecipes

Hands down, the Wholly Wholesome pre-formed pie crusts scored the best on appearance, texture, and flavor. It evenly browned, had a flaky mouthfeel, and the flavor had only the slightest bit of sweetness, making it a good candidate for both sweet and savory pies. In particular, I liked the fact that it held up when cut, meaning it didn't tear or break like some of the other pie crusts I tried. It's ability to slice perfectly is a big deal.

Best Roll-Out Dough: Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust

A box of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust on an orange backdrop
Tyrel Stendahl/Allrecipes

Pie dough is versatile and doesn't only have to be used for pie, which is why having a roll-out dough in your fridge or freezer is always a good idea. You can simply unfold and nestle into your favorite pie dish, or make quick hand pies with this dough. The Pillsbury dough does contain beef tallow, which doesn't make it ideal for vegetarians. But it is easy to find and very easy to work with.

Best Gluten Free & Vegan: Wholly Wholesome Gluten-Free

Wholly Wholesome Gluten-Free pie crust on an orange backdrop
Tyrel Stendahl/Allrecipes

With a dedicated bakehouse just for making these allergen-free pie crusts, you can rest assured that these pre-formed crusts are free from wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, sesame, fish, and shellfish. The main ingredient is brown rice flour which did make the texture a bit more crumbly than the other doughs we tested, however, the flavor was very mild and this was by far the best gluten-free crust we tried.

Best Budget: Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish by Mrs. Smith's

Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish by Mrs. Smith's pie crust in package on an orange backdrop
Tyrel Stendahl/Allrecipes

The Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crust was a close second to the Wholly Wholesome in terms of color, texture, and flavor but at almost half the price. Oronoque Orchaards are available on the East Coast but made by Mrs. Smith's, which are available nationwide. Technically, deep dish pie crusts are wider and deeper than regular, so it does require more filling, but often regular and deep dish pie crusts can be used interchangeably. I find the filling-to-crust ratio is a personal preference but be sure to check if your recipe calls for a pie pan or deep pie pan, and then you'll know which type of crust to pick.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love