Updated
Sep 16th, 2019
First Posted
Aug 11th, 2019

Frozen Pizza Taste Test

I used to get a Pizza every Sunday night during the Soprano's years. I had a Sunday routine; Watch the late NFL games at Boulder Creek in Smithtown, Order a pizza at Branchinelli's, and home to watch the Soprano's. Or John From Cincinnati. Or 6 Feet Under. Then I moved to Fort Lauderdale. I tried to keep it going. It was the perfect storm of failure; Nothing on HBO I liked and bad pizza. Times Square was ok for a while. I occasionally got a good pie at Ats-A-Pizza. But eventually I gave up. Too many bad $20 pizzas.

I hadn't had a frozen pizza since I was a kid, and even then, only the stouffer's french bread pizza. Pizza was too good on Long Island to eat frozen pizza.

But you see all of these different brands of frozen pizza now. And some of them look pretty good. How could they all be worse than the stuff they're cranking out down here? It was time to give some of them a try.

Walmart's Three Meat Rising Crust

I had no intention of buying a Walmart's pizza. I was in the store looking to see if they carried brands I didn't find in other stores, and this one looked good on the box.

Now supermarkets don't have their own pizza factories; they buy surplus from some pizza company, so it's probably very similar to something else. What got me to buy this was the price. $2.97. Yes, this pizza was less than what most places are charging for a slice.

As usual, I broke the rules and defrosted it in the refrigerator. I took it out of the freezer at about 11am and it was defrosted by 8pm.

One thing about defrosting the pizza first; the dough is pretty flimsy, so getting it out of the plastic without messing up the pizza is challenging. I had to cut all around it a and slide it off onto a peel.

Not a bad looking pie. Not the best sausage but lots of pepperoni. I'm not sure what the "3rd" meat was.

Something unexpected was the disclaimer on the box:

The beef is made from chicken. That's a new one.

I added extra cheese to half of the pizza just in case it needed it. Adding some cheese to a $3 pizza seems like an ok thing to do.

I preheated the oven and put the pizza in at 515 degrees. 7 minutes later (more or less) the pizza was done.

Notice this looks nothing like the pizza on the box. I went a bit well done with this; I checked it every 30 seconds or so and at no time did it look like the pizza on the box.

I let it sit for about 5 minutes and then cut it.

Another few minutes until it was safe to eat without burning my mouth and I was eating. This was a pretty good pizza. Good tasting sauce. The pepperoni wasn't oily at all.

The crust is somewhat thick, but it was a good tasting crust. Totally edible to the edges. Both the extra cheese and the regular was good.

Verdict

From a pure taste standpoint, this pizza was better than a lot of $18 takeout pizzas I've gotten around Fort Lauderdale. Ideally I prefer a thinner crust, but when you get the sauce right, the pizza works. I had this with a $39 Barbaresco; kind of ironic to drink good wine with a $2.97 pizza.

Peps Taproom Double

I did a bit of research before I selected my first pie, but I have to admit that fact that this was on sale at Winn Dixie was the straw that broke the camel's back. $6.99.

Now all of these frozen pizzas tell you not to thaw them; to put them in the oven rock solid frozen and bake them for a half hour. Nonsense I say. Thaw the pizza first; just make sure you thaw it in the refrigerator and not at room temperature. If you put the frozen pizza in the fridge at 9am it will be thawed by 8pm.

Then I heated the oven to 550 degrees, which is as high as my oven goes. It will take 1/2 hour to heat up to 500+, so plan ahead. I have a pizza stone in my oven; this pie went right on the stone. Be careful because 550 degrees is really hot.

I didn't time it but I think it took about 6 or 7 minutes. Cook it until the cheese starts to brown and get all bubbly. You'll also need a pizza peel or something to get the pie out of the oven. Again, the oven is REALLY hot, so you want to get it out in 1 piece without burning yourself.

I think the "double" is double cheese. This pizza had a lot of cheese.

The Verdict

The sausage was lousy, and the crust was very frozen pizza-ish. Maybe like something you'd expect to get at a bar. The fresh mozzarella was largely contrived; not enough sauce. This pizza is a C at best.

Outsider's Detroit Pizza: Genoa Salami and Block Cheese

Next up was the Detroit style pizza from the Outsider's. Their web site says you can get these at Target or Winn Dixie, but my local Winn Dixie didn't have any of them. Target had all of them; and glory be, they were on sale! $6.99 for a pizza. They have bacon and BBQ and 3 cheese options; I went for the Genoa and block cheese. Genoa is less spicy than pepperoni but I thought maybe it would work.

The instructions say very clearly not to thaw before cooking:

So I put it in the fridge the night before and so it would be thawed the next day. Ever hear of anyone getting sick from eating a pizza right out of the oven?

It looked pretty good. They have a special plastic pan that crisps up the crust Detroit-style.

I heated the oven to 550 degrees and put the pie in the oven. One thing if you thaw it; I didn't really know how long it would take to cook. So I had to check on it regularly. I didn't clock it but I think it took about 10 minutes.

Not bad looking. I let it cool for about 15 minutes then slid it out of the container and cut it up.

The point of Detroit pizza is the crispy crust.

The description on the box says that this is a spicy sauce, but it's not spicy. It's actually not a bad tasting sauce and cheese. But there's not enough of it; it's a very thin layer.

So the pizza comes off as being too "bready". And the bread isn't all that tasty. The crispy edges were good; but it's too much bread and not enough pizza.

The Verdict

The thing with bready pizza is that it's easy to make yourself; just push a dough ball into a pan and you have a pizza. Stretching dough into an 18" disk is hard to do. While this pizza had good tasting sauce and cheese, it was just too much tasteless bread for me to buy again.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Al C
Reply
Why do you defrost when the directions say not to? Is this a secret move to make it taste better?
Truth teller
Reply
You're lying to yourself if you think the backwater companies who make these things have any idea about how to cook an authentic slice. Those directions are #fakenews.
Administrator
Reply
It just makes sense to me to cook it the way a real pizza is made. You don't throw a frozen steak or a frozen turkey in the oven. Thawing it makes it more difficult to handle, easier to burn the pizza (and yourself), and you have to have a pizza stone or pan because you can't just throw it on a rack. You really have to keep an eye on it because it can go from done to burned in 20 seconds at 550 degrees.

Most say that it's a food safety issue, but you're killing off any bacteria cooking it at high temperature so I'm not buying that. Notice the Detroit pizza says "cook it through to 165 degrees". Like I'm going to stick a thermometer in a pizza?

Next: Papaya Gyro