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Taste Test: The Best Frozen Pizzas

We taste-tested dozens of frozen pizzas from the grocery store and online to find our favorites -- these top-scoring pies really deliver.
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BEST OVERALL

American Flatbread Cheese and Herb

George Schenk started making pizzas for friends in his wood-fired stove 23 years ago, and we can see why his pies caught on: Judges raved over the extracrisp crust -- each pizza is handmade and parbaked in a clay oven. The resounding favorite: Cheese and Herb, topped with garlic oil, salt, parsley, oregano, marjoram and three cheeses. "It's pizza in its purest form," one taster said, "simple and earthy." ($11.40 for 14 ounces, americanflatbread.com for stores)

BEST CHEESE

Wolfgang Puck All-Natural Margherita

Spago's celeb chef elevated pizza to gourmet status in the 1980s with toppings like salmon and duck -- and he swept our cheese competition with this simple recipe from the frozen pizza line: mozzarella, tomatoes and basil-garlic sauce on a honeyinfused crust. Tasters raved over the "big, pretty" tomato slices and strong flavors of olive oil and herbs: "It tastes like fresh pesto." ($6 for 14.5 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST PEPPERONI

Tombstone Pepperoni

Tasters called it "one generously topped" pie, and they were right: The company recently increased its pepperoni by 50 percent, tossing additional meat into the slightly sweet anise-and-oregano-spiced sauce. The supermarket standby also scored big for its "thick and salty" slices: Said one judge, "They don't try to get away with skinny pieces." ($5 for 21.6 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST VEGETABLE

DiGiorno Rising Crust Spinach, Mushroom & Garlic

These pies are frozen raw, not prebaked, so they cook completely in the home oven -- and judges loved the resulting crust. "It's doughy on the inside and crisp on the outside," said one taster. And unlike most sparsely topped veggie pizzas, this welldecorated pie is smothered with "loads of spinach" and "fresh-tasting mushrooms." ($6 for 30.3 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST SAUSAGE

Home Run Inn Deep Dish Sausage

Die-hard fans practically demanded that this 60-year-old Chicago pizza joint hawk its pies online and in grocery stores, and now the product outsells big brands in the Midwest. Tasters said the inside-out deep-dish pie is worth the fuss, praising its "crunchy crust," "big tomato chunks" and "juicy sausage." ($7 for 25 ounces, homeruninn.com for stores)

BEST CRUST

Amy's Kitchen 3-Cheese Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

Freezers aren't always kind to pizza crust -- many we tasted were too doughy, too dense or too limp. But judges loved this unique recipe, noting the "great cornmeal texture." Cheese lovers will like this one, too -- it's topped with mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheese, plus chopped tomatoes. ($7.10 for 14.5 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST ODDBALL

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken

This pizza chain lays claim to inventing barbecue chicken pizza -- and whether or not it really did, the company has mastered the recipe. The frozen supermarket version of its restaurant pie beat plenty of wacky pizzas. Judges loved the "tangy" sauce and "mountain of toppings" -- chicken, red onion, cilantro, mozzarella and gouda. ($5.70 for 13 ounces, at grocery stores)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in March 2008.

 

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