Mince Pie Reviews 2023

Mince Pie Reviews 2023

Merry Christmas!

It's the most wonderful time of the year - MINCE PIE REVIEW TIME! 2023 is almost over and your 'out of office' is on (unless you work in hospitality, heart goes out to you). So kick back, get yourself a mince pie (maybe wait until the end to see which ones to buy actually) and read on! 

In case you're new here, I love mince pies and love to try as many as I can. My personal view is that mince pies should be boozy, deep filled, citrusy but not tangy and sharp, juicy and jammy inside with defined, plump fruit (not fruit mush). Supermarket mince pies should have that melt in the mouth, short, slightly pale pastry that is nostalgia heaven. I am a mince pie purist and don't really love the mince pie spin-offs, but there are some good ones in here. 

Now last year's mince pie research wasn't conducted under the most controlled conditions and well, this year's research isn't any better. My rules for this year's study - just choose whichever box of mince pies speaks to you. I let my intuition lead and chose with my heart. So I went to six different supermarkets and picked up seven boxes of mince pies. This means some were basic range, some the superior range and some the whacky mince pie-spin off variety. It's not the most fair study, it's not perfect, but listen - life isn't fair or perfect. Channel your Christmas spirit, let go of any angst you may be holding about this and let's have a bit of fun! 

There are fewer mince pies than last year, but I've made up for it by including some extra details and I've even included the prices this year (don't say I don't treat you). 

Let the judgement begin! 

6 Merry Mince Pies

I love Tesco. I love the vibes, the retro flooring, the warm hug that a Big Tesco provides on a gloomy day, the unrelenting chokehold the Clubcard has us in. But these mince pies? They are not very good. Pastry is very dry yet stodgy at the same time. The filling is also a little dry with very little flavour and it has that unpleasant tangy aftertaste. There is some hard mixed peel in there. More pastry than filling. Upsetting experience. I will say that they are what I assume is Tesco's very basic range of mince pies, and they're quite cheap, so I guess you get what you pay for. But they should still be base-level good!

Any points you get are just for participation at this point, like when you write a terrible essay at school but you still get a few marks because you wrote the date and title neatly and you tried. Sorry Tesco. Off to a bad start here. Still love you though. 



6 Chocolate & Cherry Crumble Mince Pies

I know, this is where it gets wild. It IS unfair to rate a supermarket's basic range mince pie against an extra special, expensive, spin-off mince pie. But look, it's Christmasssss. Get over it! 

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THESE. Cherry GOOD, chocolate GOOD, mincemeat GOOD, crumble GOOD! What's not to love? I don't generally agree with chocolate combined with mincemeat but I was willing to try it because I love cherry things.

These really were a taste sensation. You get an immediate cherry hit and it's that nice intense, slightly fake but in a good way, black forest-esque cherry flavour. It pairs really nicely with the mincemeat. The sultanas are big and juicy with amazing textures from the very crunchy crumble topping. The saltiness is balanced. Some bites are like a mince pie, and some bites are very cherry. I don't taste much chocolate from the pastry so it's not adding much but it isn't detracting either, and probably adds a little extra flavour. It also adds interest because it looks lovely - isn't that cross section just beautiful? Those layers and colours. They are the priciest on the list this year, but you pay a bit extra for something special. Wonderful experience, nice one Asda. Bring these back next year! 



Taste the Difference 6 Mince Pies

I actually reviewed these last year (whoops) but interestingly, my opinion has changed for the better. So I wonder if Sainsbury's have improved them, or my tastebuds have disintegrated.

The mince pie has nice textures, the pastry has that nostalgic melt in the mouth texture. I did have to go back for several bites to figure out how I felt about it. It has a sort of nutty flavour for some reason, which is nice. There are big juicy sultanas in the mincemeat, and a decent boozy hit. The mincemeat is a bit gluey, so paired with the pastry it does glue your mouth a little. The pastry fell apart quite a bit which is often the price you pay for melt in the mouth pastry, you can tell it's nicer quality pastry. It is quite sweet and for some reason, I couldn't work out how I felt about it on the whole. Generally quite pleasant though, not anything astounding. They've stuck with that star x snowflake collab for the design, with the gentle dusting of icing which feels very lovingly done. Am I Tasting the Difference? Not sure. 


Marks and Spencer
Classic 6 All Butter Mince Pies

I always expect a lot from M&S - they are potentially the kings of the supermarket Christmas scene and their products usually have good flavour profiles. This mince pie was decent but once again, didn't blow me away. The flavours are quite mild - mostly cinnamon, citrus and sugar. It's quite a dry filling but the fruit has a nice bite. The fill is great, it's nice and hearty. The pastry is nice and buttery. Visually, it is wonderful - golden brown pastry and I absolutely love that holly and star design on the top - nice to see INNOVATION and not just the star x snowflake collab that we see every year! Not bad M&S, but not great. 



6 All Butter Mince Pies

From one higher end supermarket to another - and another 'all butter' situation. I'm getting citrus. I'm getting sugar. Very sadly that is all I'm getting. Where is the booze. The citrus is most certainly citrusing. On the packaging it says they have used candied citrus peel - I think it is a little too candied because these are SWEET! The pastry is indeed buttery and tastes good. The mincemeat contains big fat chewy sultanas which is quite nice. There is a nice crunch from the caster sugar on top. But they have quite a shallow fill, and they sadly have that gap of doom between the mincemeat and the lid. It's quite a gluey filling and a very sugary aftertaste. The price is fair for a higher end supermarket like Waitrose. The graphics on the box are beautiful if a little misleading (can a mince pie gaslight you?). Design is ok, it is the star x snowflake collab but I like the glittery dusting of caster sugar. 



The Best - 6 Deep Filed Mince Pies

These were interesting. They surprised me. The pastry was very firm but that wasn't a bad thing, I think they are a little high-bake, with those dark brown edges. There is a strong flavour of almond which is puzzling because I don't think they contain any. I can't work out if it's almond or cinnamon. Whatever it is, I'm into it. They do have a boozy hit, and they are not very sweet, also in a good way. As for the deep fill they promised us... is the deep fill in the room with us right now? The 'deep fill' is an interesting conundrum because technically they are filled all the way to their lids (no gap of doom) but they are a flatter mince pie. Before you take a bite, it's a real Schrödinger's Cat situation on the deep fill front.

The design is pretty fabulous and unusual. It does leave a few edges uncovered, with exposed mincemeat which I feel is a little naughty. On the whole, I liked these! They are some of the most expensive on the list, for the price I would have liked a bit of a deeper pie but I really enjoyed the flavour and it's overall vibe.  



Free From - 4 Festive Crumble Mince Pies

Yeah. It's another wildcard. Another mince pie from Morrissons, but I did receive requests to taste some gluten free mince pies this year. So while I was at Morrissons I grabbed these too. 

I was once again surprised by these! Go Morrissons! You understand what it takes to make a good mince pie and don't just produce flavourless bog standard pies. I really like this! It has an instant hit of gingerbread/Speculoos flavour. The lovely ginger flavours seem genuine and pack an actual punch. It works really well with the mincemeat - much more so than a sweet cinnamon. The ginger adds heat and punchiness. The mince pie crumbled slightly when removing it from the case but it's gluten free and it's Christmas so I'll let them off. The fruit has a good bite, there is a slight booze flavour. I think it is undetectably gluten free which is great because I always expect gluten free supermarket food to taste... not very good. There is that very slight GF graininess right at the end but that's fine. Its masked nicely by the crunchy topping. For a GF, DF option, these are wonderful!



That makes my winner... ASDA! And Morrissons as a runner up.

Isn't it interesting? Supermarkets that are considered 'cheaper' or 'poorer quality' produced the best mince pies in my opinion, and yet they were the most expensive of all! So what does that tell us? More expensive = better products? Not always the case. Asda nailed it though and I've become a mince pie spin-off convert. 

Thank you for reading and please tell me your thoughts if you tried any of the above - if you agree or disagree, if there's another mince pie I simply must try. 

Once again, if you're looking for the very best bakery mince pie that embodies all of the most important mince pie factors, try a box of my frangipane topped luxury mince pies. All my mince pie research has gone into these, and I think you'll love them and they're available until January.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Zoe X

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