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The Ultimate Ranking Of Store-Bought Pie Crusts

Pillsbury pie crusts
Pillsbury pie crusts - Woodman's/Facebook

Store-bought baking supplies like self-rising flour and canned icing have transformed home baking, but few have had a greater impact than pre-made pie crust. The convenience these crusts offer is huge; they change pie-making from an all-day affair into a weeknight activity. But you know what isn't convenient? Deciding on which store-made pie crust deserves your hard-earned dollars. Every grocery store is bursting with a range of options offered by a huge array of brands. Some pre-made crusts incorporate unique ingredients, like crushed nuts or branded cookies. Some are already molded into a fluted shell, while others can be woven into a classic lattice top. Some boast all-natural components. How's a baker to choose?

By consulting us, of course. We're here to take the guesswork out of this supermarket staple by ranking the most major store-bought pie crusts from mediocre to utterly delicious. To assemble this list, we've combined our own extensive personal experience of these crusts with online reviewers' opinions. You can learn more about the specifics of our methodology at the end of this article. Ready to get baking? Then let's dig in.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

17. Kroger Unroll-And-Bake Pie Crusts

Kroger Unroll-And-Bake Pie Crusts
Kroger Unroll-And-Bake Pie Crusts - Kroger

You know what a pie crust should never, under any circumstances, be? Tough. Yet that's exactly what Kroger Unroll-And-Bake Pie Crusts are. Reviewers bemoan their miserable, un-flaky texture; some even claim to have left the crust on the plate. They're entirely correct to do so -- this is about as bad as crust gets. It's most reminiscent of a well-worn boot sole: flat, thin, and rigid. Worse still, it somehow manages to get soggy but never moist.

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But that's not the only problem: Kroger's crust is also prone to breaking apart. Unrolling it is an odyssey, despite the fact that it's in the product's name, and it's never guaranteed to be successful. Even the most careful cook is liable to end up with handfuls of limp crust shreds they can't do much of anything with. Count yourself lucky if you get this one into the pie pan at all -- or better yet, skip this crust entirely.

16. Pillsbury Pie Crusts

Pillsbury Pie Crusts box
Pillsbury Pie Crusts box - Pillsbury

Pillsbury is a huge name in baking, which you might assume means its refrigerated pie crust is out of this world. Some people do sing its praises as a rich and well-browned foundation to any sort of pie you can imagine. We, however, think it's a frustratingly bland mediocrity.

The biggest point in this pie crust's favor is its ease of use. It's refrigerated, rather than frozen, which means you don't need to account for lengthy thawing times. But this dough still manages to be difficult to roll out; one rough pull, and it's torn to scraps. Its flavor is also only so-so. The presence of actual lard does make it richer than certain other crusts on this list, but it still lacks real depth of flavor. What results is an okay-ish pie crust that will technically do the job, but little else ... and it stands a strong chance of falling apart in your hands. Pass.

15. Trader Joe's Pie Crusts

Trader Joe's Pie Crust box
Trader Joe's Pie Crust box - Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's pie crust is one of the most structurally unsound on this list. Flakiness, crumbliness, and tenderness are virtues in many pie crusts, but this one takes them all to disastrous extremes. Reviewer after reviewer describes this crust as a tattered nightmare to work with, breaking into strips, shards, and outright dust at the merest prodding. Simply getting it out of the box is a delicate operation -- but even if you manage to do that, there's no telling how it'll perform in the pan. Some users report that, when used to support the pie, this crust becomes a soggy, sloppy mush that separates from the filling.

What saves this crust from the bottom of this list is the fact that bakers report getting better results when they allow the crust to thaw for a seriously lengthy amount of time. Some of these users even cite the crust as their go-to. If you're willing to use that longer thaw time, go for it. Otherwise, skip this crust.

14. Marie Callender's Deep Dish Pastry Pie Shells

Marie Callender's Pastry Pie Shells
Marie Callender's Pastry Pie Shells - Marie Callender's

Marie Callender's is famous for its pies, which pack freezer aisles all over the United States. You'd think, then, that its pie crust is great, right? Well ... the truth is a bit more complicated. This crust isn't terrible, by any means. Its structural integrity is especially impressive: Where many crusts on this list crumble, Marie Callender's is supple, strong, and sturdy. It's also nicely flaky and suits a wide variety of pies.

But flavor-wise, it's lacking. There's nothing wrong with the taste of this pie, really -- it's mild, bready, and faintly buttery. But that's all it is. While the filling is the main attraction of any pie, plenty of people love the crust, and when it's middling, the whole creation suffers. A pie made with this crust can't ever be truly great -- it can only be good enough.

13. Oreo Pie Crust

Oreo Pie Crust package
Oreo Pie Crust package - Nabisco

The thing about the Oreo Pie Crust is that it has a pretty narrow range of applications. You can't make a savory pie with this crust, obviously, unless you have a seriously adventurous palate. But you also can't make many different sweet pies. Lemon meringue, apple, and pecan pie, for example, would probably clash with a crust made of crushed Oreo cookies. Even key lime pie, which famously uses a graham cracker crust, would probably taste pretty weird in such a chocolatey shell.

But the Oreo Pie Crust does make a splendid basis for an Oreo pie, one of the most beloved no-bake desserts around. In that role, it shines as a deeply flavored, impressively moist crust that holds up well, even after days in the fridge. Some reviewers also suggest it'd work well as the foundation of a coconut or banana cream pie. We tend to agree, as bananas and coconuts are often paired with chocolate. A strawberry pie might also work, especially for Valentine's Day -- talk about a new twist on chocolate-covered strawberries. Oreo Pie Crust occupies a unique lane, which keeps it from the top 10 of this list. But it also keeps it from the very bottom.

12. Great Value Deep Dish Pie Crusts

Great Value Deep Dish Pie Crusts
Great Value Deep Dish Pie Crusts - Walmart

Walmart's Great Value pie crusts have one obvious strength: They retain their shape. None of these crusts will assume a weird puffiness in the oven, struggle beneath the weight of baked apples, or deform into a twisted mess. That's a major virtue, but it might just be eclipsed by its greatest weakness: flavor.

There's a certain degree of variance in reviewers' opinions on this front. The flavor is that of fake butter, and if you grew up eating things slathered in this quintessentially modern substance, you might not have any issue with the taste. Heck, you might even prefer it. If you're picky about this sort of thing, though, you're probably in for a bad time. The taste of fake butter is strong and pervasive; even an intense filling can't overcome it. Embrace it or avoid it -- with this crust, there is no middle ground.

11. Publix Pie Crust

Publix Pie Crust box
Publix Pie Crust box - Publix

Publix's pie crust is moist and tender -- so much so that it can become a problem. But the thing is, it's not guaranteed to do so. Everything depends on what sort of pie you're making.

If, say, you're making a lemon meringue pie, you'll probably be okay. Lemon curd is thick, of course, but not sopping with juice, and meringue is famously cloudlike. If you're making an apple pie, however, you're headed for trouble. All the rich, syrupy liquid that characterizes that sort of fruit pie saturates Publix's pie crust like a sponge, leading to swampy bottoms and outright crumbling. Getting such a pie out of the pan will be a tricky task, if you can lift it at all. Moist crust is good -- but not this moist. Stick to airier fare when it comes to this crust.

10. Signature Select Deep Dish Pie Crusts

Signature Select Deep Dish Pie Crusts
Signature Select Deep Dish Pie Crusts - Safeway

Safeway's Signature Select pie crust is perfectly average. That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but really, it's praise. Sometimes, you need a pie crust with little personality of its own to balance out a truly wild pie. Reviewers praise this crust for avoiding overly intense sweetness, saltiness, butteriness, and every other kind of flavor a crust can contain. The fact that it's fairly sturdy is another point in its favor.

Perfect neutrality only goes so far, though. While Signature Select's crust's utter averageness makes it a solid bet, it's hard to imagine someone choosing it when they have any of the higher-up options on this list at their disposal. The truth is, few people are making the kind of wackily experimental pies that might benefit from a totally neutral crust. Thus, Signature Select remains in the middle of the pack: just fine, if boring.

9. Wholly Wholesome Organic Traditional Pie Shells

Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Shells
Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Shells - Wholly Wholesome

Some reviewers absolutely adore Wholly Wholesome's pie crust. Its virtues are many: It's crisp, flaky, holds up well to all sorts of fillings, and boasts some genuinely rich butter flavor. It also cuts well, which really can't be overstated as a major pie crust strength. Anyone who's struggled to cut a sagging, sloppy, or crumbling crust into a discernable triangle knows this all too well.

But this crust also has a slight tendency to burn. You're not guaranteed to end up with a jet-black circle of dough every time you use it, but if you don't baby this crust by constantly checking up on it throughout the last 10 minutes of baking, it's likely to end up a little singed. And singed is something a pie should never be.

8. Diamond Pecan Pie Crust

Diamond Pecan Pie Crust package
Diamond Pecan Pie Crust package - Diamond

Let's get one thing clear right out of the gate: Diamond's pecan pie crust is unlike anything on this list. Part of the brand's nut pie crust line, this crust is -- you guessed it -- composed primarily of crushed pecans. This means it isn't suitable for a whole lot of pies, and it's also somewhat prone to crumbling. Its narrow scope prevents it from earning a higher spot.

But if you can accept this creation for what it is, you're in for a treat. This warm, toasty crust is full of irresistible flavor and textural interest. It's also not quite as constraining as you might think. Yes, you can use it to make the ultimate pecan pie, but you can also experiment, as the Diamond website suggests, with caramelized onion-laden quiches and silky chocolate-centric creations. Reviewers speculate it might be just as good in a key lime or pumpkin pie. The possibilities aren't endless, but they're pretty darn appealing.

7. Boston Baking Homestyle Pie Shells

Boston Baking pie shells package
Boston Baking pie shells package - Boston Baking

Boston Baking's pie crust is seriously sweet -- reviewers have gone so far as to compare it to a cookie. Is this a virtue or a weakness? Well, that depends. Some bakers are already recoiling at the notion of a crust so sugary that it brings to mind an entirely separate dessert. Others might like the idea of an ultra-sweet foundation. Sure, it might result in a pie some would call saccharine, but those with a sweet tooth will never forget it.

Notably, this crust also resists browning and tends to be on the softer side. Again, some might consider this doughiness a plus -- a tender crust can be a beautiful thing. Others might find the notion unpleasant and worry about structural soundness. Only one thing is certain when it comes to Boston Baking's pie crust: It's all in the eye -- or perhaps tongue -- of the baker.

6. Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crusts

Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crusts
Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crusts - Oronoque Orchards

Oronoque Orchards' pie crust is incredibly well-rounded. Taste-wise, it's actually among the best on this list. The crust is both richly fatty and delicately sweet, with neither attribute overwhelming the other. Said sweetness has no saccharine aftertaste, either -- in fact, it boasts a faint earthy note, rather like honey, that goes well with just about every sort of dessert pie. Reviewers specifically rave that this flavor remains strong and discernible, even when paired with something as intensely sweet as pecan pie filling. This crust also browns well yet resists burning. You'll get the crisp bronze edges you crave, no matter what filling you go with -- and no soggy bottom, either.

Structurally, though, things are a bit weaker. This is a crumbly pie, and for the most part, that's a good thing. But occasionally, this texture is a bit too pronounced. Lifting a wedge out of the pan can be a challenge if you've opted for a wetter filling, like pumpkin or cherry. You won't end up with a fractured foundation of dripping crust crumbs, but you might leave more of the crust behind in the pan than you'd like. Using a very sharp knife to cut the pie can ameliorate these issues, though, making this crust a still-worthwhile choice.

5. Happy Belly Pie Crusts

Happy Belly Pie Crusts box
Happy Belly Pie Crusts box - Amazon

Amazon sells, well, everything, so you might assume its pie crust -- sold under house brand Happy Belly -- is lackluster. But in fact, this crust isn't just good -- it's great. The first thing you notice is the crust's texture. It's among the flakiest on this list, no matter what filling you pile atop it. Each papery layer is a marvel, recalling such rarefied pastries as mille-feuilles and Parisian croissants. The crust's flavor is also deeply buttery, with the slightest hint of caramelized browning.

Reviewers have one complaint, though: the color. This crust doesn't transform into a golden marvel in the oven -- it doesn't transform much at all, in fact. It stays close to the same pale beige hue throughout the entire baking process. This isn't a devastating flaw, especially if you're only using this crust on the bottom of the pie. It definitely doesn't represent the crust's rich, lusciously browned flavor. But if you're a stickler for aesthetics, it might present a problem.

4. Keebler Graham Ready Crust

Keebler Graham Ready Crust
Keebler Graham Ready Crust - Keebler

Keebler is best known for its cookies, but its graham cracker pie crust proves it's just as adept at other desserts. The most immediately impressive thing about this pie crust is its structural soundness. As anyone who's ever worked with a graham cracker pie crust knows, this variety of crust is likely to crumble into a pile of sugary sand if even one issue arises. But in contrast to those lesser crusts, Keebler's stays firm no matter how much you jostle it, what temperature it's baked at, or what filling it supports. Reviewers can't praise this aspect enough.

Moreover, this crust is delectable. Mediocre graham cracker crusts are merely sweet, but Keebler's is full of rich honey flavor. This pairs wonderfully with key lime pie filling, perhaps the most famous use of graham cracker pie crust; the tart, zingy lime brings out all the crust's mellow flavor notes. This is the sort of crust that makes you wonder if there's any reason to bother making one from scratch.

3. Kroger Traditional Ready-To-Bake Pie Crust

Kroger Traditional Ready-To-Bake Pie Crust
Kroger Traditional Ready-To-Bake Pie Crust - Kroger

Kroger's Kroger Traditional Ready-To-Bake Pie Crust succeeds on many fronts, but its most impressive achievement is its flawless balance of flavors. The first thing you notice when you bite into this crust is its richness. The flavor of butter is pronounced and complex: It's simultaneously mellow, sweet, a tiny bit earthy, and ever-so-slightly browned, as in a superb blondie. A touch of salt brings all these notes to the fore and makes this crust suitable for both sweet and savory applications. Then there's the sweetness. It's subtle, threading in and out of the other flavors, but it's impossible to ignore. This is the sort of elegant sweetness you get in an excellent crepe: delicate, slightly floral, and never, ever cloying.

This crust is also marvelously tender. Each bite is moist, flaky, and almost pillowy, without ever threatening to overwhelm the filling. It browns well, taking on an especially attractive burnished sheen when used as a top crust. Its one flaw is a slight tendency to fracture under pronounced stress -- if you combine a seriously weighty filling with a dull knife, for example, you'll end up with a minor mess. But if you take care to avoid this sort of situation, you'll be more than happy with this crust's performance.

2. Bake House Creations Pie Crusts

Bake House Creations Pie Crust
Bake House Creations Pie Crust - Aldi

Aldi brand Bake House Creations excels at many different baked goods. But even among so many successful breads, cookies, and cakes, its pie crust stands out as something truly special. It's just plain scrumptious on every front. Texturally, this is a tender, flaky crust of the most classic kind; each bite shatters between the teeth into thousands of buttery shards. Yet it gamely supports any kind of filling you can pile onto it, from gravy-rich chicken to syrupy berries.

Flavor-wise, things are even more impressive. This a rich dough, full of rustic, wheaty goodness. It's a sweet crust, but not overly so -- think the sweetness of fruit, or a honey-rich bread, rather than that of an iced cake. This means it works just as beautifully in a dessert pie as it does in one served at dinner. No wonder reviewers have fallen in love with this inimitable crust. But there's just one problem: It's not available all year round. Make a note to check for it during the pie-heavy seasons -- you don't want to miss out on this crust.

1. Mrs. Smith's Deep Dish Pie Crusts

Mrs. Smith's Deep Dish Pie Crusts box
Mrs. Smith's Deep Dish Pie Crusts box - Mrs. Smith's

What does it take to land at the top of this list? Perfection, basically -- and that's just what Mrs. Smith's pie crust presents. Reviewers simply can't find anything wrong with this exceptional pie crust. It's delicious, balancing subtle sweetness with mellow richness and just the right touch of salt. It performs well in a variety of conditions and paired with a range of fillings. It even looks good, taking on all the rich, warm browns and golds every baker dreams of.

But its texture might just be the most dazzling aspect of all. This is, simply put, a dream to chew. Each individual flake of crust is lusciously distinct and full of flavor. Even a long bake time at high heat can't dry out the crust's moist interior. Its fluted edges are shatteringly crisp yet never burnt. As far as pie crusts go, you simply can't ask for more.

Methodology

Unbaked pie crust with flour
Unbaked pie crust with flour - Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

To properly rank these store-bought pie crusts, we combined our own experiences with that of online reviewers'. We've baked many different pies with nearly all of these crusts. In some cases, we've even used a particular crust multiple times to very different ends. After considering our own opinions in full, we scoured the internet for reviews of every single one of these crusts.

Some of these reviews came from the food world's most respected publications, some came from passionate amateur bakers with long-running blogs, some came from casual home chefs discussing pros and cons on sites like Reddit, and some came from folks who don't bake themselves but do love to taste-test others' creations. Examining these reviews revealed repeatedly mentioned virtues and flaws, which we compared to our own experiences. Taking all this into account, we assembled the final ranking.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.