They say there's no such thing as a bad pizza, but that hasn't stopped the frozen food industry from conducting a decades-long experiment to disprove the old adage. Coarse cheese, freezer burnt pepperoni, and a flat crust have already played their part in frozen pies. Still, advances in the science of shell-enhancement have forced retailers to step up their game. We now live in the golden age of frozen pizza, and some are even better than the chains.
To find the best, I've spent the last two and a half years risking hypothermia in the frozen food aisle to taste test the most popular frozen pies on the shelves. Criteria: I selected all the major brands available in their classic, most basic forms and rated them based on cheese, sauce, texture, crust, and overall flavor. If pepperoni was an option, I went with it (I'm only human after all). Other than that, plain cheese. And good, there's also one that has bits of bacon as a side dish - but no French bread, bagels, pockets or specials. Just good old pizza. This quest is ongoing, will be updated regularly, and will continue until I eat them all or my doctor intervenes. Here are 12 cakes I'll be waiting for in 2020.
California Pizza Kitchen Crispy, thin crust
What is good:This pie from the famous pizzeria chain adjacent to the mall has a few props to make it a bit more refined: the pepperoni has a distinct smokiness, there are small diced tomatoes, and the cheese blocks - mozz and smoked gouda - are randomly speckled with basil, as if a stoned teenager in the mall personally shook the herb on top. The crust is also distinguished by a biscuit texture and a slight saltiness.
Room for improvement:These squiggles are also a bit of a letdown as they give the illusion that you've ordered a much better pizza before its total meh reminds you it was frozen. If you ordered it from a restaurant, you'd be disappointed. Unless you orderedhos California Pizza Kitchen, then you are probably on a high school date in Central America.
Digression:CPK has recently launchedtakeaway salehis restaurant cakes. If you have a CPK nearby, using the oven is much tastier. They also freeze very well. Margherita and white cheese frozen pizza versions are also good options to try.
Tabel 87 Kulovn Margherita
What is good:It's truly shocking that it took so long for anyone to put a New York piece in the freezer, but afterShark tankInvestment launches Brooklyn's Table 87 Coal Oven Pizza domestically and stands out with its giant frozen margherita slice. The huge triangle's flavor profile is solid: a great gooey cheese with just a hint of salt, fresh sprigs of basil, and a pizzeria-sized sauce that strikes the balance between sour and sweet.
Room for improvement:The only thing stopping him is the shell; somewhere in the manufacturing process it lost its springiness and came out of the kiln compact and brittle. Moreover, the cracker-like texture often causes the slice to burst. Still, it's better than any number of fake Famous Rays fakes you stumble across late at night in NYC, and an impressive feat of innovative frozen pizza... the round portion version.
American Flatbread uncured pepperoni and uncured bacon
What is good:One of the few frozen pizzas that can rightly be mistaken for a restaurant dough - but don't confuse it with the iconic Vermont pizzeria of the same name - American Flatbread manages a high level of pliability in its springy, slightly tart dough base that is easy to fold unlike their pope brothers Things get interesting in the toppings department, too: not content with pepperoni slices, this basic pie features bits of bacon chopped to the consistency of pork floss. Does it taste like bacon? Not really. Would I pull it? Probably.
Room for improvement:But really, I wish the bacon tasted more like bacon, and I imagine larger pieces would do the trick instead of being overpowered by pepperoni spice. And while the batter is deliciously tart, it also has a sticky layer that distracts from the crunchy surface. But they are smaller. Now pass that string of bacon.
Newman's own uncured pepperoni
What is good:Here's a pizza you can feel good about: Newman's Own donates all its profits to charity. But it can also make you feel a little sluggish when you have it all covered. The cheese here is quite on point and the sauce has a hint of spice that goes well with the thicker than usual uncured pepperoni.
Room for improvement:It's a damn good frozen pizza until you consider the crust, which can't get past the cardboard phase. Still, the whole package more than makes up for some of the blandness in the backend. AsThe color of money.
Screamin' Sicilian Holy Pepperoni
What is good:With its goofy/funny mustache-cut packaging, Screamin' Sicilian has made a splash with the new wave of pizzas vying for space in your freezer. The shell is actually foldable and does not have the characteristic cardboard texture. The cheese in particular is dynamite, with an extensibility approaching the caliber of a pizzeria. Coarsely sliced pepperoni is applied generously.
Room for improvement:The only thing that keeps it from being true great is the sauce which is just too spicy and fulfills the promise/threat of "taste bud attack" on the box. It's a matter of personal taste, although it would be much easier to ignore if the sauce wasn't so heavily used. It's a solid pizza.
What is good:If you measure it right, the crust is bouncy and downright delightful. It can't compare to the pizzeria bounce you get from the thicker crust offerings, but it's close and the stringy cheese makes the experience much better. The pepperoni gives it some meaty saltiness, but it's not admirable or anything. It's a bit general, but in a great way.
Room for improvement:The sauce here is a real pity. He has a kick that overpowers anything that would be fine if that thing wasn't swimming inside him. It just drowns out everything. It's a shame to derail such a solid cake - and make no mistake, it's a solid cake. Good news? Freschetta makes a great brick-oven square cake, but that just makes OG's demise in the finish that much more tragic.
Pepperoni-style Milwaukee Outsiders
What is good:There is no such thing as a Milwaukee-style pizza, despite the package claiming to exist and the presence of a variety filled with spicy sausage, caramelized onions and cream cheese. No, what is it.Tavern style cake. But they manage it somehow, semantics be damned. It's a rare thin offering that actually nails the whole "thin" crust, but it's the sauce - sweet, salty, not spicy at all mixed with the salty, smoked cheese that puts it on top. In addition, pepperoni, presented in slices and coarsely chopped pieces that become a little charred, is the most flavorful and least fatty of all. There is no such thing as Milwaukee style pizza. But if that's how it tastes frozen, then maybe it should be.
Room for improvement:It's hard to fault this cake. Will it ever surpass your favorite local pizzeria? Probably not... but maybe if your pizzeria serves cardboard slices. I'd say it's as good as any - if not better - than any pizza on this list.
Signature Select Rising Crust
What is good:First, a cake that tastes almost the same as HOT-N-READY from Little Caesars. This isn't exactly the epitome of takeaway, but it does hit a certain point of nostalgia. It's speckled with parmesan cheese (a nice touch) which gives it an almost mad, bready feel, and the crust almost completely avoids that cardboard texture. It is springy, crispy and fluffy. Well done, unbranded pizza (available at stores like Safeway, Vons and Albertsons!).
Room for improvement:It's topped with what appears to be pizza soup, a combination of mozz and a thin, relatively tame sauce that feels more like an afterthought until you think there's so much of it. And the pepperoni—here sliced and thickly striped—is definitely Brand X. Five paper towels later, it was still a slippery smear of grease, and combined with the sauce and cheese, it completely turned the middle into a mess of pasty shit. You know, when all the topping comes off, it's a bad sign. The closer you get to the shell, the better it will be. But that's a lot of wasted downtown real estate that should normally be the best part of the pizza.
in the morning
What is good:Cheese? Salty and flexible. Sauce? Slightly sweet, but with a pleasant aftertaste of red pepper. More importantly, unlike many frozen pizzas, it doesn't seem to be used by a hyperactive 2-year-old who has a free hand with a pot and a giant ladle. No, you would never believe it was a delivery. But you probably wouldn't worry about it either, because it's one of the most balanced and polished options of all the options in your freezer. You see it at the top of such lists all the time for good reason.
Room for improvement:Look, this is not a "real" pizza. The crust is very hard on the bottom and doughy on top. But this pizza looks like it really, really tries to be a real pizza and succeeds in a great way. I'd rather eat this than Domino's or Papa Murphy's any day.
Pizza Romana Pepperoni
What is good:For the first time in this frozen pizza guide, a pizza came out of my oven that wouldn't look out of place in a real cardboard pizza box, with sizzling cheese and a big bubble in the dough. And on the first bite, the texture of the crust is quite unusual: it's springy and doughy and can be folded in half without breaking into biscuits.
Pizza Romana is actually imported from Italy and available in fancy and family grocery stores as well as shows of its heritage. The cheese actually stretches! Pepperoni is a team player, not a foodie! The sauce is... well, to be honest, the sauce is a bit forgettable. Still, there's a lot to love here. If this came from a pizzeria, it would probably be in the top 10 in most average cities, unless that city was Florence, in which case it would probably be number 700, which is still pretty good.
Room for improvement:The only thing stopping it is a specific aftertaste that distracts from the quality because someone thought it would be nice to make every third bite taste like Totino's Party Pizza. This is a very minor distraction though. And as I mentioned earlier, the sauce isn't the most unusual - but it's not bad.
Table 5 Uncured Pepperoni
What is good:Table 5 tastes like what would happen if someone tried to make itChicago style deep plate, then resigned, reduced the number of add-ons and called it good. Fantastic, even. There are so many things that work in favor of this thing that it challenges the notion of what a frozen pizza is. It starts with the signature cornmeal crust, which doubles as a buttery, decadent storage dish, and also serves as a reward at the end of the slice. No kidding, if I got this crust at a pizzeria I'd be very excited: it does the same thing, bypassing the need to go the rising crust route and instead offering a base that wouldn't be out of place on some fancy-pants artisan pizza joint. It's a shell with an identity. It's a shell that knows who it is and doesn't try to be anything but itself. Plus, the generously applied pepperoni has a nice zipper and the cheese has an impressive elasticity.
Room for improvement:The only complaint I have is the sauce. It's actually very good - spicy, slightly sweet, nicely balanced with herbs. But there's almost nothing on it until you get to the crust. In fact, for a moment I thought something was wrong and there was no sauce at all. Then I got to the third bite and realized it was back there. It did a nice trick: every bite of this pizza gets better, right down to the superlative crust. Then you can start all over again. What I did. Until the whole cake was devoured within 15 minutes.
Home Run Inn
What is good:It's not the kind of pizza you imagine when you want a quick bite, unless you grew up with it in Chicago and went to a very specific pizzeria (called the Home Run Inn, in case you weren't aware). It's not a deep dish or a Chicago thin crust: it's more of a hybrid that takes the butteriness of a deep dish and then flattens it out. The crust is thick, rich and buttery rather than airy and tastes like a cross between a biscuit and a savory pie. But when mixed with a slightly sweet and sour sauce, a blanket of impeccable salt and elastic mousse, and a slightly spicy uncured pepperoni, a kind of magical alchemy emerges. No, this is not what you imagined when you decided to get pizza at the grocery store. This is better. The best frozen pizza on the market, indeed.
Room for improvement:No criticism here.Sign hereto our daily Thrillist email isign up hereto our YouTube channel for the best in food/drinks/entertainment.
Andy Kryzahe's a senior editor at Thrillist who could really pick up something that isn't pizza right now. Maybe like a bite of a bagel. Follow him for the heartburn medicine@apkryza.
12 store-bought pizzas you should buy in the frozen aisle - Thrillist Australia? ›
Celeste frozen pizza was one of the top selling brands in the 1970s (with Mrs. Lizio, "Mama Celeste," prominently featured in the brand's television advertising) but subsequently experienced declines. The Celeste brand was later acquired by Aurora Foods, and then Pinnacle Foods.What happened to Mama Celeste pizza? ›
Celeste frozen pizza was one of the top selling brands in the 1970s (with Mrs. Lizio, "Mama Celeste," prominently featured in the brand's television advertising) but subsequently experienced declines. The Celeste brand was later acquired by Aurora Foods, and then Pinnacle Foods.Are Celeste pizzas bad for you? ›
7. Celeste Personal Pizza. Though this personal pizza isn't too sinful, it still contains a ton of calories and a large amount of total fat. The reason why it isn't super high on the unhealthy side of this list is because at least when you prep this pizza, you won't go back for seconds!What brand is best frozen pizza? ›
- Editor's Choice. Red Baron Classic Crust Four Cheese Pizza. ...
- Best-Tasting Crust. Amy's Cheese Pizza. ...
- Best Bargain Pie. Kirkland Signature (Costco) Cheese Pizza with Breadcrumb Crust—Pack of 4. ...
- For the Cheese Lover. Screamin' Sicilian Bessie's Revenge Cheese Pizza. ...
- Best Thin Crust. Trader Joe's Pizza Margherita. ...
- One to Skip.
Digiorno. Based on sales, Digiorno is the most well known frozen pizza on the market.Is Celeste pizza real cheese? ›
Celeste® Pizza For One™ Original Cheese Pizza. Authentic Italian Since 1930. 100% Real cheese!Did Mama Rosa pizza go out of business? ›
SIDNEY – Schwan's Co. will retain all of its employees in Sidney even though the company discontinued its MaMa Rosa's brand of pizzas, which were made exclusively in Sidney.What is the oldest frozen pizza brand? ›
No one knows for sure who came up with the first frozen pizza. In the 1950s, Celentano Brothers became the first brand of frozen pizza to be sold nationally. Many claim that the first big name in the business, though, was Totino. In 1951, Rose and Jim Totino opened one of the first pizzerias in Minneapolis, Minnesota.What is America's most loved pizza? ›
1. Pepperoni. This may not come as a surprise, but pepperoni is by far the most popular pizza topping in the United States.Which country eats the most frozen pizza? ›
Norway – Consumers of the Great Frozen Pie
On average, each person in Norway eats about 11 pounds of pizza a year. This is a monumental number when you consider that pizza wasn't even a well-known dish in Norway until the 1970s and 1980s. Interestingly, the majority of these pizzas aren't made in restaurants.
What state sells the best pizza? ›
The Best Pizza Cities in America: 2022 Data. Ohio is the nation's best state for pizza — thanks to high rankings from Cleveland (No. 2), Columbus (No.What is the unhealthiest part of pizza? ›
The cheese on pizza is high in saturated fat, which increases your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Each 5-ounce serving of cheese pizza contains 18.5 grams of fat, or 28 percent of the daily value for fat. Saturated fat makes up about 6.5 grams of this fat, or 33 percent of the DV.
“Choose thin crust versus thick crust or even stuffed crust to help reduce the total calories and sodium,” says Kimberlain. One slice of a small thin-crust pizza with no cheese has 141 calories and 282 mg sodium, according to the USDA.What is the most unhealthy thing in pizza? ›
Many types of pizza, particularly frozen and fast-food varieties, tend to be high in calories, fat and sodium. More processed varieties may contain unhealthy ingredients, such as colorings, added sugar and preservatives.Is Papa John's pizza real cheese? ›
Simple, yet simply delicious. Real cheese made from mozzarella on top of our signature pizza sauce with your choice of crust, then baked to a golden brown. It has just what you want, and nothing you don't.Is Costco pizza cheese real? ›
100% real cheese. No preservatives. Ships Frozen via UPS 2nd Day Air.What is the oldest pizza delivery? ›
The First Pizza Delivery
The very first pizza delivery is attributed to Queen Margherita of Savoy in 1889. After traveling to Naples the queen fell ill and requested authentic Italian food from the region.
DiGiorno rebranded to Delissio in Canada in 1999, although Kraft had previously used the Delissio brand for other pizza products in the 1980s. In 2010, Kraft sold the DiGiorno and Delissio brands, along with the rest of its frozen pizza business, to Swiss-based food manufacturer Nestlé.Who made pizza with pineapple? ›
Sam Panopoulos, who was born in Greece and moved to Canada when he was 20, decided to try out pineapple on pizza in 1962 to attract customers to one of his Ontario-based restaurants. “We just put it on, just for the fun of it, see how it was going to taste,” Panopoulos told the BBC earlier this year.What frozen pizza was recently recalled? ›
The affected pizzas were produced on June 30, 2021. According to the recall announcement, any 26-oz. carton containing “DIGIORNO PEPPERONI CRISPY PAN CRUST” with lot code 1181510721 and “Best Buy” date of MAR2022 on the label is subject to recall.
What is the oldest pizza place in America? ›
1905 | NYC. Since 1905 Gennaro Lombardi crafted pizza in the United States using his bakers trade he learned from Naples. Lombardi is credited with developing New York Style pizza and making Lombardi's the first pizzeria in the United States.Can you eat old frozen pizza? ›
If you notice that the date on the frozen food package has already passed, you may be wondering if that food is still safe to eat. The good news is that you can eat frozen food that has passed its expiration date — although in some cases, the flavor, color, or texture may have decreased in quality (1).What is America's least favorite pizza? ›
Sixty-one percent of respondents to a YouGov survey named anchovies as their least favorite pizza topping.
The largest pizza chains in the world are based in the United States and include names such as Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ), Pizza Hut – owned by Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), and Papa John's International, Inc.What is the most popular night to eat pizza? ›
The top five pizza sale days are: Super Bowl Sunday, New Year's Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.What is the best pizza style in the world? ›
- Neapolitan Pizza. Begin your pizza education with the pie that started it all: the Neapolitan. ...
- New York Style Pizza. ...
- Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza. ...
- Margherita Pizza. ...
- Sicilian Pizza. ...
- Hawaiian Pizza. ...
- 7. California Pizza. ...
- Greek Pizza.
- Mozzarella. Perhaps the most well-known and popular pizza topping of all-time, Mozzarella is cherished for its near perfect consistency and straightforward flavour. ...
- Cheddar/Matured Cheddar. ...
- Aged Havarti. ...
- Gorgonzola. ...
- Provolone. ...
- Goat cheese. ...
- Pecorino-Romano. ...
- The ultimate cheese pizza.
Around 1.6 billion pizzas are eaten in Italy every year!Which country serves the best pizza? ›
If we are talking about the places in the world to have the best Pizza, then the best way to begin is with the land of Pizza. Naples, a city in southern Italy, is famous all around the globe for its pizzas, pizzas, and some more pizzas.What country eats the most cheese? ›
The International Dairy Federation estimates that France holds the title for the most cheese consumed in a year per capita, but Italy boasts a close second.
What city has best pizza in USA? ›
For the second year in a row, Detroit earned the title of America's best city for pizza, according to a new study that ranked pizza scenes in the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S.What state has the most expensive pizza? ›
|3||New York City||New York|
A Pizzaiolo is a chef who specializes in making pizzas and who has been trained to make real, Italian-style pizzas.Who is the fastest pizza maker? ›
Zagros Jaff won Domino's 2022 World's Fastest Pizza Maker Competition at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas on May 10. He made three large pizzas in an impressive 70 seconds. "I am so excited to have won the World's Fastest Pizza Maker Competition," said Jaff. "I have been training for this for 12 years.Are any pizza ovens made in the USA? ›
Bella pizza ovens are fully-assembled and available as free-standing carts for your custom outdoor kitchen.What happened to McCain pizza? ›
McCain Foods said Wednesday it has signed a deal to sell its North American frozen pizza business to Dr. Oetker GmbH. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available. The deal covers the Ellio's brand in the U.S. and a two-year licence for the use of the McCain brand in Canada.Why did Woody Paige leave Cold Pizza? ›
More change followed, on November 28, 2006, Paige left the program citing health and personal reasons, leaving New York to return to the Denver Post, where he had been a longtime writer. He was not the last Cold Pizza member to leave the New York City studio location.How is pizza Cupcake doing now? ›
The products can now be found in stores nationwide
By November 2021, its products were sold in select Northeast American grocery stores. The bite-sized snacks are baked in Brooklyn, New York before being frozen, packed, and shipped across the country. They can then be reheated in the oven or air fryer and enjoyed.
Mother of Pizzas founder Ricky Yuen trained for his craft in a slew of pizzerias in East Vancouver. A true labour of love, the Causeway Bay joint is Yuen's tribute to the very best of Neapolitan-inspired pizzas — and a tribute to his wife, Cherrie, for which Mother of Pizzas is in dedication to.Which pizza was recalled? ›
WASHINGTON, August 25, 2022 – Pizza John's, an Essex, Md. firm, is recalling approximately 156,498 pounds of pepperoni pizza products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
Can you put cold pizza in air fryer? ›
STEP ONE: Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees. STEP TWO: Place cold pizza slices in the air fryer basket or oven-style air fryer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pizza crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and hot. STEP THREE: Carefully remove the leftover pizza from the air fryer and enjoy!Can pizza be eaten cold? ›
Pizza, besides being the only pie in the world with the perfect balance of cheese, sauce, and bread, can also be consumed cold. We sell award-winning pizzas that taste delicious both hot and cold.Who loves pineapple pizza? ›
Pineapple-and-ham topped pizza may be called a Hawaiian, but the pie was actually invented in Canada in the 1960s. And while Hawaiians now love their pineapple pizza, according to Slice, Oregon is actually the state where pineapple pizza is ordered most — then Maine, California and Nevada.What pizza was on the Shark Tank? ›
Greiner promoted Table 87 pizza on Twitter. In April 2016, only a few months after Thomas Cucco presented his pitch to "Shark Tank," investor Lori Greiner promoted the product on her Twitter feed.Who makes the cupcakes for 2 Broke Girls? ›
Glamour: First things first--how do those cupcakes on the show really taste? Kat Dennings: They're actually really good! They have an amazing girl named Amber who bakes the cupcakes, and periodically I will frost them in real time. Anytime you see me piping a cupcake, I'm doing it.Who owns 7 Little Cupcakes? ›
HerHub Spotlight – Erin Liedigk, owner of 7 Little Cupcakes.What pizza chain did McDonald's own? ›
In 1999, Donatos was purchased by McDonald's in an attempt to enter the pizza industry.Who created the Grandma pizza? ›
Owner Umberto Corteo opened his pizzeria in 1965 and originally created the thin, square-shaped pie for staff before others convinced him to start serving it to the public, too. Since then, the pie has spread to fans across the country.Who owns pizza baby? ›
Dylan de Gouveia - Business Owner - Pizza Baby!