6 MIN READ
Which Frozen Pizza Reigns Supreme? We Put 6 Pies to a Taste Test to Find Out
Sometimes, it calls to you from the frozen food section of the grocery store.
You know there’s pizza down there.
But with so many options, so many toppings and such wide-ranging prices, how do you even know where to start?
This isn’t like dialing your local pizza shop for delivery and knowing you’ll get a solid pie made with some modicum of care. When you buy a frozen pizza at the grocery store, the onus is on you to not burn it to a crisp before it gets anywhere near your plate.
If a pizza involves work on your part (beyond scrambling to find a few wrinkled dollar bills so you can tip the delivery guy), it makes sense to get a good deal on it.
So we put our Penny Hoarders to the test: A group of five staffers each tried bites of six frozen pizzas that cost less than $6 each. They rated each pizza on taste and guessed what the pizza would cost at the store, as we didn’t tell them the price limit we set for each frozen specimen.
Some even guessed the brands they were tasting.
Which pizza won out? Which pizza cost the least? Read on.
1. Amy’s Cheese Pizza
We paid: $5.98
Penny Hoarder price guess: $3.86
Penny Hoarder score (out of a possible 5): 1.5
Maybe we shouldn’t have started our staffers off with a left-field entrant like Amy’s, which touts organic tomatoes and flour among its ingredients. When our staffs ranked this pizza on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest, Amy’s couldn’t break a two.
“It’s spongy,” Khiem Nguyen, senior Facebook engagement editor, said. “I’m thoroughly disappointed. He ate the whole sample slice, just to be sure.
Editorial intern Jacquelyn Pica and bookkeeper Natalie Williams didn’t care for the ingredient ratio. “I just taste sauce,” Pica noted.
“There’s not as much cheese,” Williams mused as she gazed at her plate. “I prefer more cheese than sauce.”
Great. These discerning tastemakers/picky eaters were off to a wonderful start.
2. Tombstone Five Cheese
We paid: $3.97
Penny Hoarder price guess: $5.40
Penny Hoarder score: 3.5
Tombstone pizza doesn’t even come in a box — just a slab of cardboard and shrink-wrapped plastic — but our panel was surprisingly upbeat.
Senior writer Dana Sitar gave this pizza a full five stars. “I’ve had this before. I like the flavor. The cheese is perfect,” she declared. “It tastes like it’s more expensive, like it comes in a nice box.”
“I’m a frozen pizza connoisseur, it’s going to be hard to trick me,” editor Robin Hartill said when she settled in for her tasting. She gave Tombstone a score of four and guessed it would cost $6, “Or a similar price to a Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready.”
3. Freschetta Brick Oven Crust 5 Italian Cheese
We paid: $4.98
Penny Hoarder price guess: $4.80
Penny Hoarder score: 3.6
If any pizza could get a “meh” score, it would be this one.
“It’s almost like Domino’s Cheesy Bread instead of pizza,” Hartill noted, making another reference to a pizza brand nowhere near anything we were tasting that day. Stop trying to elevate my frozen pizzas, Hartill.
“This is a lot more budget,” Sitar said. “It looks like college pizza, and it tastes like it, too.” When I asked her to guess how much it costs, she didn’t mince words. “$5 for 5.” Ouch.
Pica gave Freschetta a four for having “the best cheese,” and Nguyen and Williams (who estimated the price at a whopping $7) agreed.
“The burnt cheese tastes really good,” Nguyen nodded, a backhanded compliment to the chef (me).
4. Newman’s Own Thin and Crispy Four Cheese
We paid: $5.48
Penny Hoarder price guess: $3.75
Penny Hoarder score: 1.8
I’m sorry, handsome, deceased Paul Newman. I just need to stack all these pizza quotes here for impact.
Sitar: “This is more like garlic cheesy bread. It’s fine. It’s not even pizza.”
Hartill: “I’m not a big fan of it, yet I know I’ve had this many times. It tastes very familiar.” Meanwhile, she would not even admit a price she would expect to pay for this pizza. “Zero dollars,” she hissed.
Nguyen: “It’s got a nice bite. It’s crispy on top. No real flavor, though. Just good mouthfeel.”
Pica: “It looked crispy, but this cheese is not. It’s disappointing.”
Williams: “I like the flavoring, but the pizza is not so great.”
File under: sad trombone.
5. Red Baron Four Cheese
We paid: $3.50
Penny Hoarder price guess: $5.20
Penny Hoarder score: 2.9
After their scathing remarks about their fourth sample, the tasters seemed restless.
Hartill continued with the hard-to-follow references. “It tastes like something you’d get at a bowling alley,” she said of Red Baron’s pie.
Sitar first said she liked the amount of cheese, then decided she wanted more cheese. “But it tastes like a good cheap pizza,” she concluded.
“It’s just bread and tomato sauce,” Nguyen said, dismissing the Red Baron pie. “I mean, I’ll eat it. I’m eating it,” he said as he finished his slice. “But it has no real flavor.”
6. DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Four Cheese
We paid: $5.47
Penny Hoarder price guess: $6.99
Penny Hoarder score: 3.9 (Winner, winner pizza dinner!)
DiGiorno was the breadiest of them all, which almost fooled our tasters.
“It looks like not quite a frozen pizza,” Sitar said. “Almost like you could get it at a restaurant. She gave it a four rating, but called it a little bland. Her price guess? $8. High roller.
Hartill was confident from first glance. “I’m pretty sure I know which one this is,” she said, smiling. “Freschetta.” She gave it a 4.5 rating and guessed it cost $7.99.
Williams also gave this pie high marks, with a rating of 4.5 and a price guess of $6. “This one is probably my favorite,” she said.
But they were all surprised when we revealed which pie was which — and the brand that won. It was almost as if they were disappointed that one of the biggest names in the frozen pizza game — and arguably the one with the most memorable ads – beat out so many other options.
But DiGiorno has secured its place in our bellies (and wallets).
OK, Pizza Lovers. What Did We Learn?
Our lessons are simple, yet almost profound:
You can get decent frozen pizza for cheaper than you think.
Don’t expect the highest price you see to guarantee a good cheese-to-sauce ratio or overall taste satisfaction.
And never call yourself a frozen pizza connoisseur unless you come to the tasting table with the ultimate confidence.
Your Turn: Which frozen pizza is your favorite?
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder, covering mostly pizza-related topics. She burned herself twice while making six pizzas.