Every Trader Joe’s Pie For Thanksgiving, Ranked

November 22, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

We’re two days away from Thanksgiving and you’ve been assigned dessert duty. Sure, the idea of making your own pie from scratch sounded like a good idea at the start of the month but then… you know… life happened. Now you’re freaking out and you’ve got nothing.

We’ve all been there. But here’s the good news — nobody cares if you bring a store-bought pie. Making your own pie is definitely a flex but at the end of a big Thanksgiving feast, people just want dessert, they don’t really care whether you made it or not. We promise.

So if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your pie purposes look no further than Trader Joe’s. Variety is the spice of life and Joe’s has a lot of different pie options — from classic pumpkin to apple cobbler and cranberry. We scooped up each of the pies on offer in search of the most essential dessert to help ensure that you win Thanksgiving. Your cousin’s honey baked ham is cool and all, but nothing beats sides and dessert.

If you already have your heart set on pumpkin pie, be sure to check out our blind taste test from last year. But first, here are each of Trader Joe’s pies ranked from least essential to most delicious.

5. French Apple Tart

Best Thanksgiving PIe
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Let me start off this ranking by saying that all five of Trader Joe’s pies are delicious. That shouldn’t be surprising — it’s pie. But something has to be at the bottom of this ranking and unfortunately for the French Apple Tart, this is the weakest of the five.

The pie is on built upon a shortbread crust and has a sweet fruit-forward flavor that ironically isn’t very tart. Instead, the dominating flavors are sugar and vanilla with slight apricot notes. Shortbread crust sounds like a great idea but it’s not — instead, it’s soggy and chewy which, together with the soft apple slices on top, just results in a mushy mouthfeel.

The Bottom Line:

Incredibly sweet and incredibly mushy. It tastes good but it’s the weakest link.

4. Apple Crumble Pie

Best Thanksgiving PIe
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

No shade to apple pies, I love them, but each of Trader Joe’s apple pies seems to have a fatal flaw or two that holds them back. For the French Apple Tart it was the lack of tart and the shortbread crust, for the Apple Crumble it’s… just too crumbly.

The flavor of this pie is amazing, it’s sweet and tart with notes of rich butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar with a wonderfully textural butter oat crumble on top, but as you can see from the above photo, it’s impossible not to cut this thing without making a mess.

Since each one of these pies is good to great, I have to differentiate the best from the least essential somehow, and unfortunately for this pie, it’s the build that holds it back.

The Bottom Line:

Delicious with a wonderful mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, and tart apple notes. But it’s too crumbly for Thanksgiving dinner — this is the sort of pie you’ll want to eat alone, this way you won’t feel bad about making a mess.

3. Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie

Best Thanksgiving PIe
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I was skeptical of this pie at first. With its layers of heavy cranberry and the fact that it’s the only pie from Trader Joe’s freezer section, I just didn’t think it would come across as tasting very fresh once it defrosted. I was wrong. It has a nice balance of tart and sweet qualities, but what really elevates it is the inclusion of walnuts. The walnuts add a bitter-nutty quality that helps to offset the intense sweet-tart notes and pairs well with the subtle hint of vanilla that lurks in the aftertaste.

The crust is buttery is crumbly and after defrosting for two hours, I couldn’t tell it had spent most of its life frozen. I think this will probably be the most polarizing pie, but given its nice balance of flavors, I think it deserves to live comfortably in the middle of this ranking.

The Bottom Line:

Tart and nutty, with a sweet vanilla finish. It beats the table cranberry sauce your aunt brought, no question.

2. Pecan Pie

Best Thanksgiving PIe
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I’m a big pecan pie fan so Trader Joe’s needed to do a lot in order to impress me. The perfect pecan pie has an equal mix of sweet, buttery, and nutty notes. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s pecan pie isn’t so balanced. I’m getting a lot of the sweet and buttery, with notes of brown sugar and caramel dominating the flavor. The texture is wonderfully gooey, it practically melts in your mouth, but where are the nutty top notes?

I’m just not tasting a whole lot of pecan here, and this is after all, a pecan pie, so as good as it is… it kind of misses the mark.

The pecan notes are essential to a pecan pie, it’s what helps to make forkful after forkful taste wonderfully savory. Without that prominent pecan flavor this pie misses a key component of the pie’s flavor profile. I like it, it’s a good pie, but if you absolutely love pecan pie this one by Trader Joe’s is going to leave you wanting.

The Bottom Line:

A very delicious, sweet, and buttery pie, but it goes light on the pecans and that’s a major issue.

1. Pumpkin Pie

Best Thanksgiving PIe
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Trader Joe’s took the crown in our store-bought blind taste test so it doesn’t surprise me at all that the pumpkin pie managed to stand out amongst the competition from Trader Joe’s bakery section. Pumpkin pie tends to fall into two categories, there are sweet varieties and spicy varieties, Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie falls into that latter camp. Instead of tasting overly sweet and creamy, this pie relies on spicy flavors like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and clove, which cut through any sweetness you add on like whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The mix of cinnamon and ginger is joined by notes of nutmeg and cardamom that hit the taste buds in comforting waves of earthy spiciness which pairs excellently with the crumbly buttery crust. Pumpkin pie might not be as sweet as your other options, but its complexity makes it stand out above every other pie Trader Joe’s offers.

The Bottom Line:

Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie is easily the best option from the market’s bakery section. It has a complex and shifting flavor that’ll impress everyone at your dinner table’s tastebuds. And you didn’t even have to make it yourself.

Find your nearest Trader Joe’s here.