It’s Thanksgiving week and you’re running around like a chicken (um, turkey) with your head cut off—shortcuts *must* be made. What’s on the chopping block this year? Stuffing? Mashed potatoes? Nope: It’s dessert. Lucky for you, there are plenty of pre-made crusts on the market, so you can have your pumpkin pie and uh…yeah, anyway. Here are the four best store-bought pie crusts that are guaranteed to make your 2023 holiday baking easier.
The 4 Best Store-Bought Pie Crusts to Ease Your Holiday Baking Stress in 2023
Because a hostess is only as clever as her shortcuts
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The Best Store-Bought Pie Crust at a Glance
How We Chose the Best Store-Bought Pie Crusts
We kept our selection limited to pre-made pie crusts, avoiding dry mixes that required additional ingredients and mixing. (This is about convenience, after all.) Also, assuming not everyone has the pastry cook-level knowledge or experience baking pie crusts to freestyle, we tried to follow the directions for each crust as closely as possible. That meant resisting the urge to add pie weights if not called for and following temperature indications. Tasting the crusts required baking them a little further, so after analyzing each crust at a par-baked level, we popped it back in the oven until fully cooked.
Here are five factors we used to determine which store-bought pie crust reigns supreme:
- Value: Based on taste and quality of ingredients, is it worth the money?
- Ease of Use: How simple is it to prepare? Were the instructions clear and accurate? Was it *actually* more convenient than homemade?
- Quality: What’s it made of? Are the ingredients high quality? Are there a lot of mystery additions or preservatives?
- Texture: Is it flaky and tender, or is it tough?
- Flavor: Does it taste buttery and toasty or bland and dry? Are there any weird aftertastes or chemical flavors?
A Word on Baking Pies at Home
Fact: A total dud of a pie can look like a million bucks until you bite in, and a great-tasting pie crust can still slump in the pan even more than your teenage cousin slumped over his cellphone at the dinner table. That's why we avoided basing our ratings on characteristics like shrinking and slumping because they’re ultimately the result of technique more so than ingredients.
While looks aren't everything when it comes to the final product, they are quite helpful in the baking process. Don't feel strictly beholden to package cooking times because, *steps onto soap box,* you should always rely on visual cues when determining doneness.
Read on for our picks for the best store-bought pie crust you can buy in 2023.
This article reflects prices at publication that may change or vary according to location.
Best Store-Bought Pie Crust Overall
- Tastes and looks homemade
- Buttery, flaky and tender
- Large enough to crimp the edge
- Dough was cracked and required some finessing
- Value: 20/20
- Ease of Use: 16/20
- Quality: 17/20
- Texture: 18/20
- Flavor: 19/20
Trader Joe, you’ve outdone yourself again. In our notes for this pie crust, we wrote, “honestly great?” and that’s coming from a former pastry cook. The rollout-style rounds came from the freezer section, so we followed the instructions to thaw in the fridge overnight and bring to room temperature for about 45 minutes before using. Even so—and this is our biggest qualm—the crust cracked significantly when we rolled it from its plastic sheath. (We worried it was user error, but the box actually mentions this, and instructs you to knead it back together with a rolling pin—it was fine.)
We appreciated that TJ’s gives detailed instructions similar to a cookbook recipe—it’s the only crust we tried that suggested pie weights. Save for the cracking, the dough felt most like a homemade version, and there was plenty of overhang to make a pretty crimped crust. It tasted like the real deal, too, thanks to the fat: flaky, tender, slightly sweet and oh so buttery.
Best Last-Minute Store-Bought Pie Crust
- Easy instructions, handling and baking
- No thawing
- Not large enough to crimp
- Contains hydrogenated fat (and no butter)
- Value: 18/20
- Ease of Use: 19/20
- Quality: 16/20
- Texture: 17/20
- Flavor: 16/20
If you completely forgot that you need to make a pie and are crunched on time, first of all, we salute your commitment. Second, Pillsbury’s refrigerated pie crust is your new BFF. The rollout-style crust is available in the refrigerator section instead of the freezer, so you won’t even need to thaw it beyond a 15-minute rest at room temp before use. We found it easy to handle and quick to par-bake, and the instructions were easy to follow and seemed accurate based on the results.
However, there are a few trade-offs for the convenience: It’s just large enough to fit a standard pie plate, but too thin to roll out for overhang if you prefer an elaborate crimp. It’s also made with lard and “hydrogenated lard,” which lack the flavor of butter. (There was a very slight chemical aftertaste, too.) The texture was flaky but not the most tender of the bunch, possibly due to the overall thinness.
Best Organic Store-Bought Pie Crust
- Made with organic ingredients
- Easy to handle
- Too small and thin for a fancy crimp
- Value: 17/20
- Ease of Use: 18/20
- Quality: 18/20
- Texture: 16/20
- Flavor: 18/20
For a pie crust with organic ingredients, we recommend Wholly Wholesome’s organic traditional pie dough in the freezer section. The roll-out crusts call for thawing at room temperature for a few hours before using, and though we found the dough slightly delicate, it was otherwise smooth sailing. One downside, though, was that the dough was already too thin to roll out further but didn’t leave enough overhang to make more than a fork crimp. The texture was slightly more crumbly than flaky, but it was tender and pleasantly toasty (albeit a little bland). When we checked the ingredients, we saw organic palm fruit shortening was the fat, which explains the lack of butter flavor and slightly short texture.
Best Pre-Shaped Shell
- No crimping or rolling required
- Short thawing time
- Very flaky
- No ability to customize the crimp
- Puffed up in oven and cracked after cooling (but could be remedied with pie weights)
- Value: 17/20
- Ease of Use: 19/20
- Quality: 17/20
- Texture: 19/20
- Flavor: 16/20
Sometimes rolling and crimping is simply not in the cards—enter a pre-shaped pie shell in an aluminum tin. The Marie Callender’s deep-dish freezer version (as far as we know, the only version) requires little more than a ten-minute thaw, a quick docking with a fork and a 15-minute bake. This makes for an ultra-convenient crust, but we found that without pie weights, the bottom domed in the oven and left a crack once it cooled. However, the flavor was inoffensively plain and the texture was surprisingly flaky for being made with soybean oil.
The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.