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I Tried 8 Trader Joe's Frozen Pizzas & the Best Was Tasty (and Adorable!)

Cheese, sauce, crust, toppings—see which combination wowed in its journey from freezer to oven.
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Is there a more tried-and-true, quick-and-easy dinner than frozen pizza? In my house, it's a dinnertime savior. No dithering about where to order it, no waiting for soggy, room-temperature pizza delivery. Nope, when it's time to binge-watch your latest fancy, it's frozen pizza all the way.

But frozen pizza doesn't have to be the boring, old grocery store version. Leave it to our friends at Trader Joe's to put a trademark spin and whimsical storyline on the humble frozen pie. TJ's may not be where you go for the freshest produce or finest whole ingredients, but it does excel in frozen foods. Which is the best among the dozen-plus frozen pizza options—including a few tartes, focaccia, and flatbreads that may or may not count as pizza?

I loaded up my red cart with all of them to find out—which made for some fun conversations at check-out! Fortunately, I didn't have to work alone. My husband, who keeps a stash of frozen pizza on hand for whenever I'm out of town and would consider himself a connoisseur, along with two always-hungry friends, joined me for a marathon cookfest of Trader Joe's frozen pizza. Here, I've ranked the top eight from worst to best.

Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust

Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (⅓ pizza):  430 cal, 20 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 900 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 17 g protein

Promising "four Italian cheeses, cashew and pine nut pesto and a chewy Naples style crust," this pizza was the one I was most excited about. I first tried deep-fried pizza in Naples and have rarely seen it stateside. Also, pesto? I almost always put TJ's pesto on my frozen pizzas. Priced at $5.99, this pie was a sure contender for the winner, even through the savory, garlicky aroma. Then we tasted it, and everything went sideways.

The look: This pizza came out of the oven, looking as close to the box image of any of the pizzas in the taste test as possible. The crust hit peak golden brown, the cheese burbled nicely, and the pools of pesto tempted.

The taste: Every piece went straight to the "spit bucket" after one bite. It was unanimous that it smelled far better than it tasted. "I'm not wasting calories on this," one taster proclaimed. The crust wasn't crispy despite the appearance, and there was a strong garlic aftertaste (for hours later), according to another taster. I thought it tasted greasy and generally not good. As the biggest salt bomb of the batch, the spit bucket was where it belonged.

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Gluten Free Uncured Pepperoni Pizza

Gluten Free Uncured Pepperoni Pizza with Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Black Olives on a Cauliflower Crust
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (⅓ pizza): 290 cal, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 470 mg sodium, 33 carbs (<1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 10 g protein

The box claims this "Italian crust" made of cauliflower tastes "suspiciously like a true Italian Pizza crust." I, however, think it's suspicious that anyone would mistake this pizza for anything other than what it is: a decent cauliflower crust carrying some veggies and basic pepperoni. This pie cost $6.49.

The look: It didn't look bad, with a promising bit of char on the crust and a reasonable amount of cheese and toppings. They weren't distributed well, but that's not a huge deal.

The taste: Aside from one outlier who loved it—this person favors cauli crusts in general—the consensus was the crust was bland and the veggies tasted canned. One person thought it had a solid "pizza" flavor, but for me, the cauliflower-forward flavor of the crust stole the show, and not in a good way.

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Wood Fired Naples Style Uncured Pepperoni Pizza

Trader Joe's Wood Fired Naples Style Uncured Pepperoni Pizza
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (⅓ pizza): 370 cal, 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 860 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein

According to the box, an Italian pizza supplier lets the crust "rise naturally for 24 hours beforehand, stretching it and cooking it in a wood-burning stone oven." Now, that's a nice story, but let's be real. It's a frozen pizza that will never taste like it came out of a wood-burning oven. Which is OK if it's still good, but TJ's missed the mark here. Like the roasted garlic variety, this pie cost $5.99.

The Look: This pie comes with the dead giveaway of a cheap frozen pizza, the orangey, greasy-hued puddles of grease. There's no charring or leoparding. Naples style or otherwise, it was skimpy on the cheese and didn't look appealing. All in all, it's a bit sad.

The Taste: Things didn't improve with eating. While the sauce had a little zip, the crust was flaccid, according to one taster, who compared the sauce taste to cheap Chef Boyardee or something similar to your parents' cheap frozen pizza from the '80s. Overall, the general response was confusion about why it's called Naples style.

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

trader joe's frozen bbq chicken pizza
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (⅓ pizza): 290 cal, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat),  800 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 14 g protein

This mashup is topped with barbecue sauce the box calls tangy and "sweet and smoky," chargrilled chicken, mozzarella, smoked Gouda, "fire-roasted red onions," and cilantro. TJ's does tell a good story, and the one here is that it's as "American as baseball and apple pie … inspired by its Romanesque relations." Umm, OK? The wafting smoky-sweet aroma was enticing coming out of the oven, and we were excited to try it. This pie cost $5.49.

The look: This puppy was loaded with toppings. They were a little all over the place, literally. What you could see of the crust seemed decently crisp and golden. It maybe wasn't the prettiest with all the brown, but for what it is, it didn't look too bad.

The taste: While the non-barbecue fan didn't love it, the rest of us thought it was … OK. Nothing to write home about, but not offensive either, with the main complaint being the sweetness of the barbecue sauce overpowering the pizza. The crust was sturdy and crisp, and the cheese distribution was generous. This one was improved with the addition of TJ's ranch dressing.

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Pizza Parlanno

trader joe's frozen pizza parlanno
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (¼ pizza): 330 cal, 16 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 620 mg sodium, 33 carbs (<1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 13 g protein

Priced at $5.49, this classic pizza comes topped with Italian sausage, uncured pepperoni, roasted peppers, roasted onions, and no story on the box. Our merry band of tasters are convinced it's a DiGiorno-made private label. The consensus was that this frozen pizza compared closest to what you'd get with a delivery pie.

The look: TJ's is coming in hot with the toppings on the Parlanno, loading it up with a colorful abundance (especially if you're a pepper fan) and a healthy bunch of cheese. The crust looked legit, and overall, it presented like a pizza that could convince you to fight over the last slice.

The taste: Lots of raves here, mostly around how much it tasted like "real" pizza (or at least name-brand DiGiorno). It cooked evenly, the crust was crispy-crunchy, and everyone was happy with the sauce, the spice, and the flavor of the veggies. We're moving into the winner zone here.

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Organic 3-Cheese Pizza

Trader Joe's Organic Cheese Pizza __
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (⅓ pizza): 270  cal, 10 g fat ( 10 g saturated fat),  680 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 13 g protein

"Imported from Italy," boasts the box of this pizza, priced at $4.99, which includes an Italian flag for good measure. If we don't get the hint, there's a montage of photos on the back showing a presumably real Italian pizzaiolo at work. This is a simple cheese pizza, raising the stakes for the few ingredients, but the box promises that it's been cooked in a wood-burning oven. A pleasing cheese pizza scent tempted me straight out of the oven.

The look: Reminiscent of a concession stand or one of those gas station pizzas in the glass display, but also charming in its simplicity.  We're talking about a crust that chars and bubbles nicely, cheese that melts evenly, and a good sauce-to-crust ratio. So far, so good.

The taste: Don't let a basic appearance fool you. This is a solid frozen pizza choice with the best sauce flavor of any, according to one taster, and a "delicious, crispy crust," according to another. We agreed it could stand some more cheese and that this is a good choose-your-own-adventure pie; pile on your favorite toppings. This one is a crowd-pleaser.

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Tarte d'Alsace and Tarte au Brie et aux Tomates

Trader Joe's Tarte aux Brie et aux Tomates
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
Tarte d'Alsace (PER SERVING ⅓ tarte): 190  cal, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 7 g protein
Tarte au Brie et aux Tomates (Per Serving ½ tarte): 300  cal, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 9 g protein

TJ's is going French and fancy on these flatbreads that aren't precisely pizza. The box refers to these as a "pizza-like savory dish." But, hey, you find them in the pizza section, and there's cheese, so I'm going with it. Priced at $5.49, the Alsace variety comes with crème fraîche, ham, caramelized onions, and Gruyere, while brie and cherry tomatoes top the other tarte, which costs $4.49. They're both on a lovely, flaky braided crust. Now, do they "astonish" your guests or provide a "true French experience," as the boxes claim? No, but that's OK! They still taste really good.

The look: These look like fancy little finger foods once you slice them, scattered with their respective toppings on (very!) thin, flaky, buttery crusts. Could the toppings be more evenly distributed, and do they slide off easily? Yeah, a little. But they're still cute for entertaining.

The taste: These tartes are the only ones I'd serve at any party not involving paper plates. The sweet cherry tomatoes and brie taste like, well, cherry tomatoes and brie that you might buy and put on a pie yourself, while the caramelized onions on the Alsace taste like somebody slow-cooked them at home. Not the most filling dish, and my only complaint is that I wouldn't want to share them.

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Bambino Pepperoni Pizza

Trader Joe's Bambino Pepperoni Pizza
Dana McMahan for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 pizza): 280 cal, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1g fiber, 4 g sugar), 13 g protein

These cute little guys are as fun as they are tasty. Like elevated Bagel Bites, one taster said, while we all found them a sweetly nostalgic nod to something we'd have had as kids. Bonus: They're small enough to go in a toaster oven. This variety cost $4.49.

The look: In a word? Adorable. Why are small foods so cute? These are happy little individual pizzas (although adults are gonna want more than one!). With just the right ratio of pepperoni, cheese, and sauce for their size, the Bambinos make you want to grab them right from the toaster oven.

The taste: While none of us expected these kid pizzas to be the winner, the crowd consensus was that these babies are the way to go. Comments included great texture, delicious, slightly sweet sauce, and the best pizza flavor. Trader Joe's nailed it with these mini pizzas—especially when you dip them in TJ's ranch!

Dana McMahan
A freelance writer for a dozen-plus years, Dana is an award-winning journalist who's contributed to outlets including Food Network, Rachael Ray, Local Palate, and Real Simple magazines; Kitchn and Apartment Therapy,,,, NBC News Today, the Washington Post, London Telegraph, and lots more. Read more about Dana