Revealed! The best mince pie in stores this Christmas 2020
If you’re anything like us, Christmas only really gets underway when you tuck into the first mince pie of the season. Nothing gets you into the festive spirit quite like biting into buttery, crumbly pastry packed with temptingly spiced, juicy mincemeat with a good dash of booze.
These days, mince pies can be found on supermarket shelves as early as October. It’s no wonder then that we Brits manage to scoff our collective way through more than 78million mince pies each year. Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute we don’t quite make our way through that many to find the best mince pies, but our panel did munch its way through 15 classic mince pies this year, assessing the appearance, aroma, taste and texture of each in search of the perfect Christmas treat.
There’s something for everyone in the best mince pies category: some are packed with zesty flavours, while others are sweeter thanks to a generous helping of vine fruit, cranberries or glacé cherries, and some are infused with brandy, port and Cognac. Whatever your preference, you won’t go wrong with our winning mince pie. Achieving a high score of 90/100, it’s packed with Christmassy flavour and is an undeniable crowd pleaser.
Looking for something a little bit different this year? We’ve also tested mince pies with a twist on the traditional flavours.
All prices are subject to change.
- BEST MINCE PIE: Costa All Butter Mince Pie
Overall score: 90/100
This year’s best mince pie has a temptingly sticky jammy filling that peaks through a star-shaped window in the wonderfully crisp, golden pastry. Generous in size and dusted with icing sugar for Christmassy appeal, our best mince pie has an aroma infused with notes of cinnamon and citrus, which works well with the buttery, shortbread scent of the pastry. Candied orange and lemon peel add a zesty-sweet bitterness to the fruity taste of the filling and mixed spice adds depth.
AVAILABLE IN STORE ONLY Costa, £2 for 1
- RUNNER-UP: Iceland Luxury 6 Mince Pies
Overall score: 87/100
The surprising addition of yuzu juice (from a small Japanese citrus fruit) to the mincemeat filling of our runner-up best mince pie adds a sharp tang to the already citrussy aroma, which complements the buttery smell of the pastry and the spiced filling. Vine fruit adds a sweetness to the filling, which has a touch of Christmas spice and is encased in deliciously savoury pastry for a balanced bite. Testers enjoyed the soft crumble of the pastry and the juiciness of the sultanas and raisins.
BUY NOW Iceland, £1.89 for 6
- Sainsburys Taste the Difference 6 Mince Pies with All Butter Pastry
Overall Score: 83/100
We loved these mince pies for their incredibly buttery yet zingy flavour. There’s an appealing aroma of vanilla-shortbread and fruit, while finely diced mixed peel gives the filling a citrussy kick that is beautifully balanced with the sweetness of currants and sultanas. The golden pastry is satisfyingly crisp to bite into and crumbles in the mouth – a wonderful combination of textures that sits well with the juicy plumpness of the fruit.
BUY NOW Sainsburys, £2 for 6
- Morrisons The Best Mince Pies
Overall score: 82/100
From its festive appearance to it classic taste this mince pie has Christmas wrapped up. The double embossed star-topped pastry lid is heavily dusted with icing for a snowy look. Testers praised the zesty, spiced aroma and the buttery smell of the pastry. Brandy and cider provide a welcome booziness which, when paired with the plump vine fruit and mixed peel, give the mince pie a tangy-sweet, warming flavour. The soft and crumbly pastry has a gentle, buttery taste.
BUY NOW Morrisons, £2 for 6
- Mr Kipling Deep Filled Mince Pies
Overall score: 82/100
Gorgeously golden mince pies topped with a festive star and snowflake design. The aroma of fruity-sweet mincemeat, Christmas spices and buttery pastry is bound to get you in the festive mood. Testers loved the balance of flavours, with a measured sweetness, a rich helping of Christmas spices and moreishly buttery pastry. Meanwhile, the citrus hit from the mixed peel gives these mince pies a lovely zesty punch. While the pastry is a little heavy, we loved the juiciness of the vine fruit.
BUY NOW Tesco, £1.50 for 6
- Betty’s Classic Mince Pies
Overall score: 79/100
Beautiful mince pies with homemade appeal, each generously filled pastry case is topped with a rustic-looking star. There’s a delicious, balanced sweetness from apricot puree, glacé cherries and a mix of plump vine fruit. We loved the touch of brandy and the zesty sharpness of the mixed peel. Although our panel felt both the flavour and the aroma were a little light on festive spice, they loved the gorgeously buttery pastry with its firm, crisp texture.
BUY NOW Betty’s, £12 for 12
- Booth’s All Butter Mince Pies
Overall score: 77/100
From the crimped edges to the plain pastry lids gently sprinkled with icing sugar, these mince pies have a rustic, home-baked charm. The scent of orange peel and warming cinnamon is enticing, while the flavour of the sweet, fruity filling has a tangy lemon peel acidity and is shot through with a complex mix of spices including ginger alongside coriander and caraway seeds. Testers enjoyed the plumpness of the vine fruits and the crumbliness of the pastry, although some longed for a richer, buttery taste.
BUY NOW Booths, £2.85 for 6
- M&S Collection Mince Pies
Overall score: 75/100
All butter shortcrust pastry generously filled with a pleasurably sweet and zingy mix of juicy vine fruit, mixed peel, glacé cherries and dried cranberries. The lemon in the mixed peel gives the filling a tartness that reminded testers of sherbet lemon. We loved the dusting of sugar and icing sugar on the pastry lid, which has a double embossed star and snowflake design, but some testers found the taste of the pastry itself a little bland and the overall flavour rather too sweet.
AVAILABLE IN STORE ONLY M&S, £2.50 for 6
- Co-op Irresistible 6 Luxury Mince Pies
Overall score: 71/100
The syrupy-sweet filling of these mince pies is infused with port and brandy and there’s a gentle tartness from the mixed peel and a pleasingly buttery aroma from the pastry. A heavy dusting of icing sugar on the star-topped pastry lid creates the effect of heavy snowfall but, coupled with the very sweet filling, made the overall flavour too sugary for some. Some testers also found the texture of the pastry a little too crumbly.
AVAILABLE IN STORE ONLY Co-op, £2 for 6
- Aldi Specially Selected Mince Pies
Overall score: 71/100
Well-baked mince pies finished with a sugar dusting on golden pastry lids decorated with stars and snowflakes. The richly buttery aroma and strong, fruity sweetness appealed to our panel. Tart cranberries, zingy lemon peel and sweet glacé cherries combine beautifully with Bramley apple and vine fruit to give a lovely deep flavour. However, some testers craved a more generous dose of Christmas spice and a more richly buttery, crumbly pastry.
BUY NOW Aldi, £1.49 for 6
We also tested
Asda Extra Special 6 Luxury Mince Pies 71/100, ASDA, £1.75 for 6
Lidl Deluxe Luxury Mince Pies 71/100, Lidl, £1.79 for 6
Baking Agent Mini Mince Pies 64/100, Ocado, £3.49 for 6
Tesco Finest Mince Pies 62/100, Tesco, £1.75 for 6
Waitrose & Partners No.1 6 All Butter Mince Pies 56/100, Waitrose, £2.50 for 6
by Janet Leigh