What’s the Best Frozen Pizza Under $10? We Tried 15 Brands & Ranked Them All

This graphic shows 15 frozen pizzas stacked up, which were reviewed for the story.
Illustration by Chris Zuppa and photo by Robert Bruce/The Penny Hoarder
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Let’s be honest. Even though we spend billions on it, frozen pizza isn’t known for high quality ingredients. The least of which is often a crust that tastes like wet cardboard.

So can you find a frozen pizza that’s actually good? For a good price?

To find out, I recently set out on a frozen pizza adventure — a multi-week binge that likely stretched my waistline and did a number on my arteries.

The goal of this mozzarella-fueled marathon was to review and rank as many frozen pizzas as I could get my hands on — without spending more than $10 per pizza. I tried every store brand (Aldi, Publix, Trader Joe’s, etc.) I could find along with big brand names, like Digiorno and Red Baron.

Ordering groceries online? A free site called Rakuten works with just about every online store you shop at, and they can make sure you get some cash back every time you buy.

The Rules of the Frozen Pizza Game

These are the bylaws of my quest to find the best frozen pizzas.

  1. I’m only reviewing cheese pizzas. If a brand can make a quality cheese pizza (the base of all other pizzas), I can trust it to make pies with all the toppings. There are too many variables to include other kinds and more stuff can mask the quality of basic ingredients. And, for people like me, a meat-lover’s pizza will beat a cheese pizza 99 times out of 100.
  2. I’m following the instructions. The brand should be able to tell me exactly how long to cook their masterpiece. That said, if the pizza is seriously undercooked or verging on inedible charcoal, I’ll adjust.
  3. This will be a blind tasting. I know what I bought, but I will not know which pizza I am devouring. My lovely helper — that’s my wife — will prepare each pizza and hide the box in another room as I wait patiently. I don’t want a store brand or a price point to cloud my taste buds. If the $3 store brand pizza is better than the $9 name brand, so be it.
  4. My two boys will be involved. My sons, 12 and 9, love pizza as much as any kid has ever loved pizza. They would eat it every night if we let them. They are pizza sommeliers, and their taste buds might have different expectations than their 47-year-old father who will eat anything at least once (sweet breads aren’t cinnamon rolls, friends). We will rank the pizzas separately.
  5. I’ll be ranking pizzas based on sauce, cheese and crust. Each will be weighted equally, though I’m a little biased toward crust. A crappy crust will ruin an otherwise good pizza. I considered including appearance — probably because I watch too many competitive cooking shows — but decided against it. All of these pizzas ranged from looking sad to really sad, honestly. And this is a frozen pizza, not a beef Wellington.

This graphic ranks frozen cheese pizza from worst to first. It shows the rank, the price we paid, and the score. The highest score that could be awarded is five cheese slices. 15.  Palermo’s Primo Thin, Five Cheese Pizza Cost: $7.99. Rating: 0.7 slice. 14. Mama Cozzi’s Pizza Kitchen Cost: $3.49 Rating: 1.0 slice 13. Publix Four Cheese, Rising Crust Pizza Cost: $5 Rating: 2.0 slices 12. 365 by Whole Foods Thin Crust Pizza Cost: $5.39 Rating: 2.3 slices 11. Tombstone Five Cheese Pizza Cost: $4.40 Rating: 2.7 slices 10. Trader Joe's Organic Three Cheese Pizza Cost: $4.99 Rating: 3.0 slices 9. Amy’s Organic Cheese Pizza Cost: $9.47 Rating: 3.3 slices 8. Sprouts Four Cheese Pizza Cost: $8.99 Rating: 3.5 slices 7. Red Baron Classic Crust Four Cheese Pizza Cost: $4.99 Rating: 3.7 slices 6. Digiorno Four Cheese Thin Crust Pizza Cost: $7.34 Rating: 3.9 slices 5. California Pizza Kitchen Four Cheese Crispy Thin Crust Pizza Cost: $8.99 Rating: 4 slices 4. Kroger Self-Rising Crust Four Cheese Pizza Cost: $4.39 Rating: 4.2 slices 3. Freschetta Brick Oven Crust Five Cheese Pizza Cost: $6.36 Rating: 4.3 slices 2. Newman’s Own Thin and Crispy Crust Four Cheese Pizza Cost: $8.79 Rating: 4.5 slices 1. Home Run Inn Cheese Classic Pizza Cost: $10.59 Rating: 4.8 slices

15 Frozen Cheese Pizzas Under $10, Ranked

Now, let’s get this taste test started. We’ll start at the bottom, based on my rankings. I’m adding in the kids’ rankings for fun. So what’s the best frozen pizza? Well, I can tell you what isn’t …

A photo of the box of Palermo's Primo Thin pizza.
Robert Bruce/The Penny Hoarder

15. Palermo’s Primo Thin, Five Cheese Pizza

Cost: $7.99

Rating: 0.7/5 (That’s POINT 7, not 7) • Kids 1

I’m not even sure what to say here.

Calling this Palermo’s pizza bad is a disservice to bad pizzas. This was borderline inedible. I’ve eaten a lot of bad pizzas, and this one was just a sight to behold. And at $8, this is highway robbery!

It looked bad, and tasted worse. The crust was thin cardboard. The cheese — mozzarella, white cheddar, provolone, Parmesan and Romano — just had no taste. The only thing that kept this pizza from a flat zero is the “zesty marinara sauce” that maybe had some salt in it to bring a hint of something to this lifeless rice cake.

“It tastes like cardboard and cheese. No flavor at all.” — my kids

14. Mama Cozzi’s Pizza Kitchen

Cost: $3.49

Rating: 1.0/5 • Kids 2.8

Mama Cozzi’s is the Aldi brand and, dear God, this was not good. Aldi does usually offer good food for a good price, but I’ve had bowling alley pizza that seemed like it came from a Michelin-star chef when compared to Mama Cozzi’s.

It was bland, flat, lifeless, almost like it had been pressed under a steamroller. The little bit of cheese was OK, but the minimal amount of sauce was weak and just not flavorful. The crust absolutely sucked. It reminded me a little of the stale bread chips my church used to serve during the Lord’s Supper.

The package says “made with real cheese” and “new recipe!” If this was the new recipe, I’d hate to try the old one.

“Nope.” — my kids

13. Publix Four Cheese, Rising Crust Pizza

Cost: $5

Rating: 2.0/5 • Kids 3.3

This one hurt. When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m a Publix fanboy. It’s my go-to. I’ve bought many Publix brand items and been pleased.

The self-rising crust was a little fluffier than other thinner crusts, but it was just tasteless and doughy. I even cooked it to the maximum of 23 minutes at 400 degrees. The cheese to sauce ratio was good, but that was really the only thing this pizza had going for it.

The box says the pizza has “mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses with classic seasonings on a rising crust.” Whatever those “classic seasonings “ are, this pizza needs more of them.

The back of the box suggests adding your own toppings to give the pizza more flavor. You’re telling on yourself here, Publix.

“I like Publix’s penne pasta better than this.” — my kids

12. 365 by Whole Foods Thin Crust Pizza

Cost: $5.39

Rating: 2.3/5 • Kids 3.7

Even bougie brand pizzas can suck. I’ve got to be honest — I expected more from Whole Foods. I’ve had really good products from its 365 brand. This cheese pizza is not one of them.

This four-cheese pizza includes mozzarella, fontina, provolone and Parmesan, which would seem to pop. I don’t know how four cheeses could be this bland.

They should call this cheese bread. That would be more accurate. The sauce was almost non-existent. The crust seemed weighed down and lifeless, like it was depressed from holding the flavorless elements of this pizza together.

My kids actually liked this one, because, I guess, cheese!

“You’re being too harsh, Dad.” — my kids

11. Tombstone Five Cheese Pizza

Cost: $4.40

Rating: 2.7/5 • Kids 3.1

Another five-cheese pizza that just lacks much flavor and is one of the greasiest pizzas.

This Tombstone pizza features mozzarella, cheddar, Asiago, Romano and Parmesan cheese, and the box claims a “bold and zesty” sauce with “full on flavor.” That’s what we call marketing, friends.

It’s more mediocre than bad. I guess you could say it’s a decent bowling alley pizza you might have with a Coors Light on Friday night.

“There’s way too much red sauce, and the crust is OK.” — my kids

The box of Trader Joe's Organic Three Cheese Pizza.
Robert Bruce/The Penny Hoarder

10. Trader Joe’s Organic Three Cheese Pizza

Cost: $4.99

Rating: 3.0/5 • Kids 3.1

I’m starting to discover I’m really big on the cheese-to-sauce ratio. I’m not sure exactly what the correct balance is, but this isn’t it.

Trader Joe’s cheese pizza features copious amounts of sauce. And where’s the cheese? This pizza is the polar opposite of Publix. It’s almost like they spread the sauce on the crust, sprinkled a handful of cheese and called it a day.

That said, the crust is outstanding. You can truly taste the brick oven flavor. One of the best crusts.

“Lots of sauce.” — my kids

9. Amy’s Organic Cheese Pizza

Cost: $9.47

Rating: 3.3/5 • Kids 3.6

A higher price brings higher expectations. At $9.47, Amy’s Organic Cheese Pizza was the second most expensive — and that was after I received a $1.52 discount at Publix.

Does this taste like a $10 frozen pizza? Nope. The crust had good flavor and a little fluff, even though it was super thin. It reminded me of a Pizza Hut or Jet’s style crust. (Detroit-style pizza trumps all others. Fight me.)

Other than that, everything was just thin and minimalistic. Again, the box notes you can add toppings to the cheese pizza — one that uses only mozzarella.

What if I just want a cheese pizza, Amy? Maybe I’m not keen on adding arugula or sliced red onions to my pizza. This is a decent pizza, but it’s just way overpriced for what you get.

“Whatever.” — my kids

8. Sprouts Four Cheese Pizza

Cost: $8.99

Rating: 3.5/5 • Kids 3

I wanted to hate this one because it looked very sad — even sadder than other frozen cheese pizzas, and that’s a lot of sad.

It looked small and forgettable but it tasted much better than it looked. The thin crust was crispy and had flavor from the wood fire. The sauce was a little heavier than the four cheeses and had a slight sweetness with an appropriate hint of garlic.

It’s really hard to dress up a frozen cheese pizza, but maybe Sprouts could try? This pizza does go to show, however, it’s not all in the looks. (That’s what my wife said when she married me, too.)

This is also the first pizza I rated higher than my kids did.

“I don’t really like this sauce.” — my kids

7. Red Baron Classic Crust Four Cheese Pizza

Cost: $4.99

Rating: 3.7/5 • Kids 4.3

This Red Baron classic features a four-cheese combo of mozzarella, cheddar, provolone and Parmesan. The sauce-to-cheese ratio was pretty on point.

What stands out is the thick crust. It’s the best textured crunch of the bunch so far, with the perfect amount of thickness to crispiness.

The back of the box says the pizza is “Not too thick. Not too thin. With just the right amount of crunch.” I’d say that’s accurate marketing.

“This crust is insane.” — my kids

6. Digiorno Four Cheese Thin Crust Pizza

Cost: $7.34

Rating: 3.9/5 • Kids 4

The recommended 15-minute cook time was a little off. It looked a little under, so I added three minutes and that seemed about right.

This Digiorno pizza had a great ratio of cheese and sauce. The mozzarella, Parmesan, Asiago and Romano were delicious, though the sauce lacked the tasty notes that some of the higher ranked pizzas have.

Lastly, the crust tasted authentic with the perfect amount of crunch. Solid frozen pizza.

“This one had the best cheese and sauce mixture yet.” — my kids

The pizza box for California Pizza Kitchen four cheese pizza.
Robert Bruce/The Penny Hoarder

5. California Pizza Kitchen Four Cheese Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

Cost: $8.99

Rating: 4/5 • Kids 2.8

My kids weren’t a fan of this one, but I thought it was a really good pizza. The cheese to sauce ratio was cheese heavy, but the flavors melded.

I could taste the herbs in the tomato sauce, and the cheeses packed a punch as well, with two types of mozzarella, fontina and hickory-smoked gouda. No standard, boring cheese here. The crust was excellent for a thin crust.

I didn’t have high expectations because I don’t recall anything memorable from the few times I’ve been to CPK restaurants. But this store offering is a good pizza.

“The crust was good. The cheese overwhelmed the sauce.” — my kids

4. Kroger Self-Rising Crust Four Cheese Pizza

Cost: $4.39

Rating: 4.2/5 • Kids 4.4

I didn’t see this coming, friends. Maybe it’s my own faulty perceptions, but if you told me that Kroger would rank No. 4 and Publix No. 13, I would have said no way. It has to be the opposite.

It’s not. This Kroger pizza is really good. The mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses stand out. They are balanced well by a flavorful sauce that’s not too much and not too little.

The crust wasn’t as tasty, but the texture was on point and it held up to the amount of sauce on the pizza. Well done, Kroger.

“This sauce is very flavorful.” — my kids

3. Freschetta Brick Oven Crust Five Cheese Pizza

Cost: $6.36

Rating: 4.3/5 • Kids 3.4

To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with this brand. I was simply looking for as many different brands as I could find on the pizza aisle at Publix.

Freschetta is a name with flair that gives an impression of freshness and quality. It delivered. The sauce has a touch of sweetness and a small kick. That added with an appropriate amount of herbs, which were even visible in the fresh-tasting sauce, made for an outstanding bite.

The five cheeses — mozzarella, provolone, fontina, Asiago and Parmesan — were just fine, but the sauce was the standout here.

The crust was also excellent for a flat crust. I was impressed by how airy this crust is despite its thinness. I’ll definitely remember Freschetta as an excellent frozen cheese pizza.

“It’s good, but not as good as you think, Dad.” — my kids

2. Newman’s Own Thin and Crispy Crust Four Cheese Pizza

Cost: $8.79

Rating: 4.5/5 • Kids 4.1

Absolutely delightful.

The tomato sauce was flavorful. The four cheeses — whole milk mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and Asiago — really popped. I could taste herbs and garlic. Nothing was overwhelming. Just a great balance in this pizza.

It doesn’t look anything special, even on the box. I think that’s because really thin crust pizzas just inherently look sad. I was prepared to dislike the crust for that very reason, but I was wrong there as well. I could even see herbs in this crust.

If you could pair Newman’s cheese and sauce with Amy’s crust, you may have the perfect frozen cheese pizza.

Bravo, Mr. Newman.

“This one hits different.” — my kids

The pizza box for Home Run Inn pizza.
Robert Bruce/The Penny Hoarder

1. Home Run Inn Cheese Classic Pizza

Cost: $10.59

Rating: 4.8/5 • Kids 4.7

If heaven offers a pizzeria, Home Run Inn will be there. This is how it’s done.

Yes, it is 59 cents over the $10 limit. But the price was so close, and I’ve heard so much about Home Run Inn, I just had to include it.

This Home Run pizza has a weight to it. The cheese to sauce ratio is perfection, and it tastes as good as it looks. This pizza does something many of the multi-cheese pizzas couldn’t do — offer cheese with flavor. And Home Run Inn does it with just one type of cheese: whole milk mozzarella (just like Newman’s Own).

Maybe it’s the quality of the mozzarella cheese, but it hits the palette like no other pizza does. One more thing about the cheese. It’s actually layered on top of the sauce instead of shredded. I love this technique.

The tomato sauce is bold, flavorful and holds up the cheese. The crust, not as strong as, yet still flaky and crispy.

Of the 15 frozen cheese pizzas we tried, this was one undoubtedly the best.

This Home Run Inn pizza really knocked it out of the park, pun intended. I’ll be happy to take marketing royalties if you’re interested, Home Run Inn people.

“Looked good. Smelled good. Tasted good. 12 out 5.” — my kids

Robert Bruce is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering earning, saving and managing money. He has written about personal finance for more than a decade.