/ Food & Drink

Which mince pies won our Best Buy prize?

Mince pies

Mince pies are a delicious traditional treat – and our taste test this year shows you don’t need to splash out to enjoy great ones. What do you look for in a good mince pie, and how much would you spend on them?

The priciest mince pies in our taste test cost just over £2 each, but the cheapest (at 28p each) came out on top. Aldi’s Specially Selected Luxury Mince Pies (£1.69 for six) head up this year’s Best Buy list, scoring 78%. Our panel praised the lush, spicy filling and crisp, light pastry.

Lidl’s Snowy Lodge Luxury Mince Pies (£1.79 for six) merited a Best Buy too with 70%, with their fruity filling and buttery well-cooked pastry. They look festive too, with snowflake and star-shaped patterns on the top.

Looking quite different is the third Best Buy – M&S Handcrafted Ultimate All Butter Mince Pies (£4 for four). Our experts thought they could indeed pass for homemade, not that anyone would want to pretend they’d been baking when they hadn’t!

No pie is perfect

Best and worst mince pies (1)Of course, our Best Buys aren’t perfect. Our experts commented on the differing amounts of filling in pies from the same box from Aldi. They felt Lidl’s pies could have done with a bit more spice and filling, but they do taste good and are great value too.

And the pastry on M&S Handcrafted pies tended to crack when picked up. As my home-made pies have been known to fall completely to bits at a glance, I think I can live with that!

To find out how the Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose mince pies scored in our taste test, read our full review of mince pies.

You’ve told us that you prefer homemade pies, but with top-rated pies costing so little, might you be tempted to leave the baking trays in the cupboard this year?

Say no to pricey pies

So, what about that £2+ pie? Fortnum & Mason Traditional Mince Pies cost £12.95 for a box of six, but failed to impress our panel. These mince pies came last in the taste test, with our experts saying the pastry was flat tasting, soft and crumbly.

We found a similar story with our Champagne and sparkling wine taste tests this year – we found five Best Buy sparkling wines for under £10 plus a Best Buy supermarket Champagne that beat Moet & Chandon.

So while I like to push the boat out at Christmas, as far as mince pies go this year I think I’m going to go for great tasting pies costing under £2 a pack. But do you think this is being too much of Scrooge?

Comments
Guest
B.Clinch says:
21 November 2013

Bought 6 Aldi luxury mince pies as they are a ‘best buy’ I found the pastry was thick, heavy and soggy. It certainly was not crisp and light. Filling was good but there was a big air space under the lids. Have Aldi changed suppliers?

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Guest

Did you have the pies warm or cold, B Clinch? Our expert panel tasted the pies warm, which does make a difference. We mention in the magazine that our experts did note that the amount of filling was a little inconsistent between different pies from the same box.

Guest
Brian Goodwin says:
14 August 2015

Hi

My mother makes mince pies and has a secret recipie which for love nor money can we obtain.

Is it possible that the food panel could review them, as they are extremely popular and impossible to replicate.

Regards

Brian

Guest

yes Ido

Profile photo of Lee Beaumont
Guest

I spend £4.95 for a pack of 6 Riverford Organic mince pies.

They are just so so gorgeous, It’s like having Chris Colfer in a pastry form :p

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Guest

I love little mince pies – and home-made and just warming down but hot enough for the brandy butter to melt is yummy. Extra apple added to the bought mincemeat and a bit of cream cheese or a piece of apricot stuck placed under the mincemeat before baking adds to the flavour.

Bought ones tend to have far too much pastry. You can still cheat by buying the mincemeat and buying ready roll pastry but it is worth customising whatever you can to get a better outcome.

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Guest

cooling up? It’s too early – I’m sure you know what I mean!

Guest

greggs make lovely mince pies. i have one for breakfast instead of a breakfast biscuit

Guest

i like Greggs mince pies the best and i have one for breakfast instead of breakfas biscuits

Guest
susan macgregor says:
30 January 2014

not fond of the shortcrust mince pies so i only buy the puff pastry ones freshly baked in store. I have been doing this for a lot of years now.

Guest

I love the co-op star mince pies..they are the best . put them in the microwave for 20 seconds . delicious !!