Frozen pizza taste test

Ellio Pizza

Ellio’s pizza modded with anchovies and chopped pickled cherry peppers. Not as good as it looks.

The other day I planned to get take out pizza from DeFazio’s, an excellent source in Troy NY. I somehow overshot the store and decided I would purchase a frozen pizza instead. I should add I had broken my arm a couple days previous and was probably addled by pain/prospect of pain meds at home, because this was not a good decision.

Freschetta Frozen Pizza

Freschetto Pizza with mods

To maximize my options, I stopped at one of the larger Price Chopper stores. Man, they carry a lot of frozen pizza—an entire aisle of it, not counting the pizza rolls in the next case over. I settled on the 5 Italian Cheese Pizza from Freschetta—a brand that promised me real cheese and a “Brick Oven™ Crust” (so now you know who owns the trademark “Brick Oven”, right?). I hacked it with chopped pickled cherry peppers, some anchovies and some leftover cooked spinach and cooked according to package directions.

Ellio's Pizza

Ellio’s three-cut pizza, one of three in the box

The Freschetta pizza turned out okay…on the low end of pizza store quality…except for a strange, pasty crust that seemed not to include yeast. This experience made me curious and I started exploring “best frozen pizza” on the listicle websites. I found a lot of opinions, not much consensus, but I did see some love for Totino’s, a brand I remember liking in my youth.

Totino Party Pizza

Torino’s Party Pizza: not much of a party

I returned to Price Chopper, and discovered the personal size Totino’s Party Pizza (350 calories, 18 g fat) is just $1.25. There’s a code for an Xbox game on the package, so the pizza is effectively free. Feeling like I hit the jackpot, I also picked up a Red Baron Deep Dish Singles (2 for $1.50) and Ellio’s Five Cheese Pizza ($2 for 9 slices). By comparison, the Freschetta had been a stately $5.99.

Red Baron

Red Baron Deep Dish Supreme: just vile

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you I would not consider buying any of these products again, except maybe Ellio’s which is like an inoffensive cheese bread. The Red Baron was a crime against Chicago Style deep dish pizza. (Didn’t they used to sell that frozen, Uno brand, by the way?) The Totino had an interesting crackery crust but an oily topping that smelled and tasted like used motor oil.

It doesn’t seem like it would be hard to make a frozen pizza that’s within a country mile of fresh baked. And some of the reviewers suggested that house brands, like Wegman’s and Trader Joe, may be okay. But there’s no excuse for the products I tried. Their very existence, and the fact they seem to be selling, makes me sad.

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6 Responses to Frozen pizza taste test

  1. Judith says:

    Why don’t you try and make a good frozen pizza! Many goals here. You pick! I’d like a pizza with a terrific crust (any kind will do). Others may have different criteria.

    • Burnt My Fingers says:

      Well, the crust was definitely the worst thing about all of these products so I’d start there. Maybe make your own dough (Pizza D’oh on this website is a good and reliable method), shape it to fit a gallon freezer bag, freeze, add toppings when it is stiff then freeze again. Gonna try this once I get the bad taste of this experiment out of my mouth.

  2. JB says:

    pizza dough:

    500g bread flour
    10g salt
    5g sugar
    1 tsp instant yeast

    pulse in a food processor to bring together
    add 315g of water
    add 10g of oil as the dough comes together and process 45 seconds
    divide and knead to smooth balls
    ferment covered in lightly oiled container until doubled (this takes about 5hrs @ 60F)

    alternatively, you can use 1/4 tsp yeast and ferment the fridge for 48 hrs. Remove 3 hrs before use.

    • Burnt My Fingers says:

      This looks solid, thanks. West Coast readers will be flummoxed by the 60F reference, but that’s what we have to deal with.

  3. JB says:

    I agree with the Ellio’s. If you’re going to eat frozen pizza, it’s best to eat something that doesn’t even pretend to be pizza.

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