Tasting frozen store-bought pizzas


Jaclyn Levine

Store-bought frozen pizza boxes

Since the closure of restaurants on March 20 due to California’s stay-at-home order, some people aren’t feeling motivated to cook a full meal. With possibly hundreds more meals to prepare, due to the indefinite end of the quarantine crisis, planning all those meals can be an overwhelming task.

Judging by the barren peanut butter section in the store, it’s safe to say that peanut butter sandwiches are being eaten by the masses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To add some variety to the daily monotony, store-bought frozen pizza could become quarantine-lunch No. 49 or quarantine-dinner No. 67. 

After baking and tasting five frozen pizzas, I ranked them from my least favorite to favorite. The brands I bought from the supermarket freezer aisle were Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza Co., Urban Pie Pizza Co., Devour Pizza, Newman’s Own Thin and Crispy Pizza, and Caulipower Pizza.

Let’s start with the worst. A crust made from cauliflower is a healthy alternative to the usual carb-heavy pizza, however the problem with the cauliflower three cheese pizza is that it still tastes like cauliflower. At first bite, the sweet taste of the tomato sauce disguised the vegetable flavor but after the second bite, I got the cauliflower flavor, which didn’t seem to pair well with the pizza sauce and cheese. It’s like making tacos with a broccoli shell. The crust was crunchy, but that distinctive flavor just doesn’t go with the sauce and cheese.

Store-bought frozen pizza boxes (Jaclyn Levine)
Store-bought frozen pizza slices (Jaclyn Levine)

Since Newman’s Own brand donates 100% of their profits to various charities, I wanted to like the “thin and crispy white” pizza. I thought it would be good because the ingredients include ricotta cheese which is usually so creamy and delicious. The thin crust doesn’t have much flavor and although the white sauce tastes like delicious traditional Alfredo sauce, I didn’t see or taste any ricotta. The spinach on top of the cheese had a nice fresh flavor, but whole spinach leaves would’ve looked more real, and less processed than the crumbly spinach piles. The mozzarella and sauce weren’t good enough to compensate for the lackluster crust. Newman’s Own is fourth on the list.

Devour Pizza is the “official frozen pizza of the UFC,” which is a dubious claim to fame, but there must be some pizza eater out there who cares. I realize now that that’s probably why the Devour box is octagonal – because UFC fights take place in an octagonal ring. Clearly more thought was given to the marketing of the pizza than the pizza itself. The “three way Pepp” has a thick crunchy crust that lacks flavor, with tomato sauce, diced pepperoni, and sliced pepperoni. I can’t find the third way that the pepperoni supposedly comes in, but the diced pepperoni is soft and moist because of the sauce, like when you put pieces of crunchy bacon in an omelette and lose the crunch. The sliced pepperoni was perfectly crispy and chewy, but the spicy flavor hijacked the tomato sauce and made it pepperoni flavored sauce with some tomato. Maybe that’s the third way the pepperoni is cooked in the pizza, it’s pepperoni “flavor.” The Devour pizza takes third place.

The Urban Pie Pizza Co. has a thin crust, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, sweet potatoes, bbq sauce, chicken sausage and purple onions. The sauce has a slight flavor of molasses that contrasts well with the chicken sausage that has a smoky and subtle fennel flavor and possibly anise seed. My search for the sweet potatoes was fruitless, or more accurately, tuberous root vegetable-less. Even without the sweet potatoes, Urban Pie’s pizza is delicious if you don’t need your pizza to be Italian style. Visually the pizza was colorful which makes it more appealing. Urban Pie is the number two pizza.

Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza Co.’s Bessie’s Revenge Cheese pizza is only about a half an inch thick, and Sicilian style is always at least one and a quarter inches high. However, the sauce tastes like fresh tomatoes with just a touch of romano and parmesan cheese. The Wisconsin based company uses shredded mozzarella as well as slices of fresh mozzarella. This was the best tasting cheese of all of the pizzas and the one with the most natural texture, which confirms that Wisconsin cheese is a quality product. Out of the five store-bought frozen pizzas, this is the only one that I would ever want to eat again, making Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza Co. the number one store-bought frozen pizza of the bunch.