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17 November 2021

Best mince pies

Our general public tasting panel discovered the best traditional mince pies to indulge in this Christmas
Michael Passingham

We’ve tested seven traditional premium mince pies to bring you our top pie picks for the festive season.

Our mince pie taste test from the December 2021 edition of Which? magazine includes products from budget supermarket Aldi, along with Co-op, Iceland, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco. 

Best mince pies

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the mince pies on test. To get instant access join Which? 

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All prices correct as of November 2021. All pies contain alcohol.

Aldi Specially Selected All Butter Mince Pies

£1.49 for 6, 25p a pie

Aldi Specially Selected 6 All Butter Mince Pies

These are the cheapest on test, but we’ve seen low-cost pies score well in the past. Will Aldi’s Christmas treats make the grade this year?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Aldi.

Co-op Irresistible All Butter Luxury Mince Pies

£2 for 6, 33p a pie

Co-op Irresistible All Butter 6 Luxury Mince Pies

Can Co-op’s port-infused mince pies deliver the festive flavour you’re craving? 

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Available from Co-op (in-store only)

Iceland Luxury All Butter Mince Pies

£1.89 for 6, 32 a pie

Iceland Luxury 6 All Butter Mince Pies

Iceland’s mince pies include unusual ingredients such as yuzu juice and cider. But does this break from tradition deliver a good pie?

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Available from Iceland.

M&S Collection Mince Pies

£2.50 for 6, 42p a pie

M&S Collection 6 Mince Pies

Expectations must be high for these pies as they’re the priciest on test. Are they worth paying the premium?

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Available from M&S (in-store only) and Ocado.

Morrisons The Best All Butter Deep Filled Mince Pies

£2 for 6, 33p a pie

Morrisons The Best All Butter 6 Deep Filled Mince Pies

Morrisons claims its mince pies are ‘The Best’, but did our tasters agree? Find out who came out on top in our mince pie showdown.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Morrisons.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Mince Pies

£2 for 6, 33p a pie

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 6 Mince Pies

Sainsbury’s pies have had a patchy record in recent years, but have they managed to nail the festive classic for 2021?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Sainsbury’s.

Tesco Finest All Butter Pastry Mince Pies

£2 for 6

Tesco Finest 6 All Butter Pastry Mince Pies

There’s a trio of boozy additions here in the form of cognac, port and brandy. Did the bakers get the balance right with these all-butter pies? 

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Available from Tesco.

Vegan, gluten-free and free-from mince pies

All the pies featured above contain butter so aren't suitable for vegans, or indeed those who need to avoid lactose. Additionally, they all contain wheat flour so therefore contain gluten.

However, many of the supermarkets sell free-from mince pies. These vary, but most are gluten-free and many of them are vegan. Some are also alcohol free, but you should check the ingredients list of these products carefully as some won't state specifically that they do or don't contain booze.

Below is a list of some free-from options, and where they can be bought. Information and pricing correct as of November 2021. 

  • Aldi Free From Mince Pies, £1.35 for 4. Gluten free,  milk free, vegan. Buy from Aldi.
  • Asda Free From Mince Pies, £1.55 for 4. Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Asda.
  • Co-op Free From Mince Pies, £2 for 4. Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Co-op (in-store only).
  • M&S Plant Kitchen Mince Pies, £2.50 for 4. Milk free, vegan. Buy from Ocado or M&S (in-store only).
  • M&S Made Without Mince Pies, £2.50 for 4. Gluten free, vegetarian. Buy from Ocado or M&S (in-store only).
  • Morrisons Free From Mince Pies, £2 for 4, Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Morrisons.
  • Lovemore Gluten Free Luxury Mince Pies, £2.50 for 4, Gluten and milk free, vegetarian. Buy from Ocado.
  • Sainsbury's Free From Mince Pies, £1.50 for 4, Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Sainsbury's.
  • Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Free From Mini Mince Pies, £2.50 for 9, Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Sainsbury's.
  • Tesco Free From Mince Pies, £1.40 for 4, Gluten free, milk free, check packaging for vegan/vegetarian suitability. Buy from Tesco.
  • Tesco Finest Free From Mince Pies, £2.50 for 4, Gluten free, vegetarian. Buy from Tesco.
  • Waitrose Free From Mince Pies, £2.50 for 4, Gluten free, milk free, vegan. Buy from Waitrose.
  • Waitrose Gluten Free Mince Pies, £2.50 for 2, Gluten free, vegan. Buy from Waitrose.

What's in a mince pie?

The ingredients of a typical mince pie include a mincemeat filling made from vine fruits such as sultanas, currants, cranberries and raisins, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, sweetened with sugar and encased with a butter-enriched shortcrust pastry.

Alcohol is a key ingredient, too, with all the pies we tested containing at least one from a list of cognac, cider, brandy and port.

Other ingredients might include: 

  • Cherries
  • Apple
  • Citrus peel 
  • Clove 
  • Caraway
  • Flavour enhancers, including concentrated flavouring oils such as orange oil. 

Pre-made pies often have additional stabilisers and texturing agents such as pectin, and many contain oils including palm and rapeseed.  

Can you freeze mince pies?

Yes, you should be able to freeze most mince pies for up to three months in an air-tight container, although some of the brands on test here suggest you don't. Do follow the advice on the packaging.

If your mince pie of choice can be frozen and you spot it in offer, you could always stock up early. 

To defrost, simply take them out of the freezer at least a few hours before serving. Once thawed you can pop them in the oven or microwave to warm them through.

See all of our freezer reviews

Mince pie calories

Brand of mince pieCalories per pie (kcal)
Tesco239 kcal
Morrisons234 kcal
Iceland230 kcal
Aldi223 kcal
Co-op 215 kcal
Sainsbury's215 kcal
M&S214 kcal

While mince pies do contain plenty of fruit, we wouldn't classify them as one of your five-a-day. As such, the calorie content of an individual pie might raise some eyebrows. 

Above is the brands' stated calorie content of a single pie. M&S produces the lowest-calorie pie at 214kcal, while Tesco tops the charts with its 239kcal pie. 

Keep in mind that the different brands will have pies that weigh slightly more or less than each other, so this could be a factor in why different products have such different calorie contents.

Mince pie recipes

Have some extra time and fancy making pies yourself? Try these mince pie recipes from Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Ella Woodward.

Or try this mincemeat cheesecake recipe for something a bit different:

  1. Add a teaspoon of mincemeat into 12 sweet pastry tartlets 
  2. Beat together 200g full-fat cream cheese, 40g caster sugar, one egg, 2 teaspoons plain flour and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  3. Spoon some of the cream cheese mix into each pastry tartlet before sprinkling with amaretti biscuits.  
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 180°C.

Six ways to make your mince pies taste even better

Star topped mince pies dusted with icing sugar
  1. Combine 30g of icing sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon, ginger or mixed spice, and sieve over warmed mince pies just before serving.
  2. Mince pies and cheese is a tasty pairing. Try grating a little frozen stilton over the top before serving.
  3. Try serving pies with a glass of mulled ginger wine for added festive flavour.
  4. Put mince pie filling in your bread and butter pudding for a fruity flavour boost.
  5. For a unique dessert, pour affogato (ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso) over a hot mince pie.
  6. Add a festive twist to vanilla ice cream by crumbling in mince pies, then refreezing and serving with hot toffee sauce.

See all of our best food and drink.

How we tested

The products were assessed by a large panel of people who regularly eat mince pies. 

The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK. Each mince pie variety was assessed by 66 people. The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one. 

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the mince pies was fully rotated to avoid any bias. Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others. The overall score is based on:

  • 50% flavour 
  • 20% appearance 
  • 20% texture 
  • 10% aroma