So, It’s Christmas 2016 and which supermarket sells the best gluten free mince pies? For a really robust test, I asked my gluten-eating colleagues to try them out. Most supermarkets now make their pies free from gluten, wheat and milk. So who makes the best?
Tesco Free From £1.75
Slightly skimpy on the filling, possibly to keep costs down, these pies were not the most popular. The pastry is quite soft and fluffy and descriptions included “bland”, “underdone” and “thick pastry”. Some testers thought the filling tasted good, though one thought the overall pie was not quite cooked enough.
Verdict: good price, but maybe at the cost of filling and flavour
Love More – Morrisons £1.98
Another offering with thick pastry, these pies were pretty popular. They are well filled, with tasty mincemeat and one tester said “Delicious – wouldn’t know this was GF!” However, the pastry was generally deemed to be a bit too thick and the garish packaging was widely criticised as you could not take them to a friend as a present. They might improve with warming up, of course.
Verdict: reasonable price with good and tasty filling, but slightly thick pastry
Alongside M&S these pies are at the more expensive end, though they were popular and as with all Waitrose products, they are of a high quality. Lower in salt and sugar than some of the others, they were praised for having crisp pastry, plenty of filling and tasting “like fruit cake”. However, some felt the use of mixed spice was “overpowering” and that they crumbled a lot when cut. The packaging is a lovely red, so they would be good to give as a present.
Verdict: nice looking pies, beautifully packaged so you could take them as a gift, good crisp pastry
The cheapest in our taste test, these pies were largely criticised for being underdone and with thick pastry. It is possible the same bakery is making the Asda, Tesco and Morrison FF mince pies as they all looked and tasted very similar, so Asda is probably your best bet for value. They were praised for being sugary and well filled, but the pastry was thought to be claggy, crumbly and too soft. Though one tester called them “juicy”.
Verdict: best value for budget supermarkets, thick pastry with plenty of sugar
Sainsbury’s has really been working hard on its Free From product this year, with plenty of good quality new product lines and some nice designed packaging. These pies were a clear winner with our testers, with praise for crisp pastry, nice spice-infused flavours, good texture and lovely packaging. One tester said: “It tastes like a mince pie!” and while some felt the pies were less sweet and more crumbly than others, these were the definite favourite.
Verdict: The best supermarket Free From mince pies, good pastry, nice filling and lovely packaging.
Marks & Spencer £2.50
M&S generally ticks the boxes for gluten free eating at Christmas and has some great product lines, though these pies do contain milk, so are not entirely free from. With star tops, they were the most attractive, with a homemade look. Overall the verdict on these was that they were salty and tasted quite savoury, but for those who like saltiness they were popular. The pastry was described as “buttery”, though the filling was thought to be a bit “jam-like” and the pastry was a little underbaked and grainy.
Verdict: Salty and savoury, slightly underdone pastry, but a tasty jam-like filling
After tasting so many pies, I am not sure I will need any more before Christmas! For those of you still keen to enjoy your pre-Christmas treat, if price is an issue, you will find the best value gluten free mince pies at Asda. However, for taste and quality, the Sainsbury’s gluten free mince pies came out top, with Waitrose close behind.
Sugar Daddys £1 each
Not a supermarket product, but produced by the bakery in Edinburgh’s fully gluten free bakery, Sugar Daddys, the mince pies we tried after the taste test came out well at the top. Delicious, juicy mincemeat and lovely biscuity pastry, these are delicious. Fully vegan, due to customer demand, they are the ultimate in free from. You can order online and they will also make FULL Christmas cakes – why did I bother baking?! Give them a go – utterly delicious and very pretty too.