We Tried Every* Mince Pie in the UK

*OK, that’s an even bigger fib than my Netflix one, but some friends and I did try 50 mince pies so far and feel this has given us plenty of data to rank them.

Scores are out of ten, we had six testers though due to coronavirus and the fact that we’re not all minted not everyone tried every mince pie. Where multiple people did try a mince pie the score given is an average of those scores. There is still testing to be done and no, we didn’t manage to try every mainstream supermarket (sorry Lidl), so the rankings may change. I’ll make a note of any changes.

Every pie was tried cold, some were tried warm which is usually noted in the comments.

Best of the Best

Sainsbury’s Bakery (£1/4) – 9
– Look. These are my go to, they’re going to be hard to beat. They’re nice and cheap, the pastry is AMAZING and my personal preference is for a shallow fill so this is my optimum pastry to mincemeat ratio. They’re not fancy, but they’re not trying to be. They’re just a solid, reliable mince pie.

Aldi Specially Selected Classic Deep Fill (£1.49/6) – 8.5
– Very tasty pastry, very pretty. A deep fill that was *actually* deep fill. They say “with Cognac and Brandy” and I would argue that it is there, but in a nice mild way. Not overpowering, not cheap./Had a somewhat rustic appeal with the decoration and fullness of the filling and pastry, I liked them.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter (£2/6) – 8
– Rich, moist filling, nice pastry. Very good!

Honourable Mentions

So even though a number of these are higher rankings I’m leaving them aside due to accessibility/price. All these mince pies are at least £1 each, usually more, so they better be bloody good!

Gail’s Bakery (£1.80/1) – 9
A phenomenal mince pie, but very expensive. Pastry that was crunchy yet soft with an crunchy sugar top. Rich, decadent filling with enough but not too much booze and a variety of peel and fruit. Very very tasty, but at £1.80 for 1 – there are better value options.

Fortnum & Mason (£12.95/6) – 8.5
The pastry is absolutely excellent. While it is rich it’s not too overpowering. Usually I am more on the side of more filling but what they have done is take a normal amount of filling and then wrap it in more pastry than usual, it works very well. Also these are some big mince pies. They have a significant heft.

Costa (£2.25/1) – 8 
Excellent rich pastry, good ratio of pastry to filling. Filling is moist and rich but not overpowering. Excellent.

Caffe Nero (£1/1) – 8
Very nice and buttery pastry. Pastry is thin and crisp. Filling is good and not too sweet.

Worst of the Worst

Aldi Specially Selected Blood Orange (£1.79/6)  – 1
– I never want to put another of these in my mouth ever again. The blood orange is far too sour, even the other half who likes sour sweets couldn’t finish a single one. Awful.
– Ewyuck! < the other half

Iceland £1 Mince Pies (£1/6) – 2
– Mediocre pastry (lid separates from rest of pie far too easily) and a frankly abysmal filling – far too much raisins, with onion chutney or jammy vibes, ever so slightly gelatinous. The 89p more for the Iceland “luxury” ones is well worth the expense, these are not good. When compared to the Waitrose £1 ones, well – these really are bad.

Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free etc.

Asda Free From (£1.55/4) – 6
So these are Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan but have ADDED NUTS
– Not a bad mince pie, they’re not particularly inspiring to look at and the pastry is more resembling of a shortbread than shortcrust but edible enough. Also, I do feel that if they’re in the ‘free from’ section it should be made clear what they’re NOT free from, I picked these up just assuming they’d be nut free.

Iceland We Love Cake Free From (£2/4) – 6
– These are the exact same as the Asda ‘Free From’ ones, no doubt about it

Asda Own Brand (87p/6) – 4
They’re not marketed in the Free From section but they are vegan, dairy-free, and nut-free
– At 87p you can’t expect much, and you don’t get it. But they’re edible enough.

Waitrose Essential Waitrose Shortcrust Mince Pies (£1/6) – 5
A vegan option that snuck its way out of the ‘Free From’ aisle
– Bland pastry and definitely not a “deep fill”, but it’s adequate. Not boozy one bit inside, but reasonable in taste. Probably improved by warming it up with some brandy butter for extra flavour. One Pound though!

The Rest (Alphabetically by store, then brand/style)

Aldi Holly Lane (79p/6) – 4.5
– “Deep fill”, if you count a high dome and large air pocket as deep fill, sure. Genuinely not even looking forward to eating my third one…
– Echoing other people’s comments on it claiming to be ‘deep fill’. A bit too perky and perfect looking and full of emptiness, is fine to eat but an insult to give to guests.

Aldi Specially Selected Salted Caramel (£1.79/6) – 7.5
– Feels wrong on a gourmet level but honestly delicious, the caramel was at just the right level to not overpower
– I was really sceptical, I thought the moment I ate it I would be cast into hell for blasphemy of the mouth. However both the mince pie and salt caramel tastes were mild and went really well together.

Asda Extra Special Brandy Buttercream (£2/6) – 7
– A solid contender and one that hasn’t had its rated changed from last year. The brandy cream is not overwhelming, just a tasty warm note. Mincemeat is good. Pastry is nice, not too claggy or crumbly but nicely unremarkable.

Asda Extra Special Crumble Top (£2/6) – 7
– A bit far away from a mince pie at this point but pretty tasty. Closer to a filled biscuit, the pastry and topping is very nice though, plump fruit though not a *lot* of filling.

Asda Extra Special Luxury (£1.75/6) – 7
– These ones *smelled* like mince pies the minute you got them out the box which was quite lovely. Very nicely filled, a solid contender. Not up there with the Aldi ones but a very nice option.

Asda Extra Special Salted Caramel (£2/6) – 5
– Unlike the Aldi ones where the caramel blends and enhances the mincemeat, here you think you’re eating a treacle tart until suddenly there’s fruit in it. Not horrible but not great. Get the Aldi ones!

Asda Extra Special Sloe Gin (£2/6) – 5.33
– They’re alright but I don’t think the sloe gin particularly elevates them, and it doesn’t give you that warm boozy feeling that you want from christmas foods. Tasty enough but if you’re in asda there are plenty of other options for the same price. Had them warm and it just reminded me how synthetic the alcohol tastes.

Asda Extra Special 12 Mini Mince Pies (£2/12) – 7
– Same as the ‘Luxury’ ones, but dainty!

Cook Mince Pies (Made by Hand) (£3.75/6) – 6.5
– Lovely mincemeat. Pastry does have that home made style but it is a bit crumbly. Glad the pastry is not too sweet though

Co-op Irresistible Luxury Mince Pies (2/6) – 7.5
– Very enjoyable, best of the year so far. Buttery pastry, pleasingly alcoholic (but sweet) mincemeat with large fruit. Not “deep fill” in size, but filled well enough. Attractive to look at with a pleasant pattern and icing sugar dusted on top.

Home Bargains Lyons Mince Pies (99p/6) – 5.5
– Pretty good, would eat again without regrets but probably some better ones out there. (Downgraded to 5 once we’d tried some more and realised what else was on the market.)
– Plain look, standard (but fine) taste and filling. (7 downgraded to 6 after eating another entry)

Iceland Luxury All Butter (£1.89/6) – 6.83
– I thought these were pretty great, the pastry is nothing special but just the right density, flavour, etc. We ate them warm which might affect it; they definitely were good warm, not claggy at all, filling was lovely.
– Ate it warm with custard because at the time of writing that is the level of decadence we regularly indulge in. At first I didn’t realise I wasn’t eating a Sloe Gin one. standard tase, nice to eat, happy to have more but wouldn’t drop kick my nan for them.
– Pretty nice pastry and filling, loses marks for lack of alcohol taste/smell, there’s a slight whiff of it but no more. Given the price, these are exceptional good value

M&S Classic (£1.50/6) – 7
– This feels like an ‘adult’ mince pie. It’s not too sweet and if tastes like there is alcohol in it (there isn’t it). It’s a very rich mincemeat. The pastry is not too thick and not too sweet.

M&S Iced Top (£1.50/6) – 4.5
– Iced top is not my favourite but this is passable.

M&S Puff Pastry (£1.50/6) – 6.5
– Nice but low on mincemeat. Light (due to pastry) with a good amount of sugar on top.

Morrisons Own Brand Iced (£1/6) – 5
– Pretty good for an iced mince pie, they’ve often been hit or miss so if iced is your jam – go for it. But if you just want a tasty mince pie pass on these, they’re pretty forgettable. Apart from the joy at not wanting to immediately spit out the iced mince pie part, that part is good.

Morrisons Own Brand Lattice (£1/6) – 6
– Somewhat nondescript, pastry a little claggy, plenty of filling but kind of forgettable.

Morrisons Own Brand Mince Pie (£1/6) – 6
– Somewhat nondescript, pastry a little claggy, plenty of filling but kind of forgettable. Yes this is the same description as for the lattice, they’re both naff

Morrisons The Best 9 Mini Mince Pies (£2/9) – 7
– A lightly warming booziness, well filled for their size, a decent pastry though nothing to write home about, and quite pretty.

Morrisons The Best Black Forest Gateau (£2/6) – 6
– Not bad as such, but not a mince pie. They’re a slightly sour cherry chocolate pie and I don’t entirely hate it – though I’m not a sour food person so even for not-a-mince-pie they don’t rank higher. However, if morrisons want to make me a black forest gateau pie that is not quite as sour I am here for it.

Morrisons The Best Deep Fill (2/6) – 7
– Pretty solid option, pastry is nice and filling is good with a good amount. A good all-rounder, not exactly blowing me away but will probably get more if Aldi run out

Mr Kipling Deep Fill (£1.50/6) – 5.75
– Pretty solid option, pastry is nice and filling is good with a good amount. A good all-rounder, not exactly blowing me away but will probably get more if Aldi run out
For something that claims to be “deep filled”, these were certainly not that. Pastry was buttery, but also quite dry at the same time. Mincemeat was perfectly fine, but pie was def let down by the aforementioned points above. Gains a 0.5 for the crunchy sugar on top.

Sainsbury’s 12 Pies of Christmas (£2/12)
Frangipane topped – 6
– Almond is a bit overpowering. Nice but not as good as the plain pie
– Nice, but the ratio of frangipane to mince meat is off. Too much frangipane, but this is probably because it’s a small pie and would be better with the big ones.
Maple and Pecan – 6.5
– Not a mince pie but very tasty. Topped with a Viennese whirl!!
– Household disagreement on this one. One of us really liked them (7), the other was not so keen (5). Compromised at a 6. But both in agreement that the Viennese topping was a bit dry, and they aren’t really mince pies.
Mince Pie – 8.25
– Same as the standard sized one but thinner pastry. Makes it taste better
– Big fans of these, good mincemeat, good pastry. We will buy the big version because we think they’ll be better. Would also probs be better warm.

Sainsbury’s Bakery Enriched Puff Pastry (£2/4) – 6
– Pastry is a bit too thick. It’s not too sweet but is lifted by the icing sugar sprinkled on top. You could pass these off as homemade to the untrained eye.

Spar Luxury All Butter (£2/6) – 6.5
– Another perfectly edible mince pie.

Spar Own Brand (£?/6) – 5.5
– Cheap and cheerful, very small though

Tesco Finest All Butter with Cognac, Brandy, and Port (£1.90/6) – 7
– Quite boozy, not sickly sweet and nice big sultanas. Not sure about the top though – it’s in a snowflake shape

Tesco Finest All Butter with Rum (£2/6) – 5.5
– Too much rum. I’m bumping their rating up. +1 to the score when warm which makes them better.

Tesco Finest Crumble Top with Cognac, Brandy, and Port (£2/6) – 7
– Crumbly, crunchy. Might be a little hard but different in a good way and has excellent filling. Could do with more filling though.

Tesco Own Brand (87p/6) – 5.5
– Just the bog standard Tesco mince pie, nothing special but not bad either. No alcohol content which is always a negative, and very raisiny mincemeat. Def not deep fill, but then again, it’s not claiming to be. Reasonably buttery pastry. Star on the top of the pastry – which I always feel is a bit of a waste.
– For the price, these are good value – better than the bargain Waitrose ones.

Waitrose Waitrose Christmas All Butter Mini Mince Pie Selection (£3/9) 
Almond Topped – 6.5
– Mincemeat is nice but takes a backseat to the almond taste. Decent pastry.
– Nice. Better than the Sainsbury’s mini frangipane ones.
Caramelised Hazelnut Topped Baklava Pie – 4.5
– Not a mince pie, fine though.
– Agreed. Not a mince pie.
Orange and Juniper – 6.5
– Very different! Rich and orange filled. Not sure I could eat a full size mince pie with so strong a flavour. Good pastry
– As with all of these interesting flavoured ones, not the way to go if you’re craving a proper mince pie. Split – one of us loved the flavour and would have gone 8, the other really dislikes it and would have gone 4.

Waitrose Waitrose Christmas Plum, Honey and Ginger (£2/4) – 6.5
– Not that stunning really. The ginger taste is nice but the pastry feels a bit tough. Need to try warm.
– Pastry a bit crumbly but otherwise good. Honey and plum worked really well in the mincemeat. Ginger was also nice but a bit overpowering and made it not taste like a proper mince pie.

Waitrose Waitrose Christmas Shortcrust (£1.52/6) – 6
– Nice amount of filling, good pastry. Points lost because of the cinnamon. Mince pies should not have cinnamon as the over powering spice, we have enough of that bullshit everywhere else this time of year, down with cinnamon. (But if you don’t object to the devils spice then they’re pretty good)

So there you have it! Time for a walk probably…