This year’s best mince pies are from Marks & Spencer, according to baking experts at Which?, with Iceland the much cheaper runner-up.
The panel blind-tested 11 supermarket premium mince pies to uncover the most delicious, as well as the blandest, wettest and least appetising.
The best buy went to M&S Collection Mince Pies, priced at £2.50 for six. Which? experts said they had a “quintessentially Christmassy aroma”, praising the “golden, buttery pastry” and the “boozy, fruity mincemeat” and describing them as attractive-looking pies.
Steer clear of Spar, whose luxury pies were judged by Which? to be bland and under-baked, while the “overly sweet” filling was too wet and lacked spice.
Iceland, perhaps better-known for its prawn rings and value-for-money frozen burgers, was the surprise runner-up. The tasters liked the star decoration, which partly exposed the “juicy” mincemeat underneath, but some experts said the filling lacked spice. Iceland Luxury Mince Pies sell for £1.89 for a packet of six – 25% cheaper than the M&S equivalent.
The other budget option that scored well were Asda’s Extra Special All-Butter Luxury Mince Pies – at £1.50 a box, one of the cheapest in the test – which impressed with its “moist, well-flavoured” mincemeat, although the pastry was found to be pale and a little dry.
Waitrose’s pies were jointly the most expensive with M&S but were the biggest let down. Which? said its No 1 All-Butter Mince Pies (£2.50 for six) looked appetising but the mincemeat disappointed, with one expert describing it as claggy.
But the supermarket scored better with its own-brand champagne, which was named last week by Which? as its Christmas best buy, tasting better than established brands Piper-Heidsieck and Veuve Clicquot.
Taste test – winners and losers
1. M&S Collection Mince Pies £2.50
2. Iceland Luxury Mince Pies £1.89
3. Asda Extra Special All Butter Luxury Mince Pies £1.50
4. Waitrose No. 1 All Butter Mince Pies £2.50
5. Aldi Specially Selected Mince Pies £1.35
6. Tesco Finest Mince Pies £1.75
7. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter Mince Pies £2
8. Lidl Deluxe Luxury Mince Pies £1.79
9. Co-op Irresistible Luxury Mince Pies £2
10. Morrisons The Best All Butter Deep Filled Mince Pies £2
11. Spar Luxury All Butter Mince Pies £2
Source: rankings according to the Which? mince pie expert panel: Patrick Moore, the Artisan Bakery, Rebecca Levell, Hobbs House Bakery, Aidan Chapman, Bread Ahead and James Adams chef and restaurant food consultant)