The Best Store Bought Apple Pie (Frozen Apple Pie, Too!)

The best store bought apple pie—whether it’s the best frozen apple pie or apple pie from your local grocery store’s bakery—may not hold a candle to a pie someone slaved over and made totally from scratch. But here’s the thing: It’s still pie, my guy. When it has all the right elements—firm apples, flaky crust, just the right amount of salt to offset the sweetness—you kind of can’t go wrong. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort if slaving over things isn’t your jam. 

For this taste test we tried a lot of apple pie, from the Sara Lee apple pie and Marie Callender apple pie you see in the frozen aisle, to the apple pie you’ll find at the grocery store bakery. Three were better than the rest. Here’s the best store bought apple pie for your next zero-effort dessert. (Oh, and if you want to “make your own apple pie” but do it the easy way, we’ve ranked the best canned apple pie filling and the best premade pie crusts, too.)


best frozen apple pie

Best Crust

Sara Lee Dutch Apple Pie

This Sara Lee apple pie, which is topped with streusel instead of more crust, was a surprising hit. It doesn’t look like much (especially next to Marie Callender’s gorgeous Dutch apple pie, which we’ll get to in a sec), but if you can get past the slightly sad appearance, this is among the best store bought apple pie, especially if you tend to prefer frozen apple pie. The bottom crust is flaky and has a distinct hit of salt that offsets the sweetness of the filling. I love that bottom crust for all the hard work it’s doing! The filling is good—a little bit tart, very cinnamony—but the apples were noticeably mushier than the apples in some of the other best apple pies we tried. All in all, this is a great frozen option. 

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best frozen apple pie

Best Filling

Marie Callender Dutch Apple Pie

If you buy Dutch apple pie because you’re a streusel guy, this Marie Callender apple pie is the frozen apple pie for you to buy. It comes with a separate baggie of streusel topping that you add once the pie is mostly baked, and there is a lot of it. Once the streusel has been applied and baked, this is a breathtakingly beautiful store bought apple pie. But honestly, that’s not even this pie’s biggest selling point. That would be the filling, which contains way more apple than a lot of other store bought apple pies. Even better, the apples in the filling are wonderfully crisp. It’s kind of a feat. I don’t know any apple lover (or streusel lover, I guess) who would turn down a second slice of this excellent grocery store apple pie. 

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best grocery store apple pie

Best of the Best

Sprouts Double Crust Apple Pie

We tried several apple pies from grocery store bakery sections, and Sprouts makes the best store bought apple pie by far. The crust is flaky and almost savory. The filling isn’t overly sweet, either. It’s so deeply flavorful and it seems to absorb some of the salt from the pie crust, which is amazing. I think a lot of apple pie is too sugary to eat a la mode, but this pie would be perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m telling ya, if you want a really good, ready-to-eat apple pie, it’s worth it to make a stop at Sprouts. I also love that you can buy this as a full or a half pie, so even if you’re having a cozy Thanksgiving for two, you can have a really good dessert without being left with a daunting amount of leftovers. Although, I will say that the full-size pie is only $1 more expensive, so you might as well splurge.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other apple pies we tried: Private Selection Toffee Apple Pie, Marketside Caramel Apple Pie, Sara Lee Apple Pie, Walmart bakery apple pie


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • Mrs. Smith’s Apple pie has always been the best as far as crust and the filling had a hint of citrus, which tapers the sweetness just enough to taste as close to homemade as possible. I have grown up on Mrs. Smith but have tried the others and they have missed on the crust or the filling.

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  • They likely aren’t sold in California but you need to try elegant farmer pies. They are sold at grocery stores in the Midwest. They are made in Wisconsin and I can no longer eat other apple pies. Even other bakeries and homemade can never compare.

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