We Tried 7 Brands and Found the Best Frozen Pizza

There's no such thing as bad pizza, so we set out to find the best. See which frozen pizza brand took the top spot in our taste test.

There is nothing quite like the zesty, spicy freshness of a homemade pizza. On the other hand, on a busy night, there’s nothing easier than popping a frozen pizza in the oven. Crispy, cheesy and packed with pepperoni, you can’t go wrong. I mean, you know the saying: There’s no such thing as bad pizza.

Table filled with unmarked pizzas with taste testers gathered aroundPhoto: Taste of Home
Photo: Taste of Home

Or is there? I recruited a handful of taste-testers for the difficult task of sampling a pizzeria’s worth of pepperoni pies. While we acknowledged that these wouldn’t live up to our top 10 homemade varieties, we also knew that a frozen pizza after a long day (or night) can really hit the spot. So we grabbed seven different brands to try. Would the usual suspects–Tombstone, Red Baron and DiGiorno–prevail, or would choice options like California Pizza Kitchen or new-comer Screamin’ Sicilian be worth the premium price? Read on to see which pizza had us going for an extra slice.

7. California Pizza Kitchen Signature Pepperoni

California pizza kitchen pizza on a platterPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 2.3/10

“The sauce tastes like ketchup.”

At the very bottom of our list was a pepperoni pie from California Pizza Kitchen. We had high hopes for this brand since many of our taste-testers were fans of the restaurant, but it didn’t quite live up to its name.

Out of the oven, you could tell straight away that the pizza was different than the rest: Diced tomatoes and generous flecks of basil dotted the pizza in addition to the pepperoni. Our testers all agreed that this pizza looked the most appetizing, but once we dug in we were disappointed by the taste. The crust was overly thin, there wasn’t enough pepperoni to satisfy our appetites, and the sauce was bland and ketchup-y. As for those pretty tomatoes and basil? They didn’t taste fresh and our testers all agreed that these additions took away from the overall flavor.

6. Jack’s Pepperoni Pizza

Jack's pizza on a platterPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 2.9/10

“Tastes like cheesy cardboard.”

Jack’s ranked slightly better than California Pizza Kitchen. This frozen pizza was a slumber party classic for many testers, but ultimately it didn’t taste as great as we all remembered. While the tangy sauce was notable, the cracker-like crust and greasy pepperoni didn’t earn any pizza any points. Our testers agreed: This was the quintessential cheap, frozen pizza.

5. Tombstone Original Pepperoni Pizza

Tombstone pepperoni pizza on a platterPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 3.8/10

“This is nothing special.”

Scoring fifth in our test was the classic Tombstone pizza. This pizza looked a little more substantial than our lower-ranked slices, and it had the perfect sauce-to-crust ratio. But the thick crust was almost too thick. Testers compared it to chunky cardboard. And the pepperoni, which had a distinct caraway flavor, left us longing for even more spice.

4. Red Baron Classic Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Red Baron pepperoni pizza on a platterPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 5.1/10

“This is a typical frozen pizza.”

Barely nudging out Screamin’ Sicilian for the number three spot was Red Baron’s classic thin crust pizza. Many of our reviewers remarked that this is exactly what they expect from a frozen pizza, though that didn’t mean the pie was a favorite. The crust was fairly bland (though it crisped up nicely in the oven) and it was topped with an ordinary, underseasoned red sauce. The pie’s saving grace was its tasty and spicy pepperoni–we just wished there was more.

3. Screamin’ Sicilian Holy Pepperoni Pizza

Screamin' Sicilian Holy Pepperoni PizzaPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 5.3/10

“This tastes like bowling alley pizza, which is fine … if you’re bowling.”

Coming in right in the middle was Screamin’ Sicilian’s pepperoni-packed pizza. The box boasted zesty tomato sauce, thick-chopped pepperoni and real Wisconsin cheeses. It had to be good, right?

Well, our testers definitely noticed the bold tomato sauce laced with a light Italian seasoning blend. And when it came to the pepperoni, we were thoroughly impressed. This pizza piled on more toppings than any other we tried, and we all loved how the chopped pepperoni slices crisped up in the oven. But what about this brand’s third claim to fame, the cheese? That’s where this pizza fell flat. We found the cheese to be bland and the overabundance made the pizza a bit greasy.

2. DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza

DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Pepperoni PizzaPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 5.7/10

“For a thick crust pizza, it’s not dense at all.”

Second place goes to DiGiorno Original. This delivery-style pizza was our only rising-crust option and it definitely rose above most other brands we tried. Immediately the crew of taste-testers made note of the thick, chewy crust. While the crust looked doughy and heavy, we were pleasantly surprised at how light it was. The only drawback was that the crust had a bit of a sweet flavor, which wasn’t well-received.

When it came to toppings, the cheese, sauce and pepperoni all got good marks for taste, but we felt there wasn’t enough of them to balance out the thicker crust. A side of marinara for dipping would have made this pizza perfect.

1. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Thin Crust Pepperoni PizzaPhoto: Taste of HomePhoto: Taste of Home

Score: 6.1/10

“I’d be the spokesperson for this pizza.”

At the top of our list: Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value pizza. Our testers were shocked when this store-brand pie was unveiled. How could generic taste so good? (Well, they’ve topped out a few of our past taste tests! Check which dill pickles and salsa brands were our favorites.)

What set this pizza apart? It’s perfectly seasoned. The sauce was blended with oregano, garlic and basil. As one tester put it, “There’s a lot more going on here than pepperoni.” But what really pushed this pizza to the No. 1 spot was its irresistible crust. Crispy, golden, and just a little thicker than a normal thin crust, it tasted like it had been brushed with garlic butter. This added another dimension to an already flavor-packed pizza. When it came to this one, there were no leftovers.

To recap, here were our rankings, from our favorites on down: Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value, DiGiorno, Screamin’ Sicilian, Red Baron, Tombstone, Jack’s and California Pizza Kitchen.

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The Takeaways

Pizzas are unpredictable

When the results of this blind taste test were unveiled, we were all stunned. A premium brand at the bottom? A store brand at the top? Classic, budget and choice brands mixed in the middle? There was no correlation between taste and price or brand recognition. This makes for an unpredictable pizza-buying experience, but that’s why we’re here to help!

It’s all about the ratio

Pizza after pizza, one piece of judging criteria became critical: the ratio of crust to sauce to cheese to toppings. When it came to our lowest-scoring pizzas, the too-thin crust was an issue for our testers. How could a cracker support all the other ingredients? And when it came to DiGiorno, our number two pick, the lack of cheese and sauce is what cost it the crown.

It’s not the real deal

Although we definitely found some new favorite brands for busy nights, we all agreed that none of these pies lived up to our perfect-pizza expectations. Any way you slice it, a frozen pizza is a frozen pizza–it will never taste like delivery. And it certainly won’t taste as good as one of these 33 homemade varieties.

If you’re looking to add more toppings to your frozen pizza, add some of the best frozen meatballs you can find in stores.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.